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Help - I am awful at cooking breakfast

l
lisabnyc Jul 24, 2010 03:51 PM

I am awful at cooking eggs---scrambled ones never turn out like they do in the restaurant, and i always seem to break the yolk or overcook fried eggs..omelettes always fall apart on me....

i am going to have to cook breakfast for 2 this weekend at a beach house and need your help. is there an easy fool-proof breakfast recipe you would be willing to share that doesn't involve a ton of ingredients?

i want to stick with with egg based recipes ins tead of going the french toast or pancake route.... i have a mini le creuset casserole - i was thinking maybe something baked in this.

thanks in advance for any suggestions.

  1. y
    yfunk3 Dec 11, 2010 08:49 PM

    I like making egg wraps with flour tortillas (you can use whole wheat tortillas to make it better, and I know they sell low-carb/no fat ones as well). I love them because they're quick, filling, and you can put anything you want in them. Also, you can cook the eggs however you want, and the yolk of the eggs (if fried over-easy/sunny-side up) are actually better broken in an egg wrap/burrito.

    Cook with onions, peppers, whatever you like (cook any veggies first), put some cheese (any kind you like), some kind of breakfast meat (bacon, canadian bacon, breakfast sausage, prosciutto...anything you have or like best). Eat alone or with salsa, hot sauce, whatever you like. I've been known to spoon some hollandaise sauce into the wraps/burritos before wrapping.

    Oh, and wrap with plastic wrap or foil so they stay together, and you can peel the foil/plastic wrap off as you eat to prevent the thing from falling apart. That's key.

    Whatever you make, just enjoy the vacation and don't fret too much over one meal! :o)

    1. q
      Querencia Dec 11, 2010 10:03 AM

      I see that you don't want to do pancakes, nevertheless: here is a useful cop-out. that I consider one of my best recent discoveries. Supermarkets owned by Safeway (I don't know about others) carry the most wonderful mini-pancakes, frozen, brand is Krusteaz. They are about 2 inches across and come 48 in a box. All you have to do is dump them in a pie plate and zap them for a minute or two. Then you can be as elegant and creative as you want with toppings, ranging from plain old butter and maple syrup to any degree of fancy fruit sauces, fresh fruit, creamed chicken, whatever. Sausage is another option. Eating anything miniature is fun.

      1. mamachef Aug 21, 2010 09:16 AM

        If eggs to order are on the menu, that's tricky business because you need to be everywhere at once. It took me quite awhile cooking to get the hang of, say, an English fry-up because so much needed to happen and it all needed to come out at the same time! One solution is to make baked eggs. You'll need ramekins, fresh spinach, bacon, cream, parmesan and good fresh tomatoes. Steam about 3 c. spinach per serving (you know it'll wilt to roughly a cup). When done, but not soggy, chop and drain well. Put 1 cooked c. spinach into each ramekin or individual gratin. Fry two strips bacon per customer; crumble over spinach. Make 2 shallow "wells" in each spinach bed and break two large eggs into wells carefully. Put 2 T. cream over eggs and sprinkle with parmesan and pepper. Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes until done to your liking (15 gives set white, runny but thickened yolk). Garnish with ripe tomato wedges. With this and a muffin and some fruit salad, it's a fairly easy and pretty, elegant breakfast that doesn't require constant watching; just a little prep work. Of course this is expandable; you could use sausage or ham or chopped artichoke heart, bechamel or hollondaise instead of cream, any cheese you wish, etc. etc. Other greens than spinach can be used as well, but pre-cook and check for toughness. Another good "cheat" is to lay a bed of frozen, Southern-style hashbrowns or O'Brien potatoes (best) into a 9 by 13 baking dish, add a layer of crumbled ham, bacon, or sausage, and pour beaten eggs over. Let absorb for an hour or two, top with cheese, and bake. Do the same with cubes of slightly stale French bread instead of the potato base, and mix grated cheese into this base: yummy, savory cheesy eggy bread breakfast pudding.

        1. BluPlateSpec Aug 3, 2010 05:48 PM

          I see the weekend needed has past so let me give you a different idea for possible future use, oatmeal. You can try McCanns Steel Cut Oats or Bob's Red Mill Old Fashion Oatmeal which cooks easily in the microwave. McCann's you'll have to cook on the stove but you can do that the night before and store in the frig overnight. Serve it with some of the wonderful berries available now with a touch of maple syrup and heavy cream. That with a pot of good coffee and your guest will think you're the greatest.

          1. Hank Hanover Jul 26, 2010 01:45 PM

            I think cooking eggs is such a necessary skill that it would be worth ruining a couple of dozen eggs to get it right. Just in case, you don't think serious cooks try dishes over and over, watch Ina Garten sometime. She fully admits to wasting a day and a lot of money getting a recipe right. I would hate to have to pay for it the day she perfected beef tenderloin!

