Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bacon-Egg-and-Cheese Veggie Breakfast Muffins

I made these a while back, but didn't bother with bacon then, which was a huge mistake. And since I am stuck with was blessed with several pounds of broccoli from my CSA share over the past few weeks, I thought I could use some up in these egg muffins again. Since I was adding bacon, I kind of went by this recipe as a cooking guide, since you don't want to mess with bacon!

This is also a great way to use up scraps of cheese and veggies from making shaped foods in lunches. Lunch meat scraps are a good addition to or substitution for the bacon as well.

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Bacon-Egg-and-Cheese Veggie Breakfast Muffins
Makes 12 (6 servings)

12 eggs
12 ounces bacon, cooked and chopped (see below for an easy way to cook it!) I used uncured bacon from Fred Meyer (Trader Joe's carries it too!) to reduce the nitrates.
2 cups grated cheese (Dealer's choice.) I used half Colby Jack and half Medium Cheddar
up to 2 cups chopped or grated veggie fillings (broccoli, spinach, zucchini, etc.) I used broccoli, but just the tops.
1 tsp salt or Lowry's or another seasoning salt blend.
2 tsp Italian seasoning or dried herbs of your choice
pepper or other seasonings to taste. Chives or green onions work well with these, I hear.

Pre-game Show:
For my favorite way to cook bacon (as it's practically effortless, and I get a more uniform result with fewer bacon splatter burns,) I make "bake-en!"

Step 0.1: Line a baking tray or casserole dish with aluminum foil, going up the sides if possible. This isn't necessary, but makes for easy clean-up! Lay out strips of bacon on foil, with as little touching or overlap as possible.

Step 0.2: Place tray in cold oven, then set oven to 400 F. Set a timer for 15-17 minutes. Wander off until timer goes.
During this step or the next, go ahead and set up another baking tray covered in paper towels for when the bacon comes out. Might as well find where you left your hot mitts last time too. You'll want those handy. Trust me! While the "hot mitt" rushed to you from your child's play kitchen is cute and you appreciate the assist, it isn't actually safe for removing hot items from a real oven.

Step 0.3: Start checking every 2 to 3 minutes after initial timer goes off. Cooking time varies based on how fast your oven heats up, how crispy you like yours to be, as well as the thickness of the bacon. Most bacon should cook at around 17-20 minutes total. My thick-cut took closer to 30 minutes.

Step 0.4: Using tongs or a spatula (NOT your bare fingers!! Yeowch!) remove bacon from the hot tray and lay it to drain on the prepared paper towels. You want to do this fairly soon, since the hot pan and oils will continue to cook the bacon.
Pour the excess oil into a heat-safe container, such as a glass jar, ceramic mug, or washed can. You can strain out the crunchy bits if you like, if you plan on re-using the oil for frying. Yum! Or use a can or en empty milk carton if planning to discard. (Let the oil cool before dumping it in the trash can though. You don't need molten-hot oil spilling out and melting its way through everything!)
Step 0.5: Fend off husband and daughter, who don't care that you're trying to make breakfast muffins. They just want your bacon, and will stop at nothing to get it! They cannot be trusted! Notice the missing strip of bacon in the above picture?

The Main Event:
Preheat oven to 350 F
Step 1: Divide chopped veggies evenly into twelve muffin cups (ungreased if using silicone pans; lightly greased or with muffin cups for a metal pan.) If using chives or green onions, disperse them here.

Step 2: Divide chopped, cooked bacon pieces evenly into the twelve muffin cups.

Step 3: Divide grated cheese evenly into the twelve muffin cups. (Mix together first, before dividing, if using a variety of cheeses.) Set muffin pans aside.

Step 4: Whisk eggs and any seasonings (salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, or whatever herbs you decided to toss in there.)

Step 5: Ladle or pour sloooowly into muffin cups, letting the egg settle as you go. Fill them up to 3/4ths full (or if your fillings go higher, you can fill to the tops of your fillings, but your eggs may puff up and ooze around on top of the muffin pan. Ahem. Like mine did.)
Tip: I poured my egg mixture into a 4-cup measuring cup which made pouring easy. I would have mixed it right inthere, had I thought about it before dumping them in a bowl. 
This tip also works well with pancake batter. I mix it up right there in the cup and avoid a dirty bowl! Get one with a lid, and you can easily save extras to use within the next few days.

Step 6: Bake at 350 F for 25-35 minutes, or until puffy and starting to brown on top. Remove from oven and let cool for about 15 minutes. You may need to gently use a butter knife to separate the eggs or papers from the sides of the muffin pans.
Tip: When using silicone pans, I find they're easier to handle on a baking tray. I don't have to use both hands to keep the flexible silicone pans level, and I don't have to worry about the cups bending or sliding between the bars on the oven rack as I try to find the right spot to set it down, spilling my eggs everywhere!

Serve immediately, or reheat one for 1-minute (two for 2-minutes, four for 3-minutes, etc) in the microwave. They last at least a week in an airtight container in the fridge (well, they would last, if you don't gobble them all down before then!) or longer in the freezer (pair them up in cheap zipper baggies, then seal those in a larger freezer-bag. Toss a bagged pair in the fridge to thaw whenever you cook up the pair you have sitting in the fridge.

The Verdict
Yummy, but strange. Maybe I used too much of the broccoli stems, but the broccoli flavor was very overpowering this time. I kept expecting to taste spinach, so I think I'll try that next time. I really like spinach and bacon omelets (when the spinach is chopped fine enough and mixed in with the eggs. I hate wet sloppy leaves sliding out of the fold and hitting me in the chin! Blech!)
And because three of my bacon slices got swiped, I only had half a slice per cup, instead of 3/4ths of a slice per. (I had the thick-cut bacon, so there were only 9 slices.) Minus the burnt tips, which I cut off and ate. *burp* So they weren't as bacon-y as I would have liked.
And since I now have some chives and green onions, I might try to add some of them too. I wasn't sure if the Italian seasonings would be too much, so I skipped them this time.

(heart-shaped pan was on clearance after Valentine's Day at JoAnns.)


  1. Think this would work without the cheese? My youngest is sensitive to dairy and I'm trying to minimize what she's got. She does seem to react to too much cheese in stuff :( T

  2. I'm sure it would work without cheese. It's basically baked scrambled eggs with add-ins.
    However, if it's a lactose intolerance issue (versus a dairy allergy/issue,) the harder the cheese, the less lactose it has. So sharp cheddar should not give her issues.
    I'm lactose intolerant, and I have no problems with Greek yogurt (95-100% of the lactose is processed out because of how it's made) and sharp cheddar give me no issues!
    But if dairy is no good and you still like cheese, I've seen an almond-based cheese at Fred Meyer in the fancy refrigeration unit near their "naturals" section. And I'm pretty sure there's soy cheese out there somewhere.

  3. We haven't quite figured out what it is! Until she can talk and help us, I'm not sure we will. She seems to be able to handle small bits of dairy "in" stuff (like miracle whip on a sandwich, or butter) But threw up after a day of milk and swiss cheese. and has had evidence of stomach not feeling well after having American cheese products.


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