Layered with spinach, cheese, and bread, and soaked in a savory custard, this make-ahead strata is ideal for entertaining.
Jenn Segal, professional trained chef, mom, and author of the bestselling cookbook Once Upon a Chef, is known for her updated spins on everyday classics. Meticulously tested and crafted with an eye toward both flavor and practicality, Jenn’s recipes focus on exactly what you feel like making in today’s busy and often hectic times.
Jenn is the founder of Once Upon a Chef, the popular cooking blog showcasing easy, family-friendly recipes from a chef’s point of view. Her recipes have been featured on numerous websites, magazines, and television programs, including The Huffington Post, WJLA’s Good Morning Washington, FOX5DC, SeriousEats.com, and Parade.com.
Before creating her blog, she attended the Maryland-based L’Academie de Cuisine, considered one of the top cooking schools in America. She cooked at the acclaimed L’Auberge Chez Francois, and was director of marketing for a prominent restaurant group, both in the Washington D.C. metro area. One marriage and two children later she created Once Upon a Chef featuring her tested and perfected recipes with approachable ingredients and step-by-step photos.
“I left the restaurant business in 2003 when my first child was born. Now, I’m cooking for my family and sharing my collection of recipes. The recipes on my site reflect my life; as a mom, I need easy meals the whole family will enjoy but the chef in me needs to eat too,” she says. With the authority of a professional chef and the practicality of a busy working mom, Jenn teaches readers how to improve their cooking skills one family-friendly recipe at a time. She lives in Potomac, Maryland, with her family. At Once Upon a Chef readers will discover: step-by-step photos; ingredient recommendations that take the guesswork out of grocery shopping; and menus for special events and holidays, entertaining and everyday family meals.
“A strata is a layered casserole made with bread, eggs, cheese, and sometimes vegetables or meat (strata means layers). Think of it as a savory bread pudding. This spinach version is richly flavored with Gruyère, Parmesan, and Dijon mustard. It’s the perfect vegetarian brunch dish to feed a large crowd. You do all of the preparation the night before, let the strata rest in the refrigerator overnight, then pop it in the oven in the morning. As it bakes, it puffs up like a soufflé, making it a real showstopper. The strata does fall a bit as it cools, but it’s still impressive. Serve with crispy bacon, a strawberry and orange fruit salad, and mimosas,” suggests Jenn.