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    Ham & Cheese Breakfast Casserole

    This healthy update of a traditionally rich ham-and-cheese breakfast strata is made lighter primarily by losing a few egg yolks and using nonfat milk. Gruyère cheese has a delicious, nutty aroma and flavor, which means that with the relatively small amount in this recipe you still get a big impact. To finish the makeover use nutritious, fiber-rich, whole-grain bread instead of white. The results: plenty of flavor, half the calories and one-third the fat of the original.


    • 4 large eggs
    • 4 large egg whites
    • 1 cup non-fat milk
    • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    • 1 teaspoon rosemary, minced fresh
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
    • 5 cups spinach, chopped, wilted; see Tip
    • 4 cups whole-grain bread, crusts removed if desired, cut into 1-inch cubes; about 1/2 pound, 4-6 slices
    • 1 cup ham steak, diced; 5 ounces
    • 1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, chopped
    • 3/4 cup Gruyère or Swiss cheese, shredded


    Step 1
    Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 7-by-11-inch glass baking dish or a 2-quart casserole with cooking spray.
    Step 2
    Whisk eggs, egg whites and milk in a medium bowl. Add mustard, rosemary and pepper; whisk to combine. Toss spinach, bread, ham and roasted red peppers in a large bowl. Add the egg mixture and toss well to coat. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and push down to compact. Cover with foil.
    Step 3
    Bake until the custard has set, 40 to 45 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and continue baking until the pudding is puffed and golden on top, 15 to 20 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.


    1. To Make Ahead: Prepare casserole through Step 2; refrigerate overnight. Let stand at room temperature while the oven preheats. Bake as directed in Step 3.
    2. Tip: To wilt spinach, rinse thoroughly with cool water. Transfer to a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and punch several holes in it. Microwave on High until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Squeeze out excess moisture before adding the spinach to the recipe.


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