There are always eggs in the house. So, if push comes to shove in the making-dinner category, I can always whip up scrambled eggs.
Maybe I’ll add some cheese.
But that’s a shrug-of-the-shoulders kind of meal. It really says: I’m tired. I’m lazy. I don’t want to cook but I don’t want to order takeout.
The reality is, I really like breakfast for dinner. I think it’s another form of comfort food. But, I also think it takes some tweaking or dressing up to time-shift dishes to later in the day. Still, it’s not that hard to reconfigure recipes like breakfast pizzas and bread pudding.
Yes, bread pudding for dinner. What, you don’t eat it for breakfast? Hey, remember: You’re an adult, and you get to eat what you want, when you want it!
Brunch food also doesn’t have to be designed for a crowd. Fritatta, strata and skillet dishes are great for dinner and hold up well as leftovers.
For example, Cooking Lights says to upgrade French toast to savory, for instance, by using crusty Italian ciabatta bread stuffed with Gruyère cheese, and top it with a fresh, tart apple syrup.
Or, make over your basic egg sandwich by pairing fried or scrambled eggs with sweet caramelized onions, peppery arugula and smoky bacon.
While these aren’t last-minute recipes, many can be made ahead so coming home after work and contemplating dinner may mean just a reheat in the oven or microwave.
Farmer’s Country Breakfast
1/3 cup 2 percent milk
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces bulk pork sausage
1 1/2 cups frozen cubed hash brown potatoes, thawed
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
Whisk eggs, milk, parsley and salt; set aside. In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; remove and drain. In the same skillet, cook potatoes and onions 5 to 7 minutes or until tender. Return sausage to the pan.
Add egg mixture; cook and stir until almost set. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and cook 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Makes 4 servings.
“Home Style Cooking,” by Taste of Home
Breakfast Pizza Bagels
1 bagel, sliced in half*
2 tablespoons pizza sauce
2 ounces mozzarella, cut into small cubes, or shredded
1 tablespoon jalapeño, thinly sliced, optional
6-8 small pieces of pepperoni, optional
2 large eggs
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a small baking dish with parchment paper; set aside.
2. Cut bagel in half.
3. Spread 1 tablespoon of pizza sauce around each side of the bagel.
4. Top each half evenly with the cheese, then add the toppings.
5. Carefully crack an egg into each hole.
6. Top each egg with a little fresh ground black pepper.
7. Bake for 16-20 minutes, depending on how well-done you like your egg.
Makes 1 pizza bagel; double as needed.
*Pita rounds will also work by cutting a whole in the center.
Savory Bread Pudding with Ham and Cheddar
Bread pudding becomes a main dish inspired by the flavors of a loaded baked potato. Using individual ramekins gives them a dressier feel and shortens cooking time.
8 ounces multigrain bread with seeds, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup chopped green onions, divided
3/4 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces lower-sodium ham, minced
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
3 large egg whites
4 teaspoons reduced-fat sour cream
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Place bread cubes on a jelly-roll pan; coat with cooking spray. Bake 10 minutes or until lightly toasted, turning once. Remove from oven; cool.
3. Combine bread, 1/2 cup cheese, 3 tablespoons onions and next 5 ingredients (through egg yolks) in a large bowl. Place egg whites in a small bowl, and beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy (about 30 seconds). Gently fold egg whites into bread mixture.
4. Spoon about 1 cup bread mixture into each of 4 (7-ounce) ramekins coated with cooking spray. Divide the remaining 1/4 cup cheese and remaining 1 tablespoon onions evenly among ramekins. Bake 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Top each serving with 1 teaspoon sour cream.
Yield: Serves 4, each with 272 calories, 11 grams fat, 18.5 grams protein, 28 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams fiber, 140 mg cholesterol, 536 mg sodium.
Breakfast Tortilla Strata
Putting this dish together and chilling it the night before gives the tortillas time to soak up the batter, which makes the strips puff when baked the next day.
1 cup bottled salsa
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
10 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch strips
1 cup (4 ounces) preshredded reduced-fat Mexican blend or Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1 cup low-fat sour cream
1 cup fat-free milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
Combine salsa and beans in a bowl. Place one-third of tortilla strips in an 11-by-7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with 1/3 cup cheese and about 1 cup salsa mixture. Repeat procedure with one-third of tortilla strips, 1/3 cup cheese, and remaining salsa mixture; top with remaining tortilla strips.
Combine sour cream and next 4 ingredients (sour cream through eggs); stir with a whisk. Stir in onions. Pour over tortilla strips; sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese. Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove dish from refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Cover and bake 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Yield: 6 servings, each with 292 Calories, 9 grams Fat, 36.5 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 93 mg cholesterol, 755 mg sodium.
Eggs in Muffin Cups
1 pound ground sausage, your choice of flavors
10 eggs, beaten
1 bell pepper any color, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin pan or line muffin pan with baking cups.
Brown sausage in skillet and drain.
Lightly beat eggs and mix in diced bell pepper, sausage and salt and pepper.
Pour egg mixture evenly into the muffin cups. Bake about 15 minutes, or until egg is set. Egg will continue cooking a bit so don’t overcook. Makes about 16 egg cups.
Potato & Spinach Frittata
3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil (more if needed)
10-ounce. box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup half and half
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat olive oil in a 10-inch iron skillet, or other oven proof skillet, over medium heat. Add the potatoes and onions. Cook and stir, until the potatoes are browned and barely tender, adding more oil and adjusting heat as necessary.
Remove the potatoes from the heat and top with the spinach.
Beat together the eggs and half and half, with the addition of salt and pepper, to taste.
Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes and spinach and top with the cheese. Sprinkle the top with paprika. Bake 25 minutes.