There’s nothing as representative of spring like eggs. That’s why one of our family’s favorite Easter activities is dying eggs in pastel shades of pink, yellow, blue and green.
These nutritional, delicious and versatile foods signal new birth, new life, and lots of good eating.
Fresh chicken eggs have a taste all their own, just as freshly picked vegetables from the garden do. If anyone raises a few chickens in the backyard, or has a neighbor who sells her extras, we are indeed fortunate.
We have a flock of geese in our backyard. They begin laying in March and keep it up until about July. I’ve allowed a few to hatch, but most of these huge, white eggs that make perfect, three-egg omelets are eaten by us, or given to family and friends. Goose eggs are milder than chicken eggs because these large birds are vegetarian, while chickens will eat virtually anything. I’m in hopes of having my own small chicken flock within the next couple of months.
Eggs contain protein, B vitamins and folate. And recent studies have shown that they don’t contain as much cholesterol as once believed, so those of us who are egg lovers can eat them more often.
We often think of preparing eggs only at breakfast, but they also provide a wonderfully delicious brunch, lunch or supper. Omelets or frittatas can be filled with a variety of different vegetables, cheeses, and herbs.
Scrambled eggs can also be mixed with milk, seasoning and partially-boiled potatoes, peppers, mushrooms, and other ingredients. Many sauces use eggs for thickening, and who doesn’t like hard-cooked eggs (we always called them hard-boiled), as part of or the main ingredient in salads and sandwiches.
As Mainers, we were likely brought up on brown eggs. White eggs are a relatively recent introduction in our supermarkets. Our eggs were mostly brown, because the chickens who laid them had dark feathers and were most likely Rhode Island reds or crosses of the breed. White eggs come from white chickens. And occasionally, the backyard flock will produce green- or pink-tinted eggs. Whatever the color, what’s inside is the same.
A scrumptious egg casserole or frittata would be a perfect dish for an Easter morning brunch. Here is a great idea to serve the family Easter morning.
This casserole is just right for serving on Easter morning. Accompany it with cold orange juice, thick slices of toast with butter and jam, and lots of hot coffee and the meal is complete. Substitute low fat cheese or butter varieties for a slightly lower-caloried dish, if desired.
Easter Egg Casserole (12 servings)
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons butter or butter substitute
5 or 6 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced and sautéed
3 or 4 sliced green onions
one-half cup chopped red bell pepper
2 cups diced cooked turkey ham
1 and three-quarters cups milk
one-half cup flour
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley, or about 1 tablespoon dried
one-half teaspoon dried basil
one-half teaspoon salt
one-quarter teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine the cheeses in a small bowl. Place three cups of the cheese mixture in a 9x12-inch, vegetable sprayed baking dish. Melt the butter in a large fry pan. Cook and stir in the mushrooms, onions and red pepper until tender. Spread sautéed vegetables over the cheese.
Sprinkle the remaining one cup of cheese over the vegetables. In a small bowl, beat the eggs well. Mix in the milk, flour, basil, salt and pepper. Gradually pour over the cheese and vegetable mixture. Sprinkle a little morning fresh parsley atop the mixture. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes, then cut and serve.
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