The Breakfast Game-Changer

Saturday and Sunday mornings were always extra special in the Zukowski house. You would be carried to the kitchen by the aroma of bacon and fresh brewed coffee. It didn’t matter what time you woke up, my dad would always offer to make you whatever breakfast was that day.

 
 Breakfast Sandwich

Breakfast Sandwich

 

My dad was the breakfast master. Sometimes he would make super thin pancakes (they were so thin that they were pretty much crepes) and serve them with pie filling and whipped cream for toppings. If we were lucky, we got to experience these for dinner too. He would cook up big batches of bacon, hash browns, sausages, and eggs. The best breakfast days, though, were the days he made breakfast sandwiches.

Even now with my parents living in a different state, whenever I visit, my dad is cooking breakfast for me the second I get up.

I know, “anyone can make a breakfast sandwich.” But there was something different about the way my dad made them. The bread was toasted just perfectly. There was just the right amount of egg and it was always just a little runny. He would make your choice of bacon or sausage to go with it and you would pick your cheese. These sandwiches were probably similar in calorie range to a Big Mac, but they were worth it.

The love for breakfast sandwiches in my family has really evolved. It started as my dad making this huge comforting sandwiches, but now we have crossed over into a new era of the Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker. The results have been spectacular.

At first I thought a breakfast sandwich maker seemed like the stupidest thing. When I saw it being advertised I actually laughed out loud. Who needs a gadget to make a breakfast sandwich? Seriously.

Well, it turns out, my family does.

It all started with my sister, Brooke. She bought one and fell in love with it immediately. When my parents were visiting her, she made them sandwiches and my dad became fascinated with it, too. So fascinated, in fact, that she got him his very own sandwich maker for his birthday that year.

At the time, my mom, dad, and brother were living in the same house together and all started using the sandwich maker all the time. I remember coming home to visit and my brother was in search of the device because he felt like I just had to see it. I didn’t get to see it that trip, but their enthusiasm did convince me to get one to try out (it also didn’t hurt that had a 20% off coupon for Bed Bath & Beyond with nothing in mind to spend it on).

I eagerly rushed home with my contraption and gave it a test. This machine is a lazy person’s dream. I made just your typical egg, cheese, and Canadian bacon sandwich and I virtually had to do nothing. I plugged it in, put the bottom half of an English muffin in the bottom, then the bacon and cheese, moved the next layer of the machine down and cracked an egg into it, then put the English muffin top directly onto the raw egg. I closed the machine and a few minutes later I had the perfect sandwich waiting for me. You slide out the piece under the egg and it all drops onto the cheesy bacon bottom.

I immediately understood my family’s obsession— this product is amazing.

I started out by making some grab-and-go breakfasts. I would plug the sandwich maker in to heat it up, get in the shower, put the ingredients in and leave it while I did my makeup. By the time I was done (I seriously only take 5 minutes to slap some makeup on in the morning), so was my sandwich. I would have a piece of tinfoil waiting to wrap it up and throw it in my bag to eat on the way to work. My husband doesn’t really cook much, unless it’s dinner for us. He’s more of a throw-a-quick-sandwich-together kind of guy, so this was perfect for him to have a hot meal ready with basically no effort or cleanup. 

Recently, I’ve decided to get a bit more experimental with my sandwich maker. What else can I make in there? What kinds of twists can I put on this?

It turns out, there is a whole world of delicious waiting to happen in this gadget, and I haven’t been disappointed.

 
 Eggo Waffle Sandwich

Eggo Waffle Sandwich

 

I started by using chocolate chip Eggo waffles instead of English muffins. I layered it with sausage, eggs, and cheese. This sandwich tasted way more awesome than any English muffin-based sandwich, although I know nutritionally, it’s also much worse for me— which is probably why it tasted so good. I’ve used deli meats and cheeses to make miniature paninis. I’ve also put a lot of things in the eggs before it’s cooked to make it more like an omelette.

Something really outside the box that I’ve tried is using Portobello mushrooms as the vessel to hold all of my ingredients. I made Portobello Turkey Pepperoni Pizzas and Portobello Lasagna Cups. Both turned out to be incredibly delicious, and are now on my go-to list of quick meals to make.

You can try out my recipes below:


Portobello Lasagna Cups (serves 3)

Ingredients

6 portobello mushrooms
1 cup frozen spinach, cooked and drained
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
4 tbsp reduced fat parmesan cheese
oregano and basil to taste
1 clove of garlic, minced
12 tbsp marinara sauce
6 tbsp part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

1) Gut all of the mushrooms and chop the “guts” into small pieces. Throw the pieces into a bowl.

2) Mix ricotta, parmesan, spinach, oregano, basil, and garlic into the bowl with the mushroom.

3) Fill each mushroom with the ricotta mixture, 1-2 tbsp of sauce, and top with mozzarella.

4) Carefully place one mushroom at a time in the bottom portion of the machine and close. 

5) After about 1-2 minutes, take the mushroom out using a spatula.

Repeat all steps with the other mushrooms.

You’ll need to keep a close eye on these, or it will totally flatten out and your ingredients will seep out the sides! If you have extra filling, you can use it for a “lasagna pizza” like I did. I used a frozen cauliflower crust and used the same recipe as the one below.


Individual Portobello Turkey Pepperoni Pizza

 Portobello Turkey Pepperoni Pizza

Portobello Turkey Pepperoni Pizza

Ingredients

2 portobello mushrooms
4 tbsp marinara sauce
5 slices turkey pepperoni
2 tbsp part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
Fresh basil (optional)

Directions

1) Gut the mushrooms by taking them off the stem and carefully scooping out the inside (I saved my “mushroom guts” from the lasagna recipe above).

2) Fill the mushroom with 2 tbsp of sauce and 1 tbsp of cheese.

3) Cut the pepperoni slices into fourths and put some of those on top of the cheese.

4) Carefully place the mushroom in the bottom of the machine and close it (this takes very little time to cook so keep an eye on it!)

5) Remove after 1-2 minutes, using a spatula.

Same as with the pizza, if you leave it for more than the suggested time, it completely flattens out and your mushroom turns into pretty much nothing. If you want it to hold its shape, make sure you keep a very close eye on it and don’t overcook it!


Individual Eggo Waffle Sandwich

Ingredients

2 frozen Eggo waffles (any variety)— DO NOT thaw waffles
1 egg
1 slice American cheese
2 small turkey sausage patties or 1 large patty
spray oil

Directions

1) Heat the sausage patties in the microwave until they are warm. They do not need to be hot since you will be putting them in the sandwich maker. Cut them to fit into the circular shape of the machine.

2) Place one frozen waffle on the bottom, then the sausages, followed by the cheese. Make sure nothing is sticking out or over the ring. If you stack too high, the machine won’t close right and it won’t work.

3) Put the next ring layer down on top of the cheese layer and spray this ring with spray oil, then crack an egg into the ring and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

4) Put the other waffle directly on top of the uncooked egg and close the machine. 

5) After about 3-5 minutes, check to see if the egg is done, then slide the egg ring out to let the top part fall onto the bottom of the sandwich. Carefully open the machine and slide your breakfast sandwich out.

 

The options are really endless, and you can really get creative with this. I think you can probably even put a veggie burger where the egg goes if you microwave it a little first. I’m always looking for new ideas for my breakfast sandwich maker, so please share your recipes and ideas with me!

What ingredients do you put in your breakfast sandwich?
Share your comments at the bottom of the page.

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