Every morning, it’s the same routine. We hear the twins calling out from across the hall using the few syllables they know, and my husband and I sleepily deliberate over who should get up to retrieve them. (He usually gets the short end of the stick.)
I nurse one after the other in our bed, and then they clamber between us, occasionally burrowing in our arms or letting out a few soft giggles. I do whatever I can to keep them there. I love those moments, but let’s be honest…I’m also clinging to my thick comforter and soft pillow for as long as possible. Eventually, the sweetness of the morning’s snuggles deteriorates into hungry whines and smelly bottoms, and it’s not exactly restful to stay in bed any longer. My husband and I each grab a kid, change a diaper, schlep them downstairs and strap them into their high chairs for breakfast.
I fumble around in the fridge for a few minutes, trying to figure out what they can eat with only two bottom teeth, and my husband heads back upstairs to get ready for work. Then it’s time for coffee – for me, of course, not the kiddos. I can’t do much else without my coffee.
While the twins work on squishing chunks of banana between their gums, I repeat the fumbling around routine, this time in search of my own sustenance. Are there leftovers I can throw an egg on and call it breakfast? Is it weird to eat last night’s spaghetti at 8am? Are there any granola bars in the pantry?
As much as I love to cook, breakfast is challenging. There are two hungry babies, a husband trying to get out the door and a caffeine-depleted mama. Give me something quick and easy that will sustain me at least until the first nap, when I can snag that second cup of coffee and maybe throw something else in the microwave.
I think I’ve made at least three dozen baked egg cups in the last couple weeks. Granted, I was taste-testing a few recipes before sharing the caprese version below, but we scarfed up every batch in no time. Mornings are not exactly my forte, and these definitely make life before noon just a little bit easier.
Caprese Baked Egg Cups
Yields 12 egg cups
Cooking spray for pan or muffin liners
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 small onion, chopped (I used a red onion, but you can use any kind)
12-15 basil leaves, roughly chopped
10 large eggs
½ teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¾ cup fresh mozzarella cheese, diced (or substitute shredded mozzarella)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a regular sized muffin tin with cooking spray (or use muffin liners). In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped tomatoes and onion, and cook for about 5-6 minutes, or until the onion becomes translucent and most of the liquid evaporates from the tomatoes. (Add the second tablespoon of olive oil while sautéing if needed.)
Turn off the heat. Then, add the basil leaves to the pan and give it a couple stirs. You want the basil leaves to wilt slightly. Set the pan aside to cool for a few minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt and pepper. Stir in the cheese, then add the sautéed tomatoes, onion and basil.
Divide the mixture evenly in the muffin tin. (I like to use a ¼ cup measuring scoop to do this.) The eggs will expand a bit, so make sure you don’t fill the muffin tin all the way to the top.
Cook for about 15-17 minutes, or just until the eggs are set. Be careful not to overcook, or the eggs will become spongy and dry. Let the egg cups cool in the pan for a few minutes before removing (trust me on this!).
Remove from the pan and season with additional salt and pepper to taste. You can enjoy them immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge and reheat in the microwave when you’re ready to eat.
Quick Tip: Instead of tomatoes and basil, try adding chopped cooked bacon, wilted spinach or sautéed bell peppers. Or, change up the cheese by using asiago, gruyere, cheddar or Parmesan.
Words and Photos by Sarah Hauser.