A few days before my older son John was heading off to college and we were checking off the remaining items on his packing list, my laptop started acting finicky. He still needed a new pair of sneakers and wanted to replace his broken ear phones, so I scheduled an appointment for what I assumed would be an easy computer repair while we scoured the mall for John’s final requests.
Feeling accomplished, we returned to pick up my laptop only to find that there was a major issue that could not be repaired on-site. My laptop would need to be sent away.
I was told it would take three to five days at the most, so I emailed the Word documents and photos that I needed for the coming week to myself so I could access them from my iPad. The minor inconvenience was mitigated by the fact that there was one month remaining on the initial warranty, and the repair was covered.
After five days with no news, I called for a status check. My computer had been shipped to a repair center in Houston, and everything had come to a standstill because of Hurricane Harvey.
All of my photos, recipes, and columns for my weekly newspaper column and my blog are stored on my computer, so it was mildly unsettling that the employee couldn’t give me an estimate as to when it might be returned. However, given the far bigger crisis that thousands of people located in the path of the storm were suffering, I couldn’t complain. (And I do have a backup that can be accessed if a new computer becomes necessary.)
After working my way through the recipes I had retrieved prior to handing over my computer, I considered taking a week off. Then I thought of one of my go-to meals when time is tight and there’s seemingly “nothing to eat.”
At first glance it’s a breakfast recipe, but I often enjoy it as a protein-rich lunch or make a quickie dinner out of it. My fast-growing younger son likes it as a filling snack.
Precise cooking time will vary slightly depending on the microwave, mug proportions, and variations to the add-ins. The very first time I tried this method of preparation, I ended up with fully cooked eggs before I even added the extras. So I broke up the eggs, added my ham and cheese, and ate it like a scramble.
It was every bit as delicious, and I mention this for the benefit of others who may slightly overcook the eggs. That said, if you follow the instructions and cook in increasingly shorter bursts, you’ll end up with a tasty cup of eggs—and no skillet to wash.
I like to stir a spoonful or two of salsa into the cooked eggs. Feel free to experiment with the various add-ins and toppings based on personal preference and what you have on hand.
- Cooking spray or olive oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon milk*
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped bell pepper (color of choice; see notes for options**)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped ham (can omit for vegetarian option)
- 2 tablespoons shredded sharp cheddar cheese (mozzarella and Italian blend work well, too)
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Optional for serving: salsa, chopped avocado, freshly ground pepper, hot sauce
Coat the inside of a large, microwave-safe mug with cooking spray, or brush thoroughly with olive oil.
Add the eggs and milk to the prepared mug, and whisk thoroughly with a fork. Add the remaining ingredients (excluding the optional toppings), and stir to combine.
Microwave for 20 seconds on high. Remove from microwave and stir with a fork. Continue to microwave in 20 second increments, stirring after each burst, until just barely done. The last burst might be just 5-10 seconds. The eggs will continue to cook once removed from the microwave and will become rubbery if overcooked; the key to success is to stop cooking when they are a touch undercooked. Precise time will vary based on power of microwave and mug proportions. (See Tips.)
Cool slightly before eating—the eggs will be hot. Serve as is or top with salsa, avocado, hot sauce, etc.
- The small amount of milk adds lightness to the cooked eggs and helps them cook more evenly. However, the eggs can be made without. Optionally, seltzer or (unflavored) sparkling water can be used as a substitute.
- **You may experiment with this recipe, using chopped spinach in place of the bell pepper, substituting crumbled feta for the cheddar, replacing the ham with cooked and crumbled bacon, adding some sliced green onions or chives, etc. Just keep the overall proportions of add-ins to egg similar. Firmer vegetables like broccoli work better if they have been cooked first, making leftovers from last night’s dinner fair game.
- The eggs will cook first along the outside rim of the mug. When stirring, break up this area and then stir the cooked clumps into the center of the mug. This will help to cook the eggs evenly. Reducing the cooking increments to 10 seconds near the end will allow you to fine-tune the cooking process and avoid overcooking.
- For an extra quick breakfast, you may mix the cups the night before, cover with plastic wrap, and cook in the morning.
- As an option, you could use 1/2 cup of liquid egg substitute in place of the two eggs.