Introduction: How to Make "Dad's Eggs"
I am not a particular fan of eggs, I just don't like the taste of them that much. But I know they are good for you so I have always looked for ways to make them taste more like something that is not so eggy. When I became a single father of 3 (ages 7,11,& 12 ) and the need arose to make nutritious breakfasts I started experimenting a lot to make better tasting scrambled eggs. (Better tasting to me at least.) Apparently I was somewhat successful because years later I have heard my grown up kids comment about other eggs. When asked how they like the eggs I have heard them say, "They are OK, but their not Dad's eggs". I promised them to write the recipe down, although it was always been in flux (changing), so they could make it themselves. So, this instructable is about how to make "dad's Eggs".
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Step 1: A 2 Stage Recipe
I found the best way to do this is in two stages or parts.
Start with ham. Ham is not mandatory, I have used sausage, bacon and hamburger and combination of them but I think the best results are with just ham. So slice up, or dice, whatever, just cut it up into little pieces. How much? Um, sometimes that amounts to however much you have at the time. I am a big fan of freezing so I learned to take a big ham and cut it up and store it in smaller containers. A container might make 2 or 3 batches of eggs. I measured it out this time and it was 1 1/2 cups cut up. I should have gone for 2 cups so lets just call it 2 cups of chopped ham.
Put it in a non stick skillet and set it on low, on my stove "2". just a notch up from low.
Next add celery. My daughter is not a big fan of celery but I think it adds to the mix of flavors. Use about 3 big stalks and cut it up like the ham. How much is that measured out? I don't know. It makes a nice size pile on the cutting board. Put it in with the ham and put a lid on the skillet to keep the water in while this starts to get warm.
Note: The cut up stuff in the pictures is not the full amount. I keep adding to the skillet as I go, that way if somebody knocks it on the floor while helping you don't loose everything. Also when you thaw the ham you will likely have water/juice, just throw that in the skillet too, also any ice in the container. Its all good stuff, don't waste it.
Step 2: Add Peppers and Spices
Next add about the same amount of cut up green peppers (other colors work too) as you did celery. In my picture you see frozen peppers added to the skillet. I have fresh ones in the summer from the garden. In the fall I pick all the ones left and cut them up and freeze them. They last for several years in freezer bags.
After the peppers have thawed out mix it all and spread it out in a uniform layer to cook.
Now come the secret ingredients. You can use fresh onion but I usually use dried.
Add a tablespoon of Minced onion, a teaspoon or maybe a half tablespoon of garlic, depending on how much you like garlic, Sprinkle it all on top of the mix in the skillet.
Then add the Oregano. A good tablespoon to 1 1/2 tablespoons. If your Oregano smells a little week then add more, if it smells really strong add a little less. You can also add some Italian seasoning mix but I prefer the straight Oregano.
Mix it all together and put the lid on. It should now be starting to simmer. You want the celery to cook a little before you add the next ingredient.
Step 3: Cheese
The next secret ingredient is cheese.
I always use a variety, never just one kind.
For sure add Mozzarella, and at least a cheddar. Cojack is good too.
I also usually add a chunk of Velveeta, its melts fast and adds flavor. How much is a chunk, try a one inch slice from a 2 lb loaf. I have also used nacho cheese, the kind you get in the big cans at Sam's Club. A couple of table spoons of that adds an interesting flavor.
You might notice that I wrote dates on the cheese packages. Actually I write the date on everything I buy. It makes it a lot easier than trying to find the little expiration dates the manufacturer writes on them. If I have a dozen jars of spaghetti sauce in the pantry its really easy to find the oldest one so I can use that first.
How much cheese to use?
What is on the plate is how much I used. Just cut some thick slices off, give a few to the helpers, and put the rest in the skillet.
Spread the cheese out on top of the mix and put the lid back on. Let it start melting.
Step 4: Mix the Eggs
In a large bowl start cracking eggs. I used 15 for this batch. Wow, that's a lot of eggs you might think. Well one of the wonderful things about this recipe is that you can freeze the leftovers. Break it up into breakfast sized portions and put it in individual containers. So you cook it once but server it maybe 4 times.
When you scramble the eggs add some milk to it, in this case about a cup. Beat them until they are well mixed and then set them aside.
You might have noticed that I didn't put any pepper or hot sauce in with the spices in the other step. Well, I don't like hot stuff. One of my kids though loves it. So he has his bottle of hot sauce that he puts on his eggs and this way we are both happy.
I also didn't add any salt. The ham has salt in it and its usually enough. If you want salt then sprinkle it on after its cooked. Also the preserved tomatoes have salt in them, Oh we didn't get that far yet.
Step 5: Stir
As the cheese starts melting begin mixing it all up. You should now have a mix of bubbly cheese and vegetables and ham slowly cooking.
Time to add the tomatoes.
Step 6: Tomatoes
Opening a bottle of preserved tomatoes from your garden is like opening a saved summer day. Take a slice out of the bottle and taste it and its got that same vine fresh flavor. Its amazing.
If you don't have your own then a store can of tomatoes will do OK.
Maybe if this is a good tomato year I will do an instructable on canning tomatoes. Its actually pretty easy, I mean if I can do it ---.
This is a quart jar and I put about half of it into the eggs.
Add the tomatoes in and gently stir them in with the rest, The reason for doing it now is the tomatoes are already cooked. If you added them at the beginning they would now have been reduced to pulp. So as a final step in this part we add the tomatoes and try not to break them up to much.
Step 7: Now for Stage 2, Add the Eggs
Once the mix in the skillet is ready you can add the eggs that you scrambled.
Poor the whole bowl in and gently mix it. Turn the heat up to medium. This part takes about 1/2 an hour to cook.
As the eggs start heating up on the bottom they will start to coagulate (I don't know if there is a better word for that). They get thick. Scrape them off the bottom and lift them up. This keeps them from scorching on the bottom. The mix will go from soup to solid as you stir it. Keep scraping the sides and the bottom until the mix stops sticking to the skillet.
Once it no longer sticks to the pan then its a matter of cooking the water out of it. There is a lot of water from the tomatoes and other ingredients. After the eggs firm up all the leftover water and juice sinks to the bottom of the skillet. As the water boils off it concentrates the flavors. So stir it occasionally to prevent it from burning and let the water go to the bottom. The eggs will become firm and will look like scrambled eggs should. When you can move a spoonful aside and see that there is only a small amount of liquid on the bottom then its done cooking.
Step 8: Add Toast and Eat
One of the neat things about this recipe is that its got almost all of the major food groups. You have your green stuff and red stuff, your yellow stuff and white stuff. some brown stuff. The toast adds the grain.
Its a lot of work to make. That is one of the reasons that I make it in big batches, like I said cook once and eat many times. But it tastes really good, even I like it, And my kids really liked it, enough so that it got its own name, Dad's eggs.
Buy the way, if it appears that a lot of the ingredients are similar to what goes into a pizza, well, maybe it does taste a little like one. I suppose that's what helps to make it good.