            Here are some hints:

            Use a non stick pan. About the only thing a chef uses a non stick pan for is eggs.
            Use a silicone spatula.
            Use clarified butter. Bacon fat is great too. I use clarified butter most. Without the moisture and the milk solids, it really has a high smoke point.
            Heat the pan at medium until the butter bubbles and the bubbles are starting to recede.

            For scrambled eggs add 1 tablespoon of water or milk for each egg.
            Mix them good with a fork or I like to use a stick blender but not until they are frothy.
            For 2 eggs I use an 8 inch non stick skillet. Pour the egg mixture into the hot pan. Salt and pepper to taste. Wait until the edges are starting to harden and mix with spatula. Tilt the pan so that the liquid gets to the outside of the pan. Keep stirring until most of the egg is done but there is still runny eggs evident. Turn off the burner and continue to stir. Turn the eggs into the plate just before they reach the point you like your eggs. They will continue to cook for 30 - 40 seconds. Your eggs should be perfect.

            For fried eggs, break the egg into the medium pan and just let it sit for at least 1-2 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. For over easy flip the egg with a spatula or flip it into another preheated, buttered pan. Cook for another minute or so and plate. If you don't want to flip it, you could put a lid on the pan and the top will cook at the same time as the bottom.

            Get proficient at these two techniques before you start adding things like chicklets beautiful scramble.

            Anyway eggs only cost about 10 cents so waste some eggs and get good at it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Hank Hanover
              onceadaylily Jul 26, 2010 02:37 PM

              Ah! I meant to include that in my reply above. I have *one* Teflon pan in my house that I have tucked away for eggs cooked stovetop. It is never used for anything else. It is pristine and babied, and spatula use designated and written in stone.

            2. greygarious Jul 24, 2010 07:19 PM

              You have to be careful not to overcook scrambled eggs. Stir constantly as they cook.
              Stir in a tsp of cream cheese, plain or flavored, per egg as you scramble in a nonstick pan with melted butter or bacon fat, over medium-low heat. Take pan off burner when eggs are still wet. They will cook through on residual heat. The cream cheese makes them velvety and luxurious.

              7 Replies
              1. re: greygarious
                m
                Mestralle Jul 25, 2010 10:36 AM

                I think grey latched on to the two biggest "tricks" to scrambled eggs: cook them slowly and take them off the stove before you think they're ready. I also use cream cheese on occasion, and it really does have a great consistency, and it even help mask if eggs have been slightly overcooked, which is admittedly easy to do.

                My nemesis was always potatoes, which I love for breakfast. I adapted a Rachel Ray recipe and now mostly pre-cook the potato (or potatoes). Throw a couple potatoes (two small or one large is plenty for two people) in the microwave for about 5-6 minutes, cool, chop and add to a pan over highish heat with melted/heated oil/butter/margerine. Give the potatoes a good stir to coat them with the fat, and they'll brown up in about 5-6 minutes (stir them once or twice). Just make sure you don't crowd the pan too much, as you'll inhibit browning. You can add some chopped onions at the beginning for some flavor, and make sure to season well towards the end (I use a pork rub/seasoning, but salt and pepper will do fine.

                I think the key to breakfast is practice. As was mentioned, there's a lot going on, and after a while, you start to get a rhythm down.

                1. re: Mestralle
                  chef chicklet Jul 25, 2010 01:17 PM

                  When you say you "mostly pre-cook the potato (or potatoes" does that mean you are cooking them in the microwave as a whole potato? I guess you cut them up, and add your butter? I'm confused, maybe I read this wrong. I've used baked potatoes before, they work rather well, sometimes fresh potatoes right into the pan, depending on the pototato, can get gummy. Sorry, I'm not trying to criticize you here, just would like to know because I can't get the mw technique down. I love potatoes, anyway, anytime, and if I could get them done faster - great!

                  1. re: chef chicklet
                    greygarious Jul 25, 2010 01:32 PM

                    It's clear in the sentence that follows that Mestralle is nuking the spuds whole, as do I (for about 3/4 the time it would take if you were fully cooking them). You can peel them before chopping or leave the skin on, which is fine with red potatoes and russets. Yukon Golds have papery skin that IMO should be removed.

                    1. re: greygarious
                      m
                      Mestralle Jul 25, 2010 03:23 PM

                      Yes, I nuke them whole, and I just use plain, cheap brown potatoes with the skin. I used the term "partially cooked" becuase I haven't really ever tested whether they're fully cooked. I do know that if you nuke them too long, they get rather dried and hard around the edges. In my microwave, I go about five minutes for two rather small potatoes (enough for myself and DH).

