Special Weekend Breakfasts That Are Surprisingly Easy
A memorable weekend breakfast doesn’t have to be hard or time-consuming. In fact, sleeping in is totally allowed.
For many, whether it’s a doughnut dunked in a Styrofoam coffee cup, an energy bar washed down with an energy drink, or a spoonful of Nutella to help the smoothie go down, weekday breakfast foods need to be ingested easily and fast, with as little dental involvement as necessary. Of the three daily squares, it’s not just the most important, but the one most vulnerable to boredom, routine, and repetition.
So it’s easy to understand in the Before Times that we would sacrifice hours of our precious weekends waiting in line for cheffy restaurant brunches or AYCE breakfast buffets. For obvious reasons, those aren’t as common or accessible these days, but that doesn’t mean a special weekend breakfast or brunch isn’t easily DIY, even when your highest priority is a carb-loaded hangover remedy indulgent enough to ease you back into an afternoon nap.
I’ve worked from home for decades, so I’ve always used the breakfast ritual to avoid sitting down, and instead seize the weekday (In this year of pandemic, many of you now know exactly what I’m talking about.).
My routine involves waking early and cleaning the mess inflicted on the kitchen from last night’s dinner. Then a long and leisurely pour-over coffee, followed by the assembly of a horseradish and Maggi-seasoning-spiked tomato juice mocktail, a gluten-free Virgin Mary that serves as an empty vessel to accommodate whatever edible remnants are crowding the refrigerator: say, crumbled feta or diced mozzarella, chopped chives or chorizo, or whatever pickled or roasted veggies are chilling out waiting to be rediscovered. A last spoonful of pesto swirled into the glass is the chef’s kiss to this easy recipe.
It’s a simple, delicious, and even healthy breakfast idea that never gets old. But there are fundamental principles at work that can be applied to the special breakfasts you wait all week for.
First you need to reset assumptions about what weekend breakfast can be. Eggs? Sure. Hash browns? Of course. No one wants to deny your pancakes, waffles, English muffins, scones, croissants, or cinnamon rolls. But when you imagine that anything can be breakfast — that cold leftover pizza, that lonely box of pasta, that last cup of rice in the cooker or the bag of quick-cooking red lentils in the back of the cupboard — the range of possibilities extends to the rising sun.
Repeat after me: Anything can be breakfast.
Next, if you’re thinking about what you want for Sunday morning between bites of Thursday’s limp Starbuck’s breakfast sandwich, you have time to prep ahead for it. Mixing waffle batter before bedtime is, in fact, a proven sleep aid. Assembling an oven-ready, maple syrup-kissed breakfast casserole with dinner’s remaining half baguette is thrifty and strategic. Thinking ahead on Friday and picking up a bucket of fried chicken or a bag of glazed doughnuts means that Saturday morning’s special brunch will be extra-level, and will come together with plenty of time to sink into the couch for cartoons.
That’s the easy but special breakfast of champions.
Jump ahead to:
Hail Marys: Easy recipes for Bloody Marys
A salad in a glass is the respectable vehicle for a few a.m. ounces of vodka at brunch (or better, tequila). Go ahead, you’ve earned it. But even if that’s not how you unwind, alcohol-free versions can still scratch the itch.
Spiked or boozeless, a bloody buffet with a dizzying selection of garnishes, seasonings, and sauces is easy to assemble, and a healthy breakfast spread for a lazy, daylong, guiltless graze.
With just a few pulses, this Virgin Mary is summoned from your blender like a genie from a lamp, and would work to make your weekday breakfasts special, too.
Remember your mantra, “Anything can be breakfast”? Its corollary, “Anything can be a Bloody Mary,” is also true. Top Chef host Gail Simmons proves it by spiking this version of the Israeli tomato sauce hangover-killer shakshuka with Worcestershire, horseradish, green olives, and hot sauce.
Eggy breakfasts that transcend the Benedict
Be eggscellent! Eggs, whether fried, scrambled, poached, or whisked into quiche, omelets, or frittatas, are the common denominator of the savory side of the breakfast equation, though they often play a steady supporting role on the sweeter side, too.
Sunnyside-up cackleberries are the star of the show here, shimmering brightly on top of this spicy, tomato sauce-based Mexican classic that will make good use of taco or burrito night’s leftover tortillas.
