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By Gabrielle. Photos by Liz Berget for Design Mom.

I asked the lovely Liz, “What’s an awesome egg meal that I haven’t tried?” In response, she came up with this fantastic concoction, and three factors have me giving it a big thumbs up:

1) Baked eggs. Wait. Baked eggs? I consider myself a full-on egg fan, but I’ve never in my life made baked eggs. Don’t they look amazing?

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2) Sautéed greens. I’ve definitely sautéed greens before, but I’ve never made them for breakfast. Love this!

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3) Liz designed this meal for breakfast, but it’s substantial enough that in my book, it could easily work for dinner too!

Before we jump into the recipe, please tell me I’m not the only who hasn’t tried baked eggs — and I’m not counting eggs as part of cake batter. I make them over easy, boiled, scrambled, poached. In frittatas and omelettes. Egg salad too! I wasn’t joking about being an egg fan. How have I never made baked eggs? : )

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Here’s what Liz says:

Let’s talk about eggs.

We all know that they’re inexpensive and full of protein as well as a myriad of other vitamins that we’re all in desperate need of; pregnant women like myself are basically encouraged to eat a coop’s-worth every day, but despite all of that, my appreciation for eggs is relatively new and tentative.

As a kid, my mom’s offer of scrambled eggs for breakfast would induce Oscar-worthy gagging and choking sounds from me. I’m not even sure I knew I didn’t like them. I just definitely preferred cereal, with no milk, or the occasional hot dog for breakfast, an option that my harried mother would sometimes finally relent to in her efforts to get four picky eaters out the door for school. I was a truly delightful child.

But with adulthood came the inconvenient need for me to buy my own food, and I learned to like cost-effective omelettes and scrambled eggs to an extent. But it’s only in the last year or so that I discovered the wonder that is baking eggs. I have found that I love the texture of baked eggs, as well as the convenience. While my little egg is baking away, I can make some coffee, or, more realistically, get breakfast for my kids who wake up like ravenous wolves with very specific and changing requests for breakfast each morning. (Karma.)

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Lately, my go-to egg option has been these ham-wrapped goodies. This variety also includes a little shredded cheddar and diced red peppers. This combination is great on it’s own, or eaten with a bite of toast. But the secret to making this easy egg into a spectacular breakfast? The greens. You guys, cruciferous family members like broccoli and kale were made to be eaten with eggs. The earthiness of these veggies totally balances out the richness of the egg, and in this dish, I briefly sautéed a mixture of baby kale, chard, and spinach with leeks in olive oil. Topped with a zingy red-wine vinaigrette, each bite of the slightly sweet ham, rich cheesy egg, and dressed greens is balanced and perfect.

I love this recipe because it provides an easy option over my typically carb-happy breakfasts, eaten because they seem like the easiest choice. I also love how this recipe screams spring! Soon my garden will be overflowing with greens that can put up with the sometimes wintry temps of April, and this recipe will be a welcome recipient for all the kale and spinach I’ll grow.

Please know that this does not have to be reserved for Saturday brunch. The egg cup takes two minutes to put together, and in the time it spends in the oven, you have plenty of time to saute your leeks and greens. I like to buy a bag of pre-washed mixed greens and make the vinaigrette ahead of time in order to use for several days. As the egg bakes, you might even have time for coffee…or to explain to your kid why mac ‘n cheese is not a viable breakfast option. Enjoy!

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Baked Ham & Egg Cups with Dressed Greens
(yields 4 servings)

Ingredients:
Egg Cups:
4 slices deli ham (I used honey ham)
4 tablespoons (¼ cup) of shredded sharp cheddar cheese*
A third of a red bell pepper, diced (about 4 tablespoons)
4 large eggs
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

Vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ tablespoon red wine vinegar
App. ¼ teaspoon honey (just a tiny drizzle)
App. ¼ teaspoon dijon mustard (just a tiny squirt)
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper (a few cracks each)

Greens:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large leek (green & white parts), thinly sliced
8 large handfuls mixed greens (baby spinach, kale, and swiss chard)
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper


*freshly grated, as opposed to from a bag, is going to melt much more smoothly

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Instructions:
Eggs:
Preheat oven to 400*.
Prepare 4 ramekins (I used Pyrex 6 oz.) with cooking spray. (You can also use a muffin tin for these, which is helpful if you’re making a large batch). Line each ramekin with one slice of ham; the ham will exceed the edges but will shrink during cooking. In the bottom of each ham cup, put 1 tablespoon each of the shredded cheddar and diced red pepper. Crack an egg over the top of each cup, and sprinkle a bit of the salt and pepper on top. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, to desired runniness.

Vinaigrette & Greens:
For the vinaigrette, vigorously shake all ingredients together and set aside.

About 10 minutes into the egg baking time, heat olive oil in a large pot or saute pan. Stir in the leek slices and saute over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes until brightly colored and slightly softened. In the last 2 minutes that the eggs are baking, throw in your greens and toss frequently until just slightly wilted. Remove to a plate and sprinkled generously with salt and pepper, and drizzle with just-shaken vinaigrette.

Assemble:
Arrange dressed greens in a donut-shape on the plate. When eggs are done, carefully remove from the ramekin with a soup spoon and place in the center of the “donut.” Enjoy!

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Oh my goodness. This looks so good, Liz. Thank you!

I especially love the suggestion of using muffin tins to cook the ham cups and eggs. That makes it really easy for me to cook enough eggs for the whole family at once. Brilliant. If you give this recipe at try, or experiment with variations, I want to hear all about it!

Credits: Images, styling & recipe by Liz Berget. Assistance by Amy Christie.