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Easy dinner recipes: Breakfast for dinner with these fun ideas

CookingRecipesNoelle Carter
Enjoy breakfast for dinner with these fun recipes
Pancakes, scones and more great breakfast ideas in an hour or less

Are you one of those people who likes breakfast for dinner? Why should eggs, pancakes, muffins and scones be limited to mornings? Enjoy breakfast any time of the day with these tempting ideas.

Croque-madame: La Dijonaise's take on this classic French comfort food sandwich is rich béchamel sauce and ham between two slices of pullman bread, topped with cheese that's melted to gooey perfection. On top of that goes a fried egg (this is what distinguishes the "madame" from the "monsieur"). Yes, it's unapologetic goodness on a plate.

Neil's pancakes: These are some serious pancakes. Rich in flavor but light in texture (thanks to whipped egg whites), these are packed with fruit and nuts, and dusted with sugar -- a perfect breakfast. You can make them with either blueberries or bananas. Or both. Every day should include something this special.

Black currant scones: Fan of currants? Then look no further! Each of these scones is packed with those tiny little raisins, so you can be sure every bite has an extra dose of tangy sweetness. They're great served with a little softened butter, honey or marmalade, and make the perfect quick meal.

You can find the recipes below.

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 noelle.carter@latimes.com.

CROQUE-MADAME

Total time: 45 minutes, plus cooling time for the bechamel | Serves 6

Note: Adapted from La Dijonaise Cafe et Boulangerie in Culver City. The restaurant uses bread from a local bakery and recommends pullman-type bread for the sandwiches.

BECHAMEL SAUCE

2 cups milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
Salt and pepper
Pinch nutmeg

1. In a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat just until bubbles appear around the edge. Reduce the heat and keep the milk warm over very low heat.

2. Meanwhile, in a large, heavy-bottom saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. When it bubbles, whisk in the flour and continue to cook until the mixture forms a golden roux, 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Whisking constantly, add the warm milk in a steady stream. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with one-half teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper, along with the nutmeg, or to taste. Remove from heat and set aside until cooled. This makes about 2 cups sauce.

SANDWICH ASSEMBLY

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
12 slices sandwich bread
12 slices ham
Prepared bechamel sauce
6 slices Swiss cheese, diced
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper
6 eggs, fried sunny side up

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Butter 6 slices of bread. Top each slice of bread with 2 slices of ham, then divide the bechamel sauce evenly between the sandwiches, spreading it over the ham. Top each of the sandwiches with a second slice of bread.

3. In a small bowl, toss together the diced Swiss cheese and the mozzarella. Season the mixture with one-fourth teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper, or to taste.

4. Divide the cheese mixture evenly between the sandwiches, mounding it on top of each sandwich.

5. Place the sandwiches on a baking sheet and bake until the cheese is melted, 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the oven. This may need to be done in more than 1 batch.

6. Top each sandwich with a fried egg and serve immediately.

Each sandwich: 699 calories; 38 grams protein; 40 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 43 grams fat; 23 grams saturated fat; 334 mg. cholesterol; 8 grams sugar; 1,660 mg. sodium.

NEIL'S PANCAKES FROM CLINTON STREET

Total time: 40 minutes | Makes about 10 (3-inch) pancakes

Note: Adapted from Clinton Street in New York City. The restaurant serves the pancakes dusted with powdered sugar (blueberry pancakes) and cinnamon sugar (banana pancakes) and with maple butter.

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups milk
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted, plus butter for cooking on the griddle
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups fresh blueberries or sliced bananas
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large bowl.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, milk, melted butter and vanilla until combined. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry; the result should be slightly lumpy yet combined to form a batter.

3. In another bowl, whip the egg whites to medium peaks, being careful not to overwhip. Using a large spatula, gently fold half of the egg whites into the batter, then fold in the remaining egg whites. The batter will be slightly lumpy with bits of egg whites not fully incorporated (it will look like white caps on the ocean with foam on top).

4. Heat a griddle over medium-high heat until hot (350 to 375 degrees if using an electric griddle). Grease the hot griddle with a little butter, then drop a quarter-cup of batter onto the griddle top. Add 2 tablespoons blueberries or sliced bananas and a scant tablespoon chopped walnuts before flipping the pancake. Flip the pancake when bubbles have started to form on top and the bottom is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the heat. Cook the other side until golden brown and the pancake is fully cooked, an additional 1 to 3 minutes.

5. Continue until all of the batter is cooked. This makes about 10 (3-inch) pancakes. Serve warm.

Each pancake (prepared with blueberries): 272 calories; 7 grams protein; 32 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 14 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 78 mg cholesterol; 11 grams sugar; 253 mg sodium.

BLACK CURRANT SCONES

Total time: About 1 hour | Makes 14 scones

5 3/4 cups (1 pound, 10 ounces) bread flour
Scant 1 cup (6.4 ounces) sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 3/4 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) plus 1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into 1/2 -inch pieces
3 eggs, divided
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 pound dried black currants (about 2 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons milk

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

2. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 of the eggs, the vanilla and buttermilk. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the dry ingredients, and stir together to evenly distribute. (The dough will be crumbly.) Stir in the currants.

4. Pour the mixture onto a lightly floured cutting board, and gently knead to form a cohesive mass. Be careful not to overmix, or the dough will be tough.

5. Scoop the scones using a large (4-ounce) scoop onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, or divide the dough into 14 portions (each portion will be about one-half cup), leaving 3 inches between each.

6. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining egg with the milk to form an egg wash. Brush the egg wash over each of the scones.

7. Bake the scones until puffed, lightly browned and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 30 minutes, rotating halfway through baking for even coloring. Remove to a rack and cool slightly before serving.

Each scone: 427 calories; 9 grams protein; 70 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 13 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 74 mg. cholesterol; 335 mg. sodium.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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