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3 Simple Easter brunch recipes

Ruby chard, onion, fennel and asparagus are layered

Ruby chard, onion, fennel and asparagus are layered with bread, cheese and bacon and baked into a casserole. Credit: Marge Perry

RUBY CHARD, FENNEL AND ASPARAGUS STRATA

6 slices bacon

1 bunch ruby chard (about 1 pound), stems removed and reserved

1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1⁄4 cups)

1 fennel bulb, chopped

12 ounces asparagus, cut in 1-inch pieces

8 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups 1 percent milk

1 pound country bread loaf, cut in 3⁄4-inch slices

7 ounces grated Cheddar

 

1. Cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain and chop when cool. Remove the pan from the heat and pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 11-by-7-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

3. Tear the chard leaves into 3-inch pieces and wash. Wash the stems and chop enough into 1⁄4-inch pieces to make 2 cups.

4. Place the skillet back over medium heat; add the onion, fennel and chard stems and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the chard leaves and cook, tossing occasionally, until wilted and bright green, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the asparagus.

5. Combine the eggs and milk.

6. Place a single layer of the bread on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with half the vegetables and pour in about half the egg-milk mixture. Top with half the cheese and bacon. Layer with the remaining bread, followed by the vegetables and pour the remaining egg-milk mixture over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bacon.

7. Bake 45 minutes, until the edges are golden and bubbly. Makes 8 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 414 calories, 25 g protein, 41 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 17 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 927 mg sodium

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OVERNIGHT MAPLE APPLE-CREAM CHEESE FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE

1 tablespoon butter

2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled and thinly sliced

1⁄2 cup sugar, divided

12 slices raisin bread, divided

4 ounces Neufchâtel (reduced fat) cream cheese

8 large eggs

1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon

1⁄8 teaspoon nutmeg

1 3⁄4 cups 1 percent milk

1⁄4 cup maple syrup

 

1. Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the apples and 2 tablespoons of the sugar and cook until they are soft and lightly browned, about 8 minutes.

2. Coat an 11-by-7-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Make an even layer on the bottom with half the bread. (Cut to fit). Place an even layer of all the apples on the bread and dot with the cream cheese. Top with the remaining bread.

3. Whisk the eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and remaining sugar together; add the milk and maple syrup and whisk until well combined. Pour over the casserole and press down lightly with your hands to submerge the bread. Cover with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate overnight.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the casserole, uncovered, until it is slightly puffed and golden and a knife poked in the center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Allow to stand 10 minutes before cutting into squares. Makes 8 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 378 calories, 14 g protein, 50 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 14 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 346 mg sodium

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ARTICHOKE, TOMATO AND GRUYÈRE CASSEROLE

1 (9-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed

2 tablespoons olive oil

3⁄4 teaspoon salt, divided

8 large eggs

2 cups 1 percent milk

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1⁄8 teaspoon nutmeg

1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper

5 plum tomatoes (abut 1 1⁄2 pounds) cut lengthwise in 1⁄4-inch slices

1 (1-pound) whole wheat or multigrain bread, cut in 1⁄4-inch thick slices

12 ounces Gruyère cheese, coarsely grated (about 4 1⁄2 cups), divided

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Pat the artichokes dry. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the artichokes and cook without moving until lightly browned on the undersides, about 3 to 4 minutes; turn over and cook again until browned on the undersides. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with 1⁄4 teaspoon of the salt.

3. Lightly beat the eggs; whisk in the remaining salt, milk, Dijon, nutmeg and pepper.

4. Set aside 6 slices of the bread; use half the remaining bread to form a layer on the bottom of the baking dish. Top with half the artichokes followed by half the tomatoes; sprinkle with 2 cups of the cheese. Pour 1 cup of the egg mixture over this first layer, then repeat to form a second layer just like it. Place the reserved 6 slices of bread on top and pour the remaining egg mixture over the casserole. Press down lightly to ensure the top layer of bread soaks up some of the liquid. Sprinkle with the remaining 1⁄2 cup of cheese.

5. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, until the egg is set and the top well-browned. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Makes 12 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 320 calories, 20 g protein, 23 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 17 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 592 mg sodium

Tip: Use any bread you like for these dishes, but for denser bread, increase the amount of the egg-milk mixture and allow time for it to soak into the bread.

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