Hi all! Well, the countdown's begun. Only 5 more days until Thanksgiving!! How are you doing with all of your preparations? Here, at my house, things are moving along pretty well......I guess. I'm finishing up my Thanksgiving dinner menu, so that I can go to the supermarket early Monday morning. The turkey is in the garage refrigerator, thawing. At least, I hope it's thawing. That fridge always acts a little strange when the weather gets really cold. Nothing could be more frustrating than to go to retrieve the main part of the Thanksgiving meal, only to find a solid turkeysicle sitting there! You can bet I'll be checking that bird daily to make sure that doesn't happen!
This will most likely be my last post until after Turkey Day, so let me wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends! I know things aren't always easy these days, but I, for one, have so many things to be thankful for....a wonderful husband and six children that I love very much, a warm and comfortable home, a loving, supportive mother (you're never too old to need your mom!), five great brothers and sisters and their families (who I really miss), as well as my husband's family, some good friends (you know who you are), and, well, I could go on for awhile, but I guess you probably stopped by to check out the recipe, so I'll sum up my thoughts by saying.....God has provided for me, been faithful to me, and blessed me above and beyond what I really deserve! And, I'm so thankful!
Now, onto the recipe....
Italian Pumpkin Strata! We all put so much time and effort into planning our Thanksgiving dinner, but what about breakfast? Now, I don't mind just picking a bit in the morning to hold me over until the big dinner, but the kids don't care that there will be mountains of food later in the day. They actually want breakfast, like any other day. And, if we have guests staying with us, I certainly don't expect them to just hang out and wait until later to eat, especially if later is, well......later. This recipe is the perfect solution! You can assemble it the night before, if you want to. Then, just pop it in the oven to bake in the morning, while you tend to all the other meal preparations! The flavors scream fall and Thanksgiving, with the creamy pumpkin custard, and also bring an Italian twist, with the addition of peppers, onion, garlic, mozzarella cheese, herbs, and Italian sausage. I found the combination to be really yummy!
Italian Pumpkin Strata
1 tblsp. vegetable oil
1 pound mild Italian sausage, out of casings
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
12 cups (1 1/2" cubes) Italian or French bread
2 cups shredded mozzarella
2 (12 oz.) cans evaporated milk
15 oz. can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
4 large eggs
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. each, black pepper, dried oregano, basil, and marjoram
The first thing I did was to cut the bread into cubes and let it sit out on a sheet pan to dry out. You could also pop it in the oven at around 300 degrees for 10-12 minutes. The recipe didn't actually call for this, but dry bread tends to soak up moisture more than fresh bread, which can sometimes turn to mush. ( Note: I cut the bread as the recipe stated, but , next time, I plan on cutting the cubes a little smaller so that they can soak up even more of the yummy custard.)
Now, heat the oil over med-high heat and add the sausage, peppers, onions, and garlic. Saute for around 7-10 minutes or until the sausage is cooked through and nice and brown, stirring to break it up.
While that mixture is cooking, combine the bread cubes and mozzarella cheese in a large bowl. After the sausage mixture is ready, add it into the bowl and combine.
Now it's time to make the custard mixture. Mix together the evaporated milk, pumpkin, eggs, and all the seasonings and pour it all over the bread mixture. Stir it gently to thoroughly moisten everything.
Now, pour the whole thing into a greased 9x13" baking dish, trying to distribute the sausage as evenly as possible. Bake the strata at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until set.
Now......enjoy this deliciousness for breakfast, brunch, or dinner!!
Recipe from The Best 50 Pumpkin Recipes.
For printable recipe, click here.