Remember that egg commercial that used to be on years ago? You know, the one with the fun little jingle: “The incredible, edible egg!” I couldn’t help but hum this to myself as I was diving into my little baked egg breakfast this morning (amazing what one can get accomplished after a full night’s sleep and less dawdling online…) because it truly is a wonderful food. From the start of the show to its use as a basic ingredient in loftier recipes like homemade cheesecake, the egg is versatile, nutritious, and a great way to continue to eat well despite one’s tiny budget. Honestly, if it weren’t for the almighty egg, I doubt I’d eat half as well as I do, especially right now! A dozen can go a long way and bail me out of potentially boring meals at any time of the day, and I’m ever so grateful for the occasional sale on eggs at any of the stores I go to, as it helps stretch things even further.
Now, we all know eggs have gotten a bad rap in the past. I don’t think it was too long after The Incredible Edible Egg jingle that eggs were all of a sudden considered off-limits and evil as they were packed with cholesterol and heart disease. Fortunately, research has come a long way, and science has proven that the egg is not as evil and death-inducing as was once feared. But just like everything else, eggs should just be eaten in moderation to avoid any further health issues. I will admit that I try to eat egg whites more often than the whole egg because it cuts way back on the calories (unless I’m craving an omelette, of course), but even the egg yolk is remarkably healthy, as it’s packed with good-for-you nutrients like Vitamins B12, A and D, a generous amount of choline, and even iron and folate. And let’s not forget what an incredible source of protein eggs can be! Most of us know how important it is to get an adequate amount of protein in our diets, and eggs are an easy, tasty way to make that happen.
But enough with the health talk already! The bottom line is that eggs are cheap, delicious, and ridiculously versatile, making it very easy to eat well when you’re strapped for cash. As illustrated in my last egg post, one could easily make 2 servings of the baked egg recipe and feed two people for $4 in a much healthier way than you would do if you went to McDonald’s for an egg & sausage burrito. That’s just 1/3 of your dozen eggs, the remainder of which can be used to turn into a couple of hearty omelettes. Can’t stay away from the breakfast burrito? Scramble a couple of eggs & throw them into a tortilla-like I did with my Hunger Challenge breakfast burrito. $0.65 v. $1 and change at McDonald’s, plus you know it’s got a lot less junk than the fast-food burrito (all that extra butter, sausage, the processed cheese, etc). A dozen large eggs will run anywhere from $1.79 (yay, Trader Joe’s!) to $3.99 (for cage-free, organic eggs), making your average dozen about $2.89 or so. And because one doesn’t use the entire dozen in one recipe (unless you have a small army to feed), it’s easy to stretch a dozen to make a few different dishes.
But Poor Girl, all I do with eggs is scramble them or have ’em over easy! That gets boring after a while!!!
Sometimes the wonders of the egg’s versatility aren’t totally obvious, so when you think of eggs try and remember that they don’t have to be the main star of the show; omelettes and big scrambles are awesome, but adding eggs to certain ingredients can also turn the mundane into the deliciously exciting! From frittatas to omelettes, meringues to crepes, it’s very easy to make fancy-sounding dishes out of a couple of eggs and a few leftovers. Consider the crepe: sounds all fancy Frenchy and like it should cost an arm and a leg, but all it amounts to is flour, milk, butter, and eggs. Throw in some fruit, veggies, or meat and you have a fabulous little meal for very little money. Adding a few beaten eggs to some stale bread chunks turns into oh-so-comforting bread pudding. The possibilities are endless when it comes to eggs, and you don’t have to break the bank by going out to brunch just to have these tasty indulgences! Sure, going out is nice, but if you’re strapped for cash it’s much more practical and to stay home and use your imagination in the kitchen.
You also don’t have to think of eggs as being just a breakfast food. Many a night after choir practice I’ve found myself scrambling a couple together with a tomato and calling that dinner (quick and not too heavy to have late at night). I’m also a huge fan of breakfast for dinner and enjoy making a giant omelette filled with all sorts of goodies for a nice alternative to the usual dinner fare. And don’t even get me started on how fun eggs can be as appetizers! I often dream of my mom’s deviled eggs (the best on the entire planet, IMO) and the other fun egg creations she would make when catering for small parties back in the day. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, hors d’oeuvre, or even dessert, eggs can do it all in a tasty, economical way.
So what’s your favorite way to use eggs? I know I love ’em but I know there are probably a ton of egg dishes that I’m not aware of, so I’d love to hear what you all cook on a regular basis (or for special occasions). Feel free to comment below. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite PGEW egg recipes for you to check out sometime, and you can always check out the egg label for more…
The “Spanglish” Sandwich
Apple Stuffed Crepes with Caramel Sauce
Baked Eggs with Tomatoes & Peppers
Before I sign off, I do want to acknowledge that this tip will obviously not help those folks with egg allergies or other special dietary needs. However, I also want to remind you that PGEW isn’t just about all the yummy recipes! I often get emails from folks marveling at the fact that I can eat the way I do when I am so completely broke, and I always refer them to my Tips section because THAT is how I make good food happen: by following some of my own, school-of-hard-knocks advice. The tips are few in number but rich in information, so don’t forget to check them out! You may find an idea or two that hadn’t occurred to you before or be reminded of some money-saving tricks of your own.
Stay tuned for a new “incredible egg” recipe tomorrow!