Monday, October 13, 2008

Spinach Strata

This evening, my mother and I decided to make Spinach Strata. For my birthday, she and my dad bought me a cookbook called Vegetarian Meals by Good Housekeeping. I was thumbing through the recipes this afternoon and decided this one would be a good dinner to try. It's sort of an interesting twist between a sandwich, quiche, and french toast.

We cut the recipe down from 6 servings to 2 servings. Here is the original recipe:

8 slices firm white bread
4 oz. mozzarellas cheese, shredded (1 cup)
1 package (10 ounces) frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 T. butter or margarine, softened
2 c. milk
6 large eggs
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. ground black pepper

1. Grease 8x8 inch glass baking dish. Place 4 bread slices in dish; top with 1/2 c. cheese, all spinach, then remaining cheese. Spread butter on 1 side of each remaining bread slice; place in dish, buttered side up.
2. In a medium bowl, with wire whisk, beat milk, eggs, basil, salt, and pepper until blended. Slowly pour egg mixture over bread slices. Prick bread with fork and press slices down to absorb egg mixture. Cover baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 350. Remove cover from baking dish; bake strata until knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Each serving: Aprox. 290 calories and 17g. protein

The things I changed in the recipe:

I used more cheese than what was called for--I sort of just sprinkled on there what I thought was good.
I don't think I used enough spinach. I also sprinkled on there what looked decent, but it ended up not being enough.
We used soy milk instead of regular milk.
I used whole wheat bread since we don't buy white bread (I didn't feel it made any difference anyway)
We didn't have fresh basil leaves, so we only used 1 T. of the dried basil flakes

We both felt like you could REALLY taste the basil in here. It had a nice, smooth taste to it--probably from the cheese and egg. Despite the basil, we still felt like it could have used a bit more flavor. This could be because we're so used to using lots of herbs, but the two things we thought could be good were either garlic or some rosemary.

The shininess you see in the picture is actually the strata still boiling since it had just come from the oven. Because we had a smaller amount, we used the toaster oven to bake it. Maybe this is from being in a smaller area like the toaster oven, but about 15 minutes into the baking, we felt like we should put some foil over it so the top wouldn't get too brown. Perhaps this would be different in a conventional oven. It also took a bit less time to bake. We uncovered it for the last 10 or so minutes so the top could get more brown. It's not quite as neat and pretty as the cookbook oven, but it looked and tasted really good!

We paired the strata with a grilled peach with cinnamon on it as our dessert. Everything was so good! The strata was pretty filling--I couldn't eat all of mine. I think this is a definite make-again!

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