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Puffy Spinach Egg Bake

When you look at the ingredient list you might think that this is going to be a very heavy dish, but it is actually very light. I can't figure out why.  I mean it's got cheese, bacon, and ricotta. Nothing sounds light there at all!

This is ideal for brunch or even a nice Sunday night meal. However, since you refrigerate it overnight you can even do it for a weeknight. I must confess the first time I made this, I cheated and didn't refrigerate it overnight and it still came out great. I only chilled it for about maybe 6 hours?

Puffy Spinach Egg Bake (Adapted from Cooking Club)

4 c cubed whole grain bread
6 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 c chopped shallots
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
6 eggs
2 c ricotta cheese (homemade)
1/3 t nutmeg
2 c milk
1/2 c shredded Fontina cheese

Coat a 13x9 pan with cooking spray. Arrange cubed bread in the bottom of the dish.

Saute bacon until browned. Add shallots and cook for 2 minutes until tender. Scatter bacon and shallots over bread* Top with spinach. Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Add ricotta and stir using whisk until blended. Add salt/pepper and nutmeg. Stir in milk. Pour over bread cubes. Sprinkle with Fontina cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Heat oven to 350. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes until puffy and golden brown.

I think Gruyere might be a nice alternative to Fontina. I promise the homemade ricotta recipe is coming. I took it out of the refrigerator for about an hour before baking in the oven. I just didn't want to have it ice cold in the oven and break by baking stone yet again. I leave my baking stone in the oven all the time. I once took something out of the refrigerator that I thought had warmed up a bit and placed it on my baking stone and cracked it into several pieces. You would think that I would learn a lesson but oh no I did the same thing again. This time it only cracked into two pieces so I still use it. I'm embarrassed to order yet another one from Pampered Chef. They really make the best one. The size is good - not to big, not too small. It is also wears well (except for the putting cold things on it thing but that's with any stone). Some of the other ones I've seen are just not as good quality or they are too small - or round. So go buy one; just don't put cold things on it. They really help to bake things more evenly - even if the thing you are baking is in a pan. They help to distribute the heat; hence, the leaving it in the oven all the time.

*You can also use about 20 oz of fresh spinach. Add it to the frying pan after cooking shallots and bacon. Saute until wilted. Cool slightly and squeeze out excess water.


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