World traveler and professional chef, Shannon Smith, owner of Beads and Basil.
September 2019: Can you believe it’s time for school to start again? My kids are grown, and frankly, I don’t miss the back-to-school stress. But I know lots of parents are busily collecting school supplies, uniforms, permission slips, and after-school snacks. I also don’t miss those mornings getting my kids out of bed and forcing breakfast while they finished last-minute homework. Honestly, they preferred Pop-Tarts over my homemade breakfast, but at least I ate a hot breakfast while watching them run up and down the stairs searching for backpacks and matching socks.
I happen to love eggs in every way, shape, and form. One of the cooking classes I teach kids is how to make eggs scrambled, fried, poached, and in omelets. I also think that most dinner left-overs go great with eggs the next morning. I’ve been known to throw pulled pork, roasted potatoes, curried chicken, and even pasta into my scrambled eggs. A frittata is a great way to “clean out the fridge” by using those lost veggies, bbq sauce, and wilting greens. I have two egg recipes that I particularly love to make for guests (or kids) that can last for the entire week. The first is an egg casserole I’ve been making for 25 years, and it never fails. The secret ingredient is cottage cheese, but no one will ever know. It makes the dish so light and spongy, and great for reheating in the microwave for many mornings. It calls for roasted green chiles, but you can add bacon, sausage, peppers, or just more cheese. It’s also gluten-free!
The other recipe is great for kids to carry with them in the car or bus, and they’re mess-free. They’re baked egg cups made in a muffin tin, and you can add just about anything your kids love. When I was in Rwanda I taught the chef at a school to make them for the kids, and he told me they were the favorite breakfast treat. They have lots of chickens on their property, so it was an inexpensive way to feed a lot of people. We put crumbled bread in the egg cups, but you can use hash browns or roasted veggies if you want to keep away from bread. The point is, you can get creative, and make your own special egg cups that your kids will brag about, and ask for the recipe when they go off to college (I know this from experience).
There are a lot of things that cause stress on those early school mornings, but don’t let breakfast be one of them. Make these recipes over the weekend, and reheat them throughout the week to make life just a little bit easier. Meanwhile, I’ll be quietly drinking my coffee while thinking about you awesome parents out there!
Green Chile Egg and Cheese Casserole
I’ve been making this egg casserole since long before I had children. I love it because it uses roasted green chiles, and it has no meat or bread. There have been times I have added cooked sausage, and it was good, but I prefer the cheesy goodness with green chiles on their own. I have doubled and tripled this recipe many times to feed a crowd. It reheats really well for several days, and sometimes I freeze individual portions and pop them in the microwave whenever I need this to get my day started.
- 10 eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 (16 oz.) carton small curd cottage cheese
- 1 cup shredded Jack cheese
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- 2 (4 oz.) cans chopped green chilies, drained
(or 1/2 cup fresh roasted green chiles)
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine eggs and baking powder, stirring well. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into a lightly greased 9X13 inch baking dish. Bake for 40 minutes or until well set.
Note: You can make this casserole the night before and refrigerate. When you are ready to cook, put dish into a cool oven and heat
to 325 degrees. Cook 55 minutes.
Egg Soufflé Muffins
I took this recipe with me to Rwanda when I was teaching the chef at a school how to make easy dishes for the students and visitors who were coming on mission trips. The school has a lot of eggs from their chickens, and vegetables in their garden that made this a very economical dish to make. But, they were thrilled when they ate them for breakfast since they’re so portable and delicious. I make a pan of them at home, then reheat each morning in the microwave oven. If you don’t eat bread, you can certainly leave it out of the recipe.
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 7 eggs
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 slices of bread, crust removed
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 cup cooked meat (sausage, bacon, ground beef, ham)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread softened butter in a 12-cup muffin pan. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add canola oil. Sauté onions and bell peppers until soft. Set aside to cool. In a bowl, combine eggs and milk until blended. Add salt and pepper. Tear the bread into small pieces and distribute into the bottoms of muffin pan cups. Layer the cheese, meat and vegetables, then gently press mixture into each cup with the back of a spoon. Pour over the egg and milk mixture in each cup until almost filled (1/4” from the top). Bake 35 minutes until eggs are set. Insert a small knife into one of the cups, and if it comes out clean, the eggs are cooked. Let cook for 5 minutes, then serve warm.
Note: You can leave out the bread, if desired. Also, you can use paper cupcake liners to make it easier to carry the egg soufflés on the go.
See more about How To Have An Eggcellent Morning: