Maple Sausage Breakfast Strata

What's your favorite meal of the day? For me, there's no question it's brunch. I love that I can have something either sweet or savory or even a mix of both for this meal. However, I do tend to lean towards savory dishes more. The other week at work, we were celebrating fellow clinicians (pharmacists, nurses, etc) with a potluck brunch. I had a feeling sweet items would most likely be brought in such as donuts, pastries,  fresh fruit, etc. With that in mind, I wanted to balance things a bit with something savory too. That's when I decided to make this Maple Sausage Breakfast Strata. Buttery croissants, savory maple breakfast sausage and a simple egg custard is tossed together with cheddar cheese, allowed to soak and then baked up into a glorious dish perfect for brunch...

This dish isn't gluten free but it's simple to adapt. Just use gluten free rolls (hamburger or hot dog rolls work perfectly) in place of the croissants. I made this recipe a few times and it's wonderful with fresh fruit or even a side salad to round out the meal. But the best part of it all is being able to make this in advance. It makes for a great dish for the holiday mornings or the upcoming 'Black Friday' when everyone's getting up early to take advantage of those sales!

Maple Sausage Breakfast Strata
recipe adapted from Cooking Light

1 teaspoon canola oil
16 ounces maple sausage
2 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 large eggs
8 large croissants, day old (or gluten free rolls)
1 cup (4 ounces) finely shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese  + 1/2 cup for garnish
Cooking spray

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring and breaking sausage to crumble. Remove from heat; cool.

Combine milk, mustard, salt, pepper, and eggs in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Cut bread into 1-inch cubes. Add bread cubes, sausage, and 1 cup cheddar cheese to milk mixture, stirring to combine. Pour bread mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking or 3-quart casserole dish coated with cooking spray, spreading egg mixture evenly in baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Remove casserole from refrigerator; let stand 30 minutes. Sprinkle casserole evenly with remaining cheese.

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes.

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