Using our leftovers and getting more creative with the basics is helping me mix up the menu during quarantine…I just had to learn to embrace failed experiments!
It’s been a little challenging lately to keep the menu fresh and varied because: lockdown. Even with the grocery stores still open, there’s no guarantee they will have the ingredients I need to make any of the bazillion new recipes I have stashed in the kitchen cupboard. Which means we pretty much are eating from the freezer, and I have to get inventive with some simple foods that haven’t sold out yet.
Thus BFD – Breakfast For Dinner – seemed like a good idea: I could use up some leftover Easter ham, the remaining shredded swiss bought for a dinner last week, the extra mushrooms dear hubby bought by mistake, and a bag of frozen shredded hashbrowns.
We’re big fans of those breakfast bowl meals with the potatoes, eggs, meat and cheese all in one, and dear hubby is a big fan of Crackerbarrel ®’s ‘Egg in a basket’. This led my mind to birth the idea of hashbrown-nested egg, ham, mushroom and swiss muffins.
I started by buttering my giant muffin pan to keep the potatoes from sticking, then arranged my thawed hashbrowns into a birds’ nest shape across the bottoms and up the sides, leaving room in the middle for the ham, sautéed mushrooms, and swiss.
After seasoning the nests with salt and pepper, I added a spoonful or two of the ham and mushroom mixture to the centers and topped it with a few pinches of shredded swiss. My muffin tin makes six jumbo-sized muffins, but with so much room taken up by the goodies, I scaled the eggs back a little and used five, beaten with a splash of milk. I filled the muffin holes up about 2/3 of the way with the egg, seasoned again with salt and pepper, and plopped these into the oven to bake for about 20 minutes.
And that’s where my good idea ‘experiment’ failed. The potatoes stuck despite the butter – did I try to remove them too quickly? – and the muffins fell apart. Worse, they had almost ZERO flavor! How could that happen with cremini mushrooms, swiss, and mustard-glazed Easter ham?
With enough ingredients left for another batch, I decided I’d try and improve the second one with seasonings I SHOULDN’T have overlooked the first time: garlic, onions, and herbs. So the potatoes got a healthy dose of garlic salt instead of plain ole table salt, the ham and mushrooms got mixed with a little thyme and some minced onion. These smelled much better when baking, and I allowed them to cool a bit before removing them from the muffin tin. The final result looked pretty….
….but still lacked that ‘wow’ factor I was after taste-wise. Will I make these again? Probably not, because I was underwhelmed, especially considering the amount of prepping and cooking that went into these. But guess what? That’s okay. It’s okay that I tried something that didn’t turn out the way I had anticipated and expected because life and cooking are journeys. Not every choice is going to be the right one, but every choice ALWAYS offers a chance to learn. As for me, I’ve learned that before I can make mistakes that become opportunities, I have to first be willing to fail 😊.
Had a similar idea that didn’t meet your expectations? Tell us about it – let’s sympathize together!
For recipes that were more successful, try our Surf and Turf Grillables, Cheesy Mushroom Scampi Bread Boats, or Mushroom-Stuffed Flounder with Roasted Parmesan Asparagus!