Snow days, quarantine days, Sundays, and any day, are great to start with a brunch menu. I don’t always have the time to indulge but do prefer a healthy and delicious brunch to ordinary breakfast and lunch. I often only have time for one solid meal until dinner and these filling items are just the right thing. Of course, they work for breakfast too! I like these heartier options in the winter and for summer brunch enjoy more fruit and vegetable salads. These are more comforting and winter friendly.

Bagel Egg in the Hole and Lox

Photo by Food Network

Serves 8

This updated dish is a twist on my Mother-in-Law’s favorite fun dish that she prepares for the grandkids. The version uses an Everything Spiced Bagel, which is heartier than plain bread, sprinkled with herbs and finished with lox and hollandaise sauce or skip that and use a squeeze of store bought caesar dressing. Thank you to the Pioneer Woman for this recipe.

  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • 4 everything bagels, halved
  • 8 medium eggs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Hollandaise:

  • 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • Juice of 2 lemons, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt

Garnish:

  • 8 ounces smoked salmon, sliced
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained

Special equipment: a 2-inch round cutter

For the baked bagel egg-in-the-hole: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush the parchment with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter.

Using a 2-inch round cutter, make the center of each bagel half larger. Save the cutout pieces. Brush the cut side of the bagels and bagel cutouts with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter.

Place the bagels cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Line up the cutout pieces down the center of the baking sheet cut-side down as well. Using the palm of your hand, press the bagels into the baking sheet. This will help make sure they are touching the baking sheet so the eggs won't seep out before they're cooked.

Brush the tops of the bagels and cutouts with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Crack an egg into each bagel hole. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Bake for 11 to 14 minutes, depending on how you like your eggs; 11 minutes will give you a runny yolk, while 14 minutes will give you a fully cooked yolk.

For the hollandaise: In a small saucepan, melt the butter until sizzling.

Put the egg yolks in a blender and turn on a low speed to allow them to combine. While the machine is running, slowly begin pouring the hot butter into the blender in a thin, steady stream. Once all the butter is in, immediately begin adding the lemon juice. Check the blender to make sure the sauce is still liquidy and moving easily through the blades. If not, add a little more juice and give it a stir and then blend again. Add the cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Transfer to a serving pitcher and cover with foil until serving.

For the garnish: Transfer the bagels and cutouts to a serving platter. Arrange the salmon around the bagels and garnish with the red onions, chives and capers. Serve with the warm hollandaise or store bought caesar on the side.

Breakfast Panzanella Salad

Photo by The Kitchn

Serves 5

I make a version of this for Shabbos lunch. This one is brunch-worthy with the addition of hard cooked eggs and feta cheese. Dress right before serving.

  • 5 cups cubed French bread
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced capers
  • 2 teaspoons everything bagel seasoning

Salad:

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 3 large avocados, cubed
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese or queso fresco
  • 4 medium-boiled eggs, halved

For the toast: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Put the bread cubes on the prepared baking sheet, drizzle with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until toasted, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

For the dressing: In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, capers and everything bagel seasoning.

For the salad: Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado and onions to the dressing and toss. Add the bread cubes and basil and toss again. Let stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving. Garnish with the feta and halved eggs.

Lemon Blueberry Morning Muffins

Makes 12

Lemons and blueberries are a perfect combination for any dessert or treat. The bright citrus flavor and color merry perfectly with sweet blueberries. These reside in my freezer most of the time, unless they are finished before I can get them to storage. Can be made pareve and frozen for up to three months.

Muffins:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature or margarine
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon natural lemon extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk or ½ cup non-dairy milk plus 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup blueberries

Crumble:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted or margarine
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the muffins: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar. Cream together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. Add the lemon extract and mix to incorporate.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest and nutmeg and whisk for 30 seconds to evenly distribute the leavening. With the mixer running on low speed, add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then add the buttermilk and follow with the remaining flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Using a large rubber spatula, gently give the batter a few quick strokes to make sure there are no pockets of flour remaining. Fold in the blueberries. Fill each muffin cavity three-quarters full.

For the crumble: In a large bowl, combine the flour, butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and salt using a wooden spoon or your fingers. Keep working the mixture until the butter is absorbed and the mixture starts to clump.

Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of the crumble on top of each muffin. Bake until the muffins just spring back when gently poked, 15 to 20 minutes.

My Mom’s Pancakes - Seriously the Best!

Serves 6

These are the best pancakes EVER! My mom is famous for them and every grandchild looks forward to visiting her to make them with her. There are a few secrets to making these awesome pancakes. First, you must use buttermilk in the recipe and it should be made the night before cooking. The overnight resting, allows the buttermilk to activate great flavor in the batter. Also, do not overmix them, they get tough but add more buttermilk or milk if it gets too thick. Use real butter, just because it tastes so much better. And finally use the leftover batter for crepes by adding more milk to the batter and making it thinner. Enjoy and you are welcome! I don’t share this with just anyone :)

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2-2 1/2 cups buttermilk (depending upon how thick or thin you like your pancakes. I prefer thinner ones so use more than 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter

Sift flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda into a large bowl. Most recipes don’t call for sifting but I’ve found makes for lighter pancakes.

Melt butter in the microwave in a large 4 cups Pyrex measuring cup. Cool a bit, then add eggs & sour cream. Beat well with a fork to incorporate, then add buttermilk. Add wet ingredients to dry ones and fold in so all is mixed but don’t overmix. It’s ok if it’s a bit lumpy. Let rest for at least 10 minutes or longer (overnight works well, too).

Heat griddle on med- low heat, and lightly grease pan.

Make sure the griddle is piping hot by sprinkling a drop or two of water on the griddle, if it sizzles it’s ready for batter. Spoon about ¼ cup for each pancake onto griddle. The first batch always takes twice as long it seems than the pancakes following. Make sure griddle’s heat remains constant & doesn’t get too hot, because pancakes can burn quickly. When lightly browned, about 3 minutes for the first bath, flip and finish cooking, about 2 more minutes.

Serve with only real maple syrup.

Blueberries or sliced bananas can be added to each pancake while cooking on the griddle before it’s been turned.

Moroccan Spiced Shakshuka

Photo by Minimalist Baker

Serves 5 - 6

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • PInch of crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (14 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed, optional
  • A handful fresh parsley, chopped (1 teaspoon dried parsley)
  • A handful fresh cilantro, chopped (1 teaspoon dried coriander)
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¾ cup feta cheese, crumbled or other soft cheese
  • Pitted Kalamata olives, optional

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Heat a large oven-safe skillet or cast-iron skillet over medium high heat. Add oil. When oil is hot, add red onion and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, paprika, cumin, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and cook until warmed through, about 1 minute. Add crushed tomatoes and reduce heat to simmer for about 5 minutes. Add chickpeas and continue to allow the mixture to simmer for another 3-4 minutes. If the mixture gets too dry you can add a little water as needed. With the help of a spoon make a hole in the middle of the mixture, making space for the eggs. Crack eggs into small individual bowls and gently drop into holes.

Place the shakshuka in the oven rack for about 5-8 minutes depending on how runny you prefer your eggs. Remove from the oven and sprinkle fresh parsley, cilantro, and crumbled cheese and olives, if using, over mixture. Enjoy with delicious bread.