Protein Packed Make-Ahead Mini Frittatas

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On Sunday evenings during the school year, I make 36 mini frittatas.

I know, I know, who needs 36 mini frittatas?

Nobody would ask that if I was making cookies, that would be perfectly understandable. Making 3 dozen cookies is when a recipe feels worth the effort. But there’s usually sugar, chocolate, and other ingredients that aren’t great for breakfast involved in cookies so who wouldn’t want 36 of them? And that’s not even talking about for sharing.

But frittatas? Eggs and veggies? Sure, they can be great but who really needs 36?

For starters: brunch. Can you imagine 3 dozen darling little frittatas stacked and displayed for a dozen or so of your closest friends over at your place for Sunday brunch? It would be so charming and everyone would think you were the best at brunching. They would probably be right too.

Brunch would be a lovely reason to make 36 frittatas.

That has never been my reason for making 36 frittatas.

Personally I do it because on any given day during the school year I’m trying to get myself, my husband, and anywhere from 2-6 children fed, clothed, packed, and out the door by 7am. (I have 6 children with various schedules, it depends on the day as to who is going where.) There are 8 of us to feed and somehow get dressed. Since I will say on average “please put on your pants” 73 times, “you need to wear a shirt” 41 times, “didn’t you just have your socks” nearly 106 times, and of course “You have to be kidding me, where are your shoes” close to 312 times each morning Monday-Friday, breakfast needs to not be time consuming but it needs to be healthy. And something I can toss at my kids as they’re stuffing their feet into the magically elusive shoes when we’re walking out the door. If there are 36 already made mini frittatas in the fridge or freezer, this means our chance of actually eating is higher than their chance of finding their shoes. This is why I make 3 dozen frittatas on Sunday evening.

This is my attempt at having my life together, pretending to be organized, and making mornings smoother.

You would think this means we are never late. You would be wrong.

Because doing 1 thing or even 2 that are organized and prepared doesn’t change two crucial facts:

I am not organized.

Children are involved.

In our family of 8 at least 3 of us have high protein needs, particularly in the mornings (I think it is more like 8 of us but I’m not going to try to convince them of that). If we start off with a high carb breakfast without a good dose of protein we’re going to be feeling yucky, irritable, and falling asleep by 9am if not sooner. Since I am one of those 3 people, a carby start to the day pretty much means everyone has a crabby start to the day. Because when mom isn’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Combine the protein needs with the low nutritional value of most cereals, we aim for a quick and easy tasty protein choice that is usually egg based.

These 36 mini frittatas fit the bill. And make for a happy mom.

The size means that the teens can eat as many as they need, (usually 2-4) and the little kids can have just the right amount for them (usually 1-2). Customizable little bites, we change them a little every week. One week we’ll be eating broccoli bacon and cheese protein packed mini frittatas and the next we’ll be eating sausage asparagus, tomato protein packed mini frittatas. Add a bit of salsa, tomatoes, and black beans and we’re having Tex-Mex bites. Next time chop some black olives, green onions, marinated artichoke hearts, and pancetta and we’re going Mediterranean inspired. Everybody awaits Monday morning breakfast with anticipation of “I wonder what the frittata surprise will be this week?”

Ok, that’s not true. But after a week of having pretty much eaten the same thing for breakfast nearly every day, they do seem happy for a change. “Oh look, we finally get a break from broccoli, it’s another green veggie instead… wait, no, it’s broccoli again. She just pureed it.”

I like broccoli and as a frozen vegetable it does very well and I almost always have some in the freezer. But in late summer when we have 600 zucchinis I really like zucchini mini frittatas so see, sometimes I go wild and really do change things up.

This recipe is one I created after a few years of tweaking and experimenting. It is meant to be flexible and leave room for creativity. It isn’t an exact science. If you find you like them more eggy, add more eggs or take away some of the filling. If you don’t do dairy, make them dairy-free. If you don’t do meat, leave out the meat. If you don’t do broccoli… don’t tell me. Change up the mix-ins however strikes your fancy or that your children will eat. The point of these little darlings is to simplify life, not make it more complicated. Make them your own.

And I hope you get to serve them for brunch. Nobody would even know you made them the week before if you did.

Make-ahead family friendly breakfast

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Protein Packed Make-Ahead Mini Frittatas
Bake time: 18 minutes at 350.

