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Comfort food for winter

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Breakfast Strata

OVERNIGHT CASSEROLE Breakfast Strata is quick to put together with ingredients already in the fridge. (Photo courtesy of The Junior League of Houston)

Cooking Buzz is produced in partnership with the Junior League of Houston, a women’s charitable and education organization founded in 1925.

As the cooler temps in Texas continue and we find ourselves in the 10th or 11th month of spending maybe too much time with our families (thanks, Covid), comfort food sounds appealing. Why not prepare a meal that makes everyone in the family happy and lets you give into our cold weather-induced need for carbs.

Both of these recipes take some time and forethought but are worth it. The Savory Breakfast Strata isn’t the same old breakfast casserole everyone makes. The addition of rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, and turkey sausage gives this casserole an Italian twist. The Salisbury Steak isn’t your average Salisbury steak either, due to its special ingredient: hot sauce. And kids will love the mac and cheese.

Savory Breakfast Strata

From Stop and Smell the Rosemary

5 cups cubed day-old bread
4 links Italian turkey sausage, casings removed, browned and crumbled
¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, oil reserved
½ cup chopped onion
1 to 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
4 to 6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 to 1½ cups)
6 large eggs
1½ cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)

Spray a 9-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle bread cubes in casserole. Sprinkle sausage evenly over bread cubes. Pour 1 tablespoon of reserved sun-dried tomato oil into skillet. Add onions and sauté until tender. Add tomatoes and rosemary, stirring until blended. Place onion mixture over sausage. Cover with cheese. Whisk eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and dry mustard in a medium bowl until well blended. Pour egg mixture over casserole. Cover. Refrigerate 8 to 10 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 30 to 45 minutes, or until set. Serves 8.

Salisbury Steak with Mac ‘N’ Cheese

From Peace Meals

Salisbury Steak:
1 pound of ground venison (beef can be substituted)
½ pound of ground beef
1 teaspoon Creole meat seasoning
½ cup dry bread crumbs
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons of hot sauce
¼ cup ground onion
1 garlic glove, minced
1 egg, slightly beaten
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
Sauce:
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups julienned yellow onions
2 cups sliced shitake mushrooms
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups beef broth
3 Tablespoons Madeira wine
1 Tablespoon Louisiana hot sauce
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Fresh herbs to taste
Mac ‘N’ Cheese:
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
¾ cup milk, divided
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Coarse salt
White pepper
3 cups cooked nori or other pasta (1½ cups dry pasta)

Salisbury Steak and Sauce: In a medium bowl, combine the meat and Creole seasoning; mix well. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs with the Worcestershire and hot sauce, and allow to soak for 1 minute. Combine with the seasoned meat, onion, garlic, and egg. Shape into 6 patties and lightly season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate. Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large soup pot over high heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil. Once it starts to smoke, add the onions and mushrooms, and sauté until they have caramelized. Remove from heat and stir in flour until well combined. Move the pot back to heat and add remaining ingredients and bring to a medium simmer for 30 minutes; adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Reserve.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large sauté pan over high and sear the patties on both sides until browned; arrange in a single layer in a 13- by 9-inch or 12- by 8-inch baking dish. Ladle the sauce over the patties and bake covered for 30 minutes or internal temperature reaches 135°F. Remove from the oven and keep warm until ready to serve. Serves 6.

Mac ‘N’ Cheese: Melt the cream cheese and half of the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking until the cream cheese is creamy; add the remaining milk and cook over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the cheddar cheese and season the cheese to taste. Stir the cooked pasta into the hot cheese sauce.

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