lola rugula red lentil chili with black beans

Eggs Benedict with Easy Hollandaise Sauce

Welcome to one of my all-time favorite meals: Eggs Benedict. (I love eggs!) A combination of a crunchy, toasted English muffin, a slice of ham or Canadian bacon, a warm and oozy perfectly-poached egg, all covered in buttery, lemony hollandaise sauce. Hello, deliciousness.

I only indulge in making eggs benedict a few times a year but whenever I do, I can always count on my husband to remind me that he never liked hollandaise sauce until he had mine. That, my friends, is a pretty big compliment. It’s an especially big compliment considering that over the many years I’ve made it, I’ve perfected an easy, microwaved hollandaise sauce that’s pretty much foolproof and not nearly as difficult as everyone thinks it is.

Before your head explodes over the supposed blasphemy of making hollandaise in a microwave, let me just say that it’s the same ingredients and the same end result as the classic version, sans the double boiler or stainless steel bowl over a pot of boiling water.

I’ve discovered that a lot of people are a little intimidated by making hollandaise sauce, often because of the double boiler method of making it.  I remember being intimidated myself when I first learned how to make it, unsure of what tempering or curdling or breaking was. Hollandaise had a reputation for being difficult to make, involving preciseness, and patience.

Pssht.

That’s just simply not true and I’m going to show you how easy hollandaise sauce is to make. Once you’ve made it in your microwave, I guarantee that you will never be intimidated by making it again. It might even inspire you to make it the old-fashioned way. 🙂

And honestly, if you’re making your hollandaise for eggs benedict like I do here, the hardest part isn’t making the hollandaise but timing everything so nothing’s ice cold when you plate it.

lola rugula easy eggs benedict with microwave hollandaise sauce

Eggs Benedict with Easy Microwave Hollandaise Sauce Recipe

Ingredients you’ll need for 2 servings of Eggs Benedict:

  • 6 eggs (4 for poaching, 2 egg yolks only, for hollandaise sauce)
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2-3 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 English muffins, split and toasted
  • 4 slices Canadian bacon
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar for poaching eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Easy Microwave Hollandaise Sauce Recipe

This makes about 1/2 cup hollandaise sauce, which is more than enough for 2 servings.

  • 5 tablespoons butter (put your good European or grass-fed butter to work here)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (or to taste – I like my hollandaise on the lemony side)
  • 2-3 healthy dashes of Tabasco sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 egg yolks

Directions:

  1. Separate yolks from 2 eggs, placing egg yolks into a small dish and setting aside whites for a later use. Whisk the yolks with a fork until well blended.
  2. Put butter, lemon juice, Tabasco, and salt into a glass bowl and microwave just until hot and melted
  3. Spoon a tablespoon of the hot butter mixture into the egg yolks and whisk well with a fork
  4. Add a second tablespoon and whisk again
  5. Scrape the egg yolk mixture into the butter mixture and whisk it all together very well

As the yolks are incorporated into the butter mixture, they’ll begin to cook. If the hollandaise is still too runny, return the whole dish to the microwave and heat in 5-second increments, stirring with a fork in between, until to your desired consistency. Hollandaise should be slightly thick but still pourable, not runny like water.

That’s it. You just made easy microwave hollandaise sauce.

If you should overheat the hollandaise, it will curdle due to the yolk cooking too much or the hot butter separating from the rest of the mixture. Don’t despair! Whisk it well and quickly with a fork or whisk until re-incorporated. You can add a teaspoon of cool water also and whisk it in, to help blend it all back together. Usually, this is all that’s needed to recover it.

lola rugula easy eggs benedict with microwave hollandaise sauce

 

Poached Eggs Recipe

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 shallow pan (I use a stainless skillet) filled 3/4 of the way with water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
What you’ll need:
  • A small bowl or ramekin
  • A slotted spoon
  • Paper towel for blotting eggs when done cooking
In the meantime:
  1. While eggs are poaching, split and toast your English muffins
To poach eggs:
  1. Add water to pan until about 2/3 full, add vinegar
  2. Bring water to a low boil
  3. Crack one egg into ramekin and then slip into the water
  4. Repeat with remaining 3 eggs
  5. Simmer eggs at a low boil for 3 minutes, using the slotted spoon to gently turn them over about 1/2 way through
  6. If needed, gently slide the spoon under the eggs if they seem to be sticking to the bottom of the pan
  7. Use the slotted spoon to remove from water and place on paper towel to drain
To plate eggs benedict:
  1. Place 2 toasted muffin halves on each plate
  2. Top each half with a slice of ham or Canadian bacon
  3. Place 1 poached egg on top of each ham-topped muffin half
  4. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of hollandaise over each egg
  5. Sprinkle with just a bit of freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  6. Serve immediately

lola rugula how to make eggs benedict and easy hollandaise

There’s something really beautiful about the mixture of textures and flavors in eggs benedict. And when you split open the poached egg, it’s an oozy, golden plate of amazingness.

