By Jacqui Cotton, LRNYC intern
We all have those nights when we’re standing in front of the refrigerator feeling hopelessly out of dinner ideas. You might be tired, running low on ingredients, or just in a cooking rut and in need of inspiration. Before surrendering and resorting to a bowl of cereal for dinner (but seriously, no judgments there!) get to know your new best friend in the kitchen: the humble egg!
I can’t tell you how often I turn to this kitchen staple in a meal pinch! It’s versatile, easy to prepare, and packed with protein (you can even cut some calories and cholesterol by using just the whites). Even better, the local, free-range eggs from the Local Roots CSA come from Millport Dairy, an all-natural Amish farm in Lancaster, PA, that calls their chickens not only free-range but 100% pasture-raised. That means that their birds live in chicken paradise: outdoors, roaming in pasture and pecking for bugs or organic produce scraps.
(John and his son of Millport Dairy, egg farmers for the Local Roots CSA)
I’m constantly concocting new meals using just my pasture raised eggs and other local, seasonal produce. Here I’ll share some of my most recent creations, made with fresh CSA produce! These recipes are purposely flexible and inexact – You can’t really “mess up” eggs so feel free to experiment! Here are four no-fail egg dishes:
Looking for something light, yet filling that you can stretch for several meals? Try an easy seasonal veggie frittata. I’ve made a version with Swiss chard, summer squash and scallions, but any fresh veggies will work! Simply sauté the greens and veggies of your choice (I often add some minced garlic for flavor). Whisk eggs together and combine with cooked veggies. You can add cheese if you wish (mine came out nicely with Parmesan, but feta or goat cheese would be a nice easy addition.) Pour the mixture into a greased pan and bake until the eggs are solid and puffy (about 40-45 minutes on 350º). Voilà!
If you have less time for baking, try a simple scramble. You can throw in whatever is in your fridge. Don’t worry about your form – Just add your favorite ingredients right in to the egg mixture as you’re scrambling! You can always enjoy with some toast to bolster the meal! Here are some recent successes I’ve had:
1) Florentine: sautéed spinach (or any greens), scallions, tomatoes, feta, oregano
2) Southwest: sautéed zucchini, onion, pepper jack cheese,, and top with salsa
3) Parisian: sautéed mushrooms, spinach, Swiss cheese
3. Stir Fry
Still have other leftovers in the fridge that you don’t know how to spice up? Reinvent the meal with some eggs and veggies! If you have leftover rice or other grains, make a quick egg stir fry. Sauté whatever veggies you have (peppers, carrots, pak choy, green beans, and scallions are some of my favorites), scramble in some eggs, and toss in the leftover grains. All you need is a splash of soy sauce or your favorite marinade to season.
When in doubt, an egg sandwich is always heaven – breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Again, the variations are endless. Here are some of my favorites, but feel free to experiment with your favorite ingredients and flavor combinations:
1) Twist on avocado toast: Add a fried egg or scrambled egg whites to your avocado toast for extra protein! For added flavor, I like to top it with arugula, a slice of tomato, and a bit of honey mustard!
2) Egg scramble burrito: It’s really as simple as it sounds! Make your favorite scramble with veggies and cheese and roll it up in a soft tortilla or pita pocket. Add garnishes like salsa, sour cream or beans.
3) Egg grilled cheese: Simply add an egg to your basic grilled cheese to pack in even more protein. Add a slice of tomato for more flavor.
Hopefully these quick and easy meal fixes will give you some inspiration for those “what-to-make” days! Just keep a carton of eggs on hand at all times, and you can’t go wrong!