One of my New Year’s resolutions was to cook more ‘fun food’ and I made this ‘country’ maple bacon strada, also called baked French toast, a few weeks back and while the pictures hardly do it justice, it tasted amazing as I was suffering through wisdom tooth surgery recovery. I ate it for breakfast, lunch, and even dinner over a few days, and it is the type of dish that only gets better as leftovers. Making a strada is great for when you are short on time as you can prepare the entire thing the evening before (as I did) and then just pop it in the oven the next morning. Great for a crowd or brunch.  You could add almost ANYTHING to a strada, but typically they are a ‘clean-out-the-fridge’ type of breakfast casserole, including some meat (ham is common), peppers or scallions or leeks, and eggs (duh). Here is how I made my ‘country’ strada:

I somewhat followed the recipe for baked French toast as outlined in Joy of Cooking with my own tweaks. Starting with the leftover Portuguese sweet bread that I had, tear or slice the bread into even pieces and lay flat in an uncoated baking dish.

One of my unique additions was melting the remainder of some maple creme from the North Hadley Sugar Shack and pouring that onto the first layer of bread.

Next I beat together six eggs, 1/2 cup of soymilk, and threw in about two tablespoons of cinnamon (LOVE Cin!)

I also had six strips of maple bacon I par-broiled in the oven and had drained on a paper towel. I don’t eat meat too often unless I know its source and feel that it is high quality, primarily unprocessed, and this was nitrate-free (read: no additives/chemicals for curing), so I was all in!

I placed the bacon strips on top of the first bread layer. No complaints so far?!

Hog Wild!

After laying down the bacon (THAT should be a new phrase!), I topped the second layer of sliced sweet bread and then poured the entire egg mixture over the dish. Joy advises to use a spoon or fork to press down on the entire dish to help the bread absorb all the liquid, then cover the dish with plastic/aluminum wrap and place in the fridge overnight. So I did that.

Next morning, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and add a cup of shredded cheddar cheese on top. Yes, do this. You will not regret it, promise.

Bake for 12-15 minutes and you will then have at your disposal one of the tastiest, and in no way calorie conscious, breakfasts that you have ever prepared. When you can only eat soup and oatmeal for two weeks though after losing several teeth, you deserve it.

With pieces of pink bacon peeking out, and cinnamon-y, sweet maple flavor throughout, this meal is satisfying for your sweet tooth and your belly. Enjoy!