Nourish Asparagus & Leek Strata Breakfast Casserole - Cherylanne Skolnicki

Breakfast casseroles are a big time-saver on holiday mornings, because they can be made the night before and just popped in the oven in the morning. The downside is that they are often loaded with high fat breakfast meats and cheeses. My clients are always looking for ways to get delicious AND healthy food on the table and holidays are no exception.
Our version of the breakfast casserole omits the high fat breakfast meats (bacon, sausage, ham) and substitutes flavorful spring asparagus and tender leeks. We use whole wheat instead of white bread and a sprinkle of fontina cheese ensures enough richness to be celebration-worthy!
Serve this up with a big fruit salad and a leafy green salad and you'll have room for sampling those chocolate bunnies and jellybeans that are sure to make an appearance on Sunday morning!

Nourish Asparagus and Leek Strata
12  servings
1 Tbsp. butter
5 c. sliced asparagus in 1″ pieces (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 c. thinly sliced leeks – whites and light green parts (about 3 small)
1/2 c. water
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper, divided
12 (1-ounce) thin slices dense whole wheat bread
1 c. (4 oz.) shredded fontina cheese, divided
2 1/2 c. skim or 1% lowfat milk
3 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 1/2 c. fresh breadcrumbs (about 3 slices, diced)
cooking spray
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add asparagus, leeks, and water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in parsley, lemon rind, salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
Arrange half of bread slices in a single layer in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top bread slices with half of asparagus mixture, and sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat procedure with the remaining bread, asparagus mixture, and 1/2 cup cheese.
Combine 1/8 teaspoon pepper, milk, eggs, and egg white, and stir with a whisk until well-blended. Pour the milk mixture over strata. Cover strata, and chill for 8 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 400°. Uncover strata; sprinkle with fresh breadcrumbs. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes or until set.
Cherylanne Skolnicki