It’s been a while since the last Cheap And Easy Cooking post (it was about rice, in case you missed it), so it’s time for another!
JM has been making a lot of egg dishes recently when it’s his turn to cook dinner, so he figured that would be the perfect thing to share with you next in this series.
Here’s what he has to say on the subject:
Eggs are a great candidate for “Cheap And Easy Cooking” because they’re really cheap and really easy. Let’s start with cheap…an egg costs between 10 and 15 cents, which means that you can easily make an entire meal out of just eggs for under a dollar. Assuming you’re not Cool Hand Luke. The other thing that is great about eggs is that everyone pretty much already knows how to cook them. Most people have cooked an egg one way or another.
So it’s cheap and easy, but it also serves some other functions that are extremely important if you’re trying to feed yourself cheaply and easily:
The first thing that eggs do are stand in for more expensive food. The big example would sandwiches; if you can put meat on a sandwich, you can pretty much put an egg on it instead. Don’t have leftover chicken for your ceasar salad? Add an egg. Need to turn Ramen into an actual adult meal? Egg! Want to turn boring old rice into a complete meal? Egg. BAM, fried rice! Need a killer appetizer that you can bring to a respectable family gathering for NO MONEY?! Deviled eggs! They’re versatile enough to stand in for tons of other protein sources that are more expensive and harder to cook.
The second thing that eggs do is provide an efficient means of getting rid of any random food you have laying around. The best example of this is an omelette, which you can pretty much put ANY leftovers in and it will be good. French toast is another great example; it was originally designed to salvage unusable, stale bread. In fact, French toast is better if you use stale bread and leave it soaking in the eggs.
So to sum up: eggs are really cheap, eggs are really easy, eggs are a great, filling addition to pretty much any dish, and they’re a perfect shortcut to eating the rest of the random food you have laying around (and that’s always cheaper than going to the store)!
He really loves eggs. Like seriously, we edited that whole bit down from a two page rant on how awesome eggs are.
But actually, I know a fair bit about cooking eggs, so I’m stealing my post back from him at this point. You’re welcome!
You all probably know how to cook an egg, but just in case you want a refresher course, here are a few of the most basic ways to cook an egg.
Sunny Side Up:
In theory, a sunny side up egg is simple. Heat up some butter in a frying pan, crack an egg into it, and don’t flip the egg over. When it’s cooked, it’s done!
In practice it’s a little more difficult because it is hard to make sure the top of the egg is thoroughly cooked without burning the underside. Some people stick a lid over the pan so the steam will help cook the top, but this doesn’t always help because the steam doesn’t cook the top fast enough.
However, there’s a simple trick that cooks the tops perfectly! Heat up 2 T of butter in the frying pan. Once the entire pan is hot, crack an egg into the pan. Using a small spoon, spoon hot butter over the whites of the egg, but not the yolk. Once the whites firm up, spoon a little bit of butter over the yolk to firm the top up. After about three minutes your egg will be cooked, including the top!
A fried egg is the same as a sunny side up egg, except you flip it halfway through cooking so it’s cooked on both sides. Heat up a skillet, once it’s hot, crack an egg into it. After about a minute and a half flip the egg over and cook for another minute and a half.
In a restaurant you can specify how “well done” you want your fried egg by asking for it over easy, over medium, or over hard. The easy, medium, and hard specifies how runny you want the yolk to be.
Scrambled eggs and bacon was a staple breakfast on weekends when I was growing up. It’s easy and delicious!
Heat up some butter in a skillet and crack a couple of eggs into a bowl (I usually make two eggs per person). Whisk the eggs with a fork, and once the pan is hot, dump the eggs into the pan. Stir the eggs so that they don’t get all cooked on one side. Keep chopping and stirring the eggs until they are cooked, about 4 minutes.
My favorite way to do scrambled eggs is to toss a little shredded cheese into the bowl with the eggs before I pour it into the pan. Yummy cheesy eggs!
