Breakfast Egg Muffins

DSC_0414

Till recently breakfast has always been a ‘no-sweat’ effort for me. Even as a child going to a morning school that started from 7:45 and lasted till 1:45, almost all days me and my brother would either have a glass of milk and biscuits or cornflakes in the morning. And our ‘tiffin’ (lunch packs were then and even now called tiffin) would inevitably contain bread butter and sugar or bread butter with salt and pepper or bread and jam. We hardly ever complained; we were good kids to a working mom. There were some days when we would take Maggi, and later in high school my mom would also make some parathas with achar but those were rare. Of course weekends were special days when we would have puri sabji or noodles or idli etc but Bread was the most preferred snack. My friends would often bring different lunches and I would happily share my slices for some bites from someone else’s box. Now looking back I wonder how we never ever got bored of it.

DSC_0426

Breakfast was always the same all through my college and after that when I started working – Bread butter, milk and banana or any other fruit. It was always easy to prepare and quick to consume. When I got married and took over the kitchen duties I would cook a lot of variations for lunch and dinner but breakfast was something that I tried to keep simple. Work, here in US, starts pretty early (as compared to India) so I never really ventured into an elaborate morning meal. I would always tell myself that there was no point in elevating the expectation of my newly wedded husband. I replicated my earlier days and gave either bread butter with tea or cornflakes. Recently (since the last one and half years) I have tried to change the custom of “easy breakfast”. These days I consciously try to eat healthy food and adopt a healthy food habit. And I have realized that the first meal of the day needs to be the most significant one. So most of the days I try waking 15  minutes early to prepare both of us a filling breakfast and its one meal of the day that we religiously take on the dining table together. (Dinner is mostly on the couch in-front of the Television).

Usually I have a list of options that I choose from, depending on how much time I have in the morning. It could be either upma, poha, pancakes, stuffed omlettes  with butter toast or toast with scrambled eggs, all served with a warm cup of tea – and all prepared within the 15-20 mins timeframe. When I have even less time I go for toast and poached eggs or the age old option of butter toasts/cornflakes. Weekends will find me baking even for breakfasts or trying something new. Today’s post is on breakfast egg muffins that I made one Saturday morning just because I wanted to try something different. I had found this recipe and the pics looked so tempting that I had to try it out. The pictures sure did come out very nice.

DSC_0431

My honest feedback – Taste wise they were not as great as they looked. It was okay for something new or different but nothing that excited me. However I think its a great breakfast option for working people since you can prepare and freeze them. You can also use this as a ‘to-go’ snack and am sure the kids would love these variations.

I will really appreciate if anyone of you let me know your feedback if and when you prepare this.

There are a couple of ways to prepare this, and you can choose to add or reduce any no. of ingredients to this. I am providing a rough guideline – this is the way I made it, however feel free to be creative. Also I wanted to keep it healthy so avoided cheese but these will definitely taste much better if you can add some.

DSC_0420

Ingredients: (for 4 egg muffins) –

  • Bread slices – 4
  • Eggs – 4
  • Personalised toppings, cut into small pieces – Add any ingredient of your choice like onions, bell pepper, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, bacon, broccoli, cheese etc. I used only small pieces of onions, bell pepper and mushrooms.
  • Seasoning – Salt, Pepper powder, any other of your choice. I added some Cajun spice.
  • Butter or Oil – as required

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease the muffin pan / ramekins with some oil/butter; Alternatively use muffin liners or line it with a parchment paper (cut a circle slightly bigger than the diameter of the muffin cups and place it).
  • With a rolling pin flatten the bread slices slightly and with a cookie cutter (or use the rim of a glass) roughly cut the slices in rounds, almost 4-5 inches in diameter.
  • Cut each round in half, then press 2 halves into each muffin cup, overlapping slightly and making sure bread comes up to edge of cup. Use extra bread to patch any gaps. If you prefer brush the bread with some butter.
  • In a pan, add some oil or butter and lightly fry the onion, bell pepper and mushrooms (or any other topping of your choice) with salt, pepper and any other seasoning that you prefer. Once cooked distribute it equally onto the muffin cups lined with the bread slices.
  • Sprinkle some grated cheese of your choice. I skipped this step.
  • Next step is to add the eggs. You can do this in 3 different ways:

1. Crack the eggs into the muffin cups and sprinkle some salt,pepper, or any other seasoning of your choice. This is how it will look when done:

DSC_0404

2. Crack the eggs into the muffin cups, using a fork lightly break the yolk (inside the muffin cup) and let it spread.

3. Beat the egg with a tablespoon of milk in a separate bowl, sprinkle some seasoning and pour it into the muffin cups. This is how it will look when done:

DSC_0409

I made 4 muffins – 2 of option 1 and 2 of option 3.

