Morning comes awfully early when one has a commute. And I don’t know anyone who wants to sit down to a hearty breakfast the minute they open their sleepy little eyes. It seems we all hit the floor running and don’t stop until we literally run out of gas. My son, James, has never been a lover of the too-soon breakfast and we’ve tangled with this since he was in kindergarten. At the tender age of five I struggled to offer him something healthful AND tasty. While he was in school I drove way out on Powerline Road to a roadside stand and bought just picked produce. Money was tight and I could little afford to waste a thin dime but I was determined that James would have the best I could give him. I bought a little of this and little of that. Zucchini, tomatoes, green beans and strawberries were staples. Dawn broke and I would schlep to the kitchen trying to put together a breakfast that would interest James while, at the same time, hold him in good stead. What a struggle! “Mama, I can’t!”, was typically his response when he brought his plates to the kitchen. We still laugh about this but one day I exploded. Yes. I popped. I’ve been told, after the fact, that I’m a little scary when I get mad. I ranted and raved and carried on, “What? What is it I can fix for you that you’ll eat? WHAT?”. That sweet, little boy looked up at me and earnestly answered, “Coffee and a pretzel?” Can you even? Lord, I laughed so hard I probably tinkled in my pants. And those strawberries I could ill afford? They were found a long time later when I found the strength to move the sofa in order to clean. Though we all know a good breakfast is crucial for a productive day the struggle continues. I know my boy is NOT going to lose a precious five minutes of sleep in order to throw together a breakfast he can eat on the train or in his office. And that’s where Mama comes in. That boy is going to be moving out, and soon, but until then I can pack a pretty and healthful breakfast….one that will keep him fueled until 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon.
These egg cups are easy, versatile, healthful and filling. Paired with fresh fruit, your family will thank you. Truly. You’re going to start hearing, “Thanks, Mom!” more and more. They can be made with fresh eggs, egg whites or Egg Beaters. I use fresh eggs and always, always organic. The recipe I’m posting calls for sausage and vegetables but any and all may be substituted for any other filling. Cubed ham, chorizo, spinach, kale, chopped tomatoes, scallions, cheddar, parmesan and mozzarella are just a few ideas. Leftover crab or shrimp are also tasty morsels. So go crazy. Your family will love them!
Breakfast Egg Cups
- 8 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage, in bulk or out of casings
- 2-3 scallions, chopped, green tops included
- 2 medium zucchini, grated
- 1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 handful fresh spinach leaves, chopped (optional)
- 12 grape tomatoes
- 1 cup 2% reduced fat cheddar cheese, grated
- salt and pepper to taste
- Spray a non-stick spray all over the top of a 12-cup muffin tin and set aside.
- Pre-heat oven to 350°.
- In a large, non-stick skillet brown the sausage, breaking up any large clumps with the back of a spoon. You don’t want any large pieces as they’re too big for the muffin cups. If you’re using pork sausage drain it well.
- To the turkey add the scallions, zucchini, basil and spinach. Mix well and continue to cook until the vegetables have wilted. Remove from heat to cool.
- While the sausage mixture cools pour the eggs evenly into the sprayed muffin cups. I find using a 1/4 measuring cup makes this quick and simple.
- Taste the sausage/vegetable mixture for salt and pepper and adjust seasonings. I find the sausage adds plenty of salt so I add only pepper.
- Divide the sausage mixture evenly between the muffin cups, gently pressing the filling down.
- Place one tomato in the center of each egg cup.
- If using cheese, sprinkle over each egg cup.
- Bake egg cups for 20-25 minutes or until puffy and golden on the edges.
- Allow to cool completely before refrigerating. I store each one in individual plastic bags. To re-heat I place as many egg cups as needed on a plate and zap in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. If you’re heating just one for the road, 15 seconds on a plate is perfect then drop it back in the bag it lived in when in the refrigerator and you’re good to go.