Monday, November 7, 2011

Muffin Tin Frittatas

 The Background

I am always looking for easy, no fuss ideas for holiday meals, especially the “lead up” meals to a big event.  Everyone knows that Thanksgiving Day is all about a turkey dinner, and you probably remember all sorts of yummy eats that you enjoyed at last year’s feast.  But do you remember what you had for breakfast that morning?  Just because the day is all about dinner, doesn’t mean that breakfast should consist of slurping down a bowl Post Toasties while you wait for the oven to pre-heat.
No, we need something suitably special.  Something that will stand out in our memory of the day, without causing the dishwasher to rise up in revolt of another dirty kitchen.  Christmas mornings of my past are filled with breakfast casseroles, which were easy enough to prepare the night before and only mess up a single dish in the morning.  My wife has also done cinnamon rolls, for much the same reasons.  And, it is worth mentioning that both of these are perfectly fabulous options, I am just looking for something different.
Recently, my family has been serving our church by providing brunch for our hardworking worship staff.  These guys and gals are at the church early, work through 3 services and are often some of the last to leave.  We get to rotate with other families to make sure these wonderful people get to have something nice for brunch between services.  Last Sunday was one of these occasions, and these muffin tin frittatas, adapted from several online recipes I found were perfect!  This recipe is super simple, and much of the prep work can be done a day in advance to make this a great option for those busy holiday mornings.  This recipe is also so easy to adapt for a variety of tastes.  The recipe below is a basic ham and Swiss variety, but I also made some with asparagus and potato.  Other combinations that sound good to me are bacon and cheddar, salmon and capers with red onion, wild mushrooms and rosemary, crab and sweet corn, spinach and bacon with Gouda… oh man, I better stop.  I am sure you get the idea.

The Ingredients

  • 1/4 lb. Ham, sliced deli-thin, and chopped
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 cup Egg Whites (approximate – see notes below)
  • 2 tbsp. Milk
  • 1 cup Swiss Cheese, grated
  • 1 oz. Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Cooking Spray

Making It Work

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees, with a rack in the middle position.
  2. Spray a full-size muffin tin very liberally with cooking spray.
  3. Divide the chopped ham and grated cheese between the cups.
  4. In a 2 cup measuring cup, crack the 3 eggs.  Depending on the size of eggs you have, the quantity will vary.  Add liquid egg whites to fill to 2 cups total, then add the milk and whisk to fully incorporate.
  5. Spoon the egg mixture into each cup of the muffin tin, filling to about 3/4 full.  If everything was measured correctly, you should be able to fill all 12 cups on the muffin tin.
  6. Gently give each cup a stir so that the ham and cheese are even distributed in the egg mixture.
  7. Bake the frittatas for 20 minutes.
  8. After 20 minutes, remove from the oven, sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese, and return to the oven for another 5 minutes to brown the Parmesan.

Serve these hot, straight from the pan, or they will hold up nicely if you want to re-warm them for sleepy heads who are late coming to breakfast.  They also store really well, if you want to freeze some for later.  Feeling fancy?  A dab of Hollandaise sauce would be awesome.  But for my family, they are great plain, or with a bit of hot sauce or salsa for me.
So there it is, a holiday-worthy breakfast or a brunch treat suitable for the voices of angels.  Dress it up, or keep it simple.  Try these out, and be sure to let me know if you add your own flavors too!   I would love to hear what you do differently.