Update 12/3: Just took a picture of a slightly different version. The crumbles on the top are bleu cheese. I also included a layer of thinly-sliced smoked ham.
Okay, okay. I'm not a housewife. But thrifty: Well, I am all over that. I am so weird that I enjoy the challenge of having odds and ends leftovers, and making a meal out of them. I know, I know. That brings us to: Strata.
The thing I really like about it is its versatility. If I need to feed a crowd, I make it in a 9 x 13 pan. Having vegetarians over? Just use vegetables. Non-vegetarians? Add layers of thinly-sliced ham. Vegans? Oh, you got me there. Make them something else, not a strata.
A variety of vegetables work in it, such as tomatoes, roasted red or green peppers, spinach, artichokes, etc. The texture is somewhat souffle'-like, which makes it a tad swanky. Like me! Well, that's what people say.
This makes a side dish for two, with two slices over to reheat the next day. (It reheats beautifully in the microwave.) Here's how.
Get out a casserole dish and either spray it with Pam (or similar product) or butter it. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt a quarter cup of butter (half of a stick). Put four slices of french bread in the casserole dish, and brush them with melted butter. Aren't we off to a good start?
Now, add a layer of whatevertheheck you want. I had a few slices of pepperjack cheese and a tomato I wanted to use up. Spinach and chopped artichokes are nice. Red roasted peppers are sporty. Use your imagination.
Add another layer of bread. Yes, please brush the slices with the rest of that melted butter. Put more veggies on top. Now, beat together four eggs and 1 1/2 cups of milk. Pour that over the top of everything. Sprinkle on a cheese. This time I decided to use up some Parmesan. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes, until the top is browned.
Notes: Whole-wheat bread doesn't work well. Also, this can be put together the night before, popped into the refrigerator, and baked the next day. It becomes even more souffle'-like that way. If you really dress it up, that makes it a great meal for Christmas morning.