Eating at the diner twelve times a week gets pretty old, I mean, how many times can you have a buffalo chicken wrap before you resort to overpriced delivery? Take my advice and change up your routine by making your own meals. You would be surprised by how easily the diner can become a grocery store, at least for meals as simple as breakfast.
As an example let’s look at one of my favorite breakfast foods: omelettes. One of the first meals I learned to make, the omelette is surprisingly easy, and impressive when done right. Plus, the only equipment you will need for this is a small skillet, a spatula, a bowl and a fork.
You can also get every ingredient for some pretty gourmet omelettes at your dining hall. Believe it or not, you can actually request fresh eggs from the breakfast or omelette line (at least this is true at UMD), but if they are being uptight you can just get a carton at the Stop N’ Shop or the Commons Shop. As for the filling, you can get everything at the salad bar: veggies, cheese, meat, go crazy. Butter for the pan can usually be found around the condiment area too.
So let’s get down to business
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes
2 tablespoons milk/cream (optional)
2 tablespoons butter
One soup cup full of fillings (cheese, vege, meat)
What’s great about the salad bar is you can grab just about anything, just treat it like you are making a salad that is destined to be nestled in a blanket of fluffy eggs. I kept it kind of simple and grabbed some spinach, tomatoes, bacon, bean salad and cheddar cheese.
(Quick tip: put your salad stuff in a soup bowl and they’ll charge it as soup, saving you some sweet scrill)
I ended up with enough stuff for two omelettes, and the price came out to only $2.30. It could run you a little more if you need to buy milk, butter or eggs, which fortunately I didn’t.
1. Whisk two eggs (use a fork if you don’t have a whisk) with a bit of milk or cream in a bowl. The milk or cream isn’t necessary; it’s just how I was raised.
2. Heat your skillet on medium-high. Throw about half a tablespoon of butter on the hot pan, give a spin to coat and throw the egg on there. It should give off a nice sizzle.
3. Now I’m going to tell you about a technique I learned to avoid flipping the whole omelette: Take the spatula and go around the rim of your omelette as it is cooking to allow the raw egg on top to spill onto the bottom. It can be a little tricky at first, but with some persistence you will end up with a fully cooked egg disk.
4. Turn the heat down to medium and add salt, pepper and cheese to both sides. Now lay your chosen fillings onto half the omelette.
5. Allow the omelette to cook a little longer, just until you start to see some steam creeping around the sides. This means the egg has turned a beautiful golden brown and is firm enough to flip.
6. Be confident with your flip, just get right in there with your spatula and show the omelette who’s boss. If you don’t get it all the over the first try, no sweat, just continue to coax it into turning and eventually you’ll get there.
7. Finally, turn down the heat to low and let it cook for a minute or two, you want to make sure the cheese is melty and the filling is warm. Gently slide it onto a plate, allowing the weight of the omelette to do the work, and serve along with your favorite breakfast staples.
Don’t feel limited by omelettes, make use of the ingredients you can buy at the dining halls and convenience stores and get creative. If you get your hands on some slices of bread and eggs, you could load up a cup of milk with cinnamon and sugar from the coffee area then mix that in with the eggs to have a decent coating for French toast. Here’s a good recipe to get you started: five minute french toast
Ooh, wait, how about smoothies using kale, spinach or some fresh(ish) fruit from the salad bar?
Let me know what other dining hall inspired recipes you can come up with.