12-18 eggs*
3/4 C unsweetened milk of your choice (dilute almond milk 2:1)
3 tbsp of your favorite fresh herbs (we used parsley, basil, and chives)
OR
3 tsp of your favorite dried fresh herbs (i.e. rosemary, sage, oregano, etc.)
1 C cooked quinoa (be sure to rinse before cooking)
1/4 tsp salt (slightly more if not using a salty meat option)
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 C precooked to tender chopped veggies (broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus, onions, peppers, etc.)
1 C choice of shredded or crumbled cheese, optional (mozzarella, cheddar, blue, parmesan, gouda etc.)
5 oz of you favorite breakfast meat, cooked (ground sausage, bacon, ham, ground beef, turkey, etc.)
Oil, butter, or nonstick cooking spray of your choice for greasing tins (we used Kerrygold butter)

Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Add in other ingredients and mix well. Fill greased muffin tins 3/4 full using a ladle, be sure to get down to the bottom of the bowl for even distribution of filling. Bake on middle rack for 18 minutes. Remove from oven when tops begin to golden, set on wire racks in tins for 5 minutes. With a table knife, go around each frittata to loosen, remove from tin and cool on wire racks. Store in airtight container.

Makes 36.

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These will stay good in the refrigerator for 5 days, the freezer for a good few months. Freeze in small batches to defrost only what you need. Reheat in microwave (30 seconds) or toaster oven (10 minutes in a preheated toaster oven).**

*Number of eggs used depends on how eggy you like it. I usually use somewhere between 12-15. Fewer eggs will make it more cake-like, more eggs will make it more like a true frittata and be more like scrambled eggs.

**I recommend the toaster oven if possible, the taste is better, the heating is even, and the texture is consistent. Microwaves can do strange things to food, specially eggs.

Don’t think you have room in the freezer for 36 mini frittatas? Here’s the reduced version of the same flexible recipe:

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Small-Batch Protein Packed Make-Ahead Mini Frittatas
Bake time: 18 minutes at 350.

5 eggs
1/3 C unsweetened milk of your choice (if using almond milk, use 2 Tablespoons with 1 Tbsp water)
3 tsp of your favorite fresh herbs (we used parsley, basil, and chives)
OR
1 tsp of your favorite dried fresh herbs (i.e. rosemary, sage, oregano, etc.)
1/3 C cooked quinoa (be sure to rinse before cooking)
1/8 tsp of salt (slightly more if not using a salty meat option)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 C precooked chopped veggies, tender (broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus, onions, peppers, etc.)
1/4 C choice of shredded or crumbled cheese, optional (mozzarella, cheddar, blue, parmesan, gouda etc.)
1.25 oz of you favorite breakfast meat, cooked (ground sausage, bacon, ham, ground beef, turkey, etc.)
Oil, butter, or nonstick cooking spray of your choice for greasing tins (we used Kerrygold butter)

Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Add in other ingredients and mix well. Fill greased muffin tins 3/4 full using a ladle, be sure to get down to the bottom of the bowl for even distribution of filling. Bake on middle rack for 18 minutes. Remove from oven when tops begin to golden, set on wire racks in tins for 5 minutes. With a table knife, go around each frittata to loosen, remove from tin and cool on wire racks. Serve warm.

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And last but not least, just for funsies:
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Protein Packed Individual Frittata
Bake time: 15 minutes at 350.

1-2 eggs
1 tbsp unsweetened milk of your choice (if using almond milk, use 2 Tablespoons with 1 Tbsp water)
1/4 tsp (dash) of your favorite fresh herbs (we used parsley, basil, and chives)
OR
1/8 tsp (pinch) of your favorite dried fresh herbs (i.e. rosemary, sage, oregano, etc.)
1 tbsp cooked quinoa (be sure to rinse before cooking)
pinch tsp of salt (slightly more if not using a salty meat option)
bigger pinch of ground black pepper
1/8 C of precooked chopped veggies, tender (broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus, onions, peppers, etc.)
1 tbsp choice of shredded or crumbled cheese, optional (mozzarella, cheddar, blue, parmesan, gouda etc.)
Some of you favorite breakfast meat, cooked (ground sausage, bacon, ham, ground beef, turkey, etc.)
Oil, butter, or nonstick cooking spray of your choice for greasing tins (we used Kerrygold butter)

Preheat oven to 350 (toaster oven works well for this). In small bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Add in other ingredients and mix well. Fill greased small Mason jar, mug, or 3.5” cast iron skillet, fill with egg mixture. Bake on middle rack for 15 minutes. Remove from oven when tops begin to golden, set on wire racks for 5 minutes. With a table knife, go around the individual frittata to loosen, remove from tin and cool on wire racks. Serve warm.

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What mix-ins would you want to try in your mini-frittatas? What other breakfast and morning survival strategies do you use?

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