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Breakfast for dinner, a trend with a new name: Brinner

Published: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 9:40 p.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, March 6, 2014 8:44 p.m. CST
Caption
(T. Ortega Gaines/Charlotte Observer/MCT)
Breakfast bowls of sausage, eggs, potatoes and tomatoes can make for a wonderful dinner.
Caption
(T. Ortega Gaines)
Breakfast bowls of sausage, eggs, potatoes and tomatoes can make for a wonderful dinner. (T. Ortega Gaines/Charlotte Observer/MCT)

Maybe it’s time for brunch to make way for brinner.

The “brunch” concept has been around since the 1890s, when British college students came up with the word for having a later Sunday breakfast after Saturday drinking binges.

But brinner is another idea: Eating breakfast foods for dinner because you love them.It must be a real word. It’s in the Urban Dictionary, and it’s turning up on the food-trend lists, part of a larger movement toward eating what you want, when you want it: Breakfast for dinner, pizza for breakfast, eggs on pizza for dinner.

These days, brinner is more practical than brunch. Who really has time to go out for brunch on a busy weekend morning? Add the typical restaurant wait and you could blow a whole Saturday trying to get a waffle.

Make a waffle yourself on a Tuesday night, and you have a delivery system for maple syrup and bacon, too.

That’s part of the idea behind turning breakfast foods into dinner: We love pancakes, waffles, omelets and the like. But actual breakfast – the event between getting up and leaving your house – is not the time to do anything more elaborate than cereal/bowl/milk/skedaddle.

“Breakfast is usually on the go,” said Chapel Hill, N.C., cooking instructor Caitlin Burke.

LEMON RICOTTA PANCAKES

These fluffy, lemony pancakes beg to be topped with our lemony blueberry compote, although you could just use maple syrup. Adapted from “The Can’t Cook Book,” by Jessica Seinfield (Atria, 2013).

1 cup white whole wheat flour (or 1/2 cup each all-purpose and whole wheat flour)

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 large eggs

1 cup nonfat or reduced-fat milk

1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Grated zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons butter, divided, if needed

Warm Blueberry Compote (see recipe) or maple syrup

WHISK together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add the eggs, milk, ricotta, vanilla and lemon zest. (Grate the zest directly into the bowl to catch the oils from the lemon.) Whisk everything together but don’t overmix. The batter should be a little lumpy.

HEAT a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon butter and swirl it around until melted. (If you’re using a nonstick skillet or griddle, you may not need butter.) Add about 1/4 cup batter and let it spread. Add more pancakes if there’s room.

COOK until there are bubbles all over the top of the pancakes, particularly around the edges, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side 30 seconds to a minute, until beginning to brown. Transfer to a plate. (Place in a warm oven until they’re all done if desired.) Continue to cook, adjusting the heat and adding more butter to the pan as needed.

SERVE warm with butter and Blueberry Compote or maple syrup.

YIELD: 4 servings.

Breakfast Bowls

Adapted from “The Pioneer Woman Cooks,” by Ree Drummond (William Morrow, 2009). This breakfast for dinner is very family-friendly. Kids can help put these together.

1 tablespoon butter, plus more for the bowls

1/4 large onion, diced

1 russet (baking) potato, baked, cooled and cut in cubes

Salt and pepper to taste

5 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup half-and-half

3 plum tomatoes, cored and diced

2 green onions, chopped

1/2 pound breakfast sausage, browned and crumbled

1/2 cup each grated Monterey Jack and sharp cheddar (or 1 cup grated cheese mix)

BUTTER 4 ovenproof bowls or ramekins. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

MELT butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are warmed through and the onions are a little softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

WHISK together the eggs and half-and-half in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the tomatoes and green onions in a small bowl and set aside.

ASSEMBLE by placing potatoes, sausage, a little of the cheese, a quarter of the egg mixture and some of the tomato mixture in each ramekin. Top with a little more cheese.

PLACE the ramekins on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the eggs are just set. Watch carefully and make sure the eggs don’t brown and overcook.

YIELD: 4 servings.

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