Growing up, If I got to eat breakfast at any other time of the day than in the morning, it was always a treat. Whenever I saw it was breakfast-for-lunch day on the cafeteria lunch menu, I literally jumped for joy at the thought of having bacon, eggs and pancakes with tons of maple syrup instead of a boring turkey sandwich. Sometimes my brother and I would get an extra special treat by having breakfast for dinner at home. My mom would always prepare our favorites: crispy bacon, blueberry pancakes, creamy scrambled eggs and hash browns made in a cast-iron skillet. You're hungry now, right?
Sometimes the best time to make breakfast is for dinner. Let's face it, you're only going to cook a lot in the morning if it's a holiday or the weekend or if you're entertaining guests at your home. Otherwise, it's just too dang early to make an outstanding breakfast.
While the classic breakfast items are all well and good, here are ten kicked-up breakfast-for-dinner dishes you have to make.
10. Sweet Potato Pancakes
Sure, you can make regular pancakes with the classic additions of blueberries, bananas, nuts or chocolate chips, but why not change up the recipe completely by making a sweet potato pancake batter? It's dinner, after all, so make this a more savory meal by including a sweet and savory spud. Simply mix together the flour with baking powder and salt, then add some cinnamon and nutmeg to enhance the sweet potato. Mix about one and a half cups of mashed, boiled and peeled sweet potatoes (the smaller they are, the sweeter they are), with two eggs, one and a half cups of milk and a quarter cup of melted butter. Blend the wet and the dry ingredients together, then cook your pancakes just as you normally would. Top each one with some honey, butter, powdered sugar or just plain maple syrup for a sweet twist on pancakes. Bacon on the side is a must.
9. Eggs in Hell
Ever since I saw Mario Batali make this savory breakfast dish on his food talk show, The Chew, I knew I had to make it. Basically, eggs in hell is a one pan dish where you cook several eggs in a spicy tomato sauce made with onions, garlic, tomatoes and jalapenos. Of course you can nix the jalapenos and just have eggs in purgatory; it's up to you. Cook the sauce until it begins to boil, then drop the heat to low, place enough eggs in the pan that will fit, then let them simmer until the egg whites are fully cooked. Sprinkle Parmagiano-Reggiano on top once everything is done and serve each person a bowl full of spicy tomato sauce and an egg. Sop up the runny egg yolk and tomato sauce with a thick slice of bread. Save any leftover sauce for your next pasta night, too.
8. Breakfast Pizza
Pizza is such a classic meal for dinner, so incorporate that classic dish with classic components of breakfast. If you're feeling adventurous, roll out your own pizza dough, or just buy pre-made pizza dough to save some time. You can make individual pizzas with fried eggs on top, like this one from Food Network, or roll out a whole pizza and top with individually fried eggs or scrambled eggs. Of course it wouldn't be a pizza if it didn't have cheese, so load on different types of cheese, like shredded Cheddar, ricotta for a creamy touch, or just stick with Mozzarella for the classic pizza taste. Have fun with the other toppings, too. Add sun dried tomatoes, crispy pieces of bacon, crumbled sausage, fresh herbs, onions and tomatoes. A breakfast pizza is a wonderful hybrid between breakfast and dinner.
7. Breakfast Burger
No, this is not Paula Deen's deadly burger made with two donuts and a fried egg, but it is a burger with a fried egg. Take a regular juicy burger and make it even better with breakfast ingredients, like bacon, eggs, sausage and even syrup. You can use a regular beef patty, or use a sausage patty. Toast an English muffin for the bun, instead of a regular hamburger bun for a true breakfast taste. If you want to spruce up the bacon some more, then brush each cooked piece with maple syrup and brown sugar ‑ add some bourbon to that glaze for an even better treat. Pile on the maple-glazed bacon and a fried egg on top of the patty (beef or sausage).
6. Fajita Steak Breakfast Burritos
Turn Tex-Mex night into a breakfast for dinner night with breakfast burritos. The best way to kick breakfast burritos up a notch is to use fajita meat. Let the fajita meat marinate in your favorite marinade blend all day in the refrigerator, then grill that meat to perfection. Throw in your favorite breakfast burrito ingredients, like scrambled eggs, cotija cheese, grilled diced peppers, tomatoes, beans and onions, then roll into a burrito. Now that's what I call the ultimate breakfast burrito.
5. Croque Madame
You could just have a ham and cheese sandwich (Croque Monsieur) with a creamy bechamel sauce on top for dinner, but if you add a fried egg on top, you have the ultimate breakfast for dinner dish. A Croque Madame takes the creaminess, saltiness and comforting aspects of the Croque Monsieur and elevates it to new heights by adding a fried egg. Not only does the sandwich ooze with melted Gruyere cheese and bechamel sauce, but once you slice into the egg and crack open the runny egg yolk, the sandwich becomes even creamier. It's a buttery, comforting dish that will send you straight to bed once you're done.
4. Ham and Cheese Waffles Bon Appetit knows what it is talking about. Merge the sweetness of waffles with the savoriness from ham and cheese to create the best "sandwich" for dinner. When you pour the batter into the waffle iron, sprinkle the tops with chopped strips of ham and shredded cheese. Of course, you can exchange the ham for bacon or sausage, add cheese and maybe some syrup, if you are feeling a bit overzealous. Top with a pat of butter and maple syrup for a sweet, salty and savory waffle perfect for dinner.
3. Orange Marmalade Stuffed French Toast
Several years ago, my mom had orange marmalade stuffed French toast in California and has recreated it for special breakfasts a few times ever since. This tangy and sweet stuffed French toast will definitely fill up your stomach and satisfy your sweet tooth cravings. Use two thick slices of bread, like brioche, coat in the egg wash made with two or three beaten eggs, cinnamon, vanilla extract, a splash of milk and two extra special ingredients: Grand Marnier and orange zest. These two ingredients will bring out the wonderful fresh flavors of the orange marmalade. Cook the bread slices with melted butter in a skillet until each piece is golden and toasted, then place two or three scoops of cream cheese on one bread slice (enough to cover the entire piece of bread), then spoon the same amount of orange marmalade on the other slice, and press both together like a sandwich. Top the French toast with some more butter and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. One bite and you will feel like you have died and gone to heaven.
2. Eggs Benedict
Yes, this is a classic breakfast dish, but who wants to wake up early to prepare Eggs Benedict? Save the time and labor for the evening and enjoy Eggs Benedict for dinner, instead. Add a little pizzazz to the dish with roasted tomatoes and sauteed spinach, or replace a few ingredients by using a biscuit instead of an English muffin, bacon, smoked salmon or sausage instead of Canadian bacon, or get super fancy with lobster. Top with hollandaise and a perfectly poached egg for one of the most delicious breakfast dishes to make for dinner.
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1. Savory Ham and Egg Crepe Squares
Make a savory crepe with fresh basil, parsley and sage leaves, then fold into a square to encase slices of honey-baked ham and an egg. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs, then bake the crepe square in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the egg is cooked to your liking. Once you cut into this crepe square, the egg yolk oozes out of the center, inviting you to soak up all of the salty, comforting goodness with the soft crepe and sweet ham. Take the time to prepare your crepe batter in advance, then create a beautiful square encasing slices of ham and an egg for a breakfast for dinner dish you will love. Trust me, you'll be sad when it is all gone.