Food for a Crowd - The Humble Egg

The humble egg.

A high quality protein all wrapped up in a neat little shell.

For your next holiday party or family gathering consider placing a big platter of deviled eggs on the buffet. 

I have never served deviled eggs at an event that they weren't all eaten. 

Every last one. 

Not only yummy but easy on the budget.

A dozen eggs will make 24 servings and even at $2.00 a dozen for the eggs (current price in my area) that averages out to about 9 cents per serving. Can't hardly beat that. 

Filling the Egg

I've seen and tasted all kinds of fillings in deviled eggs. Horseradish, caviar, onions...even so I don't get too creative. Most people seem happy with a little mayo, sweet pickle relish and maybe a touch of mustard. 
For variety you can sprinkle the tops with paprika, dill or crumbled bacon bits. 

My simple recipe

6 hard boiled eggs
1 Tablespoon good mayo (or more as needed) 
1-2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon yellow mustard

Remove the yolk, place in a bowl and mash with a fork. Add the mayo, relish and mustard and mix well. Taste and add a little salt and additional as mayo or relish as needed. 

Place the whites on a bed of lettuce and sprinkle lightly with salt. Fill the eggs with the yolk filling and sprinkle with paprika, dried dill or bacon bits. 

How to boil an egg

Everyone seems to have their own technique for hard boiling eggs. 

This is how I do it:
  • Use eggs that are close to the use by date. The older the egg the easier it is to peel.
  • Set the eggs out on the counter and allow them to come to room temperature (about an hour)
  • Place the room temp eggs in a pot large enough for the eggs to be in a single layer and cover with tap water by at least 1 inch. 
  • Place the pot over medium heat and allow the water to heat up. Bringing the water to a boil slowly will prevent the shells from cracking. Allow to boil 2 minutes. Turn off heat, cover pot and let the eggs sit for 12 minutes. 
  • To cool the eggs quickly drain the hot water, add cold water to the pot along with ice. When the ice melts add additional ice and allow to cool for 20 minutes. 
  • Remove from the ice water, peel and proceed with your recipe. 

A few tips
  • Buy your eggs a couple weeks before the party. (Check the expiration date to be sure you'll be using them in that time frame.)  The older the egg the easier it will peel 
  • If you do try to peel the eggs and the peel won't come off don't fight it. Just do the best you can and make egg salad. Serve it in a bowl with crackers. (I heard Julia Child say that on one of her old shows. If she occasionally had trouble with the peel  I don't feel bad when it happens to me.)
  • If you end up with green around the yolk it just means the egg was cooked too long. Just mix it up with a little mayo and no one will know. 
  • For a large gathering make at least two platters of deviled eggs and put them out one at a time. When the first platter begins to run low switch it out with the new platter. This applies to most all dishes on a buffet table. A picked over platter of food doesn't look appetizing. 

Next time you're looking for a budget friendly addition to your  party don't underestimate the humble egg!

Setting another plate at my table and making a place in my heart!


Breakfast Casserole for a Crowd

The last of our Thanksgiving company left last night and our house is back to semi-quiet.

One of the things I do when we have overnight guests is to have breakfast ready to go. This is especially good on big cooking days like Thanksgiving and Christmas when you don't need a lot of extra cooking going on in the kitchen. 

My favorite thing to make, which is always a hit, is a big breakfast casserole. I make it up and bake it the night before. Cool the casserole, cut it into squares, wrap it up and refrigerate. In the morning all that's needed is a couple minutes in the microwave for each piece. Since some people are early riser and some like to sleep in this casserole can be heated up piece by piece as needed. All I have to do is set out a stack of plates, put the coffee on and make sure there's orange juice in the fridge. There's also cereal, milk and fruit for those who don't want a heavy breakfast. 

Farmer's Breakfast
(Eggs, potatoes, cheese and sausage)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Dry ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder

8 eggs
1 cup milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 pounds bulk sausage (spicy if you like it hot)
32 ounce bag Ore-Ida frozen Potatoes O'Brien (diced potatoes with onions and peppers)

1 stick butter, melted.

Cook the sausage and chop into smaller pieces as it cooks. Cook until the sausage is no longer pink. Drain the grease and set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl blend together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the milk and eggs and mix until well blended.

Add the frozen potatoes, cheese and sausage to the egg and flour mixture and stir to combine.

Place the melted butter into the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch oven safe dish.

Spoon the potato/egg mixture in to the casserole dish. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cut into squares and serve warm from the oven or cool and refrigerate. Cut in to squares and reheat in the microwave.

I like this casserole as is but some in my family like to splash on hot sauce or a couple spoons of salsa and a little sour cream. It's good however you fix it. 

Do you have a favorite breakfast casserole?

Setting an extra plate at my table and making a place in my heart!