Up & At 'Em Egg Cups

School, work and fall sports are officially in full swing and so is the desire to continue those fitness and nutrition efforts you began during the spring and summer months.  Between getting up, getting ready for work, getting ready for school, packing the soccer / swim / skating / cross country / gym / (your chosen activity here) bag and getting yourself to the office or the kids to practice or to school, or all of the above, a good breakfast can often get lost in the shuffle.  A quick bowl of cereal is, of course, an easy go-to but sometimes, even with all the varieties out there, that can get old.  Plus, so many cereals are high in sugar and low in protein, fiber and other nutrients, leaving you or your athlete starving two hours later.

As a young figure skater and cross country runner growing up, I remember that, between my 4:30 a.m. alarm clock, my 5:30 a.m. ice time, and my 7:50 a.m. school bell, there was hardly ever enough time for a good breakfast.  Now, years later, between my early morning alarm, getting in some writing, emails, recipe development or program brainstorming, going on my morning run, and quickly putting myself together to get to the office, I still find many mornings to be one crazy whirlwind.  For this reason I set out to create a quick & easy breakfast option that would energize and satisfy me after my morning run as I headed off to work.

My recipe for you this week is my Up & At 'Em Egg Cups.  With their bursting roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions, spinach and sprinkle of feta and Parmesan cheese, you will look forward to breakfast each morning!  Not only are these little cups delicious, but the eggs offer protein, lutein, and a little vitamin D, the roasted tomatoes offer a punch of lycopene (even more than raw tomatoes!) and vitamin C, the spinach tops it off with a little folate, iron (better absorbed by the vitamin C in the tomatoes), and vitamin K, and the onions offer additional vitamin C.   Add a slice of toast, diced fruit, a yogurt or glass of milk, and you have a winning breakfast that, with its mix of protein, complex carbs and antioxidants, will replenish you after a morning workout and refuel you for the busy day ahead.

So here you go... my Up & At 'Em Egg Cups.  Enjoy!

Up & At 'Em Egg Cups

Makes 8 eggs cups;  Serving Size = 2 cups

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 whole eggs
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coarse sea salt
  • Ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped white onion (about 1/2 of a large onion)
  • 1 packed cup fresh spinach, torn or chopped
  • 1 tablespoon feta cheese
  • 4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the broiler on HIGH and line a medium-sized baking sheet with tin foil.
  2. Crack the eggs into a medium mixing bowl, add 1/8 teaspoon of salt, a dash of pepper and beat all ingredients together with a wire whisk.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, using a heat-resistant rubber spatula, stir together the tomatoes with 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and then spread onto the foil-lined baking sheet.
  4. Place the baking sheet with the tomatoes in the preheated oven and broil for 7 - 10 minutes until tomatoes are bursting and start to char, stirring with the spatula half-way through.
  5. While the tomatoes roast, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook about 10 - 15 minutes until caramelized, stirring occasionally with spatula.
  6. Once the tomatoes are done cooking (while onions are still cooking), grease an 8-cup muffin tin and set oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. After the onions have cooked for about 10 minutes and are beginning to caramelize, add the roasted tomatoes, spinach and feta to the skillet, stirring to combine all ingredients.  Continue to cook about 3 minutes more, removing from the heat when spinach is wilted and feta is well incorporated.
  8. Divide the onion - spinach mixture evenly into each muffin cup (about 2 tablespoons of the onion - spinach mixture per muffin cup).
  9. Divide the egg mixture evenly among each muffin cup (about 3 - 4 tablespoons of the egg mixture per muffin cup).
  10. Using a small spoon or dull dinner knife, stir the ingredients in each egg cup to incorporate the onion-spinach mixture and the egg together well.
  11. Top each cup's egg mixture with1/2 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese. 
  12. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 - 25 minutes until the egg cups puff and begin to brown on top.
  13. Let the egg cups cool about 5 minutes after removing from oven.  Then run a knife around the edges of each cup to loosen anything sticking to the tin and remove with a small fork or spoon.
  14. Eat immediately or allow to cool on a plate, wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for a quick breakfast - on - the - go or mid-morning snack!

Make It Again!  The best thing to do is find a one-hour weeknight or weekend time slot that you can devote to making a big batch of these.  Then wrap them individually in plastic wrap or foil and store them in the refrigerator or the freezer to quickly heat up and enjoy before running out the door in the morning or bring it along to heat and quickly eat at the office!  (Reheat refrigerated cups about 45 seconds and reheat frozen cups about 1 min, 30 seconds)

NUTRITION INFO (per serving):

Calories 175;  Protein 10g;  Carbohydrate 8g;  Total Fat 12g (sat 3g, mono 5.75g, poly 1.75g);  Sugar 4g;  Added Sugar 0g;  Sodium 310mg;  Cholesterol 210 mg;  Potassium 300 mg;  Calcium 105 mg