Prep this overnight ham breakfast strata the night before a big family holiday or weekend brunch for the perfect way to feed a crowd.
Ok, brunch. It is indeed the best meal ever.
Why? Because. Science. (Duh. We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day).
But really, there is something about an amazing breakfast or brunch that can really make a day perfect. I love getting up for a great run or bike ride, hitting the morning hard, then relaxing with friends over a great brunch menu.
And the holidays, oh, perfect for brunch. House full of guests? In-laws coming over? I got your back.
This crazy easy make-ahead strata is a favorite recipe of mine. And this festive version is gold for any holiday brunch.
What is Strata?
Strata is a baked dish with chunks of bread and a custard base or milk and eggs. It is perfect to use up stale bread, as the custard soaked bread in the base for this recipe. Bonus, it’s loaded with cheese and can be customized to any flavor combo. Think Roasted butternut squash, kale, and sausage. Or savory rosemary, fontina, and mushrooms.
Toss it all in and let’s get to brunching.
Frittata Vs Strata
What’s the difference between frittata and strata?
A frittata is whipped eggs over the desired filling and baked. (Like a big omelet, without the fancy folding) This Low Country Frittata is a good example.
Strata is a custard base of milk and eggs and soaked bread.
Both are hearty egg breakfasts that you can customize fillings and toppings to what you have on hand and have no hard and fast must follow recipes. I love serving both as options during holidays and when I have company for brunch.
How to Make a Strata
Start at least 8 hours ahead (read, the night before) by soaking the bread in a milk and egg mix. Strata is easy because it can be eyeballed. You always need half the portion of liquid to bread. So, maths (since we already covered science). 4 cups bread to 2 cups liquid. So on and so forth. Mix in toppings and add meltable cheese. Cover, and in the morning bake at 350 until the custard is set.
Now, on to the Prime Fresh. I always have a stash of sliced Prime Fresh lunch meat in my fridge. The resealable bags lock the freshness in, allowing me to get days out of every package when it’s just me in the meat labs. Easy lunch is the best thing ever (like these hearty jalapeno popper sandwiches). But, why not chop up some ham and whip up a crazy good brunch?
When I knew I had a house full of guests spending a weekend with me, I looked at what I had to use up before spending a penny at the market. This Overnight Ham Breakfast Strata used up a loaf of leftover challah and all items I had on hand, like the Honey Ham, ready to go.
The ham was the perfect sweet but hearty addition to this holiday inspired recipe!
Need more breakfast inspiration? Try some of my favorite recipes out.
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Overnight Ham Breakfast Strata
- 4 cups sweet brioche or challah bread torn into cubes
- 1 lbs Prime Fresh Honey Ham chopped
- 2 cup milk
- 8 eggs
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp Nutmeg
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme leaves removed
- Dried cranberries
- 8 oz Monterey jack cheese shredded
- 8 oz Swiss cheese shredded
- In an 8×8 high walled baking dish, add the bread.
- Toss half over the chopped ham into the bread mix.
- Whisk the milk eggs together in a larger bowl.
- Add salt and pepper to the mix along with the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and thyme.
- Pour over the bread mixture.
- Add the remaining ham and dried cranberries.
- Sprinkle with the Monterey Jack and cover with the swiss cheese.
- Cover and place in fridge overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cover the strata with foil or a tight-fitting lid and bake 20 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake an additional 25-30 minutes until the eggs are set.
- Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving warm