What to make?…Where’s the recipe??…Cooking can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be…In today’s world, recipes for anything and everything are at your fingertips and it’s never been easier for home cooks to elevate their dishes to near gourmet levels. But don’t stress about it! You don’t have to make things complicated to create delicious, healthy and visually pleasing meals in a relatively short amount of time. If you’ve done some thoughtful food shopping, just have a look in the fridge…
To balance your meal, you need:
- a grain
- veggies and maybe a fruit…
If you want it to look appetizing, think;
- and flavour, of course!
I’m not a dietician or a chef or a scientist…this is just what our Moms taught us and even with all the micro-information of today, balancing food groups is still a good rule of thumb to get a healthy and nutritious diet. And, it can also be fun and visually pleasing if you take a minute to think about it!
One of the easiest, fastest cooking, star ingredients to a meal is eggs. They can be the jewel of the dish if you make it so. In today’s world eggs are a simple and complicated food. The simple part is that eggs are quick to cook, versatile and tasty. When I was growing up, eggs and bacon was a common weekend breakfast. Next came the complicated part…we started to hear about cholesterol being a health issue and the comfort of that eggs and bacon breakfast was disrupted. Eggs were identified as being potentially harmful because they were high in cholesterol. As time went on, egg whites came on the scene as a readily available food. I have been using egg whites for my weekend omelettes for over a dozen years. I have learned to love their light flavour and I do not miss the whole eggs at all when I make omelettes. I have yet to eat scrambled eggs whites, although I know those who do. For me, the colour and texture is all wrong. But, I do find egg whites are great for omelettes. In fact, I now prefer egg white omelettes to whole egg omelettes. But, for those of you who still prefer the over easy, sunny side up or poached eggs to dip your toast into the creamy yolk, there is good news. There is some recent research to suggest that the problem cholesterol may not be from the eggs after all, but from the fatty bacon and sausages that were typically eaten with the eggs….again, I am not a dietician, so therefore not an expert on this…I am merely offering commentary on things I have read and observed.
Although I did love bacon as a teen and young adult, I found it messy to cook once I was responsible for my own cooking, and once I heard it wasn’t super healthy, I didn’t mind finding ways to leave it out of the weekend breakfast. I know that eggs have some very healthy benefits, so I didn’t want to give those up completely. In the last 10 years, I have found ways to enjoy eggs for breakfast and lunch without the salty, fatty meat that was the traditional accompaniment. And, when eggs are on the menu, you don’t need a fancy recipe…just have a look in the fridge and think food groups, colours, and textures and you’ll come up with an eye-pleasing, tasty, balanced meal!
One of my lunches from last week was what I called the Anytime Egg Plate. I chose that title because as I was eating it, I thought that is would be a lovely meal for any time of the day. This dish was created when I scanned my fridge and found eggs, veggies and bread and leftover rice. Toast is an easy accompaniment to eggs, but I was making lunch and thought that toast felt more like breakfast. I haven’t typically served eggs with rice, but then I remembered that my niece, “A”, who is a wonderful cook has made plates with eggs and rice and has eaten rice for breakfast…why not? Brown rice is a delicious and healthy food, that can have a mild flavour or be dressed up with herbs and spices for interest at dinner…So, I opted for the leftover brown Basmati rice instead of the toast. Here is what I did:
- In frying pan, saute ¾ cup fresh vegetables in olive oil until hot but still crisp. (My plate included carrots and green peppers because that’s what was in the fridge!) Add cooked rice and a sprinkle of sea salt and ground pepper. Remove mixture from pan, cover with a lid and set aside. (Because eggs cook quickly, this mixture will stay warm until eggs are cooked and you are ready to serve)
- Add a little more olive oil or butter to pan. Add eggs and cook to desired doneness on each side if doing over easy eggs…(only a few minutes – rice and veggies should stay warm)
- Remove eggs, rice and veggies to a plate
- Slice half an avocado, tomato, or other fruits, and place on plate
Options: If you don’t like over easy eggs, choosing scrambled, fried, poached or hard-boiled eggs would work too. This dish can be breakfast, lunch or dinner. When it’s breakfast, I keep the flavours simple – olive oil, sea salt and a bit of pepper. If it’s lunch or dinner, add herbs and spices to taste. This plate can be seasoned with the flavours of many cultures! Enjoy!
Okay – maybe you want to be extra fancy…add some chopped fresh herbs when you serve the plate! And, as a bonus, this meal is quick to clean up if you use the same pan for the eggs as you did for the veggies and rice. Also, it’s a great gluten-free meal.
Enjoying eggs without the bacon and sausage takes some retraining of the palate, but in the end, you will be happier, healthier and your body will feel better and crave these good foods. Just take a peek in your fridge and throw all the good food you have on your egg plate or into your eggs and you’ll have a beautiful and tasty weekend breakfast, or weekday lunch or dinner..no bacon needed…honest, you will love it! Happy cooking, friends!