We don’t get to spend enough time together as it is, so trying to take advantage of the holiday weekend and spend time with each other is a premium for us. This particularly involves any meals that we may have. As it is with most families, it’s pretty rare when all 3 of us can sit down together and actually have breakfast at the same time. So when it does happen, I try to make it something special. This was the case yesterday when I decided we were going to have a completely homemade breakfast. It’s much simpler than it sounds and you can easily do any of these things in moments. I kept it even simpler by just sticking with scrambled eggs, homemade sausage, and home fries. We added in a couple of store-bought items as well, including Taylor ham and English muffins.
Easy Scrambled Eggs
8 large eggs
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon butter
Whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, salt, and pepper. Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the pan. Add the eggs and cook while gently pushing, lifting, and folding them from one side of the pan to the other until they are nicely clumped, shiny, and wet, about 2 minutes. Remove the cooked eggs from the pan quickly.
I know it seems kind of ridiculous to actually have a recipe for scrambled eggs since it’s a fairly basic recipe, but I think it’s actually pretty easy to mess these up. Michelle actually makes much better scrambled eggs that I do; her eggs seem to come out fluffier and taste better and I think it’s because she follows this method exactly. Having a hot pan to start with is a key and you also want to be sure that you fold your eggs and push them instead of stirring them. Stirring them keeps them from getting as fluffy as they could be. Naturally, there are many things that you could add in to scrambled eggs if you choose to, such as onions, herbs, various cheeses, hot sauce, ham, bacon – the list seems to go on and on. Make them how you feel most comfortable.
Next up is a very simple recipe for some homemade breakfast sausage. Now there are few ways you can do this, and if you want to make it a little differently you could certainly grind your own pork. It will take you more time to do it that way but if that’s what you’re looking for then you should go right ahead. I chose to just use already ground pork and keep things simple.
Homemade Breakfast Sausage
2 pounds ground pork
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 teaspoons of vegetable oil
Spread the pork out in a large bowl and sprinkle with the syrup, garlic, salt, pepper, sage, thyme, and cayenne. Using your hands, gently fold the flavorings into the pork, then portion and shape each into sixteen 2-ounce patties (about 1/4 cup each).
Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add half of the patties and cook until well browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the patties to a paper towel-lined plate. Wipe out the skillet, add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil, return the pan to medium heat until shimmering, and cook the remaining patties.
Of course if you’re going to grind your own pork and maybe you even have your own sausage casings you can make breakfast links instead of breakfast patties. It really depends on how ambitious you happen to feel, but this seems to be the simplest way to do it. You could also easily freeze some of the patties between wax paper and have them portioned out for use at another time. Then it is simply a matter of placing them in a hot skillet with a little bit of butter to get them started and then add a little bit of water and cover the pan so they steam first to help them cook, remove the cover, turn the heat up and cook the patties until they are browned. You could also make this with ground turkey instead of ground pork. I actually have a turkey sausage patty recipe that I will post at another time which is a great breakfast alternative.
I also made some home fries to help round out the meal. Home fries are really easy to make, and if you happen to have some leftover potatoes already done you can easily use them as well. You have a lot of options here when it comes to what you want to use. Even if you have a can of diced potatoes around you could use that as well. This recipe, from America’s Test Kitchen, actually recommends that you microwave your potatoes first to help get some of the starch out of them before you do any of the frying. This helps to build up the better crust on the potatoes.
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes (4 medium), scrubbed and cut into one half-inch cubes
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped fine
Salt and pepper
In a large microwave-safe bowl, toss the potatoes with the oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high until the potatoes are tender but not falling apart, 5 to 10 minutes, shaking the bowl without removing the plastic to re-distribute the potatoes every 3 minutes. Carefully remove the plastic wrap, transfer the potatoes to a colander, and drain thoroughly.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes to the skillet and, using a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, distribute them evenly over the pan. Cook undisturbed until the potatoes are golden brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Carefully turn the potatoes to ensure even browning and add the onion to the skillet. Continue cooking, turning the potato and onion mixture every few minutes, until the potatoes are well browned and the onion is softened, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Again, there are other things you could add to the potatoes if you want to get a little bit of a different flavor. I actually added a little bit of orange bell pepper and some paprika to my recipe and I think they tasted great. I know they do sell frozen diced potatoes, but I think if you’re planning to use them you need to make sure that you thaw them and that they are dried very well to remove as much of the moisture as possible if you want them to cook well. Otherwise they will just steam in the liquid and not get crispy.
While I didn’t make any bacon with our breakfast, I have found that making the bacon in the oven has worked much better and gives the bacon a chance to cook and crisp up much more evenly than it does when you cook it in the pan. You can also cook a lot more of it all at once if you are making breakfast for a large crowd, which is an advantage.
1 pound bacon (16 slices), thin or thick-cut
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400°. Arrange the bacon on a rimmed baking sheet (the slices can overlap just slightly) and bacon until crisp and browned, about 10 to 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet front to back halfway through. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and let the excess fat drain off before serving.
If you’re going to cook it this way, you could also consider using a wire rack set inside the rimmed baking sheet so it keeps the bacon from sitting in the fat and allows the air to circulate around it, making it a little more crisp. As I said, I did make Taylor ham with the breakfast because it is one of Michelle’s favorites. It seems to be mostly a Northeast thing, and even more particularly a New Jersey thing to have Taylor ham with breakfast. It is basically a pork roll that you slice and fry for a minute or 2 on each side just to get it crisp. I didn’t have time to make any homemade biscuits or anything like that, but they would be great to go with a traditional home breakfast. Of course I had coffee with mine, and you could certainly have homemade orange juice if you have a juicer or whichever store-bought juice you prefer.
The important thing with the breakfast like this is that it actually brings everyone to the table all at the same time. It doesn’t really matter what you make; you could just each have bowls of oatmeal or bagels and coffee if that’s all you really want as long as you’re enjoying some time together.
That’s all there is for today. Check back again later on in the week and I’ll have some new recipes to share, including a pound cake, oatmeal cookies, a black bean salad, and I do have a few other things planned in for dinner this week including baby back ribs, meatloaf and chicken so check back and see what comes along. Until then, enjoy the rest of your 3 day weekend, and enjoy your meal!