Help me be the boss of breakfast
January 10, 2017 1:07 AM   Subscribe

Pretty simple: are you the boss of breakfast? Teach me your ways.

Most of the year, we have cream yogurt and this granola (if you haven't made this granola or had 10 percent fat yogurt, that's my gift to you!). It makes me happy every morning and doesn't take that much prep (we do the granola once a month) and is filling until lunch-- our main criteria.

But now it's cold and I crave something a little heartier and we are breakfast-routine-less! Sometimes we have fried eggs on toast, some days bread with sunflower seed butter, some days we get smoked trout and make breakfast sandwiches (it's cheap here!), on the weekends we make pancakes. But today I had white toast. Delicious, but-- WE CAN DO BETTER. Every morning we stand around like, "uhhh, what's for breakfast?", time which could be better spent sleeping or reading metafilter. We need some direction here.

Do you have a kickass recipe for super-flavorful, non-pasty oatmeal? A meal-planning formula for make-ahead eggs that tastes great? A recipe for some kinda whole-wheat fruity quick bread that's worth the prep? A list of great stuff to put on toast? What do you eat for breakfast?


+ We live in Germany which means we have a dorm fridge as our regular fridge and basically no freezer (gone are the days of homemade frozen breakfast tacos). Just the two of us.
+ We do have a flexible morning schedule which is great. Mr. Thirst for Salt will happily eat the same breakfast every day for 6 months, I like a little more variety.
+ Steel cut oats are hard to come by (unless you have tips for finding steel cut oats in Berlin?). We do have a giant bag of quinoa and a giant bag of rice.
+ Open to the "get a box of cereal, you neurotic fool" route but we're trying to be relatively healthy on the white-carb front and there's no Cracklin' Oat Bran here so why even bother. (See also: importance of staying full until at least 10 AM).
+ Allergic to nuts and sesame
posted by athirstforsalt to Food & Drink (31 answers total) 67 users marked this as a favorite
I love cream chipped beef in the winter.

Basically - take a package of chipped beef and cut into one inch squares. Put in a pot with 3 tbsp of butter. Cook until the meat is coated and the butter is beginning to bubble. Add two tbsp flour to make a meat roux. ( I like to cook the meat in the butter first since it brings more flavor into the dish). Gradually put in 2 cups milk and mix thoroughly before adding more. You should have a hearty thick sauce at the end. Salt & pepper to taste. Pour over biscuits or toast.

If chipped beef is not readily available near you, you can absolutely substitute sausage for a breakfast sausage gravy.

It's a hearty, stick to your ribs kind of breakfast. I use skim milk when making it to cut down on some of the fat, but it tastes much richer with a higher fat content milk. In total it takes about 20 min from deciding to make it, and when you're eating breakfast.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 1:22 AM on January 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

The secret to good fried rice is to cook it the day before and fry it up cold. So make a big batch of plain rice at night and then fry a portion for breakfast.

You can use up any veggies that need eating, just chop small and cook as you prefer and then set aside before you do the rice. Then get some oil really hot in your pan and dump in the rice, coat it with the oil and then spread it out to let it toast and start to get crunchy bits.

Meanwhile assemble your sauce - this can be practically anything, I like garlic, ginger, lime juice, tamari and a little sugar, or gojuchang and kimchi brine with sesame oil, both of which can be mixed up and left in the fridge for a couple days, but to expedite breakfast you could buy pre made sauces.

Once you've mixed up the rice a couple times so it has crunchy bits throughout, put back in your veggies and the sauce. Mix it well and let some parts caramelize. You can scramble an egg into it while still hot, or top with fried or soft boiled eggs, or omit them and top with whatever protein you have.

