Behold, the 10 Minute Breakfast Sandwich! Fluffy egg whites, melted cheese, lean Canadian bacon, arugula, and a dash of hot sauce. All nestled between a freshly toasted English muffin. The fastest food you can shove in your mouth in the morning without having to actually resort to fast-food. A bonafide breakfast meal that is high on protein and low on fat, that comes together without a lot of fuss.
The eggs get cooked in a scant amount of butter in the pan while the rest of the ingredients get a quick toaster-oven treatment. It’s a some-assembly-required kind of sandwich, but takes hardly any effort since only one part of it needs to be cooked. The rest of the ingredients already come ready to heat and eat. Perfect for lazy, sleepy-eyed mornings. You can bumble your way through this recipe while you sip on that big mug of coffee and wait for it to kick in & work its caffeinated magic on you.
All things that make this egg sandwich the kind of breakfast I like best.
The kind of breakfast I ate a LOT of while we were out on our trip this month. Turns out that some form of breakfast sandwich tends to be available in roadside diners, little cafes, and restaurants all across the country.
Oh. By the way…
We are finally BACK from our wonderfully long road trip around the western states!
We ambled our way through Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and now back here again in Northern California. Some places were old favorites that we couldn’t wait to revisit and others were entirely new to us. We spent time in Crater Lake, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Arches, Dead Horse Point, Canyonlands, Zion, Red Rock Canyon, and Valley of Fire. We fit in whatever we could cram into those few weeks. Seeing all that we could see and eating all we could eat in between. Things like huckleberry pie/ pancakes/ caramel corn (we went all out on the huckleberry experience), fried chicken & waffles, chorizo nachos, huevos rancheros, french toast, bacon cheeseburgers, all the sweet potato fries, ice cream, milkshakes, gelato, almond croissants and really whatever else struck our fancy. Because, VACATION.
Now we are in that happy afterglow zone where “That was AWESOME” meets the pouty panic of “Take me back to Montana. Like NOW (please)”. Coming home and feeling all those post-vacation feels is always bittersweet.
And it really is so SO SWEET that first night you get to spend sleeping in your bed on your pillow after you’ve showered in your shower. You can eat food you cooked yourself, sink into your comfy couch, wear the favorite sweatpants you forgot to pack, and binge watch all the episodes of the shows you recorded while you were away. Rifling through all the pictures you took in your phone and breathing that big sigh of relief that you get when you are truly “home”.
But let’s face it, there is a little bit (or a lotta bit) of you that is mildly BITTER that you aren’t in vacation mode anymore. That part that longs to be surrounded by unfamiliar trees and big open skies. Greeted each morning by crisp cold air or an animal wandering lazily through your campsite. Spending your days weighed down by a backpack with all the essentials, stumbling across like-minded nature-lovers out on dirt paths, and seeing sights that remind you that you don’t always need to book an international flight to see something truly beautiful.
It happens every year when we get back from being away. There is something unbelievably freeing about waking up every morning and just jamming your messy slept-on hair into a hat, lacing up those same muddy boots day after day, and not worrying about a single thing except how soon you can get breakfast in your belly and your feet out onto the trail.
What should I wear? When does the bank close? Did they get my email yet? Are we out of eggs? A few days into being away from it all and things get a little quieter in your mind. Somewhere along the way you find that inner dialogue dies down and that constant buzz of questions isn’t anywhere to be found. That hushed sense of peace and wellness washes over you, the tightness releases in your chest, and you are just…there.
The thing about camping and living out of a tent / truck bed / hopping from hotel-to-hotel is that it makes you unbelievably aware of all the little conveniences you take for granted every day in your own home. At times painfully aware, and therefore extraordinarily appreciative of them once you have them back in your life again.
Things like hot showers, clean clothes, flush toilets, bug-free (and bear-free) living zones, comfy mattresses, moderate temperatures, rain-free shelters, grocery store access, and last but certainly not least – a kitchen to cook out of.
OH THE KITCHEN. If I could have put my arms around it and hugged it from the moment we stepped back into the apartment, I absolutely would have. Every last square inch of that countertop, tiny stove, small shelved, fridge-door-that-doesn’t-open-all-the-way, shallow pantry situation. It is ours, it all works, and I love it to pieces.
Being able to refrigerate your food without constantly monitoring the amount of ice and speed with which it is melting in the cooler is in one word – amazing. As is being able to have a lot of ingredients stored up in there besides whatever fits within the confines of the cooler or stored in the back of the truck.
