Your Family Will Love Breakfast for Dinner -- Here's Why

By: Julia Layton

Eggs whipped up into a quick, veggie-filled omelet make an inexpensive and nutritious family dinner. See more easy weeknight meal pictures.
Eggs whipped up into a quick, veggie-filled omelet make an inexpensive and nutritious family dinner. See more easy weeknight meal pictures.
©iStockphoto.com/robynmac

There's a reason why "pancake night!" is often met with squeals of delight: Breakfast for dinner is a rare treat in most households. French toast, cheesy eggs, apple-butter-slathered toast, brown-sugar oatmeal and, perhaps best of all, bacon -- they're all especially delightful when served around 6 p.m.

That dinner can be sweet, literally, may be a big part of the squeals, but syrupy novelty is just one of the reasons why lots of families love eating traditional breakfast foods for dinner. In this article, you'll learn some more reasons why you might want to defy mealtime convention, and not just on special occasions. You may end up working breakfast-for-dinner into your weekly menu.

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For one thing, it can be one of the quickest ways to get a tasty (and healthy) meal on the kitchen table.

It's Quick!

Most of us are trying to figure out how to feed our families well in the little time we have to spare. It needn't be quite so hard. Here's why: Almost every hot breakfast food is cooked via pan, skillet or griddle-type appliance, and these happen to be exceptionally fast cooking methods. So, if you remove some of those strict meal-type boundaries (why can't dinner taste like cinnamon and sugar?), making a quick weeknight feast gets a whole lot simpler.

A quiche or breakfast casserole will be your longer-cooking breakfast dishes, because they bake -- but they're an exception. Eggs are often the quickest breakfast-for-dinner protein, cooking in as little as 5 minutes. Even a fancy, broil-at-the-finish frittata can take you less than 20 minutes to prep and cook. Main dishes like French toast, omelets, pancakes and fried-egg sandwiches can take less than 15 minutes start-to-finish for an efficient cook (especially one with a sous chef who's old enough to wield a spatula).

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Bacon, sausage and ham are fried up in 5 to 10 minutes, and fruit takes about a minute to slice into a colorful, juicy salad. Breakfast potatoes will take longer, but here's a tip: Nuke 'em for about 5 minutes before you start baking or pan-frying. It'll cut your cook time significantly.

But speed is just the half of it. Breakfast has another attribute that lends itself well to the dinner hour.

It Saves Money (Yay, Dessert!)

OK, dessert might be a little redundant after a meal of French toast, but the point stands: Serving breakfast for dinner can save a considerable amount of cash, leaving some extra room in the budget for non-necessities. If you go with eggs as the base of the meal, you're off to a particularly great money-saving start.

You can buy a dozen large eggs for as little as a buck. Assuming two eggs per family member and a family of four, you've provided a significant protein supply (about 10 grams per person), not to mention antioxidants and other good stuff, all for less than a dollar.

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Cheese, bread, yogurt and milk, other breakfast-food staple ingredients, are also some of the less-expensive "real" foods out there. Fruits and vegetables are not the cheapest items these days, but you can still include them in your meal. Broccoli makes an inexpensive omelet addition, and apples, especially when in season, are a perfectly affordable fruit for a cinnamon-dusted side dish or healthy dessert. You can squeeze bananas into pancakes and zucchini into muffins, and if you make a $5 meal of French toast, you might decide to splurge on some $6 raspberries as a topping.

Another breakfast-for-dinner benefit lots of people overlook? It's highly conducive to leftovers. Chicken, ham and turkey can make deliciously savory quiches and frittatas; it's easy enough to cube leftover steak into a hash; and scrambled cheesy eggs will benefit from pretty much any extra veggies you've got in the house.

Just toss it all in there, slide some bacon on the side and top something on the plate with maple syrup. Is it breakfast? Is it dinner? Is it brunch? Who cares, there's bacon! (Which, incidentally, you can top with the maple syrup. Yum.)

For more information on breakfast, dinner and bacon, check out the links on the next page.

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