Foods in their most natural state are the healthiest choices. This is why, when at the grocery store, it's best to shop the perimeter of the store where the produce, meats, and milk are found. Walk around the outside of all the inner aisles and you will see foods in the most natural form; not refined, reformed, or needing to only be re-heated. Within that perimeter, is the almighty egg.
When consumers support their local farmers by subscribing to Garden Baskets or frequenting the Markets, that is perfect perimeter shopping. And when you are lucky enough to find a farmer who raises their chickens outside, in the grass with sun (and rain) on their backs, the eggs are by far superior. For more on the difference between commercial eggs and farm-fresh eggs, read this article.
Now that you have a farm-fresh eggs, what is the best way to use them?
Eggs need to be several weeks old before they can be hard-boiled and easily peeled. But this doesn't mean that your fresh eggs can't be boiled. It just requires a different method: Steam.
In a pot that has a steamer basket, bring 2-3 inches of water to a rolling boil and set the basket of eggs atop and cover for 15 minutes. Afterwards, place the eggs immediately into an ice bath for another 15 minutes. The eggs will peel easily.
You can also use an instant pot. Just follow the manufacturer's directions. Either way, it takes a little time, a little steam, a little ice water.
This little treat is perfect for breakfast on-the-go. I use silicon cupcake cups and add whatever I like in an omelet: cheese, bacon, zucchini, mushrooms...anything goes! Bake at 350 F until cups are cooked through. Store in an airtight container. I have frozen mine and popped them into my cooler bag for work. I do prefer them warm :)
Think of flat and stacked omelets. In a pan, pour a thin layer of beaten eggs and top with your favorite toppings. Flip and cook through. Repeat this until you have 3-4 layers of eggs.
This is particularly helpful in the late summer when the tomatoes are ripe and we've planted too many. It is a goal of ours to grow as much food as possible and use it, which is sometimes more difficult than it should be. In August, eggs and tomatoes are abundant, so it makes perfect sense to put the two together.
After washing the tomatoes, slice off the top and scoop out the seeds, leaving as much of the tomato meat as possible. Crack and egg into the tomato, top with cheese and cooked and crumbled bacon, if you have it. A little salt and pepper to top it off. Bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes, or until the egg whites are set.
When I make these for breakfast, I put them in the oven, then do my exercises. By the time they are ready, I can cross off my exercise on my list of things to do and sit down to a delicious breakfast that doesn't undo all my hard work.
Same as the egg-stuffed tomatoes, except use green, red, yellow or orange peppers. Same concept, completely different taste. Top with salsa.
This is one the kids prefer, but the potatoes need to be baked and hallowed out first. A little more time and planning go into this one, but if you bake potatoes for a dinner, bake double what you need, then plan this for a Sunday brunch or a breakfast-for-dinner meal later in the week.
Baked Egg Luncheon
In the bottom of an 9x13 baking dish (use a smaller one if you don't need this much food), add any combination of the following, based on what is in the fridge, all diced: potatoes, carrots, celery, mushrooms, spinach, sausage, bacon (both sausage and bacon should be pre-cooked), tomatoes, croutons (leave out for gluten-free or carb-watchers), grated cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Spread this mixture evenly on the bottom of the dish, then make little wells for the eggs. We have a family of 8, so I make 8 wells, and crack an egg into each. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until the egg whites are firm. Serve with toast or a fruit salad made with yogurt and topped with walnuts.
This dish is so easy to put together, but is made easier with a little pre-planning...In meals leading up to this, I make extra roasted potatoes, bacon or sausage and set them aside for this. Then when it's time to make this meal, most of my chopping and pre-cooking is already finished. No one seems to even notice the repeated ingredients because they are entirely different than the day or two before. This dish also uses up the vegetables that sometimes go bad in the fridge, an occurrence that is the result of healthy intentions with my shopping, but a weak meal plan.