It will seem like kind of a high level cooking thing for breakfast at first but it gets really easy after a few times and it's pretty hard to make inedible. Great with hot miso soup and smoky teas for extra warmth, and you can do it with other precooked grains if you have them.
posted by Mizu at 1:47 AM on January 10, 2017 [9 favorites]

Oh, so many ideas. Breakfast can be as perfunctory or as creative/ time consuming as you'd like it to be. I like to vary what I eat daily, or I tend to get breakfast fatigue.
On the easy side:
- full fat Greek yogurt with berries and granola (that food52 recipe is crack)
- avocado toast ( multi grain bread, smashed avocado, lime, s+p, diced tomato, cilantro and sprouts, but use whatever floats your boat)
-hot cereal: I trade off between rolled oats, oat bran, and quinoa. You can even make a big batch of quinoa and warm it up in the morning.
My favorite combo is a diced apple, freshly grated ginger and cinnamon. I add toasted walnuts to mine, but you could use pumpkin seeds, or even the sunflower butter.
A bit of forethought, but eggs and home fries make for a wonderfully hearty breakfast (I usually relegate this to the weekend). If you make the home fries the night before and heat them up it's stupid easy. I throw diced onion and red bell pepper into a cast iron skillet over medium heat, add par cooked potato (boil until almost fork tender) until everything is nice and golden brown. Sometimes I add zucchini for added virtue. I grew up with this and scrambled eggs, but fried eggs on top are amazing.
Frittatas also work well for breakfast.
Oven pancakes are my favorite special occasion food. I had them with sautéed apples on top (not in the batter, so the pancake can be puffy and glorious). I found this nytimes recipe and it seems spot on, but I wouldn't use the lemon juice at the end.
As Julia child would say, happy cooking!
posted by Champagne Supernova at 1:55 AM on January 10, 2017 [5 favorites]

A big fritatta can be eaten over a couple of days, with slices heated up:yum!
posted by wenestvedt at 3:15 AM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

I do variants of the "fried egg on toast" (half a bagel, usually) thing, for variety using whatever's in the fridge or on the counter as open-face sandwich toppings. Lately that means some combo of egg, cheese, tomato, onion, arugula, pesto, arugula pesto, avocado, cucumber, yellow pepper, etc. I mix it up on some days by instead having 1) a bowl of whole-grain cereal with half a banana and a handful of fresh or dried berries with lowfat milk, or 2) leftover dinner heated in the microwave. Between those three options I'm full and satisfied without being bored or having to take too much time to think about it.
posted by mediareport at 3:25 AM on January 10, 2017

I am the boss of breakfast! My best weeks are when I make a pot of soup on Sunday, and then I have healthy tasty filling soup for breakfast for the rest of the week (and if I made enough, sometimes I freeze the rest for a lazy week in the future).

It's perfect - lots of fiber and protein to get you going in the morning, and all you have to do is slop some into a bowl and microwave before eating.

(I happen to be eating breakfast while writing this right now - a heavily spiced but only slightly spicy sweet potato, tomato, pea, collard greens, and chicken soup that I love and have made a few times.)
posted by 168 at 3:43 AM on January 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

congee is divine for breakfast.
posted by smoke at 3:49 AM on January 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

> super-flavorful, non-pasty oatmeal

Butter. Seriously. Porridge without butter is like MeFi without the overthinking.

My breakfast porridge is: an amount (1-1½ cups or so) of rolled oats — avoid quick cook ones, 'cos they make dough. ½ tsp sugar. ¼ tsp salt (porridge without salt is flabby). Pour over enough boiling water to generously cover the oats. Stir. Give it 33 seconds (quicker to key than 30 …) in the microwave. Stir again, but stir in a small knob of butter (pref. unsalted). Nom.
posted by scruss at 4:48 AM on January 10, 2017 [4 favorites]

I like variety AND I like my ruts, so my weekday breakfasts are usually two scrambled eggs with a different kind of cheese grated in (sharp cheddar, Romano, Gruyere, etc.), plus an ounce or two of nuts (almonds, cashews, shelled pistachios, etc.). I will sometimes replace the nuts with a small breakfast sausage patty or a strip of bacon. Four ounces of no-added-sugar OJ.

