Rev up your morning with eggs in rice baskets

By: Julie Cader, for the Auburn Journal
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2 cups Lundberg’s Organic Short Grain California Brown Rice
3 ½ cups of water
1 pound uncured bacon
1 tablespoon bacon grease
½ cup red and yellow peppers, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 Kumato (brown) tomatoes, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
½ teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 eggs, beaten
12 oz. shredded cheddar cheese (I used cheese with jalapenos for extra pop)
Olive oil or cooking spray for tins
12 eggs for wells
3 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

Sauté bacon until cooked. Drain and chop.
Cook rice according to directions on package, adding bacon grease to the water before cooking.
Add all chopped vegetables and herbs to the cooked rice.
Stir in bacon, seasonings, beaten eggs and cheese. Blend well.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Generously grease bottom and sides of muffin tins with olive oil or cooking spray.
Spoon rice mixture into tins, making a well in the center of each muffin. Bake for 15 minutes.
Pull tins from oven, and using the back of a large spoon, gently press sides to create larger wells. Add an egg to each well and top with salt and pepper. Place back in oven for 15 minutes.
Remove tins from oven.
Add chives to top of eggs.
Let baskets cool about 5 minutes before unmolding.
Loosen the edges with a butter knife by gently moving it around the edges.
Freeze any remaining baskets, then heat them in the microwave in minutes for a filling start to your day.

Looking for a fun brunch recipe or a grab-from-the-freezer breakfast?
Try making ahead a batch of rice baskets, and that’s one less thing you have to do in the morning.
Two jumbo muffin tins will make 12 yummy meals.
Julie Cader is an Auburn resident and manager of finance and administration at the California Rice Commission in Sacramento.