I have 14 laying hens, 15 if you include the goose. I give eggs away by the dozen to my kids, my parents, my neighbors and a church that gives them away to random people. We eat eggs for breakfast, keep boiled eggs in the fridge for quick snacking and still, we are overrun. This happens every year. I have had to get creative about using up those eggs. I have begun to judge recipes by how many eggs they have in them. Here are some things I’ve come up with.
I was intimidated by pasta, but once I set down to do it, I found it to be really easy. Primarily I make fettuccine, but I also make pierogis using the same recipe and stuffing them with a combination of mashed potatoes, cottage cheese, and chives. My son loves pierogis and once I’ve boiled them and saluted them in a bit of butter, he will eat them straight out of the fridge as a snack. They also freeze well. Just lay them on a tray so they aren’t touching first and put them in the freezer till they are firm, then move them to their permanent storage place. (Otherwise, they will stick together.)
To freeze the long noodles, I make little one-serving piles of noodles on a cookie sheet and place this in the freezer for an hour to firm them up, then I store them in a freezer bag. I take out as many piles as I need for a meal and drop them straight from the freezer into boiling water and cook them as you would dried pasta from a box. It’s really easy.
The Master Pasta Recipe
2 c. Flour
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients, knead it a bit until it’s smooth and well blended, about 10 minutes. Set the dough aside for at least 15 minutes to an hour. Don’t leave it more than say a few hours or it’ll start to turn color and get all weird.
Roll and cut. The dough is quite stiff, so cut it in half and work with one lump at a time. Roll it till it’s thin enough to see the shadow of your hand through if you hold it up. I find it’s easiest to cut it with a pizza roller, but a sharp knife will do. (For pierogies, I use a wide-mouth jar lid as a cutter and put 1 tsp of filling in the middle, fold over and seal along the edges with a fork. You can do ravioli the same way. )
Cook your pasta right away by dropping it into boiling water and giving it a gentle stir. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until it’s done, give it a test. It depends on the thickness. You can also drop your noodles right into the sauce that’s going to simmer awhile. I do that with pierogies sometimes, though the boil-then-saute method is favored.
Or freeze and store. I prefer the pasta fresh. Whether store-bought or fresh, I feel like uncooked frozen pasta has a weird sulfuric egg-gone-wrong flavor. No one else seems to notice it. You can cover it up with a strong sauce, but fresh is always better.
2. Potato Salad
There are lots of potato salad recipes and many include boiled eggs. Or they should if they don’t. Basically, it’s boiled potatoes, boiled eggs, mustard and mayonnaise and whatever else you want to put in; hopefully, pickles, and some shredded carrots and radishes.
Potato salad is great to have on hand as a quick side in the summer when it’s often too hot to cook. I make a batch weekly so there’s always something satisfying in the fridge. I’ve been known to eat it for breakfast.
Mayonnaise intimidated me more than pasta and it took a long time and some pep talks to get me to try it. It’s easy, of course, provided you have a blender. The trick is to make sure the oil goes into the blender super slowly. My blender has a little hole in the lid, so I just pour the oil onto the lid and it dribbles in just about right (is this what the hole is for? Could be. I don’t know.) You can’t store mayonnaise long. I tried some recipes that included pasteurization to increase its shelf life, but they always separated and ended up looking gross (but still tasted alright). So, unpasteurized mayo it is. I use the freshest eggs picked that day and well-scrubbed before cracking.
The Basic Recipe
3 egg yolks
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice, or white wine vinegar, or similar)
1 1/2 cup oil
Salt, onion powder to taste
Put the egg yolks in a blender and add the cider vinegar, begin blending. Slowly add the oil in a tiny trickle and continue adding over several minutes while the blender blends on. Soon, it will begin to thicken. Add your seasoning. Blend, taste, season blend taste, etc. Refrigerate or use right away. I don’t keep mine longer than 3 days, but it’s usually used up by then.
You can use this as a base for many dips and sauces. I add turmeric, ground mustard, paprika and nutmeg to make the dressing for my potato salad. And I add plain yogurt and chives to make a ranch-like dressing.
I have had some really bad quiche. Tough and strong-tasting. I do not advocate for bad quiche. Good quiche is heavenly. There are a lot of quiche recipes, but the technique is also important. Quiche is like custard. Treat it gently. There is also the frittata option. Like a quiche, without a crust.
5. Rich and Delicious Bread
My favorite bread recipe is heavy on the eggs and can be used to make a plain white loaf, but I prefer to make monkey bread (by adding in some nuts and raisins, rolling the dough into little balls, rolling the balls in butter then cinnamon sugar and then putting it into a big round baking dish to rise and bake later), cinnamon bread (Knead in raisins, roll it out, brush with melted butter, sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar, roll up, stick in a loaf pan, rise and bake) or simple dinner/sandwich rolls (shape, rise, bake).
