Baked muffin frittatas are quick and easy customizable treat

I recently became obsessed with these little crustless quiches.

They're more frittata but everyone who eats them likens them to quiche. However defined, they are quick and easy to prepare and can be filled with any of your favorite cheese, vegetable and/or meat combos.

Make sure that your vegetables are sauteed before filling the muffin tins, and any meat such as sausage and bacon is cooked. The short baking time will melt the cheese and set the eggs but not cook any of your add-ins. Since there is no crust to make, these are perfect egg bites for anyone who is watching their carbs or is gluten sensitive. But the real reason to make them is that they taste great.

These "egg muffins" are perfect for entertaining and any leftovers turn a grab-and-go breakfast into a treat. In fact, I sometimes make them just to have on hand for quick weekday breakfasts. My favorite version so far includes asparagus, mushrooms, cheddar cheese and brie as I've included in this recipe. I add pimentos and green onions for flavor and color and tend to keep them in the mix regardless of what other ingredients I choose. The great thing about baking these eggs in a muffin tin is that you can customize them for your guests. For example, you can add ham or some other meat to half of them for the meat lovers and keep half all veggies for the non-meat eaters in your group. They also offer instant portion control and are simple to serve " all you need do is bake, place in a basket or on a platter and serve.

Plus, they are a sight to behold when they are baking. At the end of the baking time, they puff up like a souffle. As they cool, they do deflate a bit but that short thrill makes the eating all the more exciting.

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BAKED MUFFIN FRITTATAS WITH ASPARAGUS AND MUSHROOMS

Servings: 12

Start to finish: 40 minutes

10 eggs

cup cream

teaspoon sea salt

Pinch of nutmeg

Butter or olive oil to coat pans

1 cup asparagus, chopped

1 heaping cup thinly sliced mushrooms

2 tablespoons butter

cup thinly sliced green onion

cup chopped pimentos

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

pound brie cheese, cut into 12 pieces

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Crack eggs into a liquid measuring cup. Whisk the eggs, cream, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.

Melt butter in a saute pan and add asparagus and mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes or until beginning to soften but the asparagus is still bright green.

Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with olive oil. Divide asparagus, mushrooms, green onion, and cheese between each muffin cup, then carefully pour egg mixture over tops until muffin tins are almost full (leave 1/4-inch space).

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

The egg muffins will look like a souffl when they come out of the oven, but they will fall after a few minutes. Let them rest in the muffin tin for a few minutes before using a rubber spatula to carefully remove each muffin. Place on a wire rack to cool for a couple of minutes to let the steam dissipate.

Enjoy immediately or let cool and transfer to a re-sealable plastic bag.

Refrigerate for up to three days. They can be eaten cold or reheated in a microwave.

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Nutrition information per serving: 199 calories; 144 calories from fat; 16 g fat (9 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 220 mg cholesterol; 336 mg sodium; 2 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 12 g protein.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Elizabeth Karmel is a barbecue and Southern foods expert. She is the chef and pit master at online retailer CarolinaCueToGo.com and the author of three books, including "Taming the Flame."

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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