Breakfast Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This sandwich is a perfect breakfast meal for those mornings when I don’t have to rush out the door to work. It’s easy to make, flexible, and the perfect amount of food to fuel your morning, but not ruin your appetite for lunch. As the title suggests, the base of the recipe is a grilled cheese sandwich, spritzed up with a fried egg and greens. Hearty bread and a runny egg takes this sandwich from a typical grilled cheese to something extraordinary. Here I use sharp cheddar cheese and micro greens, but you can substitute with your favorite hard cheese and favorite grilled cheese toppings (I have also used tomato slices, spinach, and bacon!).

Cooking Time: 15 mins
Servings: 1

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tbsp Butter (spreadable)
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 Slices of Hearty Bread (wheat slice with oats in picture)
  • 2 Slices of Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Small Handful of Micro Greens (or other greens)

Recipe

  1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat with 1 tbsp of butter.
  2. When the butter starts to sizzle, carefully crack the egg in the skillet. Cook until the whites of the egg are no longer runny, about 3 minutes. Carefully lift the egg with a spatula and flip over so that the top of the yolk is against the pan. Cook for another 30 seconds, then remove to a plate.
  3. Spread the remaining butter over one side of each bread slice.
  4. Place one bread slice butter side down in the skillet. Quickly layer the remaining ingredients on top of the bread in this order: 1) half of the micro greens, 2) 1 slice of cheddar cheese, 3) previously cooked fried egg, 4) the remaining slice of cheddar cheese, 5) the remaining half of the micro greens, 6) the remaining bread slice, butter side up.
  5. Cook the sandwich in the skillet until the bottom slice of cheese is melted and the bottom bread slice is crispy, about 5 minutes. Then carefully flip the sandwich over so that the other bread slice is against the pan. Cook another 3-4 minutes until the bread is crispy. Remove from the pan onto a plate to serve.

Detailed Steps

Five ingredients. That’s it!!! Truly a simple meal. As mentioned before, use a hearty bread for the sandwich. Something that will be strong enough to hold all of the toppings and flavorful enough to stand apart from the other ingredients. The bread in the picture is a wheat slice with oats, but I’ve also used sourdough and rustic white. For the cheese, my favorite is sharp cheddar (similar notes to the classic american cheese, but stronger in flavor), but mild cheddar, provolone, and pepper jack are also good choices. The micro greens above I found at a local farmer’s market (shout out to Aqua Heirloom in Hume, VA!). If you’ve never had micro greens, they’re very flavorable (reminiscent of arugula in my opinion) and a great topping (for example, steak topped with a small micro green salad is excellent). Instead of micro greens, feel free to use spinach, arugula, or spring mix.

Steps 1-2: The picture on the left is the uncooked egg, in the center the cooked egg right before flipping, and on the right the egg after flipping. As soon as you crack the egg in the pan, I like to make tiny slits in the whites to let them spread more evenly. Some of the whites will pool around the yolk, creating a thick layer that cooks slower than the rest of the whites. The slits will help drain this thick layer to the rest of the whites. When flipping the egg, be gentle! The goal is to flip the egg to create a crust over the yolk, but without busting the yolk. Also, only wait 30 seconds before removing the egg. If it’s in the pan for too long, the yolk will set and not ooze out of the sandwich later.

Steps 3-4: The pictures from left to right show the order to assemble the sandwich. The key to grilled cheese building is to use the cheese as a binder. Placing the cheese in between the non-sticky ingredients (i.e., the micro greens and the egg) provides glue to hold everything together. Just make sure that the cheese can still reach the bread, otherwise all of the toppings will slide out!

Step 5: I cannot stress this enough: be careful when flipping! A normal grilled cheese sandwich is pretty easy to flip since it’s just cheese and bread, but the extra ingredients here make the sandwich prone to being shifted. My method is to pick up the sandwich with a spatula (picture on left), then while placing a finger or fork against the buttered side, slowly flip the sandwich. The bread should have a good crust, like the picture on the right.

And that’s it! Cut in half before serving to see the delicious oozing yolk!

Simple Fried Rice

I love a simple recipe that clears out the fridge! This recipe makes great use of both leftover rice and veggies. I always keep my leftover rice cause I know I can easily make fried rice. Just add some leftover white rice to a skillet along with veggies and eggs, and in a short time you have a delicious and savory meal! Previously cooked rice works best because it makes the fried rice firmer, but freshly cooked rice can also be used.

Cooking Time: 15-20 mins
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 cup Chopped White Onion
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1 package Stir-Fry Vegetables
  • 1 Green Onion
  • 2-3 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 cup White Rice (previously cooked)
  • 4 Eggs (2 of the eggs are optional)
  • 1 tsp Ground Ginger
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Recipe

  1. Add vegetable oil to a large sized skillet or wok, and heat over medium-high heat.
  2. Chop onion (if not already chopped), garlic, and green onion, keeping the white and green parts of the green onion separate.
  3. Once the pan is hot, add onion and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add stir-fry vegetable package to pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add chopped garlic and green onion (white parts only) to pan and cook for another minute.
  6. Move vegetables to one side of the pan, and add the rice to the empty side of the pan. Break up the rice with your spatula (if stuck together) and add the soy sauce. Continue cooking for 3 minutes, stirring the rice and vegetables together in the last minute.
  7. Repeat process with eggs: move the vegetable/rice mixture to one side of the pan, and crack two eggs on the empty side of the pan. Using the spatula, break the yellows and scramble the eggs. Cook until the eggs are firm, about 3 minutes, then combine with the rice and vegetables.
  8. Stir in the the ginger, salt, and pepper. Serve with a sunny-side up egg (optional) and the leftover green onions. (Note: to make the eggs, crack an egg in the emptied skillet over medium heat, adding some more oil if needed. Cook until the whites are firm and the yolk still runny, about 5-6 minutes.)

