With gas prices sky-high and bank accounts plunging, suddenly we’re all looking for ways to stretch a dollar. When it comes to the kitchen, one of the best ways to do that is with eggs.
If you’re cooking for only one or two people, think about it: a dozen eggs (in the midwest, at this time) costs less than $2. With a few other ingredients–many that you may already have on hand–you can easily make two meals with that dozen eggs.
And don’t worry about the health issues surrounding eggs. Years ago, eggs got a bad reputation as a source of cholesterol, to be avoided at all costs. And yes, it’s true that for some people on restricted diets, eggs may still be a concern. But for those of us who have not been ordered to follow those tight restrictions, eating a meal made with eggs now and then shouldn’t be an issue.
On the plus side, eggs are a good source of protein and are as versatile as anything you can name. Whether you’re in the mood for basic scrambled eggs, a flavorful quiche, or a plain hard-boiled egg with salt and pepper, eggs make a quick and easy, breakfast, dinner, or snack. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Basic Hard-Boiled Eggs
Bring a large pan of water to a gentle boil. Gently lower eggs into the water using a spoon or a ladle, being careful not to crowd the eggs. Cook eggs for 12 to 15 minutes. Drain boiling water, and cover eggs with cold water for 3 or 4 minutes before removing shell.
To remove shell, crack the large end of the egg first to break the air pocket. This helps loosen the rest of the shell. Gently peel away the shell.
Make hard-boiled eggs, as above. Carefully slice the cooked eggs horizontally, and gently pop the yolks into a medium-sized bowl. Set the egg whites aside.
To the yolks, add about 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise per every 4 eggs you’ve boiled. Blend with a fork to make as smooth as possible. You can also use plain yogurt in place of some or all of the mayonnaise. Add 1/2 teaspoon of mustard, salt, and pepper to taste. Optionally, you can also add paprika, cayenne pepper or horseradish. Stir to blend.
Gently spoon yolk mixture into egg white halves. Cover and refrigerate if not serving (or eating!) immediately.
This is about as easy and fast as a meal can be. Quantities here make two omelets.
2 Tablespoons butter or oilive
2 Tablespoons milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
Melt the butter in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Beat the eggs and milk together just until blended. Add salt and pepper to beaten eggs. Swirl butter in bottom of pan to coat, then add eggs. Cook the eggs without stirring for almost a minute, then use a fork or thin spatula to lift the edge of the egg mixture and allow uncooked egg to flow to the edges for faster cooking. Continue lifting the omelet and allowing the egg to flow to the edges for 2 to 3 minutes, until eggs are no longer runny.
During this stage, you can add any number of optional fillings: diced ham, onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, grated cheese, salsa, herbs… you get the idea.
Use a large spatula to fold the omelet in half or in thirds (keep this step in mind when adding fillings!) and slide the omelet onto a plate. With bread and a green salad, you’ve got a quick, light, well-rounded meal.