Recession Era Extravaganza

May 16, 2011
4 Ratings
  • Serves 6-8
Author Notes

Calling this a strata elevates it from a humdrum casserole, but declaring it an extravaganza makes me think balloons, confetti, and the horn section from Kool and the Gang. I came up with my own "dirt cheap" budget friendly version for this week's contest, using sale items and various kinds of reserved (read: frozen) stale bread. The big splurge here is the five slices of bacon!
"Celebrate, good times, come on!" —Sadassa_Ulna

What You'll Need
  • 2/3 pound [thawed] sliced stale bread (free? or maybe $1)
  • 6 ounces cheddar cheese, grated ($.75 on sale)
  • 8 large eggs ($1.34)
  • 1/4 pound bacon, about 5 slices ($1)
  • 1 "brick" frozen spinach, thawed ($1)
  • 2-1/2 cups milk ($.65)
  • 1 extremely large onion, diced ($1)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (optional)
  1. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until golden-brown and just starting to get crispy; lift slices out of the pan and drain on paper towels (or some bread slices if you really want to get the most out of the bacon splurge!) Leave the fat in the pan.
  2. Pour a small amount of the fat into a 9 x 13 (or 3 quart) baking pan and spread around with a paper towel (or a slice of bread if parsimony leads you to do so).
  3. Saute the onion in the remaining bacon fat (or dispose and use a tablespoon vegetable oil) until soft and golden-brown, allow to cool.
  4. Break the eggs into a large bowl and beat with a fork; add the milk, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Sift in the mustard and paprika while mixing.
  5. Squeeze the thawed spinach in your fists to wring out as much moisture as you can. Add to the egg mixture.
  6. Crumble the bacon (finely) and add to the egg mixture. Cube the bread - including the bacon-y "drainer" slices - and add to the mix.
  7. Add the cheese reserving about a quarter cup for strewing at the end.
  8. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and go ahead and strew, you deserve it for being so fiscally responsible!
  9. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes; remove foil and bake another 10 minutes or so until golden.
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  • Sadassa_Ulna
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Recipe by: Sadassa_Ulna

Growing up I was the world's pickiest eater, that is, until my children were born. Karma. Neither of my parents were much into cooking; it was the height of eating fat-free or anything with oat bran added. I taught myself some basics, mostly baking, following the guidelines of a well-worn copy of Joy of Cooking. I was a ballet dancer and a teacher suggested I lose weight. As I began reading about diet and nutrition I became interested in natural foods, which led to a job at a macrobiotic natural foods market in Center City Philadelphia; this was way before Whole Foods came to the area. I learned a lot about food in general. I ate strictly vegan for a while, although I don't now, but I still like it when a recipe can taste great without butter or bacon! In short, my approach to cooking is idiosyncratic, and I don't know very much about cooking meat or proper technique. I love to bake and I am still working on expanding my palate and my repertoire. The hardest part is getting the whole family to try new things! So aside from my food status, I am an architect who likes to garden and play music. I'm married with two kids, and I hope to get a dog someday.

2 Reviews

Sadassa_Ulna May 17, 2011
Thank you Boulangere!
boulangere May 16, 2011
Oh, love it. Both the recipe and your title.