                      My biggest problem with cooking them raw was that there's so much moisture, I couldn't get them to brown. I know there are ways to combat that both with rough-chopped "home fries" and shredded hashbrowns, but frankly, those techniques sound like a whole lot of extra work that I'm not normally in the mood for when making breakfast (not a morning person).

                      I can't imagine this wouldn't work with just about any potato, as grey mentioned, but my husband is the one who normally does the grocery shopping, and if I get much more specific than "potatoes" on the list, it tends to confuse things.

                      1. re: Mestralle
                        m
                        Mestralle Jul 25, 2010 03:28 PM

                        And just in case anybody reading this has not nuked potatoes before, make sure you poke them first a couple times with a fork to release the steam.

                        1. re: Mestralle
                          chef chicklet Jul 26, 2010 09:38 AM

                          OH okay, so you're not cooking them at the point to eat as I would normally do with a baked potato. You just explained what happens to the potatoes for me, everytime. I was trying to cook them completely, and then use them.

                          I mde some wonderful baby yellow potatoes (Dutch) from TJ's last night. I made them completely in the oven though. Cut them up, lef the peel on, added, fresh lemon, butter & olive oil, rosemary, fresh garlic and parsley. Boy do I love potatoes! As hot as it was and hungry, I would of loved to have sped things along using the mw let met tell you! Next time! Thanks for the tips!

                        2. re: greygarious
                          chef chicklet Jul 26, 2010 09:33 AM

                          Blame it on my age, if i didn't get that part. Anyway, I just don't seem to have luck with the microwave in general, I always nuke things too long. I'll give this a try and see if I can duplicate what you guys are doing. Anything to speed the process up, and I really don't want to turn my oven on.

                  2. r
                    rainey Jul 24, 2010 07:07 PM

                    The truth of the matter is that breakfast can be hard! Lots of things happening at the same time and nothing has a cooking time long enough to manage other things in between.

                    Why not consider a frittata that's all in one pan? You could make a little compote of fresh citrus well ahead to serve with it. And you could avoid having to make a lot of toast at once or keep toast warm by preparing the dry mixture for corn muffins and the wet ingredients separately. Then at brekkies, you combine them and pop them in the oven ahead of the frittata.

                    Frittatas: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/frittata-recipe/index.html http://allrecipes.com//Recipes/breakfast-and-brunch/egg-dishes/frittata/Main.aspx
                    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: rainey
                      n
                      northside food Jul 25, 2010 07:53 AM

                      I was going to suggest this as well. We eat frittata for many meals, not just breakfast.

                    2. John E. Jul 24, 2010 06:53 PM

                      I don't know if you've already decided on what to make for breakfast, but even if you have, for future breakfasts, an egg strata is almost foolproof and good eating too.

                      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: John E.
                        b
                        betsydiver Aug 3, 2010 05:20 PM

                        perfect... I was thinking of suggesting this but did not gave the recipe at hand... I have also made this with sausage instead of ham or just veggies, not that I'm calling you a fool but this is fool-proof and delish!; also easy for a group that is not rising all at the same time!

                      2. whs Jul 24, 2010 05:12 PM

                        Cook some bacon, pour off most of the grease, saute some garlic and scallions in the fat. Separately beat, some eggs with cream. Throw some roughly cubed stale bread into your casserole. Mix the garlic and scallions with the egg and cream mixture. Crumble the bacon into it. Pour it all over the bread cubes and bake in the oven until set. You could add cheddar cheese too. A big sloppy, greasy, delicious foolproof mess.

                        1. r
                          riotburn Jul 24, 2010 05:03 PM

                          Actually i just thought of something else too.

                          My uncle once made this for me. Crack two eggs straight in a pan, dont worry, if the yolks break but its better to break them later on. when white are halfway cooked break the yolks and thow on some meunster or mozzarella and sprinkle on some parmagiana. As soon as the cheese melted move onto a plate enjoy. Its best to catch so some of the yolk is still runny.

                          Another thing from when we would make breakfast when i worked in a restaurant. Which is great because you have all these ingredients already chopped up and you can throw whatever you please. They also only used white pepper, which in my opinion gives more flavor and spice than black. So scramble up some eggs. Throw in some chopped red onion and diced ham , salt, white peper, and mix (you can throw in some chopped fresh parsley if you have, though its mostly for color). Pour into a pan and mix occasionally to have it cook thoroughly and prevent it from burning. Next take a toasted brioche, smear on some cream cheese, throw on some of the eggs and eat your sandwich. That there is a damn good egg sandwich. I never thought of putting cream cheese on an egg sandwich til there. Try throwing in some diced garlic into the egg mixture to add a different taste to breakfast.

