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Trendy jars make traditional Easter treat a breeze


For each jar:

1⁄2 cup baby spinach leaves, chopped

1 slice English muffin, toasted, buttered and cubed

1 slice Canadian bacon, chopped

2 tablespoons grated cheese

1 large egg

1 to 2 drops hot sauce (optional)

Prepare jars: Layer, in order, the spinach, cubed muffin, Canadian bacon. Top with half the cheese and break egg gently on top. Add remaining cheese and a drop of hot sauce if desired.

In a deep saucepan just large enough to hold all the jars, bring 2 inches of water to a rolling boil. Carefully set jars into water, cover the pot and lower heat to a gentle simmer. Cook about 7 minutes or until eggs are just set but yolks are still runny.

Or: Place jars into a deep baking pan and pour 2 inches boiling water around the jars. Place into 350-degree oven and bake about 20 minutes until eggs are just set but yolks are still runny.

To make ahead: Layer spinach,
muffin, Canadian bacon and part of the cheese into each jar. When ready to cook, add egg and remaining cheese and optional hot sauce. Proceed as above.

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Updated: April 8, 2014 9:01PM

In our extended family, we celebrate being together for holidays and special occasions by gathering around the table for a breakfast of Eggs Benedict.

Over the years we have added variations such as spinach or crabmeat, or different sauces instead of the traditional hollandaise. But no matter the style, the process requires several cooks at the ready. Someone toasts and butters the English muffins, the bravest cook poaches the eggs, yet another someone squeezes the lemons and makes the hollandaise. Then it is all hands on deck to assemble and serve before everything gets cold.

This year I’ve done away with the flurry of last-minute prep and the accompanying stress. With everyone seated at the table, I simply am going to glide into the kitchen, drop some eggs into prepared jars and slip them into the oven for a few minutes — everyone gets their eggs at the same time and while they are hot, with all of the expected parts contained in individual jars so it will be easy to serve a few or a crowd.

Using tiny Mason jars is all the rage in restaurants, so I bought a supply and have been using them for all kinds of treats — from drinks to pickles to desserts. When I began to plan my Easter morning menu it seemed like a logical idea to put them to use in a new way.

With this recipe, much of the prep is done ahead, the oven pre-heats while the clamor of egg gathering goes on around the house, and all of the ingredients I’m using are local and nutritious.

The annual expectation of Eggs Benedict on Easter morning awaits, but this year the kitchen will be a sea of calm.

Local Attractions uses the best of regional produce and products and hopes you will do the same. Judith Dunbar Hines is a cooking teacher, tour guide, writer and culinary consultant in Chicago.

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