Friday, February 5, 2016

Kitchen Adventures: Easy Breakfast Muffins

Hello! Welcome to the first installment of a brand new segment on the blog: Kitchen Adventures! This segment will share new recipes I've tried, some family classics, tips, budget notes, and views into my small apartment kitchen. I'm sure this segment will evolve, but let's get started. To give you some background, I've recently put myself on a very tight budget. I've allotted myself $100 per month for groceries, but realistically, I should keep it way below that. I really do love to cook and bake, so I'm diving more into that hobby.

My biggest "dining out" expense each month has always been breakfast. Sometimes lunch too, but breakfast is the big downfall. I've simply been lazy in the mornings and never took the time to prepare breakfast. This is where today's recipe comes in. I started with this Easy Breakfast Muffin recipe from Play Party Plan and then made modifications. After you've been cooking for a while, you learn where, when, and how to make some adjustments to recipes to fit your tastes. It's no surprise that I don't like bacon, so I used sausage.

Here are the ingredients. It's hard to see, but since my kitchen is so small that I have gotten a large cutting board to cover part of my sink to supply more counter space. Since I didn't want to buy frozen hashbrowns and I had just bought potatoes, I decided to make my own hashbrowns.

This peeler was a long awaited Christmas gift and I absolutely love it! I hate to peel potatoes and this makes it kind of fun. I started with 6 potatoes, but by the end, I only needed about 4 for this recipe.

While I was peeling and shredding potatoes, I got the sausage cooking on the stove. Definitely use your exhaust fan when cooking anything like sausage or hamburger. If not, it's possible your kitchen and clothes will smell of grease.

Once the potatoes were shredded, they were place into a big bowl of cold water to keep them fresh and to pull out the starch. Starch is what makes potatoes turn brown when peeled and cut. Soaking them also keeps them from getting mushy. I place a colander in my bowl to make it easier later.

When the sausage was done cooking, I mixed it in with my eggs and cheese. This does not look very appetizing at the moment. At this point I was getting a little concerned because I was wondering if these muffins would taste like breakfast burritos. In the past breakfast burritos have not settled in my stomach, so I don't eat them. But, I was too far into this so I kept going.

Here's where it got a little messy. Using a cheesecloth, I squeezed the excess water out of my hashbrowns. This is were the colander came in handy. Can you see that yucky brown water? That's the starch.

The hashbrowns were placed into the bottom of a muffin tin sprayed with cooking spray and baked for a little bit to crisp them up. Mine didn't really crisp up, so I kept going. Pouring the egg/sausage mixture into the tin, I had exactly enough for 12 muffins; with about 2 cups of hashbrowns left over (they were placed in the freezer).

I cooked them a little bit longer than the recipe called for because I know my oven always takes a little bit longer to cook. The muffins looked good and I was excited to try them. After they cooled, I got frustrated because they would not come out of the pan. I struggled to keep them together as I tried to get them out of my pan. There ended up being a little bit of the hashbrowns left in the bottom of the pan, so I soaked the pan in soapy water for about 36 hours (after checking every 12 to see if the mess has loosened up). Then, I ended up having to run the pan through the dishwasher no less than 3 times before it was clean. I have no idea how to fix this problem.

The Review: After considering the size of the muffins, the best serving size was 2 muffins in the morning. I was excited to try them and the first day, they weren't that bad. They did remind me a little of a breakfast burrito, though. By the second day, I thought they needed a little ketchup (I usually eat ketchup on my scrambled eggs). This helped, but I struggled with the texture. Personally, I generally only like eggs that have been scrambled or are on a sandwich. If you are one that likes quiche style eggs (i.e. baked), you will like this recipe. Sadly, I am not one of those people. I couldn't find it in myself to finish the batch and many muffins went to waste. That was a sad day.

In my opinion, I believe are best when served and eaten fresh, like at a brunch with a few people or something. I'm not sure if this is a recipe I will cook again simply because I did not like the texture.

Here's a rough breakdown of the cost:

Potatoes: about $.80 (a 5 lb. bag cost me $1.98, and I estimate I used about 2 lbs.)
Eggs: $2.00 (I ended up using 8 eggs for this recipe)
Sausage: Free, from my parents
Milk: a half gallon cost me about $3, but I only used a little bit, so I can't calculate
Cheese: $.75 (I ended up using half the bag)

This recipe cost me less than $4.00 and provided enough servings for 6 days, so that ends up being about $.67 per serving. Not bad! It definitely beat spending $4/day on breakfast. The rest of the week, I ate oatmeal with brown sugar. I did not buy breakfast. Go Me!

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