On weekends, I'll often use whatever leftover bit of meat is in the fridge to make a quick potato hash, parboiling a small-diced potato for 7-10 minutes before draining and throwing it in the pan with the meat and some herbs, plus some finely grated Parmesan. Serve with a poached egg on top.

For a "fancy" holiday breakfast, Eggs Benedict comes together in 15 minutes using this failure-proof, one-minute hollandaise sauce from Kenji Lopez-Alt's Food Lab.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 5:15 AM on January 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

Savory oatmeal! Here are a few recipes to get you started. But I'll often just wing it -- make a bowl of oatmeal, mix in some cheese and a dash of soy sauce or some salsa, and throw a poached/soft boiled egg on top. Sautéed onions, scallions, bell peppers, mushrooms, spinach, bacon, etc. are great additions if you have time or have them pre-made. Basically, if you would put it in an omelet, you can put it in savory oatmeal. I like sweet oatmeal too, but savory is a nice change.

Also, if you have a microwave, I do old-fashioned rolled oats in there for 5 minutes at 50% power. I just got done eating a bowl and can confirm it is not pasty.

When feeling uncreative, I will put a poached/soft-boiled egg on toast, rice, quinoa, oatmeal, leftover cooked vegetables, a leftover bean dish, etc. and call it breakfast. The runny yolk makes a sauce and it's delicious. (Unless you are among those who dislike the texture of runny eggs, in which case disregard.)
posted by snowmentality at 5:51 AM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Hrutka is a make ahead egg 'cheese' that you can have with toast for breakfast all week.

Have you looked into other hot cereals? I like bob's red mill brand 7 grain cereal, made with a splash of milk, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. If you have access to a variety of bulk dry grains you can also mix your own.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:15 AM on January 10, 2017

This might be so obvious as to be useless, but have you thought about hard boiling a batch of eggs in preparation for the week? I do this on Sundays and have an egg (or two) every morning with my breakfast. It only takes a minute in the morning to peel, quarter, and salt and pepper the egg. Definitely keeps me feeling full until lunch.

(I complement my egg with cinnamon buns because I really like carbs, but the nice thing about eggs is that they go with just about everything.)
posted by schroedingersgirl at 6:33 AM on January 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

Shakshuka! I have tried this recipe and it is delicious, but there are plenty others, and after a while, you will know how to improvise. You can make the sauce beforehand, or you can use ready made pasta sauce if you can find a good one.

Also seconding any form of fried rice - we usually have it when we have leftover rice, and we make sure to have leftover rice often. In the Middle East, you often get little pieces of soup pasta in the fried rice, which makes it more breakfasty in my view.
posted by mumimor at 7:05 AM on January 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

The smoked trout could be used to make Kedgeree.

Agree that congee is very satisfying for breakfast.

You could also try rice pudding for breakfast, and add raisins or other dried fruits.

The quinoa can be used to make little patties, which will keep for a few days, if you want to make a big batch.

We normally did this on holidays, but you can use leftover bread to make strata, and add whatever you like. Most strata recipes say to soak the bread in the egg and milk mixture overnight (like baked French toast casserole), but I've done it for 30 minutes before baking, with fine results (as usually I forget until I want some).

You could make a batch of date-oatmeal muffins. Just warm leftovers in the microwave for 5-10 seconds to have a hot, tasty muffin.

Make a batch of crepes, they keep fairly well for a few days, stored between waxed paper (refrigerate if left over night, then bring to room temp before using). I have also made savory crepes with chickpea flour, so could be stuffed with anything savory, like your smoked trout, or an egg and veg scramble, but the chickpea flour didn't taste great with say, a cooked apple topping, ymmv.

