This morning I had the pleasure and honor of preparing Sunday Morning breakfast for our friends at church. I was a little apprehensive because this was the first time I had tried both of these new dishes and I already knew there were changes I wanted to make to them.  Somewhere around 830am I discovered a little note on both recipes that they really should be prepared the night before and chilled to allow the flavors to permeate thhroughout.  Oh well! All told, things went well.  Both dishes were well received and several people asked for recipes.  I consider this the highest form of compliment, because each dish I cook, is really a little piece of my personality – I always add my own special touches or ideas to everything I make. Of course I promised I would have them posted this afternoon (OK! Its 930pm and I’m just getting them up here, but Hey, I’ve been busy!)  Enjoy! Let me know how you enjoyed them and any changes you try.  Ideas: In the sausage and cheese strata, anything Southwest could be added – jalapeno, cayenne, black beans, just about anything!  With the Blueberry Stuffed French Toast – try adding a little cinammon – or Hey, swap blackberries for blueberries! Aint nobody gonna take you to jail for that one!

Sausage and Cheese Strata
10 cups French bread cubes (1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes)
12 ounces cooked smoked sausage links, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 4-ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained
6 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese (1-1/2 cups)
4 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese (1 cup)
7 large beaten eggs
3 1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoon snipped chives
1 tablespoon snipped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

DIRECTIONS
1. Divide half of the bread cubes between 2 greased 2-quart rectangular baking dishes. Top with sausage, mushrooms, and sweet pepper. Sprinkle with cheeses. Place remaining bread cubes on top.
2. Combine eggs, milk, chives, oregano, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Pour half of the mixture over bread mixture in each baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.
3. Bake in a 325 degree F oven, uncovered, for 40 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near centers comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 12 servings.

Blueberry Stuffed French Toast Casserole
1 loaf French bread cut into 1-inch cubes
1 package regular cream cheese
1 package fat-free cream cheese
1 bag frozen blueberries
1 dozen eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups milk
½ cup heavy cream
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
1 tablespoon butter

1. Cut bread into 1-inch pieces. Place half of bread pieces in a buttered 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Layer cream cheese and 1 cup blueberries over bread; top with remaining bread pieces.
2. Combine eggs, milk, cream, and syrup; pour over bread mixture. Cover and chill up to 8 hours.
3. Bake, covered, at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 35 more minutes or until puffed and golden.
4. Combine sugar, water and cornstarch in a saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Add remaining blueberries; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add butter; stir until melted.

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