As mentioned earlier, I like my hollandaise on the lemony side, so you can adjust the lemon to your taste. Sometimes I make it extra lemony, especially in the summer.

As always, don’t be afraid to play with this – place a little blanched spinach or arugula underneath the eggs, throw on a slice of roasted onion, switch out the Canadian bacon with regular bacon or crispy prosciutto….mix it up with some of your favorites.

Of course, this is especially nice when served with a bright mimosa or spicy bloody mary…all the makings for a perfect homemade Sunday brunch.

Enjoy!

lola rugula red lentil chili with black beans

asparagus frittata

I have to confess I’ve been on a bit of a frittata kick lately. I mean really, what’s not to love about something that’s so easy to make and that you can pack full of all the veggies you love?

Asparagus is growing rampant in our garden right now; it’s seriously one of the best gardening investments that I’ve ever made. It comes back in full force year after year, it’s really nutritious and, of course, it goes great with eggs. So, needless to say, asparagus frittata has been on our menu more than a few times in the last few weeks. So far, my husband isn’t complaining.

lola rugula asparagus frittata recipe

asparagus frittata recipe

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or butter)
  • 2 cups diced asparagus
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 8 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese – I used an Italian blend for this mix which consisted of mozzarella, provolone, parmesan and asiago
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 375

Over medium-high heat, heat olive oil in10-inch ceramic or other non-stick skillet.

Add asparagus and scallions and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The asparagus should still have a bit of a “bite” to it when adding the egg mixture.

While the asparagus is cooking put the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together until well-blended and frothy.

Add the egg mixture to the asparagus mixture and place in a preheated. Cook for about 18-20 minutes. When done, the center will have puffed up a bit and the edges will be just starting to turn golden. Remove from the oven, let sit 5 minutes, slice and serve.

lola rugula asparagus and scallion frittata recipe

I love a good frittata – it’s a wonderful meatless Monday dish, especially if you serve it with a mixed green salad on the side.

If you’re not a fan of asparagus, feel free to substitute your favorite veggie (or veggies) because trust me, this is great with broccoli, broccolini, sweet peppers, zucchini…use your imagination and play with your food a bit.

Enjoy!

lola rugula red lentil chili with black beans

easy asparagus with ricotta and capicola frittata

Asparagus season is upon us even though my own crop is still quite a few weeks away from delivering. Take advantage of the great deals on asparagus now and whip together this easy frittata recipe for dinner, brunch or breakfast. Of course, you can also make it vegetarian by removing the capicola. No capicola on hand? Use prosciutto or even bacon…trust me, no one’s going to complain.

asparagus-frttata-ricotta-tart-recipe

easy asparagus with ricotta and capicola frittata recipe

  • 15-16 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup freshly-shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • fresh chives, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • a few slices of capicola, diced
  • 1 lb fresh, thin asparagus spears

Preheat oven to 375°

In a bowl, whisk together everything but the asparagus. Pour into a 10-inch (or close) non-stick pan. Gently press the asparagus spears into the top of the mixture.

Bake in oven about 20 minutes, just until edges start to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Don’t sweat this if you don’t have pencil-thin asparagus! Just dice up your thicker spears and add them to the mix. Maybe not as pretty but, trust me, still delicious. I’ve done it both ways and it works like a charm. If your spears are super-huge, try blanching them first.

Of course, you can make this with any veggie you like; use your imagination and don’t be afraid to play with your food.

lola rugula red lentil chili with black beans

power balls

If you’re on Facebook or Pinterest (and really, who isn’t on at least one of them at this point), then I’m pretty sure you’ve seen a recipe for no-bake energy balls or energy bites. I’ve played around with a few of them and come up with my own version, which I like to call Power Balls. Catchy, right? I know, I’m a genius.

