Asparagus cheese strata

Asparagus Cheese Strata

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This layered asparagus, cheese, and ham bake is a good choice to serve buffet-style because you can assemble it completely the day before, then cover and refrigerate it overnight. It cuts so easily, you can serve it in nice neat squares.

1 pound fresh asparagus or 2 packages (9 oz. each) frozen asparagus pieces
Boiling, salted water
6 slices whole wheat bread
Butter or margarine
2¼ cups (9 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup coarsely chopped cooked ham
5 eggs
2 Tablespoons instant minced onion
3/4 teaspoon eachdry mustard and Worchestershire
1/4 teaspoon eachsalt and garlic powder
Dash of cayenne
1¾ cups milk

Remove tough ends from fresh asparagus and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces. Drop into boiling salted water to cover; cook rapidly just until tender (about 4 minutes). Lift from pan with slotted spoon, drain, and set aside. (If using frozen asparagus, cook as directed on package; drain and set aside.)

Trim crusts from bread. Butter slices lightly and fit into a lightly buttered 7 by 13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle 1½ cups of the cheese over bread slices. Top with ham and asparagus pieces in even layers.

In a bowl, stir together eggs, onion, mustard, Worchestershire, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne. Add milk and beat together until mixture is well blended. Pour evenly over layered ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight

Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes; then top with the remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until center of strata appears firm when dish is gently shaken. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting into squares.

Serves: 6 to 8

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