July 25, 2013

Breakfast Power Sandwich

If you're like me, you need a hearty breakfast to pull you through a busy morning. Boxed cereal just doesn't cut it! My go-to power breakfast food usually involves eggs. Thankfully, around here there are always a few eggs close by.

The ducks and three breeds of chicken in our backyard keep the egg supply flowing. Each morning the eggs are gathered, up to 3 or 4 eggs daily as of late. The variety of fowl accounts for a beautiful array of shells. I suspect that the different colors are due to the difference in breed, but I couldn't say for sure. 

As much as I love this protein-rich food, I get quite bored with plain ol' fried eggs every morning, and I wasn't about to shell out $3-$4 for a breakfast sandwich. So, I decided to imitate one of my favorite low-cal breakfasts at home.

I should mention that breakfast power sandwiches are not just diet food. My husband absolutely loves these things! They're easy enough that you don't have to use a recipe, and they're quick enough to whip up before heading out the door.

They're quite flexible, too. To cut calories for myself, I use one slice of bread chocked full of whole grains and seeds. I really love the Pepperidge Farm line of whole grain breads. Look for loaves with slices around 100 calories and with unrefined ingredients like whole wheat and oats. The kind you see here is the 100% Natural German Dark Wheat (above) and the 15 Grain (below). For a larger sandwich, use two slices of bread.

Another way to vary this sandwich is to change the amount of eggs, meat, or cheese. If I'm craving more protein, I'll swap half a slice of cheese for another fried egg. You could use any breakfast meat you like, or even cut the meat to limit calories, fat, and sodium.

One thing I wouldn't swap is the kind of cheese you use. Stick with the aged white cheddar! It has the right amount of zip to peek through the hearty sandwich layers, neither overpowering nor underwhelming the overall taste. I used blocks of Vermont cheese in the past but Kroger's new pre-sliced kind makes preparation one step easier.

Breakfast Power Sandwich

Olive oil or cooking spray
Butter (optional)
Whole grain bread, sliced
Aged white cheddar cheese, sliced
Smoked ham, sliced

Place a small skillet over medium-low heat and coat with oil. When oil is hot, crack one or two eggs at a time into skillet. Pierce the yolks with the corner of a spatula and fry about 2 or 3 minutes, or until stable and lightly browned on bottom. Flip and fry top side another 1 or 2 minutes or until done. Set egg aside.

(I prefer my eggs over-easy. If you prefer runny yolks, adjust frying as necessary. Scrambled eggs would work in this sandwich but are not as easily portable as a whole fried egg.

Lightly butter outside of bread. Layer cheese closest to bread, adding eggs and ham in between. Return assembled sandwich to skillet and cook over medium heat, pressing spatula firmly over sandwich. Cook 1 or 2 minutes, until bread is lightly toasted and cheese begins to melt. Flip sandwich and repeat on other side.

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