Posted Online: April 02, 2013, 9:27 am

Eggs for dinner? Easy to prepare, eggs make sense any time of day

Comment on this story

By Erin Alderson

Photo: Erin Alderson
Black-eyed peas, dill potato and egg skillet, a healthful recipe that can be served for lunch or dinner.
I feel bad for eggs. So versatile and yet so firmly relegated to the early hours of the day. On any restaurant breakfast menu, you can find an assortment of egg and egg dishes: scrambled, poached or fried eggs for those who like their eggs straight; eggs Benedict, quiche or frittatas for those who like a bit more substance. But come noon, eggs usually are off the table.

The tradition of serving eggs for breakfast, a practice brought to the U.S. by early European settlers, has some very practical roots: Eggs usually have been harvested in the morning and, as with most other items, are best enjoyed fresh — which meant serving them for breakfast. Long after backyard chickens gave way for many to supermarket eggs, the tradition of starting the day with eggs persists.

No matter the reason we eat eggs for breakfast, I'm here to inspire you to expand your egg horizons. I'm talking about moving past the idea the only egg acceptable to eat outside of breakfast is in egg salad. It's time to explore the endless possibilities of eggs for dinner.

I love eggs and I gladly would eat them for any meal (or snack), serving them for dinner at least twice a week. Eggs add the perfect protein to a meal. A carton of eggs from the local farm costs around $4 per dozen and I can get approximately six meals from that. That's less than a dollar per dinner for power-packed goodness. I also love eggs for dinner because it usually means I'm eating something lighter and not heading to bed stuffed to the brim, which seems easy to do when I eat lasagna, mac and cheese, or some other meal heavy on the carbohydrates.

I sit on an arsenal full of egg ideas for dinner that are less recipes and more general inspirations. There are the old standbys like quiche and frittatas that can feed a family. I've also been known to smash an avocado or roast some radishes to accompany toast and a poached egg. During the summer I'll whip up a salad with what's fresh, throw a couple of soft-boiled eggs on top, and call it dinner. Or my personal favorite: combine in a cast iron skillet the random veggies found in my refrigerator with some curry powder and eggs for a delightful one-skillet meal.

Add to all that tasty goodness a nutritional profile that may surprise you. Yes, eggs are higher in cholesterol than some other foods, but one large egg contains a mere 75 calories on average, is packed with seven grams of protein, and only has 1.6 grams of saturated fat. Some recent studies even have suggested the yolks of free-range eggs are lower in cholesterol and saturated fat than conventional eggs, making them a healthier option. In moderation, eggs can make a wonderful addition to any meal of your day.

Black-eyed peas, dill potato and egg skillet
1 1/2 cups (roughly 3/4 pound) small red potatoes
1/3 cup dried black-eyed peas
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, diced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh dill
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

In a medium pot, bring to a boil enough water to amply cover peas and potatoes together. Add black-eyed peas and cook until almost tender, 15-18 minutes. Cut potatoes into chunks and add to the water and peas, cooking for another 5-6 minutes or until potatoes and peas are both tender. Remove from heat and drain.
In two 5-inch cast-iron skillets or one 10-inch skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add diced shallots and cook until translucent, 3-5 minutes. Stir in drained potatoes and peas as well as rosemary, dill and salt. Continue to cook until potatoes start to brown slightly.
Create a well in the center of the potatoes and peas and crack egg(s) over the well. Cover skillet with a lid and cook until egg reaches desired doneness. Remove from heat and serve with an extra sprinkle of dill.