In an effort to support sustainable agriculture and healthy eating, we get our eggs from a woman who raises chickens in her backyard.  She feeds them good food and lets them run around in the sunshine instead of spending their lives caged up and miserable (like factory egg chickens).  The eggs her chickens lay are huge, literally the biggest eggs I’ve ever seen.  They taste amazing.  Didn’t know eggs could taste amazing by themselves?  Stop buying them at the grocery store.  Free range/cage free chickens who get to eat grass and bugs and all kinds of other appetizing wonders produce amaaaaazing eggs.  You should go find some right now.  I’ll wait.

Soooooooo, sometimes when you buy your groceries from places that aren’t … well, grocery stores, you’re at the mercy of the natural pace of production.  Sometimes we have 3 dozen eggs in the frigo (our ‘normal’ family of 5 standard).  Other times the hens lay less frequently and we get down to a dozen or less.  Sometimes we even go without eggs.  Then, of course, there are times when the exact opposite happens and we have 6 or 7 dozen eggs at one time.  Yikes!  The cool part is farm eggs stay pretty well in the fridge for … well, I don’t know how long honestly, because we’ve never had one go bad, but there have been times they’ve been in there a long, long, looooong time before we used them.  An egg surplus in this house also means we can make an Egg Bake.

Egg Bake?!

Uh, yea.  The best way to use a bunch of eggs at once, ever, probably.  It’s delicious.  It’s fluffier than any pan scrambled eggs I’ve ever had.  It’s a cheap meal when paired with toast or biscuits (well, cheap-ish, remember farm eggs are substantially more expensive than the 89c/dozen itty bitty factory eggs, but soooooo worth it).  It can be put together and then left to cook on its own leaving you free to do other stuff (like screw around on facebook, which is what I did while mine cooked this morning).  It’s nutritious as all get out.  Did I mention it tastes really gooood?

Yes!  That guy right there. Yum.

Egg Bake a la Em

You’ll need:

1 dozen eggs, 2 splashes of milk, 3 handfuls of cheese, 1 package of breakfast meat (already cooked and broken into pieces), tin foil, and 1 9×13 glass pan.

You’ll want to:

1. Break your dozen eggs into a large bowl.

2. Add the 2 splashes of milk … like a 1/4-1/3 of a cup total. (You can totally omit this if you have dairy issues or use your favorite alternative milk substance.  I’ve done it without and it works fine, the eggs are marginally less fluffy.)

3. Wisk the snot out of it  until the entire mixture is a uniform golden color.  The more you can beat it up, the more air will get into the mix and the fluffier your eggs will be.  Though, the cooking them in the oven part does make up for a lot of slacking off when it comes to how much you wisked your eggs.

4. Crumble the breakfast meat of your choice into the bottom of the 9×13 pan, making a pretty even but not perfect layer.  I used sausage links cut into pieces this morning.  On Christmas, I use bacon.  Sometimes I leave it out completely.  It’s just as good any which way.

5. Sprinkle 1 1/2 handfuls of cheese on top of the arranged meat pieces.

6. Dump the bowl of eggs over the items already in your pan.  It should flow pretty evenly to cover everything, but sometimes it needs to be persuaded into corners.  This is not about perfection.  Just about any arrangement works.

7. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 handfuls of cheese onto the top of the sea of liquid egg.

8. Cover the pan with tin foil (or however you go about otherwise covering pans in the oven).  Skipping this step leads to burnt eggs.  I promise.

9. Cook for 45 minutes at 400 degrees, stopping to check the consistency of the eggs for doneness at 30 minutes.  (I take the pan out and jiggle it around.  If anything quivers, back in the oven, please.)  If you’d like a browned top, remove the tin foil when you check them at 30 minutes and let them finish without it.

10. When done, let set for 2-3 minutes before cutting to be sure the eggs are set up.

Seriously, it takes 2.5 minutes to put together and the rest of the time you’re hands free while it does it’s magic alone in the oven.  The eggs come out super fluffy with crispy edges.  I’ve never had anything stick to the glass pan, making clean up super simple.  If there are leftovers (which might have happened once …), I wrap them in the tin foil I used to cover the eggs while they were baking so there’s less waste.  This usually feeds my family of 5 grown people comfortably with a side.

And!  There are a million variations.  Sometimes I add frozen hashbrowns or parboiled cubed potatoes.  Sometimes I add mushrooms or spinach or whatever odd bit of something is left in the fridge.  You can use whatever cheese you like, whatever other ingredients.  The only constant is the eggs … delicious, amazing, versatile eggs.  (A quick note on variety … if you’re adding more things, it’ll still work perfectly, but for the sake of your oven, please use a bigger pan.)

I think it’s time for seconds …