Brunch Made Easy with Egg Muffins

 I’ve always wanted to host a brunch. I see sunshine, a brightly lit room, a buffet table bursting with trays and platters of everyone’s favorite breakfast dishes. In my head, it’s always Spring or Summer, but for people whose family members come in from out of town for the holidays, you probably link the idea of brunch to this time of year. After all, when you have a whole slew of relatives in town, you have a lot of hungry people when the sun comes up!

My family prefers restaurants to home-based festivities. Most of them view family gatherings as a whole lot of work, which I won’t deny – it really can be a big endeavor, particularly if one person or a small group within the family winds up doing most of the preparation. So, all of my baked French toast and strata recipes lie dormant on a shelf, while I go to the local diner or upscale brunch buffet instead. Certain brunch-friendly recipes, though, I can make for myself. It certainly isn’t enough to nip my brunch hosting day dreams in the bud, but it does give me the opportunity to taste some really wonderful breakfast-y treats.

Recently, I made a scaled-down recipe for egg muffins for dinner, paired with a vibrant tomatillo guacamole (how many times have I mentioned that stuff at this point – three? Four? A thousand?) and fresh red pepper strips. The muffins were exactly what I was expecting them to be – hot, spongy, savory, and full of potential. They were also stupid easy, and I use that adverb because they took maybe two minutes to prep. Granted, it would take a little bit longer to make enough for a larger group, and if you need to slice and dice too many filling ingredients that could tack on a few more minutes, but ultimately you can have these in the oven in minutes flat. Imagine that – a recipe that only requires you to be disengaged from your guests for a handful of minutes.

Now, I messed around with the recipe just a little bit. I couldn’t help it. First, I blanked and completely forgot to add in the egg whites, so I just had 1 whole egg in mine – still, I thought the volume was fine so you might even be able to stretch the recipe further based on that. I used chopped onion instead of scallions, 1 ½ tablespoons of strong cheese instead of 2 ½ tablespoons, and half of a sausage link instead of bacon. I also pooled my two muffins into one ramekin and baked in the toaster oven. After about 22 minutes I was able to just pop it right out of the dish and dig in! Below is the recipe exactly how I made it, but don’t let that box you in. I chose not to add vegetables because I knew I was going to be eating red pepper strips and guacamole on the side, but use whatever meat, vegetables, herbs, and flavorings you want!

Egg Muffins, adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Yield: 12 muffins

The Ingredients
3 links lean chicken sausage, diced
6 eggs1
splash of (low-fat) milk
2 tablespoons chopped onion
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons blue cheese
3 tablespoons parmesan

The Method
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Lightly brown the chicken sausage in a lightly greased cooking pan, 3-5 minutes over medium heat. Meanwhile, beat the eggs, milk, and onions together; set aside.

Divide the sausage and blue cheese evenly amongst the muffin tins and top with the egg mixture, being careful not to overfill. Use a fork to mix each muffin up for better distribution, and top each cup with the parmesan.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, removing when they are puffy and just slightly brown on top. Take care not to overcook them, as that will produce a rubbery muffin.

1The original recipe calls for 12 eggs or egg equivalents; this is where my forgetting about the egg whites comes in. Because I made it with just 1 egg per serving, I can’t tell you exactly how many egg whites would be perfect. The original recommends 9 eggs and 6 egg whites, since 1 egg white only counts for half an egg. If you use 6 whole eggs, that means you should have 12 egg whites, which would be over 1 cup.


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