Niagara Gazette

March 31, 2013

EGGS-TRAVAGANZA

Special to the Gazette
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Nearly 200 million eggs are purchased for Easter celebrations in the U.S. every year. Whether young or young-at-heart, hard-boiling eggs and then decorating them is a favorite family pastime that brings out the creative side in everyone.

According to a recent American Egg Board survey, nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of respondents say their families decorate one to two dozen eggs each year.

“Eggs are like a blank canvas — the decorating possibilities are endless, and you don’t have to stick to a standard store-bought kit,” says Sabrina Soto, HGTV interior designer. “In addition to dyeing eggs in beautiful colors, dress them up with items already sitting in your kitchen or closet like scraps of ribbon, buttons, glitter or even confetti.”

Try these delicious and festive recipes:

•Breakfast Biscuit Quiches are a perfect start to any meal, and only take 30 minutes to prepare. Serve them to your guests on a platter as finger food.

• Benedict Strata is a delicious make-ahead entree choice for the big day.

Don’t forget, the week after Easter is National Egg Salad Week. Hard-boil more eggs and put them to good use in a classic egg salad or breakfast egg spread.

•••

Breakfast Biscuit Quiches

Easy individual quiches for a fun, kid-friendly weekday breakfast or a simple appetizer.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20-25 minutes

Servings: 10 mini quiches

2/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese

1/3 cup finely chopped ham

1/4 cup finely chopped green onions

3 eggs

2 Tbsp. milk

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

1 pkg. 12 oz.; refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine cheese, ham and green onions in small bowl; mix well. Beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper in medium bowl until blended.

Separate biscuits; press or roll each into a 5-inch round on lightly floured surface. Place 1 biscuit in each of 10 greased muffin cups, leaving the 2 cups in center of pan empty. Press biscuits firmly against bottom and sides of cups and form rim at top.

Spoon 2 Tbsp. cheese mixture into each cup. Pour in egg mixture, dividing evenly.

Bake in center of 350°F oven until filling is set and biscuits are deep golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan; serve warm.

•••

Benedict Strata

An easy make ahead take on the original eggs Benedict, this strata combines eggs with Canadian-style bacon, English muffins and lemon.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50-60 minutes

Servings: 6 servings

1 pkg. (12 oz.) English muffins

6 slices Canadian-style bacon, chopped (4 oz.)

6 eggs

1-1/2 cups milk

2 Tbsp. mayonnaise

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 tsp. freshly grated lemon peel

Split muffins; cut into 1-inch pieces. Place 1/2 of the pieces in single layer in greased 8-inch square baking dish. Top with 1/2 of the bacon. Repeat layers with remaining muffin pieces and bacon.

Beat eggs, milk, mayonnaise, lemon juice and lemon peel in large bowl until blended. Slowly pour over layers in baking dish. Refrigerate, covered, several hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 350°F. Remove strata from refrigerator; uncover and let stand while oven heats. Bake in center of 350°F oven until puffed, golden and knife inserted near center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.

•••

Breakfast Egg Spread

A creamy hard-boiled egg spread. Pair with toasted baguette slices for a crowd-pleasing snack or appetizer.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Servings: Makes about 1-3/4 cups

6 Hard-boiled eggs, peeled

1/4 cup refrigerated ranch dip

2 Tbsp. minced green onion

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

2 Tbsp. chopped fully-cooked bacon

Whole grain baguette slices or bagels, toasted

Place eggs, ranch dip, green onion, salt and pepper in food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. SPOON into serving bowl. Top with bacon.

Serve with toasted bagels or baguette slices.

•••

Classic Egg Salad

This creamy egg salad can be layered with crunchy lettuce on whole wheat toast for a simple sandwich, or stuffed into cherry tomatoes for an impressive appetizer.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

6 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp. minced onion

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

Lettuce leaves

Reserve 4 center egg slices for garnish, if desired. Chop remaining eggs.

Mix mayonnaise, lemon juice, onion, salt and pepper in medium bowl. Add chopped eggs and celery; mix well. Refrigerate, covered, to blend flavors.

Serve on lettuce leaves; garnish with reserved egg slices.