(NewsUSA) – What’s the easiest, most affordable way to entertain? Brunch! Whether family and friends have gathered for a simple get-together or an extended stay, brunch is a good way to satisfy hungry houseguests.

Brunch, a combination of breakfast and lunch, offers you a wide range of menu possibilities to please guests. Eggs are traditional and, even though they provide the highest-quality protein of any food, are a great value compared to other protein foods.

There are many possibilities for a satisfying brunch entree. If you use ready-made pastry crusts, quiches are an easy choice. Allowing one quiche for each six servings, you could stagger two or three quiches in the oven, all the same or each flavored differently to suit your company. Omelets are good for pleasing different palates, too. With you or another family member serving as omelet chef, diners can choose favorite foods to fill the omelets from an assortment you’ve provided.

Another possibility is a simple, satisfying strata casserole. If it’s more convenient for you, make it ahead of time and refrigerate it overnight or freeze it. Simply allow more cooking time for a chilled or thawed casserole. Serve a strata (or two or three) with the appetite appeal of ham and eggs and the colorful addition of asparagus, or flavor the strata with foods your guests especially like or you have on hand.

Whichever dish you select, you’ll be serving up the natural nutrition of eggs at a price that will hardly dent your budget. And your guests will love your choice because nearly everyone loves eggs. For easy quiche, omelet and strata recipes and how-to videos, see www.IncredibleEgg.org.

Ham and Asparagus Strata

Entertain Easily with a Ham and Asparagus Strata

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 12 to 16 slices (1/2-inch thick) French or Italian bread (about 4 oz.)
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Italian-blend cheese
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) chopped cooked lean ham
  • 8 oz. fresh asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup skim or low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

Evenly coat 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking dish with spray. Layer half of the bread on bottom of dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the cheese, 1/2 cup of the ham and 1 cup of the asparagus. Cover with remaining bread, laying slices flat or in a shingled pattern. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, ham and asparagus. In medium bowl, beat together eggs, milk, lemon juice and garlic powder. Pour evenly over layers. Cover with plastic wrap.

Microwave on full power for 5 minutes. Rotate dish 1/4 turn. Microwave on half power, rotating dish 1/4 turn each 3 to 5 minutes until thermometer inserted near center reads 160 degree F and knife inserted near center comes out clean, about 10 to 12 minutes.

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