An omelette is the same idea as scrambled eggs, but you don’t stir the eggs once they’re in the pan. Start out the same way by heating some butter in a skillet and cracking some eggs into a bowl. Whisk the eggs and pour them into the pan once it’s hot.
Once the eggs are in the pan, don’t stir them! You want the entire bottom to cook. The top will still be runny, but once you can see the edges start to get cooked, run your spatula around the edges to make sure they aren’t sticking to the pan.
Fold one side of your eggs over the other to make a semicircle, or fold it in thirds, one side at a time. Once the liquid has dried from the eggs, your omelette is done!
Omelettes are great because they’re so versatile. You can put anything you want in them and they still turn out fantastic. The recipe above is just for a plain omelette, but you can add cheese, bacon, ham, spinach, mushrooms…you get the idea
Pour out your eggs into the pan like normal, then once the bottom is firmed up, add your “filling” before folding the omelette. And if you want a fluffier omelette just add a bit of milk in with your eggs when you whisk them up.
Also, in case you missed it, Marty from Marty’s Musings linked up the coolest omelette idea ever to this week’s Fun In Functional link party. She made omelettes in a plastic bag! That way you don’t have to flip them! I’m pretty bad at flipping omelettes and usually end up with a sort of jumble of eggs instead of two layers of eggs, so this is perfect
Another thing you can do with omelette-style eggs is make them into a breakfast sandwich. Whisk your eggs and some milk in a small microwaveable container that is about the same size as a bagel. Microwave the egg mixture on high for about a minute and a half until the eggs are firm. If they aren’t quite, microwave them again in 20 second intervals. Pop the “omelette” out of the container, put it on a sliced bagel, maybe add some cheese or some bacon, and you’ve got a delicious breakfast sandwich.
Hard boiled eggs make great snacks because, unlike most eggs, you can take them anywhere.
Put a layer of eggs into the bottom of a big pan. Cover the eggs with cool water and put the pan on the stove. Bring the water to a boil, and once it’s boiling, boil for 10 minutes.
Opinions differ about what to do after they are done boiling, because sometimes it is hard to peel a hard boiled egg without the shell sticking to the whites. You can turn off the heat and pull the eggs out with a slotted spoon immediately, or you can just let them sit in the water until the water has cooled down enough to deal with them. I usually just let the eggs sit in the water, and then put them in the fridge after the water has cooled. And I don’t have any trouble peeling the eggs, so the second method works fine for me.
My favorite thing to do with hard boiled eggs is to make deviled eggs. I won’t go into the whole recipe here, but if you ever need to bring something to a potluck or a picnic, deviled eggs are great. You just need hard boiled eggs, mayonnaise, sugar, and mustard. And maybe some pickle relish or some chili powder if you want to spice it up a bit
One of my favorite quick dinners growing up was soft boiled eggs. The way my mom made them was the best, and I still think this is my favorite way to eat eggs.
Bring about two inches of water to a boil and pull your eggs out of the fridge (you want them room temperature-ish before you put them in the boiling water). Once the water is boiling, gently drop in two eggs with a slotted spoon. (Two eggs per person…) Set a timer for three minutes.
Put a piece of bread in the toaster and turn it on right away. Butter the toast once it pops up, cut it into bite-sized pieces, and put it in a bowl.
Once your egg timer goes off, turn off the stove and immediately pull the eggs out with a slotted spoon. Timing is pretty critical here because the eggs will keep cooking in their shells. Run them under cold water until they’re cool enough to touch, crack the egg in half with a butter knife, and scoop the inside out with a spoon into the bowl. The whites will be cooked firm, but the yolks should be runny, so you’ll need a spoon to separate the whites from the lining of the shell.
Mix up the eggs and the toast and you have a cheap and easy meal!
What are your favorite egg dishes? Personally, besides the soft boiled eggs, I’m a huge fan of quiches and omelettes. Anything you can add bacon to! Any other quick and simple ways of cooking eggs that I missed? Do you have any tips or tricks for cooking eggs?
If you want to see the rest of the Cheap And Easy Cooking posts, you can check them out here!
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