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Make ahead Mother’s Day brunch: mushroom, spinach and gruyere strata

Pamper the favorite women in your life all at once with a Mother's Day brunch. A meal you can prep the day before will keep the gathering hassle-free and fun.

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    A strata is an easy make-the-day-before option when hosting a crowd for brunch.
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Gathering together for brunch is my new favorite way to entertain. I remember we once had a delightful, long dinner party some years ago but recovery at that time was a little harder with a baby who woke up before 7 a.m., no matter when you got to sleep. On a Sunday morning during that time, we had guests over and thanks to a menu that could be prepared entirely the night before, it was one of the easiest social gathering I've hosted.

My pal Ebony, ultra creative owner of Snow & Graham, inspired yet another culinary decision of mine. She had served us a memorable strata layered with goat cheese, fresh basil and sun dried tomatoes. I followed her lead and welcomed strata into my brunch repertoire. Strata is basically an eggy bread pudding that soaks overnight. Below is the recipe I used and a few variations. Be creative.

I love the menus that Kristen at The Kitchen Sink Recipes offers. So, here is one of my own for an easy Mother’s Day Brunch to feed a crowd.

Recommended: 20 breakfast and brunch recipes

Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls

Mushroom, Spinach & Gruyere Strata

Fresh Fruit Salad

Coffee

Consider a little take home gift of baked goods if you have time in advance. Perhaps some White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies packed in paper-covered recycled canister or mini Banana Bread Loaves.

Mushroom, Spinach & Gruyere Strata
Serves 8-10

8 cups day old bread cut in 1-inch pieces (Italian loaf would be good. I used Challah)
9 eggs
3 cups milk
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
8-10 sliced button mushrooms
1 cup fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped

1. Use day old bread for this recipe orheat cubes of bread in a 250 degree F., oven for about 10 minutes to dry it out. The dryer bread will soak up the egg and milk mixture better.

2. Beat together eggs and milk with a whisk. Add mustard, salt and pepper and whisk together. Put bread in a buttered 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Add mushrooms, spinach and half the cheese. Use your hands to mix it together slightly, spreading it evenly around the pan. Gently pour the egg mixture over it, covering the bread mixture. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

3. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the strata for 30-40 minutes until egg is set and edges are browned. Serve warm.

Variations: Make the same bread and egg mixture but try different veggies and cheese: Goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and basil OR Canadian bacon, mushrooms and cheddar cheese.

Related post on Whipped, The Blog: Sun Dried Tomato, Goat Cheese & Basil Strata

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of food bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by The Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own and they are responsible for the content of their blogs and their recipes. All readers are free to make ingredient substitutions to satisfy their dietary preferences, including not using wine (or substituting cooking wine) when a recipe calls for it. To contact us about a blogger, click here.

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