Decades ago, when I first started entertaining, there was no stopping me. Asparagus $4.00 a pound? I bought it. Make my own stock? Of course I did. Cleaned the entire house and polished the silver into the wee hours.

Now I’m 68 and I feel differently about entertaining. No way am I staying up all night cooking and cleaning. I have a new rules for entertaining: 
1) I want entertaining to be easy.
2) I want to have fun at my parties!

With that in mind, here’s a recipe I served for a recent lunch, Melty Chile, Egg, Ham & Cheese Baskets. They’re quick, easy and delicious. Our good friend Robert Schueller from Melissa’s Produce sent us lovely Hatch chiles so of course we had to roast them. You can use canned to save time. 

Serve these hot or at room temperature. They’d be perfect for breakfast, brunch or lunch. My darling husband ate them right out of the fridge for a quick snack! 

Make them fancier by lining your muffin tin with squares of parchment paper or fun, patterned cupcake liners. If you don’t use parchment or liners make sure to generously grease the muffin tin. Line the tin with sliced ham, pour in the egg mixture and bake...It’s that easy!

I served rosé but any bubbly will do: prosecco, cava or champagne. For a fancier meal, add a splash of orange, peach or cranberry juice.

For lunch, serve with rice (frozen works great--there are many varieties) and blanched asparagus (hot, room temperature or chilled). Or a simple salad. For breakfast, serve with crusty baguette and butter.

Melty Chile, Egg, Ham & Cheese Baskets
Makes 6 servings

Butter for greasing
1 Hatch or Anaheim chile
12 very thin slices ham
8 large eggs
¼ cup milk
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 plum tomato, diced
1 cup grated cheddar or pepper jack cheese
¼ cup queso fresco or feta, crumbled
1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If using parchment paper, cut into 12 5-in-sq pieces; grease one side with butter. Press into muffin tin butter side facing up.
2. Using tongs, hold chile over open flame, char on all sides. Wrap in several layers of damp paper towels; let stand 10 minutes. Rinse off charred skin, remove seeds and chop.
3. Line muffin tin (or parchment paper) with ham.
4. Whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper, stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into muffin tin. Bake until puffed and lightly browned on top, about 20 minutes.
5. Remove from heat. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Or chill for up to 3 days.

Try another flavor profile with one of these variations:
1. Sautéed onions, gruyere cheese, thyme-tarragon.
2. Italian sausage, mozzarella and parmesan, basil.
3. Kalamata olives, tomatoes, spinach and feta.
4. Prosciutto, chopped figs, thyme and gorgonzola.