Holiday Sweet Potato and Sausage Strata

Perfect for holiday brunch, a strata is like a quiche, without the crust. You can make this one ahead, refrigerate it, then bring it to room temperature
for no longer than 2 hours before baking,
so it will reheat evenly.

6 ounces Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 (8-ounce) sweet potato or butternut squash
(about 2 cups)
1½ teaspoons olive oil
6 ounces uncooked bulk turkey
or chicken breakfast sausage
3 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
(about ¾ cup), divided
2 cups 2% reduced-fat or fat-free milk
¼ teaspoon each ground nutmeg,
cinnamon and black pepper
5 large eggs
cooking spray
¼ cup maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place bread on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes, stirring once. Cool on pan 5 minutes.

Pierce potato with a fork. Place potato on a microwave-safe paper towel. Microwave at HIGH 8 minutes or until done. Let stand 5 minutes, it will be slight firm. Peel potato, and cut into ½-inch cubes.

Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add sausage to pan; cook 6 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble.

Place bread, sweet potato, half of sausage, and half of cheese in a large bowl. Combine milk and next 4 ingredients (through eggs) in a bowl, stirring with a whisk; pour over bread mixture, and toss gently to combine. Let stand 20 minutes.

Scoop mixture into an 8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining half of sausage and remaining half of cheese. Cover with foil lightly coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Remove foil; bake at 350° an additional 20 minutes or until done. Let stand 5 minutes. Drizzle with maple syrup.

Yield: Serves 6 (serving size: one-sixth of strata and 2 teaspoons syrup)

Nutrition facts (1/6th plus 2 teaspoons syrup) per serving: 336 calories, 12g Total fat, 36g carbohydrate, 2g dietary fiber, 193mg cholesterol, 400 mg sodium, 278mg calcium, 19g protein

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