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Lyn Nichols column: What's Cookin': Breakfast is most important, and tastiest, meal

I love a good breakfast whether it is for a morning meal, light supper or a late-night snack. I especially enjoy a good fried egg sandwich.

I love a good breakfast whether it is for a morning meal, light supper or a late-night snack.

I especially enjoy a good fried egg sandwich. A few of my favorites include a fried egg, sliced green olives and mayonnaise sandwiched between two slices of white bread; one slice of toast slathered with mayonnaise topped with a fried egg seasoned with salt and pepper and sprinkled with crumbled cooked bacon; or a classic egg sandwich made with one slice of bread coated with butter, one slice coated with mayonnaise and a fried egg seasoned with black pepper, bacon and lettuce securely placed between the toast.

Do you have a favorite egg sandwich? If you are willing to share it, we would like to share it with our readers.

Recently, breakfast was a topic on the What's Cookin' Web site ( www.in-forum.com/lynnichols ) and I asked people to share their "easy breakfast" recipes.

Vicki Gardner of St. Paul, Minn., sent several breakfast recipes and she wrote: "I enjoy your column and can't wait to get home tonight and try the Mint Brownies. I grew up in North Dakota and now live in St. Paul Park, Minn. I read the Forum online to keep up with news from home.

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"I usually serve fresh fruit and cinnamon rolls with this (Easy Eggs) for breakfast or brunch."

Easy Eggs

Eggs

1 tablespoon cream, half and half or milk for each egg

1 tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese for each egg

Salt and pepper as desired

1. Spray muffin tins with oil. Place egg into each muffin tin and put cream, Cheddar cheese and salt and pepper on each egg.

2. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

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"This recipe has become a Christmas morning tradition at our house," Vicki said.

Spinach Quiche

12 eggs

1 (10-ounce) package chopped frozen spinach (thaw, drain and squeeze out liquid)

2 pounds small curd low-fat cottage cheese

½ cup melted butter

1 pound grated cheddar cheese

¾ cup flour

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¼ cup minced onion

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

1. Combine eggs in a large bowl and beat eggs until mixed well. Stir in all ingredients including half of the Parmesan cheese. Pour into a well-buttered 9-by-13-inch pan. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese on top.

2. Bake 55 to 60 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

(Excellent served with fresh fruit, cranberry relish or compote.)

This will enhance any brunch buffet and is a nice cake to serve for morning coffee.

Butter Streusel Coffee Cake

Cake:

½ cup butter, softened

6 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 1/3 cups sugar

2 eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1. Combine butter, cream cheese and sugar in a bowl and beat until creamy and smooth. Combine eggs and vanilla in a bowl and mix well. Beat into the creamed mixture.

2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add milk alternately with flour mixture, mixing until all is blended.

Streusel:

¾ cup brown sugar

1 cup flour

½ cup butter

1. Combine brown sugar, flour and butter in a bowl and mix until crumbly.

2. Spread half of the batter into a greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Spoon half of the streusel on top.

3. Spoon remaining batter on top of the streusel and then spoon rest of the streusel on top of batter.

4. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

Angie Johnson of Dilworth suggests serving her baked breakfast with fresh fruit.

Baked Breakfast Casserole

1 to 2 loaves firm bread (such as French)

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

10 large eggs

½ cup real maple syrup

1½ cups half and half

½ cup peach or apricot seedless jam (don't use preserves or jelly)

6 thin slices Canadian bacon, cooked and diced

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Butter or margarine

1. The night before: Grease a 9-by-12-inch baking dish with butter or margarine. Remove crusts from the bread and cut it into 1-inch cubes. Arrange tightly in a single layer in prepared baking dish.

2. Pinch off marble-sized lumps of cream cheese with your fingers, evenly distributing them over the bread layer. Spread diced Canadian bacon over the bread and cheese balls.

3. Place the jam in a small saucepan over low heat and cook until it is warm and fairly liquid. (Don't boil it.) Drizzle the melted jam over the cream cheese/Canadian bacon.

4. Arrange a second layer of bread cubes over the cream cheese/Canadian bacon layer.

5. Beat the eggs until light yellow and slightly frothy. Add half and half, maple syrup and vanilla and beat until well blended. Pour egg mixture over bread layers. Mash it into bread with the back of a wooden spoon. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

6. In the morning: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove plastic wrap and bake for 50 to 60 minutes until nicely browned on top.

7. Cool slightly in the pan. Slice and serve warm with more maple syrup, powered sugar, butter and garnish with finely chopped pecans. Makes 12 servings.

Betty Chaplan of Grand Forks sent this Southern style grits and sausage breakfast recipe.

Grits and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

1½ pounds mild pork sausage, cooked and drained

¾ cup uncooked quick-cooking grits

8 eggs, well beaten

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk

¼ teaspoon garlic salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened

1½ cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese

1 slice potato bread, crusts removed and cubed

1. Cook grits according to package directions. Set aside.

2. Combine eggs, milk, garlic salt and pepper in a large bowl and beat until blended. Stir in softened butter or margarine and bread cubes.

3. Add shredded cheese and cooked grits and stir until cheese starts to melt.

4. Stir in cooked and drained sausage. Refrigerate overnight.

5. In the morning spread mixture in lightly greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

6. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven, uncovered, for 1 hour or until set.

7. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving (for ease in cutting and serving). Makes 8 to 12 servings.

Note: Do not use instant grits.

Lyn Nichols hosts "What's Cookin'?" weekdays on WDAY-TV. Her column appears Sundays in The Forum. She can be reached at PO Box 2466, Fargo, ND 58108, or e-mail, lyn@i29.net

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