I love poached eggs over just about anything. So if I have leftovers from the night before, will poach a couple of eggs and serve on top of those, anything from potatoes to rice dishes, etc.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:18 AM on January 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

i make an egg-based casserole once a week that i eat off of w/ a big dollop of salsa every morning... put in whatever you like, but mine is-

casserole ingredients:
1 lb hot italian sausage (broken up w/ spatula and browned)
1 large onion (diced and sauted w/ sausage)
few cloves of garlic (minced and sauted w/ sausage)
2 cups pepperidge farm herb seasoned stuffing
1 8oz block of cheese, shredded (cheddar, mozzarella, whatever you have)
2-3 packages of frozen veggies- i've been using chopped spinach, chopped broccoli and 1/2 frozen corn (follow instructions on the back but just use half the time to thaw 'em)
10 eggs (mix w/ fork then add milk)
3/4 cup milk (i don't really measure this, it might actually be a little more)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
pepper, salt, other seasonings

salsa (for serving)

saute first three ingredients, make egg/milk mixture and then mix everything together. spread in a 9x13" pan and bake for like 40 minutes in a 375 degree oven. makes 10 hefty pieces (good for 2 people every morning M-F!)
posted by noloveforned at 7:53 AM on January 10, 2017 [5 favorites]

Heavenly homemakers has a homemade cracklin oat bran recipe.

Lynn's kitchen adventures has baked oatmeal recipes.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 8:37 AM on January 10, 2017

Take any kind of hot cereal (I've been alternating between Bob's Red Mill Might Tasty and Creamy Buckwheat cuz I'm gluten free)
Stir in a heaping teaspoon of sunflower seed butter (or regular butter or cream)
Add something sweet (sugar, brown sugar, my sister swears by fruit jam)
Add some fresh fruit (I like banana slices or berries)

Related idea: cook oatmeal on the stove top with raisins or any kind of dried fruit thrown in the mix (it'll rehydrate), add brown sugar and cream when it's done.
posted by purple_bird at 8:57 AM on January 10, 2017

Breakfast tacos- I'm not sure of tortilla availability for you but I usually do corn tortillas, green hot sauce, cheese, egg and sometimes potatoes (or bacon, sausage, etc)
posted by raccoon409 at 9:06 AM on January 10, 2017

I can't always get excited about eggs and I can't ever get excited about gruel, so I just eat whatever is for lunch at whatever time I get hungry and then I eat dinner for lunch and then for dinner I have a wad of triplecream brie. Because I am not just the breakfast boss but the lunch and dinner boss, too. I am the CEO of meals.

To remember: sardines. Good anytime.
posted by Don Pepino at 9:23 AM on January 10, 2017 [4 favorites]

If you do find a source of steel cut oats, my best breakfast tip is to saute them in butter for a couple minutes before adding liquid. It gives them a nice toasty flavor and also jump starts the cooking process, so you don't have to simmer as long and the texture stays firmer.
posted by Flannery Culp at 9:32 AM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Admittedly, I eat this fried rice for breakfast usually on weekends, but I've done it on weekdays. If you cook the rice* and chop the scallions the night before, it's very quick the morning of. I'm a bit of a neurotic cook so I always use these measurements but you can wing it of course. I've also occasionally added small pieces of uncooked bacon and cooked them first thing, prior to cooking the eggs, but I don't usually keep that on hand so normally it's just eggs.

250g cold cooked jasmine rice [120g raw rice and 160 ml water is my normal jasmine rice cooking ratio, but I'll often only use 150 ml if I know I'm specifically making the rice for fried rice. You could also of course use brown rice or whatever other rice you like.]
3 eggs, beaten
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder
4 scallions [AKA green/spring/salad onions], green parts only, finely chopped
30g roasted shelled peanuts (optional)
1/2 lime (optional)
2 Tbsp neutral-flavored cooking oil

Makes 1 (for me as a brunch-y type meal, anyway). For fried rice, I would not make any more than 2 portions at a time TBH -- as with most stir-fries I think the quality suffers if you attempt to cook too much at once.

Heat the oil in a wok until very hot. Pour the eggs into the wok, swirl to distribute and then let cook. When the egg is about 3/4 set -- i.e. it's starting to brown underneath, but is still liquid on top in the center -- add the rice. Mix the rice and egg together, breaking up both any clumps of rice and the egg. Let the rice rest and toast on the surface of the pan.