Detailed Steps

Fried rice can be as simple as leftover rice and soy sauce, but I like to make it more filling (and more like the fried rice bought in restaurants) by adding various vegetables and eggs. If I have any leftover vegetables in my fridge, like carrots, broccoli, or onions, then I will use those up. Otherwise, if I have leftover rice and not the vegetables, I buy a package of stir-fry vegetables. You can typically find one in the produce section, and I prefer buying a package instead of an assortment of vegetables to 1) save time, and 2) not buy more vegetables than I’m going to use. Buying whole vegetables is cheaper, but if you know you are not going to use all of them, then it becomes wasteful.

Steps 1-3: As you can see in the picture on the left, I like to keep the green and white parts of the green onion separate so that I can use the green parts as garnish later.

Steps 4-5: Notice the difference in color of the veggies on the left (before cooking) and on the right (after cooking). The veggies will still be firm, but slightly softened for easier eating.

Step 6: As you can see, my rice came out as one big square! Be sure to break it apart into smaller chunks when cooking.

Step 7: The eggs will cook quickly because of the high heat, so be sure to scramble them as soon as you crack them in the pan. You can also scramble the eggs in a small bowl before adding them to the pan. I normally prefer to pre-mix my eggs when making scrambled eggs, but when making fried rice, I like the large pieces of cooked white and yellow bits (feels more like “fried rice” to me).

Step 8: I think the ginger adds an extra flavor note to the dish, but if you don’t have ginger around, feel free to omit it!

Adding an extra eggs on top is completely optional. I think almost every dish benefits from a fried egg (especially this dish where the rice and vegetables soak up the runny yolk!), but I recognize that I REALLY like eggs. If you’re not a big egg fan or if you want to limit the amount of eggs you consume, leave this part out (the dish will still be great!). To cook sunny-side up eggs, I carefully crack the egg in a pan over medium heat, being sure to not bust the yolk. While the egg is cooking, cut slits into the whites surrounding the yolk to prevent air bubbles and to prevent uncooked whites from pooling by the yolk. The egg will be ready when the whites are cooked and no longer runny, but the yolk is still soft. If you prefer to have a cooked film over the yolk (like an over easy egg), then choose one of the following methods: splash hot oil over the yolk while cooking until a film develops, put a lid over the pan while cooking so the trapped steam will create a film over the egg, or flip the egg over when ready and remove after 30 seconds.

Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles is a Mexican dish normally eaten for breakfast that was created as a way to use up leftover tortillas and salsa. I like to make this dish as a quick breakfast or lunch on the weekends, especially when I’m only cooking for myself. Most of the ingredients I keep stocked in my fridge, making this a simple go-to recipe for when I want a quick flavorful breakfast. Plus, the recipe is so versatile you can add in other leftovers (for example, cooked steak, chicken, sausage, cheese, beans, onions, tomatoes…)! Pretty much anything that would work well with nachos will work well with chilaquiles. If you want to make this for dinner or for multiple people, I recommend doubling the recipe and simmering the fried tortilla strips in enchilada sauce before adding the eggs and other toppings.

Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes
Servings: 1

Ingredients

  • Vegetable Oil (2-3 tbsp, depending on pan size)
  • 2 Corn Tortillas
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 spoonfuls of Pico de Gallo
  • Guacamole (for serving)
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Recipe

  1. Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a medium sized skillet.
  2. Cut corn tortillas into strips.
  3. Fry corn tortilla strips in oil until brown and crispy, flipping strips over in pan if necessary (about 5 minutes). Place strips on a plate lined with paper towels when done.
  4. Crack eggs in a small bowl. Add garlic powder and onion powder, and then beat with a fork to combine.
  5. Empty excess oil from skillet, leaving enough to coat the pan. Add pico de gallo and saute over medium heat until warmed, about 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add crispy tortilla strips back into the pan and stir with pico until just combined. Add eggs, stirring constantly until cooked, about 3 minutes.
  7. Remove from pan onto plate, add salt and paper to taste, and serve with guacamole.

Detailed Steps

This is a simple recipe with few ingredients! I pretty much always have tortillas, eggs, pico de gallo or some other salsa, and guacamole in my fridge, which makes this a go-to breakfast or lunch meal. I used two tortillas and three eggs because I was eating this for lunch, but if I make this for breakfast I generally use two eggs and 1-1.5 tortillas to make it lighter. I am a big fan of pre-bought pico and guacamole. They’re very easy to find in the produce section of grocery stores and it saves a lot of assembly time from not having to make them homemade.

Steps 1-3: I like to use corn tortillas for the extra flavor, but you can also use flour tortillas. Also, I cut them into about two inch strips, but feel free to change the size (the strips don’t need to be exact).

Steps 5 and 6: Warm the pico de gallo in the pan for 1-2 minutes, then add back in the strips.

Steps 4 and 6: Beat the eggs with the seasoning, and combine with the strips and pico. Make sure to keep stirring after adding the eggs (they’ll cook quickly!).