  • Bake the muffins at 350 F for 7-10 mins or until the egg whites are set. Temperature and baking time may vary from oven to oven. Do not over cook the eggs or they will become rubbery. The muffins will continue to cook for sometime even when out of oven so keep that in mind. Mine took 7 mins to bake and then 5 more minutes to cool down. I prefer the yolk on the soft side than over cooked.
  • Once the muffins have cooled down, gently take them out by running a small knife around the cups. Serve immediately with tea/coffee/juice.

Storage:

You can make these muffins in batches and freeze them for later use. Let the muffins cool down completely and then wrap them and freeze in a zip-lock bag or a freezer bag. For reheating wrap in a paper towel and reheat in microwave.

Advertisements

Butter Cookies

DSC_0298

All those who know me or read my blog will know how much I love to bake. There is no better mood-booster than beating up a dough and baking it till perfection. So when my husband got a $50 gift coupon from Sears beginning of this year, I knew instantly how to put it to good use. Thereby came home an electric mixer and a food processor. And thus my effortless entry into the world of baking.

More than savoring the home-baked goodies, I like the process of preparing it; taking out my measuring cups, scooping out the flour, kneading the dough with my hands, sprinkling flour, the wonderful aroma – everything is like a therapy for me.

DSC_0285

Last winter was terrible. With 3-4 inches of snow piled outside there was no way I wanted to go outside to buy those blue boxes of Danish butter cookies; so when the craving set in, out came my bakers hat and I inaugurated my hand mixer with this butter cookie recipe from here while BBC helped me in clicking some of the pics. Since that winter morning I never got around to upload this post and was looking for a special occasion to do so.

Now as I participate in the Bake Fest Event #21 hosted by AmritaVishal of Sweet ‘n’ Savory , I think it is a good timeBakeFest-200 to share this entry of Home Baked Butter Cookies with you all. And trust me, if you have a hand mixer you can do this in a jiffy!

DSC_0127

 Ingredients:

  • Butter, unsalted and softened – 1 cup or 8 oz
  • Granulated sugar – 3/4 cup
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Vanilla extract – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Egg yolk – 1 large
  • All-purpose flour – 2 cups

Method:

  • In a big bowl add the softened butter, sugar, salt and vanilla and beat them together until smooth and creamy.

Butter Cookies

  • Add the egg yolk and beat in till everything is well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Butter Cookies1

  • Add the flour and beat just until incorporated.

Butter Cookies2

  • Sprinkle some flour onto a work surface and transfer the dough.
  • Knead it lightly just till the dough smooths out.
  • Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a log (round or square) that is about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
  • Using the flat surface of the knife smooth out the sides so that you have sharp edges.

Butter Cookies-001

  • Wrap each log in a plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until firm (at least two hours or preferably overnight). Can also freeze the unbaked logs for up to two months.

Butter Cookies-002

  • Before baking, preheat the oven to 325°F. and line the baking sheets with a parchment paper.
  • Once the log is firm, with a sharp knife, slice the dough about 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick or as you want.
  • Place the slices on the lined baking sheet about 1 inch apart.

Butter Cookies-003

  • Sprinkle some finely chopped nuts like walnuts or almonds if you want to and press them onto the surface of the unbaked cookie.
  • Bake them for 12 – 15 mins or just until done.
  • Once done remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

DSC_0278

Note:

  • While shaping them into logs ensure that the dough is tightly packed or else you might get holes in the center. Some of my cookies got that, but not much so it was okay.
  • Baking time may vary from oven to oven. Remember that the cookies keep baking even after taking them out of the oven. So do not over bake and allow them to cool on a cooling rack completely; if they are still soft, you can put them back in the oven for a couple of  minutes again.
  • You can roll out the dough and cut them in various shapes using a cookie cutter.
  • You can decorate it using colored sugar or dip them half into chocolate.

