You know those people you keep meaning to have over?  Call them. Whip this up tonight & put it in the fridge. Buy fruit, brew coffee, done.  

I am finally learning to ease up on my entertaining standards.  I don’t need to clean up the entire house and I don’t stress too much about the food I’m serving.  Last week, I even ordered takeout and put the plastic containers right on the table for a few guests.  I’ve decided I would rather see more friends and share meals together than forego entertaining because I don’t have time to stress about the details.

Last year, I suggested this Mushroom, Spinach and Gruyere Strata for Mother’s Day brunch.  Looking back at that post, I realized I hadn’t made strata in almost a year.  It is funny how favorite recipes can so easily fall out of your regular repertoire.  Blogging about food is a wonderful way to push yourself to try new recipes.  Afterall, you need something new to post about!  But for me, it has also meant that I don’t enjoy repeats of favorites as often as I used to.

As silly as this sounds, after almost three years of blogging, I just now realized that one of the best exercises is to go back through your own archives regularly!  Memory is a far from perfect tool. When reading some posts, I feel like I might as well be reading another blog –  I have no recollection of writing them.

When I do stumble on old favorites, I am excited to revisit old recipes or try them again with a new twist.  This strata is just a variation of the flavors mixed in to the basic bread and custard mixture. Since a good strata requires you make it the night before, you are guaranteed more time with your brunch guests.  Happy Mother’s Day to the moms out there!

Sun Dried Tomato, Goat Cheese & Basil Strata

Serves 8-10

8 cups day old white bread cut in 1 inch pieces (Italian loaf is good)
9 eggs
3 cups milk
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup goat cheese crumbled
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves chopped in thin strips
1 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes

Use day old bread for this recipe OR heat cubes of bread in a 250 degree oven for about 10 minutes to dry it out. The dryer bread will soak up the egg and milk mixture better. Beat together eggs and milk with a whisk. Add mustard, salt and pepper and whisk together. Put bread in a buttered 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle around the cheese, basil and sun dried tomatoes. 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. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

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