                          1. r
                            riotburn Jul 24, 2010 04:26 PM

                            Sorry to hear that you have trouble with breakfast.

                            Here is something I make and it takes just two ingredients. Its scrambled eggs with american cheese but, at least the way I make it, it is something better than average.
                            So lets say you are making one portion. You need 3 eggs and 2 slices of american cheese. Break the eggs into a bowl and beat them well for about a minute. Its best to hold the rim of the bowl, tilt it, and whip the eggs in the corner using a fork. Heat your pan with some cooking spray on med-high heat. Wait a min or so til its hot. Pour the eggs into the pan.

                            Here I will try to articulate the process because I use a lot of intuition when it comes to cooking so bear with me.

                            Let the eggs start cook, occassionally using a spatula to push the cooked eggs away from the rim towards the center and angling the pan to let the liquid touch the pan. Now when its mostly cooked, still wet though, through the two slices on top. Use the edge of the spatula to chop the cheese up, along the with eggs, then keep mixing it in the pan until the cheese is melted into the eggs. Then just put out onto a plate and enjoy your cheesy egg scramble.

                            Also if you want to get fancier, you can try eggs benedict. Though I don't suggest you try making a hollandaise sauce because its hard to get right. But the concept behind these eggs are simple. Put a poached egg ontop of an english muffin half with some combination of breakfast meat or vegetable with some kind of sauce.

                            So split your english muffin, toast and put the two halves on a plate. Here you can choose to top it with whatever you want. The classic is a thick slice of ham topped with hollandaise. Something I've done was to spread some goat cheese on the muffin and put some thinly sliced avocado on top of that, place the egg on top and put a big piece of fresh basil right on top of the egg. Now to poach an egg:

                            Boil a big pot of water, with two splashes of white vinegar in it. Crack an egg at a time into a small bowl, making sure the yoke stay in tact, then pour the egg into the water. Repeat with the second egg. After about a minute or two, Use a slotted spoon to gently lift the eggs out of the boiling water, ONE AT A TIME. Place it directly onto the english muffin.

                            So for that eggs benedict idea you can try to experiment but try to limit it to no more than 3 toppings besides the eggs.

                            Don't give up and keep experimenting.

                            1. chef chicklet Jul 24, 2010 04:06 PM

                              I have to brag a little bit here. I think I make a decent breakfast of soft scramled eggs, and if that's what you like I can help you. They can be so decadent if done with care. Here's my proud photo of creamy scrambled eggs that everyone asks " what do you put in you scrambled eggs?" but you can take these and add your own preferred toppings.

                              You can add smoked salmon or cheeses, just about anything that you prefer, but the creaminess of the eggs is simply wonderful. Here are eggs with ham and chives
                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/7220939@...

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: chef chicklet
                                l
                                lisabnyc Jul 24, 2010 04:14 PM

                                those look decadent - please share your secret!

                                1. re: lisabnyc
                                  chef chicklet Jul 25, 2010 10:35 AM

                                  My secret (after many years of making bad eggs) is to take your time. At first I mix them gently in one direction with either a chopstick or fork. Put them a pan with a little oil (not pam) and then on the very lowest heat let them cook untouched. I use a rubber spatula to lift the sides so I never get any brown. Let them get a sort of custardy look to them, and I add a pat of butter. If I'm adding ham I usually precook that. I add a little ham or procuitto, then a tablespoon of cream cheese or marscapone and stir stir stir. Take the pan off the heat, put it back on, the problem is that eggs don't really need to be on consistent heat all the time, like meats it will continue to cook after you remove them. They're sort of wet or creamy, and then I add salt, pepper, and top with chives, or you can stir in chives also.
                                  I have been successful making two, or two dozen this way. Just be gentle at first then stir off the heat and most important, use low heat!

                                  1. re: chef chicklet
                                    onceadaylily Jul 26, 2010 02:29 PM

                                    That's very similar to how I make mine (but I usually add a *light* dash of cream--never milk--per egg, and use butter instead of oil). I worked at a cafe for years, and could play with eggs in the course of my cooking duties (so much fun). I found that I preferred the low heat, lift and fold method that resembles the construction of an omelette, especially if cooking a large amount. Learning to move the pan off the flame before I thought it was 'done', continuing the process off the flame, and having plates at the ready (so that I did not inadvertently dry them out as I attended to something else) was so important.

                                    Lisa, the method of combining low heat and off heat seems to be a common denominator. Lucky you, eggs are cheap. Have fun practicing!

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