What Is Dish?: Christmas Movies Food Edition

December 24, 2019

At the heart of Christmas are different traditions. From noche buena at your grandparents’ house to waiting ’til midnight before opening presents, there are events that just define the season. When December started, our chef Kimmie shared one of her personal traditions: binge-watching Christmas movies. So on this special holiday episode of What is Dish?, we test her knowledge bank of festive movies. We challenged her to make Morton Family Strata, a dish from the movie The Family Stone.

(Spoiler alert—if you haven’t watched the movie, skip this paragraph!) The Family Stone is a movie about businesswoman Meredith Morton’s (Sarah Jessica-Parker) first encounter with her boyfriend Everett Stone’s (Dermot Mulroney) eccentric family. The Stones didn’t like Meredith. So she decided to impress them by making her family recipe for strata, which eventually just ends up on the floor.

“Strata like you mean it, free your mind.” – The Cheetah Girls

Strata is an American casserole dish usually served during breakfast or brunch. It’s kind of like frittata on steroids (because it has a bread base); but it tastes similar to pizza. Will there be a Christmas miracle in which Kimmie drops the bomb (or casserole, if you get what we’re saying) on this one?

Morton Family Strata

From the movie “The Family Stone;” recipe from

  • Serves: 8 people
  • Active time: 1 hr 45 mins
  • Total time: 1 hr 45 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Special tools: 13 x 9 baking dish


  • 8 slices white bread
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 14 oz tomatoes, sliced
  • 13 oz sliced mushrooms, drained (or sauteed fresh)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced into rings
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 pinch garlic salt
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Black olives, sliced


  1. Using a cookie cutter, donut cutter or lid from a jar, cut bread into shapes or circles. Set aside.
  2. Place bread scraps in bottom of buttered 13″ by 9″ baking dish. Layer half of the cheese over bread.
  3. Arrange half of the tomatoes and all of the onion rings and mushrooms over the cheese. Cover with the rest of the cheese.
  4. Arrange the bread shapes on the cheese. Put slices of the tomato in the center of each bread shape.
  5. Combine slightly beaten eggs, milk, salt, oregano and garlic salt. Pour over the bread.
  6. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and dot with olives. Cover. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
  7. Bake 1-1/2 hours in a 325F oven, or until knife comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes or until firm.​
Jica Simpas Jica Simpas

Jica hopes that by writing about food she'll actually learn how to cook. But for now, she'll happily just eat everything—especially cookies.

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