Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Seasonal Plate (Food Column)

Summer Brunch for the Bunch
Italian Vegetable Strata with Turkey Sausage
Cook’s notes: Prep this veggie-packed dish in advance. Refrigerate overnight-pop in the oven – kick back to enjoy your lake company. Some options that can be added to this hearty dish include sausage and wild rice. Focaccia bread adds a lot of flavor to the dish. If using French bread add 2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning to the milk mixture. A time saver is to cook wild rice and sausage in advance as well as toasting bread cubes. Recipe serves 8-10 and was adapted from
  • 1 large loaf Focaccia bread, French bread or whole wheat French bread, about 7 cups 
  • 1 TB. olive oil
  • ¾ cup scallions, diced
  • 1 cup red pepper, diced
  • 1 cup zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, diced
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, torn with stems removed
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice
  • 2 cups cooked turkey or Italian sausage, crumbled 
  • 7 large eggs
  • 3 cups 2 % milk
  • ½ tsp. dry mustard 
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided 
  • 1-1/2 cup grated Gruyere or white cheddar cheese, divided
  • Cube the bread and lightly toast it on a rimmed sheet at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 pan.
  • Heat olive oil in a fry pan. Add in scallions, pepper, zucchini, and mushrooms. Sauté for 4 minutes, add in spinach, wild rice and sausage. Cook 3 minutes longer.
  • Mix milk, dry mustard, pepper, eggs and Parmesan cheese in blender. 
  • In a baking dish layer half of the toasted bread cubes. Spread evenly the veggies/sausage mixture. Pour over bread mixture half the milk mixture and half of the cheese. Repeat with a second layer ending with cheese on top. 
  • Using a sheet of wax paper press down to make sure bread is completely submerged in liquid. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking.  
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden brown and a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let set 8 minutes before serving.

Mango Peach and Strawberry Smoothie
Cook’s notes: Add a tropical flair to your brunch with this yummy healthy, creamy, delicious smoothie. Recipe adapted from and serves 2.

  • 1-1/2 cups frozen, peeled mango chunks, partially thawed
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen strawberries, diced
  • 1 cup fresh peach slices (2 medium peaches, pitted) or frozen peaches 
  • 1 well ripened frozen banana 
  • 2 cups chilled pineapple, orange juice or V Fusion Peach Mango (I tested with Fusion Peach Mango by V8) 
  • Add all ingredients in a blender, process until smooth, serve immediately.


  1. That smoothie sounds scrumptious. I seldom have good luck, though, in choosing a "good" mango. Any tips?

  2. I liked the ease of using a bag of organic frozen mango chunks for the smoothie but if purchasing one at store touch and feel around the entire mango. Ripe mangoes will be slightly soft to the touch just like avocados and peaches, but not soft or mushy enough to where your fingers sink into or through the skin.