DSC_0282

Baked Eggs with Spinach and Tomatoes

DSC_0519

I woke up last Saturday morning dreaming of food. A rare dream I must say since I do not – NEVER – dream of food. My dreams are usually adventurous ones.. or maybe romantic ones. But never food. So I am not sure whether it was a dream at all or not. It was 8:00 in the morning and that was pretty early for me considering our weekend standards. So I just grabbed my iPAD under the blanket trying not to wake up the sleepy-head next to me. I did not need to search long for the recipe. I knew what I wanted for breakfast, an elaborate one it would be.

The other day I had been checking the BBCGoodFood app on Google chrome and there it was on the featured recipe of the day – baked eggs with spinach and tomato. A quick glance ensured all the usual ingredients and nothing fancy about the process. So I decided to go for it and surprise Mr. B with an early breakfast.

DSC_0520

All ingredients were pretty handy and in no time I was put the pan in the oven. It felt so good to bake that early. Usually weekends are very relaxed with late breakfast and an even later lunch. It felt good to break the norm once in a while. Mr. B being a foodie that he is – and a person who can guess all ingredients of a dish just by the smell of it – could no longer remain in bed without knowing what was cooking in the kitchen. Needless to say we had a nice start to the day with toast, baked eggs with spinach and tomatoes, fruits and a cup of tea. Thanks to BBCGoodFood for the wonderful recipe. I just added a couple more things to it to give it my touch.

DSC_0532

Ingredients:

  • Spinach – 100 gms
  • Tomatoes – 2-3 medium sized, roughly chopped
  • Oil / Olive oil / Butter – to grease the pan
  • Garlic cloves – 2, finely chopped or crushed
  • Salt – to taste
  • Black pepper powder – to taste
  • Red Chilli Flakes – to taste
  • Eggs – 4 (I used only 3)
  • Shredded or grated Cheese (optional) – I used Shredded Mozzarella – Adjust amount to your preference
  • Milk / Cream (optional) – 1/2 cup approx (reduce the amount if you want to)
  • Any other seasoning (optional) – could be oregano or basil. I used a store-bought Italian seasoning

DSC_0538

Method:

You can either use one oven proof baking pan or container, or you can use two medium containers or four small containers or ramekins for this. Divide the ingredients and the eggs accordingly. I used the only available 9×9 baking dish (you can use a smaller size too) so I put all the ingredients in the same pan.

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Blanch the spinach first. This is how you do it – Boil water in a saucepan, add spinach to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain out the spinach in a colander and wash it under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain and keep aside. Alternatively you can also put the spinach in a colander and pour hot boiling water on the leaves. Squeeze out the excess water and keep aside.
  3. Grease the baking dish with butter or olive oil or cooking oil.
  4. Place the blanched spinach as a first layer.
  5. Throw in chopped tomatoes to form the second layer.
  6. Sprinkle salt, pepper, chopped garlic and some cheese.
  7. Break the eggs (see the note below) on top of the spinach tomato layer. I used all four in one pan placing each egg on each corner of the dish. If using two containers, put two eggs in each of them; if using 4 break 1 egg in each.
  8. Add cream or milk (optional), top it off with some chilli flakes, some more cheese and any other seasoning of your choice.
  9. Bake it for about 15 – 20 minutes (mine took 18 minutes) till the eggs are cooked. Note: The baking time varies from oven to oven and how well cooked you prefer your eggs to be.
  10. Serve it immediately with some bread toast.

Note:

  • Do not beat the eggs.  Break them directly on to the baking dish.
  • Except adding the eggs you can prepare everything before hand and keep it sealed in the fridge the night before. Next day just add the eggs, top it with some cheese and  bake it. This works great if you are in a hurry.

DSC_0524

I am sending this recipe for the Bake Fest Event #21 hosted by AmritaVishal of Sweet ‘n’ Savory.

BakeFest-200