Growing up, instead of a traditional Christmas dinner we had a standard breakfast -- my mom's egg strata, which she assembled overnight and put in the oven while we unwrapped our gifts. Now I make strata for my family on Christmas and on other special occasions when we have company.
I tweak my mom's version ever so slightly by cooking the onions with the sausage, because my family doesn't like raw onion and Mom layers uncooked onion into her strata. Also, I think Mom uses butter spread, whereas I use softened butter.
Whether the strata is made by Mom or me, it's a crowd pleaser.
Amy's Mom's Egg Strata
1 (16 ounce) tube of breakfast sausage
1 medium onion, diced finely
10-12 slices white bread, lightly buttered on each side
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese (or Colby Jack or Mexican blend)
5 eggs, beaten
1 2/3 cups milk
Fry sausage -- with diced onion if you don't want to add in raw onion. Cook sausage until no longer pink. Drain sausage and set aside.
Mix together milk and beaten eggs and set aside.
Make a layer of bread in the bottom of a 9"x 13" baking pan. If your pan is curved, you will likely have to cut the last two slices a bit so they fit in the pan.
Sprinkle sausage, onions and cheese over the bread slices. Top with another layer of bread slices. Pour egg and milk mixture over the bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, bake the strata uncovered at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Place foil on top when the bread starts to get brown.
Serve immediately. Leftovers, should you have any, are tasty, too.