Breakfast for dinner. Sometimes nothing sounds better after a long day. And so often, it's easy to fix -- c'mon, we usually cook breakfast when we're barely awake, so you know the recipes can't be that challenging. Let us offer some suggestions, including a couple savory takes on comforting classics.
Pancakes are a natural for breakfast, but what about dinner? Go ahead, indulge yourself. Light and fluffy, these pancakes have that perfect buttermilk tang.
But what sets them apart is a touch of olive oil -- rich and fruity, a good olive oil adds wonderful fragrant notes. And chopped dark chocolate adds pure magic to every bite. (Doesn't chopped dark chocolate add a little magic to just about anything?)
Did someone say French toast? This savory take on the comfort food -- stuffed with bacon, Gruyère cheese and dandelion greens and pan-fried to ooey-gooey perfection -- works well served any time of the day. And dinner is served in less than an hour.
Fan of Dr. Seuss? Try green pancakes, the next best thing to green eggs and ham. These savory pancakes from Yotam Ottolenghi get their flavor from a colorful blend of spinach, green onions, cumin and serrano chile. Round out the harmony with a pat of lime butter spiced with cilantro, garlic and chile flakes, and you can call it a meal any time of the day. The whole dish comes together in less than an hour.
For more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below, or email me at email@example.com.
OLIVE OIL PANCAKES
Total time: 30 minutes
Note: To make lemon honey, combine one-fourth cup honey with one-half teaspoon lemon zest in a small saucepan. Steep the honey for several minutes over low heat and strain before using. Spanish chocolate is available at select Ralphs stores and specialty markets.
1 3/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons best-quality olive oil, preferably Spanish, plus more for frying
1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate, preferably Spanish
1/4 cup honey, preferably lemon
Fresh mint leaves
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk in the egg, buttermilk and 2 tablespoons olive oil until the batter is smooth, then stir in the chocolate pieces.
2. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat. Ladle one-fourth cup of the pancake batter into the pan and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the pancake with a spatula and cook until golden brown on the second side, 1 to 2 more minutes. Place the pancakes in a warm oven until all are cooked and ready to serve. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more olive oil to the pan as needed.
3. To serve, drizzle the pancakes with honey and garnish with mint.
Each of 4 servings: 540 calories; 11 grams protein; 79 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 21 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 58 mg. cholesterol; 663 mg. sodium.
SAVORY STUFFED FRENCH TOAST
Total time: 50 minutes
Servings: 2 to 4
Note: The sandwiches are great served alongside a light, tart salad or a bowl of soup.
4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into large (about 1 inch) pieces
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 onion, halved lengthwise (with the grain) and sliced into very thin lengthwise strips
1/3 cup dry white wine
3 cups chopped dandelion greens, cut crosswise into large (2- to 3-inch) pieces
2 teaspoons wine vinegar, preferably sherry or Banyul's, more to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
8 (1/2-inch thick) slices sourdough bread
4 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard, or as desired
1/2 pound thinly sliced Gruyère cheese
1. In a large skillet, fry the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon (discard or save the fat for another use) and set aside.
2. In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they soften and start to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the white wine and continue to stir, scraping any flavoring from the bottom of the pan.
3. When the wine is almost completely absorbed, stir in the greens and cook just until they start to wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar, then taste, and season with one-fourth teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper. Stir in the bacon bits, then taste again and adjust the seasoning or vinegar if necessary.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk, along with the Parmesan cheese. Whisk in a pinch of salt and several grinds of black pepper to season the eggwash. Place the eggwash in a large shallow baking dish or pie plate and set aside.
5. Soak the bread slices in the eggwash until just soaked on each side, about 2 minutes per side. Gently spread one-half teaspoon mustard over one side of each of 4 slices. Onto the other 4 slices, divide the sliced Gruyère, then top with the onion and greens mixture. Then press the remaining slices of bread (mustard on the inside) onto layered cheese-onions-bacon to form a sandwich.
6. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until melted and hot.
7. Reduce the heat to low and pan-fry the sandwiches, 2 at a time, until crisp and golden and the bread is cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Cover the skillet while each piece is frying to allow the toast to fully cook and the filling to heat and melt. Adjust the heat as needed to keep each stuffed toast from burning.
8. Serve each piece of stuffed toast immediately or hold the finished toast in a warm oven until all of the pieces are fried.
Each of 4 servings: 711 calories; 36 grams protein; 46 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 41 grams fat; 22 grams saturated fat; 270 mg cholesterol; 7 grams sugar; 1,275 mg sodium.
GREEN PANCAKES WITH LIME BUTTER
Total time: 45 minutes, plus chilling time for the butter
Note: Adapted from "Plenty" by Yotam Ottolenghi.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
Grated zest of 1 lime
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon chile flakes
Put the butter in a medium bowl and beat it with a wooden spoon until it turns soft and creamy. Stir in the lime zest, lime juice, salt, white pepper, chopped cilantro, garlic and chile flakes. Spoon onto a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a sausage shape. Twist the ends of the wrap to seal the flavored butter. Chill until firm. This makes a generous 1/2 cup of butter, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe; the butter will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to three days.
Green pancakes and assembly
1/2 pound spinach, washed
3/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2/3 cup milk
6 green onions, finely sliced
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
1 egg white
Olive oil for frying
1. Wilt the spinach in a pan with a splash of water. Drain in a sieve and, when cool, squeeze hard with your hands to remove as much moisture as possible. Roughly chop and put aside.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, whole egg, melted butter, salt, cumin and milk in a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the green onions, chile and spinach, and mix with a fork. Beat the egg white to soft peaks and gently fold it into the batter.
3. Pour a small amount of olive oil into a heavy frying pan and place on medium-high heat. For each pancake, ladle 2 tablespoons of batter into the pan and press down gently. You should get smallish pancakes, about 3 inches in diameter and three-eighths of an inch thick. Cook until you get a good golden-green color, about 2 minutes to a side. Transfer to paper towels and keep warm. Continue making pancakes, adding oil to the pan as needed, until the batter is used up.
4. To serve, pile up 3 warm pancakes per person and place a pat of flavored butter on top to melt.
Each serving: 427 calories; 8 grams protein; 25 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 34 grams fat; 14 grams saturated fat; 96 mg cholesterol; 3 grams sugar; 780 mg sodium.