Holiday Strata (layered savory eggs and bread)

10 eggs
3 cups half and half
1 tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Black pepper
1 tsp. dried herb of choice: basil, oregano, dill (if using salmon), herbs de provence, etc.
1 loaf (1 lb.) hearty bread, crust removed, sliced into ½" thick slices
2 T. butter
2 T. olive oil
1 lb. boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 red pepper, diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Beat eggs, half and half, salt, pepper and herbs in a bowl. Place half the bread slices in a greased 4 quart baking dish.

In a large skillet, heat butter and oil. Saute the chicken, mushrooms and red pepper until chicken is no longer pink and is cooked through. Add onions to pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place ½ the mixture over the bread in baking dish. Top with ½ the cheese. Place remaining bread slices over chicken, top with remaining chicken and mushroom mixture, the remaining cheese and pour the egg mixture over entire dish. Cover loosely with foil; refrigerate at least 4 hours before baking. (Can be done overnight).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake strata covered with foil for 1 hour; remove foil and bake for and additional 15 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Cut into 3″ x 3″ pieces. Serves 8.

Note: Substitute the chicken with shrimp, salmon or even Italian sausage in bulk. This recipe is very forgiving, so add or delete ingredients as you like. Use the egg and cream mixture with bread as a base and create your own strata. (Strata is “high” so it should puff up; it is also layered, like the stratosphere.)

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