We are having so much fun experimenting with some new healthy (and fun!) kids’ recipes in my home daycare. Even my pickiest eaters and trying so many new things. Since we have all been together awhile now, I thought it would be a good time to up the ante and start getting in some – GASP – veggies! YUP! I said the feared v-word. The bane of every parent’s existence. The dreaded greenery that your children will somehow manage to sniff out no matter how good your mashing skills. Isn’t it funny how parsley also makes the veggie food group for toddlers, because, well, you know…green?
Veggies do not always have to be a battle or come in the form of a pouch or smoothie (at least that is what I am trying to tell myself). I’m learning that the trick is texture and making the veggies look like something else. More on this in a minute.
For lunch today, I knew I wanted to make mini ham and cheese egg muffins for the kids, but I also wanted to incorprate some vegtastic goodness in there as well. Peas would have been delicious but I wanted to quite literally take baby steps. Peas are bright green and very obvious. I just bought some organic carrots and with this continued heat and humidity in Connecticut, soup was not on the menu in the forseeable future.
What do shredded carrots look like? CHEDDAR CHEESE! How perfect is that? They add a little bit of sweetness, virtually do not affect the texture whatsoever, and it looks like cheddar cheese. Since I used Pecorino Romano cheese in this recipe which melts right in, the shredded carrots gave that dreamy melty cheese look. Kids really seem to have a thing for orange cheese and they get exactly that, only not…see what I did there?
I was unsure of how the kids would like them but they were a huge hit! They asked for a little ketchup to dip them in. These egg muffins are perfect for breakfast or lunch – even a great back-to-school lunch as they taste delicious even cold. You could even make these for a fancy brunch.
Wyatt, my little model, is showing you all that orange carroty-goodness on the inside. I mean C’MON does that NOT look like cheddar cheese?! Nailed it!
There are so many possible variations of this super-healthy kid-friendly recipe. The beauty of it is work with what you have. This is great for those last few slices of deli ham leftover from your DIY Lunchables yesterday, or that last carrot that didn’t make it into the hummus. Leftover quinoa, rice, or noodles? Done, done and done.
I always have NearEast products on hand – I use their rice variations in many recipes and their couscous is delicious fast side dish for weeknight meals. In the time it took to crack the eggs, shred the carrots and assemble the rest of the ingredients the couscous had cooked at cooled enough to add to the eggs. These mixes (and the cheese) do have some sodium so I just skipped the salt in the egg muffins. And I just love dill in eggs as well as in my favorite carrot recipe so it was a great add-on to this recipe. And ps. I should totally get some bonus points for having my nails manicured for an entire 4 weeks in a row for the first time since back when I was pregnant with Wyatt. I am winning at this multitasking business (sometimes.)
I used my mini food processor to shred the carrots. A manual hand peeler makes large pieces that won’t cook into the egg muffins properly.
Here is how I made mine (full written directions after the photos):
- 7 whole eggs
- 3/4 cup chopped ham
- 2 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- dash of garlic powder
- fresh black pepper
- 1tbsp dill
- 2 carrots, shredded
- 1 cup of prepared (cooked) NearEast Parmesan Couscous
- coconut oil or cooking spray for muffin tin
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare the couscous to the box directions. (Once cooked, remove cover, fluff with a fork to let out some steam and cool uncovered under the stove fan in a mixing bowl or on a plate. Spreading it out on a plate under the fan will hurry the cooling.)
- Add eggs, seasoning, cheese and carrots to a large mixing bowl. Once the couscous cools a bit, add to the egg mixture.
- Fold all the ingredients using a whisk. Whip in some air to make the eggs fluffy.
- Grease your muffin tin with some coconut oil. You can also use cooking spray instead.
- Add about 1/4 cup of the egg mixture to eat muffin slot. I used a 12 muffin tin but would love to try this in a mini muffin tin.
- Bake about 20-25 minutes then let sit for about 10 minutes.
- I did mine just over 30 minutes and they were slightly overcooked. I didn’t want them runny at all for the kids but if I took them out after 20-25, they would have continued cooking just enough in the muffin tin.