How to Have a Hot-and-Fresh, Home-Cooked Breakfast in Ten Minutes or Less
Mornings are hectic. Work inboxes are already overflowing, traffic is crawling, and who used your car keys last?
Plus — getting kids, backpacks, and science projects out the door should be an Olympic sport.
Seriously. You deserve a gold medal every. damn. day.
And if you’ve gotta throw some toast on a plate or Cheerios into a cup for the commute, look. I get it. We’ve all been there.
But you also know that eating a healthy breakfast has a big impact on how we all — kids and adults — learn, focus, and create.
So what do we do?
We meal prep.
But wait. Not like the box-it-up-and-microwave-it kind of meal prep. That’s great, too, and I do it all the time for lunches and dinners, but for breakfast — still considered the most important meal of the day — I want something a little more.
Skillets to the rescue
When I eat at a diner, a skillet is my go-to order. Hashbrowns, eggs, and all the options for meat and vegetables and cheese . . . I just can’t go wrong with a skillet.
Except at Golden Nugget, a local Chicago chain, where I order their fantastic blueberry pancakes, or at Pick-Me-Up Cafe in Wrigleyville: their CAB (cheddar-avocado-bacon) omelet is to-drool-for.
So at home, I love making my own skillets with whatever I’ve got lying around.
Make it on-the-double
The trouble with skillets for breakfast is that they take a while.
Browning the meat, washing the produce, peeling the potatoes, chopping the broccoli . . . but guess what.
All of that stuff can be done ahead of time, portioned out, and frozen.
The trick is to prep the slow stuff — the washing, the peeling, the chopping — ahead of time.
Use what you have
When I do my meal preps for the week, I’ll prep extra of whatever’s lying around to use for breakfasts.
The idea is to be able to pile it all into your skillet, toss your eggs on top, and cook it for 10 minutes until your eggs are done. Everything else for your skillet can be prepped and portioned out ahead of time.
Vegetables can get washed, peeled and chopped, and hardier ones can get roasted.
I’ll toss extra white, red, or gold potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, asparagus, onions, or kale onto a pan and roast them in oil, salt, pepper, and garlic.
More tender vegetables like spinach and green onions can be portioned out raw and kept in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them.
If you like meat in your skillets, cook it ahead of time. Ground beef, bacon, Italian sausage, breakfast sausage, smoked sausage, and chicken all work well in breakfast skillets. Chop it and cook it before you portion it out.
If you’re into shredded cheese (I am — so easy!) then you’re all set. If you prefer to work from blocks or wheels of cheese, then now’s the time for you to shred up a whole bunch of your favorite so it’s ready for sprinkling onto your skillet in the morning.
Pack it up
Cool. So now that your ingredients are washed, chopped, roasted, browned, shredded, et cetera, divvy them up into containers based on how big you want your skillet to be (are you feeding yourself? You and your partner? You and your nine children?).
You can toss the various ingredients together at this point because you’re going to throw it all into the skillet when you’re ready to make breakfast.
Feel free to freeze some portions so they last all week (or however long you’re prepping for). Just remember to give them a day or two to thaw, because the point is to make a hot breakfast quickly! You don’t want to add extra time in the morning for thawing your ingredients.
Assemble your skillet
Good morning! You know why it’s a good morning? Because you’ve got breakfast basically ready to go even before you get out of bed. Look at you!
Now’s the easy part.
Grease your skillet. You can use a spray oil, plain-old-regular-oil, or some butter.
Heat it up. Medium or medium-low is usually good.
Toss it all in there — everything except the eggs. This is all the stuff that you prepped before (thanks, past you!): the meat, veggies, and cheeses. Yum.
Top it with raw eggs, however many you want.
Sprinkle with seasonings (might I suggest Everything But the Bagel seasoning from Aldi/Trader Joe’s) and hot sauce if that’s your thing.
Put a lid on your skillet. That’s how you’re going to get your eggs nicely cooked (without turning them into egg leather).
If you’re concerned about getting your ingredients heated through by the time your eggs are cooked, you can always zap them for a minute in the microwave before dropping them into the skillet to give them a headstart.
Et voilà! A delicious hot breakfast in ten minutes.
Look at you.
Now where’s that gold medal?