Hash Brown Breakfast Cups:
1 pound (450 grams) frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
2 large egg whites (60 grams)
2 tablespoons (25 grams) melted butter
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) ground pepper (or to taste)
1 tablespooon (12 grams) butter or olive oil
1/2 cup (120 ml) red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup (120 ml) red, green, orange, or yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup (240 ml) ham, diced (can also use ham steak, Canadian back bacon, bacon, or crumbled sausage)
2 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) grated cheese (can use Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, Mexican blend, gruyere, goat cheese, etc.)
6 large eggs
Hash Brown Breakfast Cups: Preheat your oven to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C). Butter six - jumbo (1 cup) (240 ml) muffins cups, preferably nonstick.
Place the thawed hash browns in a large bowl. Season with the salt and pepper. In another bowl whisk the egg whites to break them up. Add the egg whites to the hash browns, along with the melted butter, and toss to combine. Evenly divide the mixture among the muffin cups (about 1/2 cup (120 ml) in each cup) and firmly press onto the bottom and up the sides of each cup. Bake in your preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until nicely browned.
Meanwhile melt the butter (or oil) in a medium sized skillet. Saute the onions and bell pepper, on medium high heat, until softened. Season with salt and pepper. Add the ham and spinach and saute until the spinach has wilted. Remove from heat. Evenly divide the mixture among the baked hash brown cups and then sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of grated cheese. Place back into the oven for about 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is starting to melt.
Remove from oven and crack one egg into each cup. Bake until the whites are set and yolks are still runny (about 8-10 minutes). Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Let them cool for a few minutes. Then, using an offset spatula, remove the breakfast cups from your muffin pan. Serve right away. Leftovers can be covered and stored in the refrigerator. Reheat either in the oven or microwave.
Makes six breakfast cups.
I really like one dish meals. It makes things so much easier. This Hash Brown Breakfast Cup is one such recipe. In a single muffin cup you have a brown and crispy hash brown crust, that is filled with ham, sauteed vegetables, melted cheese, and a perfectly cooked sunny side up egg. While I often serve them for breakfast or as a brunch dish, we also enjoy them for lunch or dinner served with a tossed green salad and fresh bread or toast.
The first time I saw this breakfast dish was on Everyday Food. I liked it so much I just had to make it. These breakfast cups start with a hash brown crust that kinda looks like a bird's nest (this recipe is often called Bird's Nest Breakfast Cup). I have used frozen shredded hash brown potatoes so all you need to do is defrost them. They are then mixed with egg whites (to bind everything together) and a little butter (for flavor) and this mixture is pressed into well buttered jumbo sized muffin cups and baked until wonderfully brown and crispy. Then the filling is added. Now, for the filling I have used red onion, red bell pepper, ham, and spinach (use fresh or frozen), but you can use other things. Instead of red onion, you could use yellow onions, chives, green onions, or even a shallot. Instead of red bell pepper and spinach, you could use diced tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, parsley, or even some diced avocado. Now, if you're vegetarian you can omit the ham. Or, other options for the ham are bacon (including Canadian back bacon or turkey bacon), crumbled sausage, or proscuitto. For the grated cheese, good choices are Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, Swiss Cheese, Mexican Blend, gruyere, or even a goat cheese. If you have any leftovers they can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for a day. Simply reheat in the microwave.