When the grains are cooked through and toasty, add the fish and soy sauces and stir to distribute, then add the ground white pepper and chili powder and do the same. When well-distributed, add the scallions and peanuts, if using, and toss very briefly (15 seconds or so) just to wilt them, then remove from the heat.

Squeeze the lime over the rice and serve. The lime isn't necessary, but I find it adds a nice sharpness and cuts the richness of the rice quite a bit.

*Though, I have to concede, I used to be 100% on the "must use cold rice" bandwagon; but after being initially skeptical of this Serious Eats article on fried rice, I have to admit that its technique of spreading freshly cooked rice on a large sheetpan to cool has worked very well for me.
posted by andrewesque at 9:36 AM on January 10, 2017 [4 favorites]

Do you have a kickass recipe for super-flavorful, non-pasty oatmeal?

Yes! Cook the oatmeal in milk*, and then add the aforementioned butter. This is how my mom made it and i totally get why people might not like oatmeal made with water -- I can't eat the stuff. Same goes for Cream of Wheat/farina, if that's available in Germany. I like to add a little extra dry oatmeal about halfway through to give it a bit more texture.

2% works just fine for me, but whole milk, cream, and dairy-free milk all work.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:36 AM on January 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

I like to heat up hearty granola or musli with dried fruit and milk instead of making oatmeal. Pop your bowl into the microwave for a minute, or heat it all up on the stove until the crunchy bits are softened a bit.

Homemade cinnamon rolls can sit patiently in your fridge overnight and be baked in the morning. If you don't want to make your own dough, you can substitute frozen bread roll dough or pizza dough in a pinch.

You're in Germany! Crusty bread rolls with butter and schinken (basically the German version of prosciutto) is a fabulous breakfast. My dad (who is German and came to the US when he was 14) used to go to a local German bakery and deli and pick this breakfast up for us at least once a week. Good stuff. I believe there is often coarse mustard involved, and possibly pickles.
posted by ananci at 9:46 AM on January 10, 2017

We do breakfast tacos. You mentioned from the freezer, but we just do them fresh. For two people, I do 4 tacos: I cook 2 rashers of bacon (each cut in half) in a small frying pan, then cook 2 scrambled eggs in the same pan. Meanwhile I heat 4 corn tortillas in a cast-iron pan, flip, then melt a bit of pepper jack on the second side. Assemble, top with a roasted salsa, eat. You can add more stuff (avocado, sour cream, olives, green chiles, beans?), but I think it's better simpler.

This depends heavily of decent tortillas, less heavily on decent salsa. I do scrambled eggs but it's also good with a single slightly runny fried egg.
posted by vunder at 11:49 AM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Asking this was worth it for the one minute Hollandaise and Don Pepino's comment alone. Thank you breakfast fans!
posted by athirstforsalt at 12:36 PM on January 10, 2017

I don't think I saw anyone mention avocado toast. Meets the healthy + filling requirements, best on really hearty multigrain bread, with butter, salt, and a squeeze of lemon. And it's super trendy right now, so there are lots of recipes out there to fancy it up.

Also, here and here are two (very similar) silly listicles about what doctors claim to eat that I clicked on for some reason, but they actually gave me a few ideas for breakfast.
posted by catatethebird at 1:41 PM on January 10, 2017

There are lots of awesome ideas here but just wanted to throw in the Baked Oatmeal from Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks.
posted by bananacabana at 3:27 PM on January 10, 2017

You're in Germany? Then one, maybe two, thin slices of rye bread, preferably with caraway seeds, lightly toasted, with leberwurst. Nom.
posted by kjs4 at 4:53 PM on January 10, 2017

A One-Eyed Jack is quick, easy, and so damn yummy (especially with some cheese melted on top).

I just made myself hungry, actually.
posted by jammy at 4:41 AM on January 11, 2017

Toasted bagel with cream cheese and sardines. Sliced tomato and onion, possibly capers.

Sardines are frugal, yo.
posted by Puddle Jumper at 9:29 PM on January 12, 2017

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