May 13, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
A dream job seemed like a fantasy. For the past few years, I’ve assumed that a job was something I had to tolerate for eight hours a day so I would have enough money to pursue the activities about which I was really passionate. I was lucky enough to land somewhere that wasn’t too bad. My co-workers were fun. The work was new. I gave up the idea of earning a paycheck from doing what I love and loving what I do (a first-world mantra that glosses over things like taxes, rent and savings accounts) and settled into a content cubicle life.
Then my dream job showed up, slapped me in the face and reminded me that you can do what you love and get paid for it.
Last week, I began working at the technology and review website CNET as a senior associate editor. I test and review ovens for a living. Seriously. I can’t make this up. A food writer landed in a job that requires boiling water, broiling burgers and baking biscuits in order to recommend which ranges are a good fit in consumers’ homes.
Y’all, I’m living the dream. Let’s pause for a praise break.
So anyway, back to these biscuits.
We take appliance testing seriously at CNET, so seriously that we go through cans and cans of refrigerated biscuits to test how evenly ovens will bake them. I hate seeing food go to waste, especially when it can be repurposed into something even better than the original. So I grabbed a bag full of biscuits and made a strata, which is French for “breakfast casserole made out of leftovers.”
This recipe is versatile enough to work with all sorts of leftover bread. For example, I adapted this recipe from one in the Kentucky Fresh Cookbook that calls for cornbread. Using stale bread for strata is approximately 100 times better than just throwing it away or tossing pieces into the grass for birds (spoiler alert: my dog Roscoe is eating your bread scraps). You can also through in whatever meat, vegetables and cheese you have on hand. This is a great clean-out-the-fridge dish.
I hope you enjoy the first fruits of my new job. I’m still learning how everything works, so it might be a little bit before my first review is up. In the meantime, find yourself some biscuits and enjoy.
Adapted from the Kentucky Fresh Cookbook by Maggie Green
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 pound bulk sausage (pork or turkey)
3 cups milk
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon dry mustard
8 cups biscuit cubes (any thick, stale bread will also do)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Spray a 13x9x2-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook for five minute until the onions are softened.
- Stir in the sausage until it is cooked through, and drain off any excess fat.
- While the onions and sausage cook, whisk together the milk, eggs and dry mustard in a medium bowl.
- Assemble the strata: Put half the cornbread cubes into the baking dish. Cover the cubes with the sausage mixture and 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Pour half of the milk mixture as evenly as you can over everything in the dish. Cover with the rest of the bread cubes, the remaining milk mixture and the last cup of cheese.
- Cover and refrigerate the dish for 2 hour or overnight.
- When you’re ready to bake the strata, preheat the oven to 350. Bake the strata for about 50 minutes or until the cubes on top are golden brown.
- Let the strata stand for 10 minutes before you serve it.
- DEMOLISH THE STRATA