Everyday in the summer of 1997, I hauled my cookies in at 5am to start the percolator, fire up the grill, and lug 50 pounds of Happy Meal toys out of the sub-basement. My early morning co-workers were a sweet 72-year-old, a slightly retarded janitor, and a middle-aged woman that had no business dealing with the public. On good days, I got to take orders from the drive-through, and didn’t have to face anyone for a few hours. On bad days, entire buses of senior citizens would argue with me over the price of a 60-cent cup of coffee.
During that time, I learned the menu backwards and forwards, including basic nutritional information for most of the meals. While the Deluxe breakfast would melt your aorta, I was always pleasantly surprised at the Egg McMuffin. An egg, a muffin, a slice of Canadian bacon, and a dollop of cheese would come in around 300 calories, which still stands as one of the leanest fast food breakfasts around. Plus, they were (and are) delicious. I know. I ate one every morning for three months.
After last week’s Strata, I had a bunch of leftover Canadian bacon, and decided to give homemade Egg McMuffins a shot. Happily, it wasn’t rocket science, and ten minutes of cooking time scored me two eminently edible imitations of the real thing. Even better, no one yelled at me afterward.
So! For your McMuffining pleasure, here are step-by-step instructions for homemade Mickey D’s. Of course, there are a few things to know first:
1) If you don’t have an egg ring handy (and who does?), try a THOROUGHLY WASHED tuna can with the lids pried off. (NOTE: Don’t use a Bumblebee can. The bottom lid sticks outward, making it nearly impossible to remove. See the pics below? It took ten minutes of straight-up wrestling to create that hole. In the end, it was big enough to pour the egg through, but I almost lost a thumb in the process.)
2) For a more McDonalds-like experience, go with American Cheese. Then, have a 62-year-old retiree berate you because his coffee was too hot.
3) The muffins aren’t browned in a toaster for two reasons: A) they’re harder to hold, and B) I like ‘em better this way.
4) At $0.93 a serving, these should be cheaper than your local Mickey D’s. If not, look at it this way: you don’t have to deal with the tall girl behind the counter. You know – the one with the 1000-yard stare, whose only thought is, “Man, I can’t wait to get back to school. This nametag is making my boobs itch.”
Makes 2 McMuffins
2 English muffins, split in half
2 slices Canadian bacon
2 large eggs
1 ounce reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, grated (I prefer Cracker Barrel)
Salt and pepper to taste
1) Coat a medium non-stick pan with cooking spray and heat on medium-high. Once pan is warm, place English muffins facedown on pan. Squish lightly with a spatula, so they get evenly browned.
2) While muffins are toasting, break one egg into a cup. Break its yolk with a fork, but DON’T beat the egg.
3) When muffins have been lightly toasted (about 3 minutes), place them on a plate and IMMEDIATELY sprinkle grated cheese on one side. This will get the melting process started.
4) Re-coat the pan with cooking spray. (Note: if you have a gas oven, do this away from the stovetop to avoid a fire.) Place the Canadian bacon in the pan. Place an egg ring OR thoroughly washed tuna can (with both lids removed) on the pan. Pour the egg into the ring. If some should leak out the bottom, no worries. You can flip it later.
5) After 2 or 3 minutes, the egg should be pretty set, so cut it out of the ring and flip it over. Then, add egg #2 to the ring. Flip the bacon while you're at it, too.
6) After another minute or so, egg #1 should be finished. Place it on top of one of the cheese-covered muffin halves, and add salt and pepper to taste. Then, add a slice of Canadian bacon and top with the other muffin half. Press down lightly with a spatula so the egg will finish melting the cheese.
7) Repeat steps 5 and 6 with the remaining ingredients.
8) Take a blog picture in front of a sufficient light source.
9) Serve and eat with glee.
Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
283 calories, 12.4 g fat, $0.93
Cooking spray: 0 calories, 0 g fat, $0.04
2 English muffins, split in half: 240 calories, 2 g fat, $0.38
2 slices Canadian bacon: 89 calories, 4 g fat, $0.79
2 large eggs: 147 calories, 9.9 g fat, $0.38
1 ounce reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, grated: 90 calories, 9 g fat, $0.25
Salt and pepper to taste: 0 calories, 0 g fat, $0.02
TOTAL: 566 calories, 24.9 g fat, $1.86
PER SERVING (TOTAL/2): 283 calories, 12.4 g fat, $0.93