The popularity of breakfast foods is a good reason to keep dependable starters, such as eggs, bread and other staples, on hand. But why reserve them only for morning meals? Planning breakfast for dinner is a good way to serve up simple, satisfying evening meals without spending a lot of time in the kitchen.
A strata is one easy-to-prepare dish that can go from breakfast to dinner with ease. The word strata means layers and the layers of Tomato Strata Florentine are simply cubed bread, torn spinach and seasoned chopped tomatoes. An egg-milk custard poured over the top binds the bright-colored layers together and causes the bread to puff up during baking.
For single diners or families whose members eat at separate times, bake the ingredients in individual custard cups which you can refrigerate and reheat in the microwave. For a family meal, use a baking pan. Either way, you can make the strata the night before you want to serve it. Simply leave a note for the first one home to pop it into the oven.
This budget-wise combination is nutrient dense. Along with cheese and milk, the eggs provide about 1/3 of your daily protein needs, while the bread and tomato supply carbohydrates. Together, the ingredients add up to an impressive array of needed vitamins and minerals, at less than 200 calories and only 8 grams of fat per serving.
Other breakfast dishes make good dinners, too. Quick-cooking scrambled eggs are easy to dress up with pasta or rice and onions, peppers, mushrooms or other flavoring foods. Poached eggs combine well with breads, veggies and cheeses.
Tomato Strata Florentine
2 cups torn fresh spinach (about 4 oz.)
2 slices whole wheat bread, cubed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup chopped fresh tomato (about 1 medium)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, crushed
1 cup skim or low-fat (1%) milk
1/4 cup (1 oz.) shredded low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella cheese
For individual cups: Evenly coat 4 (10-ounce) custard cups with spray. Place 1/2 cup of the spinach in each cup. Sprinkle each with about 1/3 cup of the bread cubes. In medium bowl, stir together tomato and seasoning until tomato is evenly coated with seasoning. Spoon 1/4 cup tomato mixture over bread cubes in each cup. In medium bowl, beat together eggs and milk. Slowly pour scant 1/2 cup egg mixture over tomato mixture in each cup. Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of the cheese.
Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven until custards are puffed and begin to pull away from sides of cups and knife inserted near centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
For baking pan: Layer entire amounts of all ingredients as above in sprayed 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking pan. Bake as above.
Nutritional information for 1 serving of 1/4 recipe using skim milk: 175 calories, 8 gm total fat, 218 mg cholesterol, 238 mg sodium, 469 mg potassium, 14 gm total carbohydrate, 13 gm protein and 10% or more of the RDI for vitamins A, B12 and C, riboflavin, calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc