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Ham and Asparagus Strata

The savory bread pudding called strata has become one of America’s favorite egg casseroles. Strata means layers and layering is almost all you have to do to make one. Once you’ve poured on the custard, bake or microwave the strata right away or cover and refrigerate it for several hours or even overnight. With a cold mixture, allow a little more cooking time to serve up a quick meal whenever you need it the next day.

Cooking spray
12 to 16 (1/2-inch thick) slices French or Italian bread (about 4 oz.)
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella or Italian-blend cheese, divided
1 cup (4 oz.) chopped cooked lean ham, divided
8 oz. fresh asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
6 eggs
1 cup skim or low-fat milk
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Evenly coat 8-inch square baking dish with spray. Layer half of the bread slices on bottom of dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the cheese, 1/2 cup of the ham, and 1 cup of the asparagus pieces. Cover with the remaining bread slices, laying them flat or in a shingled pattern. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese, ham, and asparagus spears. In medium bowl, beat together eggs, milk, lemon juice, and garlic powder. Pour evenly over layers. Cover with plastic wrap.

Microwave: Cook on full power 5 minutes. Rotate dish 1/4 turn. Microwave on 50-percent power, rotating dish 1/4 turn each 3 to 5 minutes, until thermometer inserted near center reads 160° F and/or knife inserted near center comes out clean, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Conventional oven: Prepare strata as above. Cover dish with aluminum foil. Bake in preheated 350° F oven until thermometer inserted near center reads 160° F and/or knife inserted near center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

 


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