Monday, 3 October 2011

SmartCooks Healthy Egg McMuffin-ish Breakfasts

October 2011

SmartCooks here

Let's talk about Breakfasts.  The most important meal of the day.  Yada yada. 

I eat Breakfast.  Every day.  But I hate preparing breakfasts.   I don't do cereal (milk, bleech).  Bread carbs are bad supposedly.  South Beach, Dukan, Bernstein.... diets generally frown on carbs or recommend low-carb/carb products. Have you tried no-carb pita (don't).  Yogurt and berries in a smoothie don't hold me past 11 a.m. and then I'm ready for lunch.   

Plus, to add to my own personal stress-o-meter, I was determined to find a healthy and substantive Breakfast offering and cook it in bulk so that it would last all week i.e., get up, get a coffee, the grab-n-go meal (warmed up if needed), the ipad and the half dozen newspaper I download every day and hunker down to read and munch quickly and in not messily.  

Tall order.  I Google-d for awhile and found a recent set of Ottawa Citizen recipes for On-the-Go Breakfasts for fall i.e,. getting kids off to school in the mornings with no muss, no fuss.  The feature had waffles, oatmeal and burritos and none of those were tempting.  But the recipe for sausages and eggs gave me an idea so I took the recipe as a base and modified it almost completely. 

And, oh yeah, Sunday was such a crummy day it seemed a perfect opportunity to tackle the assignment before me.  

The movie ''Julia and Julie'' was playing on Channel 62 as I cooked -- how ironic -- as Husband pointed out to me a few times that day as he watched in amazement at the cooking frenzy.

ADD girlcat Grace yelled at the TV movie incessantly from her perch at the back deck window.  She has her own Kitty DVD that she asks me to play all the time (usually by yowling and pawing at the TV).  I finally turfed her from the kitchen and shut the French door.  So then it became 3 pathetic little faces staring through the glass.... sigh .... spoiled much?  Of course, they got an outing. 

SmartCooks Healthy Sausage and Egg McMuffins 


The recipe is for 16 muffins.  I made 12 muffins, low-fat, so modifications follow in the step by step after the recipe.  

Original Recipe
  • 16 slices wheat bread, crusts trimmed
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) butter, melted
  • 16 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 pound (275 g) sausage meat, cooked and drained  
  • 7 eggs
  • 3 cups (750 mL) milk 
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 2 chopped scallions, optional
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper, optional
Directions (modified for 12 Healthier, lower fat McMuffins): 

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). 

Note to Self:  Suggest using bifocals when setting oven temperatures.  There is definitely a difference between the Convection Oven button and the Bake Button.  I caught this one in time but ruined beets later in the day.  sigh

I cut the crusts off 12 pieces of sunflower and flax brown bread and used a rolling pin to flatten them.

I then brushed the bread with about 1/8 cup of low-fat margarine.  

I then pammed the muffin tins and cut cut the bread into a circle.  I spent 10 useless minutes trying to find my pastry cutter but remembered it was one of the kitchen tools I threw out in a downsize moment.  So I substituted a Plain Old Glass.  It cut a perfect circle.  Press the circles in the muffin tin to form a crust.  

Cook the sausages in a frying pan (pammed).  I used two sausages from St. Paul's Farmer's Market.  One sausage (left picture) was sundried tomato and basil; the other was turkey and apple.  

I shredded 12 ounces of  Blue Menu BlobBlaws cheddar cheese.  I set aside about 1/2 cup (125 mL) for sprinkling at the end.  

Sprinkle the cheese and the crumbled sausage in each bread-lined cup. I found I still had a lot of cheese left over (see troubleshooting below).  

The next step was to whisk the eggs, milk, onion powder and mustard together (see right).  

I used 6 eggs, half egg/half egg whites.  The milk was skim. I didn't skimp on onion powder or Dijon mustard ... used what they said.  

Carefully pour the egg mixture into the cups.  
2nd Note to self:  a level surface would have helped here... not on the stove burners.  Ahem.

Add scallions and red peppers, if using. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  I didn't skimp on either scallions or red peppers.  

Cover loosely with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes more.  I found it wasn't done yet and set timer for an additional 10 minutes.  

Cool completely, then store the McMuffins in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to use.  I put six in the freezer for later this week and six in the frig for daily consumption. 

That way, if I'm tired of them by Thursday, I won't take the package out of the freezer. The container on left contains 3 days' worth of breakfasts for me.  If I decide to eat yoghurt or zucchini bread, then I will cut back to one.  

That was it.  It all worked EXCEPT for two issues .... 

1) Maybe my muffin tins are small or I didn't cut back enough on ingredients going from 16 to 12 but whatever.... I had a cup of leftover batter and ingredients after filling the tins.  So I put the rest in a Pammed bread loaf pan and cooked it separately.  (Steak and eggs for dinner anyone).  

2) The cooking times were way off.  Again, I'm not sure if it was because I had the extra loaf pan in there but after I removed the foil, I let the McMuffins go for an additional 10 minutes and the loaf for 30 minutes more. The key is the nicely browned tops so I used look as the test.  

BTW:  I really enjoyed Breakfast today.  SmartCooks McMuffins are delicious.  

Later, SmartCooks

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