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Asparagus Cheese Strata

1 pound fresh asparagus or 2 packages (9 oz. each) frozen asparagus pieces
6 slices whole wheat bread
2-1/4 cups (9 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup coarsely chopped cooked ham
5 eggs
2 tablespoons instant minced onion
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon Worchestershire
garlic powder
dash cayenne
1 3/4 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 1-1/2 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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