Cooking On A Budget: Eggs

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I love eggs. So versatile - scramble, fry, poach, hard boil.  Those represent the simple ways to cook eggs. Or is it simple? They are the benchmark for which professional chefs will tell you - if you can't master the art of cooking an egg properly then you may not belong in the kitchen. We've seen this as a challenge on a variety of television Chef competitions - cook a dish using eggs as the main or sole ingredient. Pasteurized egg yolks are bright yellow. The eggs are pasteurized in order to reduce the possibility of food-borne illness. So if eggs are lightly cooked and used to finish off a dish, the risk for disease is decreased.  Eggs right out of the nest are a rich orange color and in my estimation have a deeper flavor. These come from people who are supplying eggs from free range chickens. You are most likely find them at farmers markets. Check your area for locally raised chickens and eggs.
Still an inexpensive item to purchase, eggs consumed for breakfast, brunch or dinner make an affordable meal.  Breakfast at dinner, why not?  So often our lives are hectic and there does not seem to be time for that hearty day starting meal; we tend to cram in a quick bagel a bowl of cereal or just a cup 'o Joe.  If you have a dozen eggs in your refrigerator then plan dinner around the eggs. What to make you ask.  Here is a quick run down of my top egg meals to be consumed for dinner. I am providing two recipes - one for the scramble egg wraps and one for the quiche.  The waffles or pancakes cook according to the instructions given by the manufacturers.
  1. Waffles or pancakes (use a box mix) slathered with maple syrup and served with a side of fruit, left over ham slices or freshly cooked bacon or sausage. You can add fresh fruit like blueberries or sliced strawberries right in the mix. Use your imagination.
  2. Scrambled egg wraps with salsa and cheese.
  3. Quiche - it's so versatile. Add cheese (whatever you have on hand), veggies (onions, peppers, spinach or broccoli, to name a few) or some left over diced ham or a combination of these ingredients makes for a delicious quiche. Use bacon or any other breakfast meat.  Make your own crust or take help from the grocery store and buy pre-made frozen crust. (I think they come two to a package.)
A basic quiche recipe as follows.
Combine all these ingredients to make the custard and cheese base:
4 eggs
2 cups light cream or half and half
1 1/2 cups grated cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Bake the quiche for 15 minutes and lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes until a knife inserted comes out clean.

If you are adding ingredients other than cheese, place in the crust PRIOR to adding in the custard mixture.  Some veggies or meats you add in may have to be cooked ahead (bacon or broccoli par cooked for example).  Additional cheese can be sprinkled on top before baking.

Scrambled egg wraps:
1 pkg. 8 or 10 inch tortilla wraps
1 small jar of salsa
1 dozen eggs
1/3 cup milk
Cooking Spray
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil - optional

Whisk together eggs, milk and salt and pepper to taste. For a fairly large family (6) use the whole dozen eggs. Reduce the eggs and milk to 8 eggs and 2 tbsp. milk for four people.
In a non stick skillet sprayed with a cooking spray, cook the eggs over medium low heat. When the egg begins to cook around the edges, keep stirring until the eggs are firm yet still have some moisture.
Place some of the egg mixture and salsa in each wrap and fold and roll the wraps envelope style. Serve as is, or for texture and crunch, brush some oil on the top and bake for a few minutes (about 5 - 8 min.) in a 375 degree oven until the tortillas start to brown slightly and crisp up. 

Extra salsa can be placed alongside when you plate.

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