This recipe is adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. By Mark Bittman. He calls it Rich Golden Bread, but I call it festival bread.
3 Cups Flour
2 tsp Yeast
2 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Sugar
2 Tbsp cold butter, cut into tiny cubes
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c. Milk or buttermilk (I use Kefir)
1. Combine flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Whisk to combine. If you’re adding any extra dry ingredients, this is when you add it. Add the butter and work it in using your hands to mush the flour into the butter or use whatever tools you have until the butter is well incorporated with no big bits anywhere.
2. Add the eggs and mix in well. It will be crumbly now.
3. Add the milk a little at a time, mixing the whole time until it forms a nice ball. It should still be a little sticky to the touch but otherwise easy to handle.
4. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and knead it until its nice and smooth. If you’re adding fruit or nuts, you can add them now and knead them in. Get yourself a nice round dough ball and coat that bad boy with butter. Put it in a bowl and cover it with a damp cloth. If you want to bake it tomorrow, you can seal it inside the storage container of your choice and put it in the fridge till tomorrow. Take it out about 3 hours before you want to bake it.
5. When the dough has doubled in size, take it out of the bowl and roll it into a round ball. (You can freeze it at this point if you want or carry on) Flatten the ball onto your counter and roll it out into a pretty thick oblong. You’re going to roll this oblong up from one end to form your loaf. If you’re doing cinnamon bread, you can spread a cinnamon-sugar mixture on this surface before you start rolling. If you’re doing buns, skip that bit and just pull off bits to make buns.
6. Grease a baking dish and plop your loaf in it or arrange your buns on it or whatever. You should have plenty of room for growth in your pan. Cover them up with a wet towel and set them aside for about 2 hours.
7. Turn on your oven to 350 Farenheight. I don’t preheat, I just pop it in. Let it bake for about 40 minutes or until done. If you’re not sure about that, stick your meat thermometer in the middle of the loaf and look for it to say 210F.
8. Take your bread out and leave it in the pan for about 5 minutes, then take it out of the pan and let it cool completely before cutting it.
6. Quick Breads and Muffins (Of many sorts)
Cupcakes too, of course. The line between cupcakes and muffins seems to be the frosting and the little disposable wrapper.
Try my banana bread recipe at https://sacredhearth.com/banana-bread/
7. The Best Brownies Ever
My favorite brownie recipe is contained in Chicken and Egg by Janice Cole, which my mother so thoughtfully gave me for Christmas a few years ago. The author also includes a wonderful Ginger Rhubarb Custard Bar recipe that is heavenly as well.
8. Quick and Dirty Fried Rice
This is the closest thing I come to fast food around here. I store my leftovers in 32 ounce deli containers. (I buy them in bulk, but you can also re-use deli and takeout containers and bring them back to refill. When they start to fall apart, recycle them.) One of these full of rice plus 16-ounce package of frozen mixed vegetables from the grocery store, some ginger, garlic and soy sauce and 3 eggs is the basis of the dish. I begin by sautéing some garlic and ginger in some oil in the pan, then I add the veggies and rice and mix and cook until they are pretty close to done. Then I make a hole in the middle of the pan and crack in the eggs and scramble them and then, before they are fully set, I mix them into the rice and veggie mixture. Finally, I season the lot with some soy sauce. It’s a hit. Even the egg-hater loves it. There’s no reason you couldn’t add cubes of leftover cooked meat too.
There are SO many different types of pudding and most of them are super-easy to make. Bread pudding and rice pudding use up leftovers. To about 2 cups rice or bread crumbs, I add 2 cups milk and 3 eggs, beaten together with 3 tablespoons sugar and some vanilla and cinnamon and mix well with some dried fruit and nuts. Stick it in the oven in a covered dish at 350F for about a half-hour or until its set and you’ve got a lovely dessert with little effort that is just as good cold for breakfast.
Boiled pudding takes a bit more effort (i.e. stirring), but it makes a satisfying dessert and can quickly become the foundation of some more elaborate desserts, such as banana pie and mud pie. To make a basic boiled pudding, I just whisk together 2 cups of milk and three egg yolks and 1/4 cup of cornstarch with 1/2 cup sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla and, if I’m doing chocolate pudding, some cocoa powder (needs a bit more sugar). I continue whisking as I slowly heat the mixture up in a pan, but I don’t ever actually boil it. Just keep whisking till it’s hot and thick and then chill it. I like to pour it into small mason jars and then stick them in the fridge for grab and go lunch box additions.
Using all those egg yolks to make a pudding means a lot of whites get left behind. I don’t think there was anything more intimidating to me than Meringues. But they are delicious and crisp and yummy dipped in the pudding. Try flavoring them with vanilla and cardamom and dipping them in rich chocolate pudding.