Easy Egg Muffins for Brunch

On Easter, our very small neighborhood (three families, each with two kids) was having a small get together/breakfast/egg hunt. Our family had made previous plans for brunch but we joined for the early morning portion (egg hunt, bagels, mimosas, coffee). I was feeling a little guilty about leaving early so thought I would use some easy stuff in my refrigerator to bring.

The day before I had “blown out” six eggs for decorating and needed to use those eggs asap so decided to make some egg muffins using that and some leftovers that were about to spoil.  This took at total of 5 minutes of prep, 30 minutes to cook and 15 minutes to cool/set. Makes 12 muffins. 

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs (beaten)
  • two cups of roughly chopped fresh baby spinach (though thawed and drained frozen spinach would work, too)
  • about two cups of leftover chopped rotisserie chicken
  • a cup of halved cherry tomatoes
  • a cup of leftover cooked quinoa
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • about a packed cup of crumbled feta

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a big bowl thoroughly. Spoon into paper muffin cups in a muffin pan. As these won’t “rise” very much, spoon the mixture a bit taller than the rim of the pan. Cook for about 30-45 minutes. Once cooked through, take them out of the oven and let cool/set for about 15 minutes. They’ll last in the fridge, covered, for about a week. Great for car trips or anything where you need “handy” food. But they look FANTASTIC for pot luck brunch.

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I’ve done these a ton of different ways. I like to cook them at the beginning of busy weeks when I know I won’t have time to cook lunch. Everyone in the family can grab and go for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a snack. If you have a kid that enjoys food, these are great for lunchboxes, too.
 
Variations: replace any of the above with corn kernels, kale, sausage, sweet peppers, sun dried tomatoes, chopped broccoli, pancetta, pepperoni, ham, cheddar. I’ve done all of them. Basically whatever you need to get rid of.  Below is some muffins I made earlier in the week that were heavier on the quinoa, onion, kale, pancetta, corn and crumbled goat cheese. They were a HUGE hit.
 
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Ham and cheese quinoa “pizza” bites

I’ve heard about these so called quinoa pizza bites here and there and I knew I wanted to make them but didn’t know when. Until we had another couple and their son over to watch the Oscars last night and I knew I wanted to have food that was somewhat “handy” but also hearty (as I didn’t want to have a lot of dishes downstairs with a 3 year old, a 2 year old and an almost 2 year old running around).

I also don’t have a mini-cupcake pan as they recommend. Probably would have helped, but they turned out pretty great anyway, if I do say so myself.

As is my wont, I looked at the recipes/directions I had seen elsewhere, looked at my fridge, and came up with my own version.

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups quinoa
  • 3 cups chicken stock (or 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup water)
  • half of a vidalia onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of chopped mushrooms
  • two leaves of kale, chopped
  • 1 cup of spinach leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 large eggs (I used three smallish eggs)
  • 1.5 cups shredded cheddar
  • 4 slices of ham, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dry oregano (plus a 1/4 tablespoon in the quinoa)
  • salt/pepper
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • paprika
  • grated parmesan for the top (while cooking)
  • pasta sauce (to dip)

Preheat oven to 375.

On the stovetop, cook the quinoa by putting quinoa and stock into pot, salting and adding a few dashes of the oregano and bringing to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to simmer, cover and let sit for 15 minutes.

In a saute pan, cook the onion with a bit of olive oil until translucent, add the mushrooms and cook until softening, add the kale and a bit of salt and pepper and stir until all are cooking through and soft. (This time is when I chopped the remaining ingredients)

Add all ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Spray the cupcake sheet with Pam or the like (I use smart start). Divvy out the quinoa mixture into the cups until just over the edge (next time I may make them a bit more shallow so that they come together more quickly). Put in the oven for 30 minutes. At that time, put a bit of the parmesan on top, turn the oven up to 400 and cook for another 15 or so minutes. Test by running a knife around the sides and seeing if the “muffin” is crusty on the sides. Once they are finished, let them sit for about 10 minutes. This will help them set.

Serve with pasta sauce. Easy peasy!

