Empty the Fridge Strata Recipe

Empty the Fridge Strata Recipe

[Photograph: Sydney Oland]

Strata is a great vehicle for turning leftover odds and ends into a filling meal for a crowd. The only real essentials are bread, milk and eggs—the rest is up to you, or more accurately, whatever you happen to have in your fridge.

You'd be surprised at what I've included in my fridge-cleaning history: fried hotdogs and leftover cheese sauce, leftover cooked vegetables and pesto, shredded chicken, pepper jack cheese and salsa. But my go-to strata is chopped bacon and fried onions with plenty of cheese and the last of the fresh herbs in my fridge, which is what you see in the photo above. Just let your fridge guide you, and I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised with what you come up with.

  • Yield:Serves 4
  • Active time: 15 minutes
  • Total time:45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups day-old bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  •  
  • Possible Additions (add up to 2 cups):
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, Havarti, etc.)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped bacon, ham, or hot dogs
  • 1/2 to 1 cup leftover meat, shredded or chopped (shredded braised beef, chicken, steak, pork chops, etc.)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup pesto or leftover pasta sauce (marinara, alfredo, or Bolognese, etc.)
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, oregano, chives, etc.)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup frozen peas, spinach, or corn, thawed and drained
  • 1/4 to 1 cup onions and/or garlic cooked in butter until just beginning to brown

Directions

  1. 1.

    Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 400°F.

  2. 2.

    In a large bowl combine milk and eggs and mix until combined. Place bread in the bowl and fold with a spatula until bread is coated, let stand 5 minutes to allow milk and egg mixture to saturate the bread. Fold in any additional ingredients. (If using fresh herbs, reserve 1 tablespoon to sprinkle on top before serving). Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a baking dish. Bake until strata is puffed and edges begin to brown, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with reserved herbs (if using) and serve immediately.