Speaking of Mexican breakfast recipes, a tired morning cliché is redeemed when it assumes the form of a deep dish of ham and cheese tortillas bundling a cozy scrambled egg bed under a simple, warm hollandaise blanket.
Think of a frittata as just a yellow yolky canvas upon which you can create a gluten-free veggie masterpiece after a stroll through the weekend farmer’s market — or just a quick recon in your crisper. A sprinkle of chives says you really care.
Tomato sauce pasta leftovers like puttanesca work well in this frittata disruptor, but lighter ones like cacio e pepe make for a crispy contrast to the scrambled eggs. But oh, sweet mercy — make it with leftover spaghetti carbonara and you’ve unlocked a portal to pleasure that will haunt your dreams.
Pancakes and other easy battered breakfast ideas
Rest and hydration are all you need on the weekend. The same is true of your pancake and waffle batter. Mix it up the night before and it’s ready to go when you roll out of your cocoon. They’ll rise higher and fluffier, and so will you.
A well-rested batter is especially important to the structural integrity of this jiggly tower of Instagram-ready pancake goodness with a buttermilk tang.
A wise person once said “Anything can be breakfast.” (Or as Elvis used to say, “ACBB.”) And that means yes, you can have cake in your pancakes, and eat it, too. By that logic, you’re free to drop a handful of chocolate chips in the mix, as well.
Maple syrup is the sweet river that runs through the landscape of special breakfast. This easy recipe suggests an infusion of pork fat for a savory riverbed, though butter also works.
Slowing down and perfecting the breakfast sandwich brunch
The weekend is your time to train for breakfast sandwich supremacy. Jacking up breakfast sandwiches with store-bought shortcuts is the extreme sport we can all dominate.
Using a split glazed donut from the bakery to swaddle the sweet and savory triplet of jam, ham, and Swiss cheese was actually punishable by law in less enlightened times.
Morning types are always game for an early brunch fry up. But if that’s not you, you could also sub crispy takeout chicken and frozen waffles for this handheld manifestation of a classic southern duo.
Some hash browns follow the rules. Others break them. These spuds from the frozen aisle, pressed crispy in a hot waffle iron with veggies and grated cheese, are stone cold gangsters.
The logic is unassailable: Is a taco a breakfast sandwich? A taco is certainly breakfast. Therefore, if anything is breakfast, a taco is indisputably a breakfast sandwich.
Weekend breakfast doesn’t have to be grueling: Easy porridge recipes
Whether you call it porridge, oatmeal, or congee, with advance planning it needn’t be a punishment.
If you have leftover rice in your cooker, you have congee in the morning. And if you have brown sugar, chocolate, and sweetened condensed milk, you have this warm embrace in a bowl.
Typically this meaty, heavy, spicy breakfast stew requires a long slow cook. With help from a pressure cooker, this easy recipe for a carb-loaded, veggie version is ready in no time.
Bright red raspberries and nut butter transform this oatmeal into PB&J in a bowl. Sub hazelnuts, pecans, or any other nut you please.
Breakfast casseroles and other dinners for breakfast
The art of an effortless, special brunch achieves its highest expression in the form of a pre-prepped, oven-ready breakfast casserole, one that can assume a thousand forms dependent on only your most aching desires.
Eggs usually play bass in the casserole. That’s true here in a cheesy-sweet dish (thanks again, maple syrup) that utterly transforms and redeems that frosty box of frozen waffles in the back of the freezer.
Don’t pretend you’ve never eaten stuffing the morning after Thanksgiving. Yes, even stuffing can be breakfast if you call it a pudding. It’s really just French toast in a breakfast casserole.
Emeril knows that the quest for special weekend breakfast is a spiritual one. Once you embrace its fundamental permissiveness, you achieve true freedom. Just as “Anything can be breakfast,” so too, “Anything can be bread pudding.” If you can’t find Portuguese linguica, Spanish chorizo is your next best friend.
Chrissy Teigen also embraces the infinite possibilities of brunch. Stale bagels — stale everything bagels — return to life in a baked cream cheese sausage custard.
Lasagna is a casserole. Lasagna is breakfast. Lasagna, oozing with mozzarella, cheddar, and ricotta, is a breakfast casserole. Fight me.
Usually cold, leftover pizza is an acceptable breakfast idea, but a freshly baked crust topped with bacon, eggs, mozzarella, and chives is easily within your grasp when you make the dough the night before.
If breakfast is your thing…
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