Bagel, Lox, and Egg Strata

serves 12

8 cups plain bagels, torn into bite-size pieces (4-6 bagels)

4-ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon, torn into small pieces

2 cups (8-ounces) grated Monterey Jack cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, divided

8 extra large eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups milk

2 cups whole milk cottage cheese

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of kosher salt

Spray a 3-quart or 9-x 13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray.  Scatter bagel pieces evenly in the baking dish.  Lay salmon pieces over bagels, top with cheese, and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the chives.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cottage cheese, pepper and salt.  Pour the egg mixture over the layers in the baking dish; pressing down gently with the back of a spoon to moisten ingredients.  Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350º F.  Remove the plastic wrap from the baking dish and bake until the center is set and the edges are puffed and golden, about 45 minutes.  Cool for at least 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining chives and serve.  Enjoy!

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