Tomato and Basil Quinoa

ImageAs mentioned in the last post, we are heading out of town and I am trying to use up all of the fresh veg before we go. Stupidly, on Tuesday, I bought a branch of tomatoes forgetting this fact. And the other day when I was going through the veg drawer? Four halves of yellow or white onions. No bueno. I also had a basil plant sitting on my sill that I know will go kaplewy with no water for eight days. Sounds like the perfect makings of a delicious pasta dish, no? Oh. Right. No pasta.

So let’s substitute in some quinoa, add in some fresh oregano from the garden, some chili flakes and some parm. And it was DELICIOUS! A bit onion-y…but I like onion-y.

Ingredients

  • five tomatoes chopped in medium chunks
  • one large bell pepper
  • three half onions 🙂 chopped medium/fine
  • two large stalks of fresh oregano
  • one cup of quinoa
  • two cups of chicken stock
  • one cup (before chopping) of basil, chopped
  • chili pepper flakes to taste
  • salt/pepper
  • balsamic vinegar
  • grated parmesan

ImageThe process on this one was fairly simple. Before I started, I went to the garden and grabbed two long stalks of oregano. I had too much in the end but I hate having to run back down. I measured out the quinoa and then chicken stock. Cleaned and chopped about two tablespoons of oregano (after chopping). Added some salt and pepper. Brought it to a boil. Stirred all of the ingredients. Brought the temperature down to a simmer and covered. I then let that sit for about 15 minutes.

ImageIn a large saute pan, I heated some olive oil and, when hot, added the chopped onion with a bit of salt. While that became soft (stirring occasionally), I chopped the tomatoes and then added them (and ALL of the juice I could keep) to the pan. While that began to cook, I chopped the bell pepper into small pieces and then added them to the pan. Next, I plucked all of the basil off of the plant and then chopped that into medium pieces, adding them to the pan. Then another two tablespoons of chopped fresh oregano. And then a dash of chili flakes. As the other flavors in this were relatively mild, I added more chili flakes then I normally would. A little bit of heat can be a great thing! After mixing it all up, it sat for a good ten minutes, melding all of the juices and softening the tomatoes and pepper. 

ImageWhen the quinoa was cooked, I turned it off and set it aside until the rest of the mixture was ready. When it was, I dumped the whole pot of quinoa into the saute pan so that it could soak up all of the yummy juices. Then came the balsamic. I would add, stir, then taste, repeating until it had the right amount of bite. At this point, the gas was on low/simmer. This is when you add the parm. Add as much as you want. It doesn’t hurt it. Hubs isn’t a HUGE cheese guy so I only added a bit, with more to add if anyone wanted some later. 

And that was it! A big hit in our house, too. It would have done well with spinach, too. Or even steamed broccoli.

Kitchen Sink Quinoa

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One of the first meals I made for M to transition us out of carb heavy meals to those that were more wholesome and healthy was this Kitchen Sink Quinoa.

Ingredients:

  • Avocado
  • Edamame
  • Pomegranate
  • Pre-cooked beets (canned or fresh)
  • Feta
  • Shallot
  • Quinoa
  • Balsamic vinagrette

I had all of the ingredients on hand so this came together quickly. It is great for lunch or leftovers, too. 

Cook the quinoa as directed on the package but substitute chicken (or vegetable) stock for water. Meanwhile, cut the beets into 1/2″ pieces, pop the perils out of the pomegranate, cut the avocado into cubes and, if necessary, pop the edamame beans out of their shell. Cut the shallot into thin slices and lightly saute until translucent. Add the beets to heat through.

Once the quinoa is cooked through, add avocado, edamame, pomegranate, chopped beets, shallot, feta and quinoa into a large bowl. Personally, I don’t dress the salad as that is something that is a deeply personal decision (one on which M and I disagree) and let each person add the amount of dressing they wish. This also helps the dish keep for leftovers. It is delicious.

Variations: This is a great place for leftover veggies and/or chicken/fish from the night before. Chop all leftovers into small chunks and the lunch salad becomes dinner.