On the Cheap

Make Eggs, Have Dinner

April 23, 2014

Cooking on the cheap shouldn't mean minute rice and buttered pasta every night. With a little creativity and a little planning, Gabriella Paiella shows us how to make the most of a tight budget -- without sacrificing flavor or variety. 

Today: Minimal effort and maximum reward -- here's why you should be making eggs for dinner more often.

An egg-based dinner is the platonic ideal of well-executed broke cooking. Eggs are inexpensive, yet entirely filling. They absorb your fridge scraps and leftovers and, in turn, give you back a cohesive and impressive dish. They allow you to be as lazy as possible with the maximum possible reward. 

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If I'm home on a weeknight, there's a 90% chance I'm having eggs for dinner. Not hard-boiled or scrambled or fried -- I like to incorporate them into a larger one-pot dish. Here are a few of my favorite ways to cook them: 


Simmer tomato sauce, nestle eggs in there, simmer some more, then scoop up with crusty bread: Shakshuka is eternally satisfying. Make a yogurt-based version, or go nuts and throw in some greens.  


I like to tell everyone that frittata is Italian for "fancy eggs." That may or may not be true, but you should still learn how to make one in 5 steps, then cook up some of our favorites, whether with turnip greens or a less vegetarian option like chorizo.  


I'm perpetually screwing up my omelets, but, fortunately, there's an easy guide to help make the perfect one right here. This spring, make a delicate one with peas and mascarpone or wait until eggplants are in season for this Filipino version.

Baked Eggs

Baked eggs require you to turn on your oven, but they don't need much fuss past that. Here's how to make this comforting dish in 5 steps. (I prefer mine with mushrooms and cheese.)

Tell us: What are your favorite dinnertime egg dishes?  

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Carol Walters Gorrell
    Carol Walters Gorrell
  • Kristin Overton
    Kristin Overton
  • Kate
  • Mike Vella
    Mike Vella
  • TerryKes
Yes, my name rhymes.


Carol W. June 14, 2015
Kristin O. May 29, 2014
I usually make this as a breakfast dish, but it was dinner tonight. My fave!

Kate May 3, 2014
This recipe from the Australian Egg Board's cookbook, published decades ago. It's a family favourite and I hope you enjoy it, too!
Dutch Baked Eggs:
4 medium sized potatoes or enough to cover base of a shallow casserole dish
50 g butter (1/2 stick)
6 hard boiled eggs
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon chives
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Salt and pepper
1 cup sour cream
½ cup ham or bacon, chopped
¼ cup cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 210°C (400*F)
Peel potatoes, slice thickly, steam or boil until tender and drain well.
Heat butter in heavy based frypan, cook potato until brown on both sides, turning once. Arrange potato in bottom of baking dish.
Roughly chop eggs. Combine the parsley, chives, mustard, salt and pepper, sour cream and ham, then gently fold in the eggs. Sprinkle cheese over the top.
Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese turns a golden brown.
Instead of boiling the potatoes, scrub the skins clean, dry completely, pierce then microwave until tender, then continue recipe. Make sure potato slices are thick so they don't fall apart when serving.
Mike V. May 1, 2014
We love eggs for dinner.
We're pretty much not eating meat anymore, but eggs, yes.
My wife has perfected making a lovely bed of lentils with greens and feta topped with a poached egg.
I made a fresh egg scramble for lunch the other day with sautéed asparagus, green onions, fetta, salt and pepper. Simple and tasty.
TerryKes April 28, 2014
I love eggs! So much that we got 12 hens last summer and enjoy the most delicious, most beautiful eggs you've ever had. I eat them most every way - except omelets. Most of them are dry and over cooked. Maybe I'll try your recommended version and give them another chance. The Shakshuka looks interesting, I'll definitely be trying that one.
Nikol D. April 27, 2014
I top salads with poached eggs instead of using salad dressing. The egg yolk is delicious.
AntoniaJames April 23, 2014
Eggs, scrambled, plus smoked fish from a tin, e.g., kipper snacks (herring) or sardines, on a crusty roll, or whatever bread is on hand, for that matter, or even just on a plate with a big handful of sharply dressed arugula. Best pantry dinner ever. (Makes a fine breakfast or lunch, too!) More here: http://food52.com/recipes/27399-kipper-snack-breakfast-or-anytime-sandwich ;o)
pashee April 23, 2014
Sopa de ajo! I think that counts as an egg dish, since basically the only other ingredients are garlic, broth, and croutons.
Alice G. April 23, 2014
My mom always made scrambled egg noodles: Heat leftover cooked egg noodles and throw in a preheated pan with some butter, pour over a beaten egg or two and scramble. Comfort food.
Sammi @. April 23, 2014
Omelets are definitely my favorite dinner egg dish! That Shakshuka looks amazing, I will definitely have to try that soon!

Peace & Sunshine,
Sammi at Sammi Sunshine- A Food Blog
HalfPint April 23, 2014
My quick dinner: over-easy egg + hot cooked rice. Season with a little soy sauce.
Kathy J. April 23, 2014
A nice citrusy arugula salad topped with a poached egg and some sharp aged gouda.