If you're starting to get bored by dinner, Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt recommends The Dinnertime Survival Cookbook by Debra Ponzek, "to shake things up, and get you out of that rut and into adding new, easy dishes to your repertoire." For those of us who cook dinner every night, this book's a life-changer.

Goat Cheese, Pear, and Prosciutto Strata


A strata as rich and full-flavored as this earns its stripes on the dinner table when paired with a crisp arugula or frisée salad and a glass of wine. I especially like it in the fall and winter when pears are in the markets. If you don’t like goat cheese, substitute mozzarella; if you don’t have prosciutto, use ham. This can be assembled early in the day and popped in the oven when you get home. Serve the leftovers the next morning for breakfast, and if you’re looking for something to make for brunch, look no further.

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Serves 8 to 10


  • 1 pound sliced white bread (about 12 slices)

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 3 ripe pears, cored and cut into ½-inch dice

  • 8 large eggs

  • 4 cups whole or low-fat milk

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 6 ounces prosciutto, sliced

  • 6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled


Lightly spray a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish with flavorless vegetable spray. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and spread nearly half over the bottom of the pan. Reserve the remaining bread cubes.

In a medium sauté pan, heat the butter over medium heat and when it melts and bubbles, add the pears and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes or until they soften and begin to caramelize. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, mustard, thyme, and salt. Season with pepper.

Spread half of the prosciutto, half the cheese, and half the pears over the bread. Spread the remaining bread cubes over these ingredients and then top evenly with the remaining prosciutto, cheese, and pears.

dinnertimesurvivalPour the egg mixture over the strata and press lightly on the bread to submerge it in the liquid so that it soaks evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 12 hours or overnight.

Take the strata from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the plastic wrap and bake the strata for 45 to 50 minutes or until the center is set and no longer wobbly. Serve warm.

Recipes reprinted with permission from The Dinnertime Survival Cookbook © 2013 by Debra Ponzek with Mary Goodbody, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Photo credit: Steve Legato. Read our review of this book.

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