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Leftovers: Savory cheesy potato egg cups are mouthwatering and versatile

Savory cheesy potato egg cups can be served at breakfast and as a quick snack.  (Courtesy of Julia Ditto)
Savory cheesy potato egg cups can be served at breakfast and as a quick snack. (Courtesy of Julia Ditto)
By Julia Ditto For The Spokesman-Review

Breakfast time is saved! And snack time, and forgot-to-make-dinner time, and I-just-need-a-quick-bite-of-something time. All the times, really, because this recipe checks all the boxes for filling up hungry tummies in a healthy, quick and delicious way. We’re talking about savory cheesy potato egg cups – long name, mouthwatering results.

One of the best things about these bite-size egg cups is the fact that they use up several kinds of this-and-that from your refrigerator. Have a leftover baked potato from Sunday dinner? Grate it up and use it in place of hash browns.

Did you make bacon for breakfast a couple days ago and couldn’t bear to throw away the final few pieces? Chop them up and add them to the mix. Are there vegetables crying out to be noticed from your crisper drawer? Go ahead and give them a new life as the egg-y, cheesy version of themselves they were always meant to be.

To make these savory egg cups, you bake shredded potatoes to a crispy, golden brown and then load them up with any variety of finely chopped meats and veggies. On top of that deliciousness, you pour a mixture of eggs and milk, which is then sprinkled with a generous amount of cheese. Is your mouth watering yet?

To appease the pickier eaters in my family, I made a few egg cups with only hash browns, cheese and eggs. For the slightly more adventurous, I added chopped leftover deli ham and cooked, ground sausage.

And for the rest of us, I loaded on even more good stuff, like red peppers and green onions. Spinach, asparagus and broccoli would all be delicious additions, as well. Just make sure to finely chop everything so it fits in with the bite-size profile of these delicious egg cups.

Once they’ve baked for another 15 minutes or so, pop them out of their muffin tins while they’re still warm. You can eat them warm or allow them to cool on a cooling rack and put them in a container to refrigerate or freeze so you can have them on hand for busy mornings (or sudden snack attacks).

Savory Cheesy Potato Egg Cups

Recipe adapted from melskitchencafe.com.

Potato crust:

3 cups shredded hash browns, thawed and patted dry (or grated baked potato)

2 tablespoons butter, melted

¼ teaspoon salt

Pinch black pepper

Toppings:

Use whatever meat and vegetables you have on hand. Make sure to dice everything into small pieces.

Some ideas: cooked bacon, cooked sausage, deli ham, red bell pepper, spinach, onion, asparagus and broccoli.

Filling:

8 large eggs

¼ cup milk

½ teaspoon salt

Pinch black pepper

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, gently mix the potatoes with the butter, salt and pepper. Divide the potato mixture evenly among the muffin cups. Using lightly greased fingers, press the potatoes tightly into the bottom and a little up the sides of each muffin cup to create a small “nest” for the fillings.

Bake the potatoes for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Add time if needed.

Remove the muffin tin from the oven and sprinkle a couple tablespoons of whatever toppings you are using evenly into the bottom of each potato cup.

In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the toppings in each cup, about ¾ full. Sprinkle cheese on top of the egg mixture.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Bake the egg cups for 13-15 minutes, until the eggs are baked through and not jiggly in the center. The eggs will fall a bit as they cool.

After the egg cups have cooled just a few minutes, use a butter knife or spatula to loosen around the edges of each muffin cup. Remove the egg cups from the tin to a cooling rack or tray.

Serve warm or at room temperature, or cool the egg cups and place them into a freezer-safe container so they can be stored in the freezer for future devouring.

When reheating from frozen, place an egg cup on a microwave-safe plate and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Julia Ditto can be reached at dittojulia@gmail.com.

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