I love traveling but I also fiercely LOVE that feeling of falling back into my daily routine. Right now rolling out of bed in the morning and cooking up whatever my heart desires without having to either a) help Billy build a campfire -or- b) bust out the camp stove …well, it just feels downright luxurious.
Having spent several weeks eating all manner of tasty breakfast sandwiches on the road means all I want to eat (occasionally even late into the afternoon) is a big, hot, cheesy, egg sandwich.
I stumbled across it as a bagel-wich, a croissant-wich, a massive French bread roll situation, with LOTS of crispy bacon tucked in it, layered with breakfast sausage rounds, stacked up with avocado and tomato slices. You name it, it’s out there. Some of them come with a fried egg perched in the center but my favorite is the kind that has a fluffy stack of folded scrambled eggs.
I’ve seen those little round pan inserts online that you can buy to make a perfectly circular egg disc like they do for drive-thru fare. But I don’t have one of those and wasn’t jazzed to buy one if I could avoid it. Lo and behold…on the long drive home, a video from Tasting Table popped up on my Facebook newsfeed delivering just the answer I needed. Couldn’t have had better timing! It showed step-by-step how those diners and fast-food joints make that delectable little patty of eggs sans egg-shaper.
You can find the short, super helpful, 35-second video tutorial here:
As you’ll see in the video, the secret is scrambling them quickly in the pan and then forming the nearly cooked scrambles into a square shape that can then be folded in half two times. In a matter of minutes you have a perfectly shaped little egg patty to perch atop some bread.
Since I am trying to reign in my “IT’S VACATION” eating mode back into the realm of relative moderation, I swapped the whole eggs for egg whites. I used a reserved amount of butter but if you prefer coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil, those would both work wonderfully in place of butter. I just really enjoy that salty, savory edge that comes with using real butter and the slight crispy quality it brings to the edges of cooked eggs.
Other tweaks included scaling back the bread situation from full-blown sliced ciabatta or a generous full French roll to a whole wheat English muffin. I also swapped the full fat, double portion of cheese situation I was indulging in on the trip in favor of low-fat mozzarella cheese. To cut even more fat out of the traditional diner breakfast sammie and also cut more time out of the equation, I swapped already cooked lean Canadian bacon rounds for crisped full-fat bacon strips.
Add a little arugula for peppery edge and Sriracha/ Cholula for spice (or some ketchup if you don’t do spicy things) and VOILA.
Breakfast is served!
- 1 whole wheat English muffin
- 1 slice low-fat mozzarella cheese (1 oz)*
- 2 slices Canadian bacon (or lean ham)
- ½ c egg whites**
- ½ c arugula
- ⅓ tbs butter
- fresh cracked black pepper
- hot sauce (like sriracha or Cholula) or ketchup
- TOAST BREAD WITH CHEESE & BACON: Lay out the two halves of the English muffin, cut-side up. Tear the cheese slice into quarters and lay two overlapping quarters on each side of the muffin. Top each side with one slice of Canadian bacon. Place in toaster oven (on top of the tray insert for easy clean-up in case the cheese spills over but directly onto the rack is fine too). Toast bread to desired doneness, until cheese is just melted and bacon has been warmed through (about 6-8 minutes). My toaster oven has a hot spot in it, so I always rotate the tray halfway through for even cooking.
- COOK EGGS: Meanwhile, cook the eggs. Preheat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add butter, swirling pan to coat. Add the eggs to the pan. Stir well with a spatula until scrambles have started to form and cooked almost all the way through. Turn down the heat to medium-low and use the spatula to gather the scrambles into a large square shape in the pan. Press down lightly with the back of the spatula and let them cook for another 30 seconds or so until they have crusted together. Add some cracked black pepper on top. Then fold them in half once, pressing lightly again on top to help them crust together again. In another few seconds fold again once more to make a square shape. Turn off heat and press again.
- ASSEMBLE INTO A SANDWICH: Top one of the English muffin halves with arugula, then add the egg “patty”, top eggs with hot sauce or ketchup, and then add second half. Serve immediately.
You can also use a separate greased pan to prepare the English muffin, cheese, and ham like you would a grilled cheese – pressing both halves together and toasting both sides while pressing down with a spatula until the cheese has melted and the meat has warmed through.
*Can swap for another soft cheese like cheddar, jack, swiss, or provolone
**Swap for 2-3 whole eggs (scrambled in a bowl before adding to the hot pan) if you don’t prefer to use all egg whites