I already make a killer chewy breakfast bar, but these little babies are quicker, so there’s a bonus right there. And, like most recipes, this one is easy to customize to whatever your tastes are. Of course, if eggs for breakfast are more your style, I also make one heck of a veggie and egg casserole. Just sayin’.

power balls recipe (aka: energy bites)

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup hemp seed
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (raw or toasted – I’ve used both…it’s your call)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • 1/2 cup good-quality dark chocolate, chopped into bits
  • 1 generous cup nut butter, preferably organic

Combine all ingredients well in a large bowl. Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Roll into ball size of your choice and refrigerate. (feel free to roll it into one big ball, if you like. I’ve not tried this yet but it could be fun)

When mixing, I use the back of a large silicon spoon to smash everything together; toss and then repeat…it’s easier than stirring because the mix is quite thick. Once they’re well chilled, I like to roll mine into small, one-bite chunks, so this recipe makes a good 40 or so balls.

Benefits? Oats are well known for their benefits, including dietary fiber and helping to lower cholesterol levels. Hemp seeds are a good source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which are good for your heart. They are also a good source of protein and fiber. Chia seeds are also high in protein, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, plus they’re a good source of calcium. See why I call these Power Balls?

lola-rugula-energy-bites=power-balls-recipe

I always encourage you to play with your food and this recipe is no exception. Switch out the sunflower seeds with the nut of your choice (chopped almonds, cashews or hazelnuts are great, too). Or, lose the nuts and use dried berries, instead.

As far as nut butters, so far I’ve made these with almond butter, sunflower seed butter and peanut butter and they’re all tasty in their own way. You really just have to go with what you (or your family) prefer.

Enjoy!

lola rugula red lentil chili with black beans

egg and veggie casserole

Have I mentioned how much I love eggs? Probably. And, rest assured, my cholesterol levels are spectacular. Mix them with some gorgeous vegetables, especially from your garden, a bit of cream and a touch of cheese and hello easy meal.

Not only is this a great way to enjoy a good breakfast each day, it also makes an easy weeknight dinner and a tasty meatless Monday dish. This is a simple way to add veggies to your diet and amp up your antioxidant quotient for the day.

There are only a few constants in this recipe; the rest of it hinges on what veggies and cheese I have on hand. Play around with it and find out what you like most. It’s pretty tough to screw this up.

lola-rugula-egg-and-veggie-casserole-recipe

baked egg and veggie casserole

Preheat oven to 375

  • 8 large eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3-4 cups veggies, sliced, diced and, if needed, steamed
  • 1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice
  • salt and pepper

Prepare a 9 x 11 (or so) baking dish by rubbing with olive oil or butter.

If you’re using any veggies that may require a little pre-steaming, do so now. I pre-steam thick asparagus or chunky broccoli, which is about the only thing, but if you’re adding any long-cooking veggies, such as carrots, I’d pre-steam them also, for just a few minutes. Most veggies, as long as they’re diced and sliced thinly enough, will cook in the baking time allowed. Be sure and let the veggies cool (or run under cold water and strain) before adding them to your egg mixture.

In a large bowl, whip eggs and egg whites until frothy. Add half and half or cream, cheese, and salt and pepper.

Add prepared veggies to bowl and stir.

Pour mixture into prepared baking dish.

Bake for 25-35 minutes – the center of the casserole will rise up slightly as it begins to fully cook. Remove from oven when casserole begins to brown very lightly at the edges.

Let cool in pan at least 20 minutes before slicing.

lola-rugula-egg-and-veggie-casserole-recipeI love my egg casseroles! Here are some of the veggies I typically add:

  • diced onions
  • diced bell peppers
  • sliced scallions, onions or leeks
  • sliced mushrooms
  • steamed diced asparagus
  • steamed chopped broccoli
  • chopped kale or spinach
  • diced tomatoes
  • fresh or frozen green peas
  • fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • thinly-sliced Brussels sprouts

I also love to add fresh parsley, basil or tarragon when they’re in season and growing rampant in my garden.

As far as the cheese goes, go with what you love – almost any melt-able cheese works well in this. I always add a touch of Parmesan for the salty deliciousness, but take your pick. You can even stir in a little ricotta or fresh mozzarella for added creaminess.

If you like a little meat in your eggs, you can of course add some diced ham, prosciutto, salami, bacon or other meat of your choice – another great way to use leftovers.

lola-rugula-egg-and-veggie-casserole-recipe

I love my eggs over easy but I also loved them baked easy.

Don’t be afraid to play with your food! Enjoy.

lola rugula red lentil chili with black beans

homemade chewy granola bars

Just an update on my chewy granola breakfast bars. I have found that popping the pan in the oven for just 7 to 10 minutes definitely helps with holding these together, yet still keeps them chewy. I make these all the time now, mixing up the add-ins to suit my mood. I still love them no matter what I put in them!

homemade-chewy-granola-bar-recipe