When I was a kid, I hated breakfast. Clearly, I had issues.
I liked some cereals but without milk. And by some cereals, I mean those of the sugary toxic persuasion, mainly the attempts of candy companies to clamber onto the kiddie-level shelves of the cereal aisle. If milk made it into my bowl, with say, Cheerios, they were accompanied by an equal pairing of sugar, which I meticulously scraped from the bottom of the bowl with every spoonful. My irrational father commanded that we not let perfectly good milk go to waste and thus enforced a strict protocol of slurping down the remaining cereal milk, with its sickly color and floating particles of soggy Froot Loops. (Thus, the dry cereal.) Yogurt was weird. (But chocolate pudding was a go.) Pop Tarts made the list, but only if they weren’t toasted and I was permitted to leave the crusts.
And while most of the population perked at the special-occasion offering of homemade pancakes or French toast, I replied with a grimace, much to my poor mother’s dismay. Years later, I am much wiser and realize that this is ridiculous.
For years go-to was an Eggo waffle, cut into quarters, buttered carefully to ensure each square had an even share and dipped, bite by bite, into a ramekin bath of syrup. How I survived to adolescence without suffering a coronary is truly mind-boggling… though you can’t blame my mother, as I’m sure she was just relieved to get me to eat something before heading out the door to be matriculated, as she often shoved a slice of buttered toast at me as I scrambled out the door.
In high school, I shifted to breakfast items that could be eaten one-handed while speeding to school and sprinting through the parking lot to make it through the door just shy of the bell. On weekends, however, I began experimenting with cooking my own eggs, which really opened some doors for me, breakfastly speaking. I realized that I actually like eggs if they are cooked through but still shiny, folded rather than chopped into crumbles and especially if cheese was incorporated into the mix (the trick is to add grated cheese before pouring the eggs into the pan).
College led to more breakfast adventures, including groggy trips to Waffle House (menus with pictures is where it’s at) and roommate weekend breakfasts of just-add-water pancakes. The butter and syrup on my Eggos were replaced by berries and Kool Whip and Gogurt, Life cereal, and Slimfast accompanied me on my lead-footed drives to campus… ultimately, more baby steps were made.
But now I’m a “grown-up”. And in realizing that grown-ups – especially those with aspirations to eat healthy – make grown-up breakfast choices, I have put great effort into choosing good-for-me morning-meal options.
I’ve discovered that I’m a huge fan of the thick, creamy texture of Greek yogurt. To get the most value out of my yogurt purchases, I buy big containers of plain Greek yogurt and add strawberry preserves to single servings. AND, as an added perk, this ensures I have plain stuff to make yogurt-based dips or to use as a substitute for cream to thicken sauces.
I throw a banana, plum or bag of blueberries into my bag to munch on during my commute or as a mid-morning pick-me-up. And now – the biggest transformation – now I love cereal with milk. Not only that, I love cereals with lots of fiber, crunchy bran flakes and lightly sweetened clusters of oats and whole grains, almonds and plump raisins. (And Dad: I almost always drink the leftover milk.)
My true breakfast love, however, will always be eggs. If I’ve ever made you eggs, you’re welcome. I’m not bragging, it’s just that over the years I’ve unearthed and cultivated my natural abilities for creating egg dishes that freaking rock. My omelets may not perfectly folded, but my scrambles will make your taste buds sing. And by incorporating yummy veggie add-ins, they’re a hearty brunch option that keeps you going for hours.
The following sausage-potato scramble is a more indulgent scramble set aside for weekend brunch in jammies or breakfast-for-dinner evenings. Feel free to lighten it up by nixing the cheese and/or sausage and adding diced bell peppers or nutrient-rich greens such as spinach, arugula or kale. (See ideas below.)
- 6 large eggs
- 6 to 8 breakfast sausage links, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 6 small red potatoes, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon canola oil (or unsalted butter)
- 1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/8 teaspoon dried ground sage
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup chicken stock or water
Serves 4 to 6.
Whisk eggs, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add onions and potatoes and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until onion begins to soften, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add rosemary and sage and cook another 3 to 4 minutes until potatoes begin to brown, stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat to medium, add chicken stock or water, scraping browned bits from bottom of pan, cover and cook 4 to 6 minutes until liquid is absorbed.
Meanwhile, heat a small nonstick pan on medium heat. Add sausage links and cook, turning until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Let cool briefly on paper towel-covered plate before cutting into bite-sized pieces.
When stock is absorbed and sausage is browned, transfer sausage to large skillet and toss with potatoes. Reduce heat to low.
In the medium pan, pour eggs, cooking on low heat until opaque but still shiny. Combine with other ingredients in large skillet.
Top with grated cheese, folding into scramble until melted. Portion into bowls and serve immediately.
Enjoy your morning, folks.
Other great scramble combos:
- Shredded spinach/arugula and halved grape tomatoes with crumbled goat cheese, stuffed into a pita or whole-wheat tortilla
- Bell peppers, onion, mushrooms and pepper jack, topped with avocado and salsa verde or hot sauce
- Thinly sliced ham, cheddar and scallions (stir sliced scallions into egg mixture before pouring into pan), topped with light sour cream
P.S. I canNOT believe I don’t have any photos of yummy scrambles… probably because we always gobble them up. Hopefully soon to come. OR, send me yours! EDIT: I finally found a breakfast photo… here I kept the taters, sausage and eggs separate, though Mr. Starving Foodie mixes it all into his grits. The scramble includes sauteed onions, mushrooms, grape tomatoes and arugula, with ground thyme.