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News / Life / Clark County Life

Great Eggspectations: Simple egg muffins recipe uses anything you have on hand, is perfect for pairing

By Monika Spykerman, Columbian staff writer
Published: February 21, 2024, 6:03am
3 Photos
If you&rsquo;ve got a whole lotta eggs, a few veggies and cheese, you can make these egg muffins for breakfast or a dinner entree with a salad (or tater tots, no judgment).
If you’ve got a whole lotta eggs, a few veggies and cheese, you can make these egg muffins for breakfast or a dinner entree with a salad (or tater tots, no judgment). (Monika Spykerman/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

One of the drawbacks of having a broken shoulder (acquired in my driveway during the January ice storm) is that I can’t drive. It’s just me and the cat at home during the week and, honestly, the cat has shown me no sympathy whatsoever. I eagerly await the weekends, when my husband can chauffeur me to locations in the Outer Realm, aka anything beyond our square block.

Additionally, one of the drawbacks to being me is that I eschew advance planning, preferring to remain open to whatever I might feel like doing in the moment. It’s a quality that I prize in myself but find irritating in others.

Things got a little dodgy recently when my loosey-goosey approach smacked up against the meticulous scheduling required by a newspaper. I found myself staring at a blank page and realizing that I couldn’t get to a grocery store for ingredients, so I had jolly well better come up with something lickety-split from what I had in my fridge and pantry.

What I had was a couple dozen eggs, a frozen pepper mix, onions and a can of fire-roasted tomatoes. I also had a bucket-load of cheese: Monterey jack, cheddar, Parmesan and mozzarella. Lastly, I had two frozen hot dogs left over from the crockpot barbecue beans I made in November. What can you make with eggs, veggies, cheese and a couple of beefy frankfurters? Egg muffins!

The recipe isn’t complex — in fact, the ingredients are identical to a baked egg casserole — but things are just so much cuter when they’re muffin-shaped. You can even use cupcake liners, if you want to get fancy. Or forget about the muffin approach and just cook the whole thing in a 9-by-13-inch pan. Do whatever you feel like doing in the moment! (See? This is what it feels like to have no plan. So liberating! So annoying!)

First off, I turned the oven to 350 degrees and rubbed olive oil generously into three six-cup muffin pans, then set them aside. I opened the fire-roasted tomatoes and set them to drain in a colander in the sink. I diced half a large onion and sauteed it in a bit of olive oil, then added a cup of frozen tricolor peppers. I waited until the onions were good and soft before adding both hot dogs, very thinly sliced. I added the well-drained tomatoes and seasoned the whole thing with ¼ teaspoon each of salt and lemon pepper and a teaspoon of dried rosemary. I set the veggies to simmer on the lowest setting until most of the liquid had evaporated.

While the vegetables were simmering, I grated 1/2 cup each of cheddar and Monterey jack cheese. I had ¾ cups of shredded mozzarella but reasoned that it was silly to have 13/4 cups of cheese when I could have 2 cups, so I threw in an additional ¼ cup of grated Parmesan.

Then I cracked 12 eggs into a big bowl and blended them on high with a hand mixer and ¼ teaspoon salt (although you could omit the salt if you want because the cheese is also salty). I added the veggies to the eggs, followed by the cheese. I used a 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop the chunky egg-and-veggie mixture into the muffin cups. I filled the muffin cups rather full and so I got only 16 muffins but I think the mixture could be stretched to fill 18 cups, if you were making these for a party.

I put the filled muffin pans straight into the oven and baked them for 25 minutes, but they needed a little longer. Five extra minutes did the trick because they were just starting to brown on the top exactly as I’d hoped. I let them cool in the pans for a 15 minutes and then tried to coax them out by running a knife around the edge and carefully dislodging them. One muffin tin released the egg muffins beautifully with minimal effort but the other two tins did not want to let those egg muffins go. I did get them out in the end but it was very fiddly work.

Excited to sample the fruits of my labor, I bit straight into an egg muffin. It was solidly OK. Not great, not terrible, just fair to middling, as the Yorkshire farmers say (though perhaps closer to middling). My husband had one or two when he got home from work and then I put the whole lot in the fridge. The next day, for lunch, we each took an egg muffin and put it between two slices of toasted baguette spread with a little cream cheese. Yowza! The egg muffin was suddenly amazing, so much better than those fast food egg-and-sausage muffin situations. We tried it on toasted whole wheat bread and it was also delicious. If we had any English muffins, we’d try those, too! Next time I make these, I might try different mix-ins, like spinach and mushrooms or olives and feta cheese.

To lay it out for you, the secret of this egg muffin is: Don’t eat it alone. Pair it with some toasted carbs. If the egg muffins are refrigerated, they can be restored to warm perfection after 30 seconds in the microwave. I haven’t yet tried freezing them but I imagine they would reheat in about the amount of time it takes to warm a mini-quiche. The moral of the story is, don’t break your shoulder, but even if you do, you can always make an egg roll. Just give it a little push.

Egg Muffins

One 14.5-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes, completely drained

12 eggs, well beaten

1 cup diced onion

1 cup frozen tricolor peppers

1/3 pound of ground beef, sausage, turkey or 1 cup thinly sliced hot dogs

1 teaspoon of dried or fresh rosemary, sage, thyme or oregano

½ teaspoon salt, divided

¼ teaspoon black pepper or lemon pepper

½ cup each shredded cheddar cheese and shredded Monterey jack

¾ cup shredded mozzarella

¼ cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour tomatoes into a colander and set in the sink to drain. Saute onions with a little olive oil until tender. Add 2 thinly sliced hot dogs or up to 1 cup of other meat, such as sausage or lean ground beef. Add frozen tricolor peppers and well-drained tomatoes. Simmer on low until liquid is evaporated. While the veggies are cooking, grease 18 muffin cups and set aside. Grate cheese. Check veggies; if done, remove from heat. Thoroughly mix all eggs on high with whisk or hand mixer. Add veggies and all cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until top is set and slightly browned. Cool for 10-15 minutes and serve warm or make an egg-and-English-muffin sandwich. Can be refrigerated for three days or frozen and heated in microwave. Try other veggie combinations, such as spinach, feta and olives or mushrooms, broccoli and shallots.