by Jolene Lamb, coordinator, Culinary Institute, Lincoln Land Community College
I love breakfast foods, especially big hearty breakfast dishes. Throughout the week, I rarely have the time to fix and eat a big breakfast. Most mornings consist of a quick bite of fruit, yogurt, oatmeal or energy bar as I head out the door to work. On the weekends and my days off, I have the time to actually make and enjoy breakfast. Besides the classic bacon and eggs or biscuits and gravy, I like hearty breakfast dishes, the kind that eat like a meal. In fact many of the recipes I like consist of pantry staples and can be served for dinner. Hearty breakfast for dinner!? I’m in!
Brussels Sprouts and Potato Hash with Fried Eggs
Brussels sprouts add a delicious crunch to traditional hash. If you have leftover cooked brussels sprouts or potatoes, this recipe is a great way to use them up.
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
3/4 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, melt 3 Tbs. of the butter with the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the brussels, potatoes and thyme, and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables caramelize, about 15 minutes. Add the stock and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the vegetables are fork-tender, about 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
In another fry pan over medium heat, melt the remaining 1 Tbs. butter. Crack the eggs into the pan and fry until the whites are set and the yolks have begun to thicken but are still soft, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon the hash onto plates, top with the fried eggs and serve immediately.
Cheesy Breakfast Egg and Polenta Casserole
Adapted from The New York Times Cooking.
If you’ve had the pleasure of a cheesy polenta dinner, topped with a creamy-yolked egg, you can imagine how good that combination is at breakfast. This quick casserole for a crowd is exactly that, made elegant and easy so you can have a perfectly cooked portion for each person with very little work. Layer your polenta with anything you desire, whether salami or ham — or keep it vegetable-centric with spinach or oven-roasted tomatoes. Make nests between your toppings and the polenta where the eggs will cook slowly, giving you a soft-cooked finish that’s loaded with flavor.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
1 cup quick-cooking polenta
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup whole milk
½ cup fontina or mozzarella, or a blend, shredded
5 ounces thinly sliced cured meat, such as hot or sweet Italian sausage, salami or ham (optional)
1 packed cup spinach, kale or other leafy green, torn or chopped (optional)
8 large eggs
½ cup grated Parmesan
Ground black pepper
¼ cup packed basil leaves, larger ones roughly torn (optional)
Heat oven to 400 degrees with the rack in the center. Generously butter a 9-by-13-inch pan and set aside.
Bring 4 cups water to a boil. Gradually whisk in the polenta and salt, and cook, stirring constantly until the polenta bubbles and pulls away from the pan, about 3 minutes. Vigorously stir in the milk, butter and cheese until smooth and creamy. (It will seem loose.)
Spread the polenta onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Layer with meat, greens or anything else you desire. Use the back of a large spoon to create 8 small wells in the polenta. Crack the eggs inside, sprinkle with Parmesan, and bake 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how set you like your eggs. Let stand for 5 minutes; sprinkle with black pepper and basil and serve warm.
4 to 6 servings
Tortilla chips in tacos may seem like overkill, but they’re not. Set into scrambled eggs that are loaded with onions and poblanos, they soften and enrich the mix while keeping some crispiness. A slice of avocado on top — along with melted cheese — adds a nice creaminess to the mix. These tacos work well with red or green salsa, so use your favorite. While these would impress at a weekend brunch, they also come together quickly on weekday mornings, and can be wrapped in foil to be eaten out of hand.
6 large eggs
6 corn tortillas
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup tortilla chips, broken if very large
½ cup diced onion
1 cup diced, seeded poblano pepper
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated (3/4 cup)
½ avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced
Salsa, for serving
Beat the eggs with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.
Heat a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Put 3 tortillas in it and turn them until warm and pliable, 1 to 2 minutes. Stack on foil and wrap. Repeat with the remaining 3 tortillas, adding them to the same stack and wrapping to keep warm and soft.
Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the oil and swirl to coat, then add the chips. Cook, stirring, until sizzling and browned in spots, about 30 seconds. Add the onion, poblano and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the edges of the onion are just translucent but the vegetables are still crisp, about 2 minutes.
Drizzle the egg over the chips and vegetables. Let stand for 15 seconds until just starting to set, then stir rapidly to scramble until just set but still wet, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Sprinkle the cilantro on top.
Remove from the heat and immediately divide among the warmed tortillas. Sprinkle with the cheese and top with the avocado and salsa. Serve immediately or wrap each taco in foil to eat out of hand.
Lincoln Land Community College offers credit programs in Culinary Arts, Hospitality Management, Baking/Pastry, and Value Added Local Food, and non-credit cooking and food classes through our Community Learning Culinary Institute. For more information, visit our website at www.llcc.edu.
Cooking or food questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.