I fight an ongoing battle with breakfast. I do enjoy the meal itself and its related foods on occasion, but I’m nothing like my husband who could eat breakfast for every meal of every day and be happy. One of my issues is that I find it difficult to eat a big meal first thing in the morning. My body never feels quite awake enough to power through an entire plate of eggs and bacon or an enormous bowl of oatmeal. I tend to be a black coffee and bite of toast kind of girl. I’ve also been in such a rush some mornings that I forget to grab anything at all, which means that a few hours into work I’m groggy, famished, and in desperate need of some protein.
Looking through my refrigerator the other day I noticed a large package of deli ham that was reaching it’s use-by date, so I began thinking of ways to use it up quickly. Because both Gabe and I run on such a tight schedule during the week I’m a big fan of anything make-ahead that allows us to just grab and go, whether that is breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We’d made eggy breakfast muffins before, but this time around I thought, “Why not skip the egg scrambling and use the ham as a vessel for baking a whole egg?” Now folks, out of curiosity I googled this idea. Apparently ham cups are a thing that people do (I should have known, considering the whole “bacon bowl” craze), so is nothing entirely new. However, it works great, tastes delicious, and is a wonderful way to get that much needed nutrition first thing in the morning. The cups are also not too big, so if you have a small appetite in the morning like I do, one (or two) are enough to hold you over.
The base ingredients are simple (ham and egg) so lend themselves well to many yummy additions. Make it your own! I chose to use some cherry tomatoes and green onion because that’s what I already had on hand, but almost anything would do. How about red peppers with a little crumbled chèvre? Or chopped bacon (MORE PIG!), a few pieces of thinly sliced apple and a little gruyere on top?
I started by spraying a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray and layering a few slices of the ham into each cup to form the walls.
Next, I spooned in some diced cherry tomatoes and a little green onion. I cracked an egg into each cup and seasoned with salt, fresh ground pepper and a little dried basil (Fresh basil would be fabulous, but, again, sometimes you’ve just gotta clean out your fridge and use what you’ve got. Waste not want not!
I then sprinkled the tops with a little cheddar cheese and put them in the oven to bake at 350 F for about 15 minutes. The cheese was melty, the ham crispy, and the eggs just set.
Let them cool a little bit and PRESTO! Quick and easy morning fuel so there are no more mid-morning groggies. And look how cute they are. Wouldn’t these be fun to serve at a brunch?
On-the-go, clean-out-the-fridge baked ham and egg breakfast cups
aka Ham and Egg Cups
24 slices of ham
2 green onions, sliced
Half pint of cherry tomatoes, diced
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Layer two slices of ham into each cup. Spoon some of the cherry tomatoes and green onion into each. Crack one egg into each cup. Season with salt, pepper and dried basil. Sprinkle some of the cheese on top of each one. If you will be eating these right away and would like runnier yolks then you’ll only need to bake these for about 13 minutes, just until the whites set and the ham gets crispy. If you will be making these ahead and storing in the fridge for later, I would suggest cooking the eggs a bit longer, from 15-20 minutes depending on your oven. Note that the eggs will continue to cook once you take them out, so it’s usually best to take them out a minute or so before you think you should based on looks. If you’re eating these for your weekday grab-and-go breakfast, simply wrap one in a paper towel and reheat for 1 1/2 minutes in your microwave.