I am a stay at home mom who also runs a business. Time can be pressed. Especially when evening plans make for earlier dinners than the schedule usually calls. At times like these, I rely on simple menus that I can safely bet will be eaten.
A menu like this means much of the prep can be done beforehand and there is flexibility with ingredients. For us, at the dinner table, there are definite preferences between individuals! There are some who absolutely despise potatoes, unless they happen to be deep-fried and very french-fry like. And for others, eggs are a no go. A meal like this, with different sides, means flexibility and higher success rate and overall increased uptake (sorry, just nerded out there a bit with the statistics/study results, wink, wink). Depending on what people are into, they can add more, or just call "pass" and forego a particular ingredient.
Tonight, there was a baked potato. And scrambled eggs for the potato hater. The one who passes on eggs, happens to have a life-long love of baked potatoes. It worked well. Everyone went away with full bellies and happy little smiles. No fighting, no threats to get them to "eat up!"
Sides included garden spinach, chopped, thyme and oregano, all mixed with chunks of chèvre and seasoned with salt and pepper. Straight up sour cream satisfied the cream addict's predilections. And finely diced tomatoes with olive oil and sea salt (not pictured) is a favourite of most, goes well with potatoes and scrambled eggs. The final option was steamed broccoli (also not pictured).
How to make it fast???
I wash the potatoes, poke them with a fork, put them on a plate and microwave for about 15 minutes at 70% power. During this time, I chop the spinach and tomatoes. I add a tablespoon or so of chèvre pieces to the spinach and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil to the tomatoes. Salt and pepper goes on both. I wash the broccoli and put it to steam.
While the broccoli steams, I collect herbs from the planters on my step. Give a quick rinse and chop. Throw it in with the spinach and chèvre and give a little stir.
The potatoes are nearly finished, I check them, adding more time if necessary.
The eggs, about eight of them, are collected from the counter where they've been washed from being collected earlier in the day. Crack into a bowl, beat, add a dash of milk (not too much or you'l have soggy eggs!), some pepper. At this point, I pause and admire the beautiful golden yellow from the deep yellow-orange yolks. Sigh....
Put the cast iron to heat at low, maybe medium-low depending on your range. Add a tablespoon of salted butter ('cause that's how we play out here, no unsalted butter for this house!), melt into a preheated cast iron pan. Add egg mixture and stir away. Remove from heat if cooking too quickly.
I usually cheat (it is supper for three children and two very blue collar adults) and set the table in between stirs. We are okay if the eggs are a little choppy, dry in places rather than a creamy custard. The beauty of heating the seasoned pan before adding the butter and then melting the butter at medium-low before adding the eggs, is the pan comes clean.
You may lose faith in the midst of cooking. But be patient, don't fuss, and keep giving a stir, right to the bottom! The pan will come clean! And whatever may stick to the sides will soften with a bit of a soak and clean easily.
And so there it is....supper. As my mom always said, "Well, if that was supper, we've had it." Functional and simple and nutritious. Supper is done! Boom, done until tomorrow night.
It's simple enough that little kisses and hugs, stories from school, and toy cars can be passed around the kitchen while I cook. It's a calming menu.
I am sure you can think of myriad other ways to dress baked potatoes and scrambled eggs. Fried mushrooms with crispy garlic slices, marinated vegetables, radishes, dill and garden peas, bacon, sausage bits. See?? Too many to list! I would love to hear what your favourite toppings are! Send them my way, please!!