Saturday, February 22, 2014

Hacking Breakfast: Sausage, Vegetable, and Egg Breakfast Bowls in 10 Minutes

One of the problems with breakfast and bloggers who blog about breakfast, is they only talk about the food. I have seen tons of recipes that I would love to try. Like this one from Smitten Kitchen (I don't eat carbs very often but when I do I make them count). What they never talk about is the state you are in when you try and cook the recipe in the morning, the time constraints you might have, or the process to do it quickly.

I stand and stare at the clothes in my closet trying to pick a pair of pants so any recipe with more than 3 steps cannot be processed in the morning. They want me to bake something for 30 minutes!? I don't even wake up until 30 minutes before I need to got to work. If you have to measure something it should not be done in the morning. There are some the recipes that leave your kitchen a disaster so you always come home to a ton of dishes and you dread the fact that to get a good breakfast you will have to do it again tomorrow.

I created a recipe that I can cook in under 10 minutes, requires no measuring, there is really only 3 steps, and should leave only 4 easy to clean dishes for two people (This can be reduced to two if you are creative). It also is extremely high in protein and has lots of fresh food. Tim Ferris in the 4 Hour Body says to get 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up. This will get you close depending on how many eggs you use. Protein for breakfast is amazing because it is a slow burning energy source so this should keep you full and energized all morning. If you eat any processed carbs like muffins or cereal you will be hungry again at 10. The carbs will jump start your metabolism but burn off way faster than the protein. Since they jump start your metabolism you will be hungrier than if you didn't eat breakfast. That is why you hear people say, "I dont know why I'm hungry!? I actually ate breakfast today."

Lets start. The key to this recipe is the prep and to optimize everything for the morning. Every Sunday Kara and I have a prep party. Ill explain more about our prep days in another post. Part of my job on prep day is to make sure I have all of the ingredients for my bowls chopped.

I chopped bell peppers, Kale, Mushrooms, and jalapenos. Sometimes I do onions, cilantro, squash, spinach, and other vegetables. Go for sturdy vegetables because these are going to be in your fridge for a week and you don't want them to go bad. For example I have put avocado on our breakfast bowl but I cut those up the day of because they oxidize too quickly in the fridge.

Put all of the vegetables in their own bowls.

Choose your protein. I like aidells chicken sausage and some pork sausage. Try to have at least two different types of meat. This is a good way to mix up the flavor if you cook this most every morning like I do.

This is a very important part. Find a Tupperware container that fits in your fridge and can hold all of your ingredients. This will make the morning easier. Remember optimize for the morning. Shaving 30 seconds off your morning time is worth it even if it requires a trip to Target.

Done! The box is in the fridge and ready to go. If I cook this every morning the vegetables will last me a week. The meat will probably be enough for two weeks.

Now that the prep is done lets walk through the morning. Everything has a purpose but you can adjust it as you like. Here is my process. Immediately when I wake up I go to the kitchen and put the pan on the stove at medium heat (around 6 on our stove) and start a kettle of water for coffee. Then I go and freshen up a little. All the food is ready so I don't want to be standing around waiting for my pan to heat up.

When I am done freshening up I pull out the breakfast box and throw the meat in the skillet. I use a nonstick skillet because the cleanup is the easiest. I like to cook the meat a little before I throw in the vegetables. Especially the raw sausage. I don't wait too long though because the vegetables will need to cook.

I throw a handful of all the ingredients I have in the box. I don't measure I just go with the flow.

Once you get to this point you have about 3-4 minutes to do something else. I first put away my breakfast box, next I add garlic powder, cyan, salt, and pepper, and then I whisk 4 eggs in a separate bowl. You can skip this part to save cleaning a bowl and just crack the eggs into the pan. If I'm cooking for myself I do that but with 4 eggs I use a separate bowl. I usually have time to grind coffee and get it steeping in our french press. You really have a lot of leeway here as far as time goes so if you get busy with something and you don't get back to your pan right away don't sweat it.

I scoot the meat and vegetables over to the side because I have found that the eggs taste better if they can cook by themselves for a bit. Scramble them up but not for very long because they will still cook even after you remove it from heat.

I mix everything together and I'm done. I usually go get dressed so the coffee can steep a little longer and the food can cool a bit. After getting dressed I come back and dish up the bowls and eat. Here is another dish saver. If while I am cooking Kara is getting ready she can eat while I am getting ready and when I got to eat I just use the same bowl. The non-stick takes seconds to clean and I just put the bowls in the dishwasher. There is really no mess.

I have timed myself and I really can do this in about 10 minutes. The key is to optimize for the morning. If you are like me you don't want to have to make any decisions in the morning and so make them the night before or even in this case at the beginning of the week. I am also working on some 5, 20, and 30 minute recipes so that depending on when I wake up I have a meal that will work. This will also allow me to switch it up since the same meal over and over can get old.

Enjoy and let me know if you have any suggestions. -jb


  1. Love this! How nice that I read this today, and I was just working out a breakfast station idea this weekend.

    1. Thanks Sarah! We do it for salad too! The salad one is a little harder to maintain but with my mom's suggestion about vinegar we might be able to get our salad box to last longer.

  2. I do have a suggestion. I learned from another post that if you if you dip your fruits and veggies in a mix of water and vinegar (10 /1) for at least 10 seconds when you first get them they will literally last weeks longer. We had strawberries this morning that I prepared this way over a week ago. Every berry was firm. My grape tomatoes last three weeks or more. I am excited that a little vinegar can extend the life of all my fresh produce.

    1. Thanks mom! I have been meaning to try this. Our big gallon of vinegar ran out last month and we have been slow to replace it. We will have a cook day on Sunday so I will make sure it is on the list.

  3. I just started my own system a few days ago, and have found an idea I'm still developing, but love it. It is ideal though for one person. I make an omelette and warm up a tortilla shell so the omelette fits inside, so if necessary I can eat it with one hand on the road with virtually no mess, like I had to this morning. To do this, I pre-cooked the meat (sausage and bacon) on prep day, that way I can just put the wishes egg and milk mixture into the pan first, and add all the I ingredients after a minute or two.