Breakfast for Dinner Goes Pro

Breakfast for dinner is a staple for many busy families. Scrambled eggs, pancakes, even oatmeal can save the day when time is tight. Is this quick fix a cop out? We don’t think so! And neither do the local celebrity chefs and food reviewers we reached out to for some exciting fresh ideas for this blog. Indeed we’ve got some new recipes to share with you, such as Chicken Oatmeal and Cornmeal Souffle. Enjoy!


First stop: We reached out to Chef Nico Schuermans, owner of Chambar & Café Medina, one of the best breakfast spots in Vancouver. He tells us his only breakfast for dinner choice is Charcuterie & Cheese, which includes a selection of three types of cured meats, a pate, as well as mustard, mixed olives, cornichons, a selection of BC or French cheeses, seasonal fruit, berry compote, gourmet crackers or freshly baked sliced baguette. He generally has these on hand for breakfast, pre-meal entertaining, and a light after work meal.

At home, you can make a Charcuterie & Cheese with all or any of the above. We sometimes make this ourselves, with a side of salad.


Next, we reached out to Mia Stainsby, the Food Writer and Restaurant Critic at the Vancouver Sun. She tells us her favourite breakfast for dinner is Cormeal Souffle, explaining, “I'm a tightwad with my cooking time and always look for ways to get more bang per minute. Making several batches of things and squirreling extras away in the freezer is second nature and that includes souffles. They're not as touchy as is commonly thought. I've frozen this cornmeal souffle (unbaked) in single ramekins ready for the oven. They can go either way—brunch or dinner. I just dress them up differently for each occasion.”

For breakfast, she pierces a little hole through the baked tops and drizzles in maple syrup or sometimes places sliced pears at the bottom. For dinner, she serves it with grilled bread topped with sauteed mushroom or roasted garlicky tomatoes, sometimes with a drizzle of pesto. While this definitely sounds more gourmet than the common pancake, Mia assures us it’s simple to make. Here is her recipe:

Cornmeal souffle

3 tablespoons butter

¼ cup yellow cornmeal

1 ¼ cups milk

¼ cup Monterey Jack or other mild cheese

4 eggs, separated

Preheat oven to 350° F. In a medium saucepan, melt butter stir in cornmeal. Add milk and cheese. Stir over medium heat until cheese is melted and sauce thickens. Remove from heat and stir in egg yolks. In separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold egg whites into cornmeal mixture. Pour into greased four individual ramekins. Set in pan of water. Bake 45 minutes or until puffed and golden. (Makes 4 servings; double recipe for extras.)


Next we caught up with Karen Barnaby, one of Vancouver’s top Executive Chefs who's worked at many top restaurants including The Fish House in Stanley Park. A little less conventional, Karen tells us that she usually eats soup for breakfast, or savory oatmeal. Savoury Oatmeal?

Karen explains, “I make my own soup with lots of vegetables and meat. Beet borscht with beef and lots of fresh dill is a favourite,  and so is turkey or chicken with kale. But I will eat almost any soup, from lamb with lentil, to curry.  A good portion of the world’s population eats soup, or something similar for breakfast, so it’s really not that unusual. A friend of mine came back from Hong Kong and was raving about savory oatmeal with chicken, or mushrooms, or beef. She made me a bowl and I loved it! I keep cooked chicken around, then I tried it with canned tuna which was even more convenient and equally delicious.”

Here is Karen’s recipe for Chicken Oatmeal. This makes a thin oatmeal that's more like soup, but you can make a thicker one by adding more oats.

Chicken Oatmeal

3/4 cup (180 mL) water

3/4 cup (180 mL) milk

1/3 cup (80 mL) quick cooking rolled oats

2 Tablespoons (30 mL) finely diced celery (optional)

1 cup (250 mL) cooked shredded chicken, or a can of drained tuna

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

sliced green onion (optional)

Place the water, milk and celery in a small pot and bring to a boil. Stir in the oats and turn down to a simmer. Cook for 4-5 minutes until done. Stir in the chicken and season to taste. Simmer until heated through. Garnish with the green onion if desired. Makes 1 serving.


And finally, who doesn’t love Pancakes for Dinner? We found this awesome post from the NY times, describing some hearty, even savoury pancakes that would make fantastic dinner ideas. Enjoy! And don’t forget to share your favourite breakfast for dinner ideas and recipes with us here

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