When you are a working parent, each weekday can feel like a battle, and each working day, a war. Mornings are especially chaotic – the opening shots are fired at 5:45 am, when the alarm goes off (better – at least I can drink a cup of coffee in peace) or the toddler goes off (No chance of snoozing with that one.) From then on, it’s a full charge ahead – getting two children and two adults awake, dressed in some semblance of reasonable clothing, fed some semblance of breakfast, out the door with all the appropriate gear (lunches, snacks, permission slips, changes of clothes, diapers, two matching shoes, laptop computers and wallets) requires, skill, strategy, manpower, and a great deal of cunning. By the time I actually (drive to daycare, drop off toddler, get to work, park and then) settle into my desk, I feel like my quiet cup of tea is a truce before the workday really begins (and then the whole process must be rendered in reverse).
Weekends, therefore, must be dedicated, not to rest, relaxation, or socializing, but to TACTICAL PLANNING. Meal planning and grocery shopping are crucial, but so is the Sunday cook up, whereby I stock the kitchen for the week ahead. I roast a tray of veggies and another of chicken legs (great kid foods), boil a dozen eggs, chop up and wash salad. If something happens on Sunday to derail the preparation, I know that the weekday war can quickly spin out of control.
Breakfast is a keystone to my strategy. I know my kids and I all do better if we eat a good, solid breakfast – something with protein, that will last us reasonably well until lunch. There’s no time for pancake flipping and omelet making on weekday mornings, but I will stash pancakes and french toast from the weekend in the freezer, for a quick run in the toaster oven. My favorite weekday breakfasts are portable – there’s no guarantee that I will get a chance to actually eat something before that cup of tea at the desk, and the kids can eat SO SLOWLY that taking breakfast in the car is essential to avoiding the tardy bell.
Enter Scotch Eggs. I don’t know if they’are actually Scotch, but I first encountered (and fell in love with) Scotch eggs when I was a college student studying in London, when their virtues of affordability and portability sang the same siren song they sing today. Of course, then I was 20 and lithe, and I paid no nevermind to eating an breakfast item dipped in breadcrumbs and deep fried. Now that I am closer to 40 than 20, I need to pay a little more attention, so these eggs skip the breadcrumbs in favor of parmesan and are baked, not fried. These have a ton of protein, and enough satiating fat to keep you going until lunchtime, but they’re basically paleo (you can skip the cheese if you don’t do dairy), can be made ahead, and are terrific cold.
- Five eggs
- Five links of an uncooked, mild pork sausage, like bratwurst (about 1 lb.)
- ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- Hard boil the eggs, and peel them.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Remove the meat from the sausage casing, separate each link into 2 pieces, one of which is a little larger than the other. Flatten both pieces.
- Holding the larger patty in the palm of your hand, place a hard boiled egg in the center of the patty, and gently cup the meat around the egg. Place the other patty over the open seam, and pinch the seams of the meat together, covering the egg entirely. Use your hands to shape the egg into a roughly spherical shape.
- Roll the Sausage egg ball in parmesan, if using, and place on a baking sheet lined with foil. Repeat for the remaining eggs. You may be able to get six eggs out of a pound of sausage, depending on how deftly, you flatten the meat and cover the egg.
- Bake the eggs for 25 minutes, until browned. Cool, and store in the refrigerator.