Melissa Elsmo

Breakfast, like a good sandwich, always tastes better when someone else makes it for you and thanks to 24-hour diners, a plate full of perfectly prepared pancakes, eggs, and sausage have evolved to taste even better at the dinner hour than they do in the morning. Nothing makes my family squeal with delight more than discovering breakfast for dinner is on the menu at our house!  

Comforting fare like blueberry pancakes, pecan studded waffles, or a fluffy pile of scrambled eggs are always a special evening treat. After all, week day breakfast menus often deteriorate to include nothing more than an on the go granola bar, a toaster pastry slipped from its silver sleeve, or dreaded drive through biscuit. It is impossible to avoid a hectic morning rush and taking time to savor breakfast fare over a more leisurely dinner hour makes perfect sense to me

.I adore tradition, but I am constantly looking for ways to bring a creative dinner worthy twist to my standard breakfast repertoire. Elevating the iconic combination of ‘cluck and grunt” into a hearty home-made entrée salad fits the brinner bill perfectly. Proper diner lingo accurately suggests my most recent breakfast for dinner recipe is nothing more than a take on eggs and bacon.

While inspired by breakfast basics, this family friendly recipe gives a subtle nod to more complex hash and Florentine dishes as well.The roasted squash and onions included in my bacon and egg salad evoke images of various vegetable hash combinations, but the streamlined ingredients and subtle smoked paprika notes give a hearty depth to this indulgent breakfast for dinner option.

Florentine famous spinach and a sunny side up egg make the perfect base for a batch of bacon filled salad fixin’s. My home-made fixin’s, featuring pepitas, Parmesan cheese, and toasty bits, taste a little like savory granola and lend a much needed crunch to an otherwise harmonious dish. 

Bring some creative balance to your breakfast for dinner plates and look for this salad to make your family cluck and grunt with glee!

PRO TIP: Cooking Bacon is a Breeze!

Nobody likes when grease goes flying and nothing creates a kitchen mess like frying up bacon on the stove top. Thankfully, cooking bacon in the oven is a simple solution to cut down on mess without compromising the crispy texture bacon is prized for. To cook bacon in the oven, place the raw slices on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. Do not preheat the oven. Place the pan into the cold oven and turn the temperature to 375 degrees. Cook the bacon for 25-30 minutes (checking frequently during the last ten minutes of cooking time) until bacon is golden brown and crisp.  Drain on paper towels and serve.  This is the perfect way to cook brunch worthy bacon for a crowd, too!

OPE RECIPE: Mel’s Breakfast for Dinner Salad

For the Salad:

  • 1 small butternut squash or sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1” cubes  (about 3 Cups)
  • ½ Large red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 Cups of Fresh Spinach
  • 2 sliced scallions
  • Homemade salad fixin’s (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the diced squash and chopped onion with the salt, pepper, smoked paprika and olive oil. Turn into a shallow baking dish and roast in the preheated oven, turning the squash occasionally, until the vegetables are tender (about 30 minutes).  

Drain the oil from the roasted squash and reserve both the cooking oil and the veggies. Add enough olive oil to the reserved oil to make ¼ Cup. Add the cider vinegar and honey and whisk briskly to make a salad dressing. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Cook the eggs, sunny side up in a sprayed non-stick skillet over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes, until whites are set and yolks are thickened and warmed through, but still runny.  

Dress the spinach lightly with the salad dressing and divide among four salad bowls (you’ll have some leftover dressing). Top the dressed spinach with the roasted squash mixture and top each salad with a sunny side up egg.  Garnish with the salad fixin’s and scallions.  Serve at once.

Homemade Salad Fixin’s

These salad fixin’s beat everyday croutons hands down! My mom has been making a version of this crunchy garnish for years to dress up salads for dinner parties.Try them in my breakfast for dinner salad or using them as an enhancement for your favorite salad ingredients.

  • 1 Cup of seasoned croutons, crushed with a rolling pin
  • ¼ Cup pepitas
  • 4 Slices of bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
  • 3 Tablespoons Parmesan grated
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2-3 pats of butter

Pile first five ingredients onto a piece of aluminum foil, dot with the butter and seal tightly. Place the packet on a small baking sheet and cook for 10-25 minutes at 375 degrees until cheese and butter melt, the croutons are lightly toasted, and the mixture is fragrant. Use the mixture as a garnish for salads

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