Today being Pancake (aka Shrove) Tuesday, we’ll be having pancakes and breakfast sausages for supper. It’s a tradition that we celebrated when I was living at home with my parents and something that I have continued with my family.
For those who may not be familiar with this tradition, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday which begins the lenten period for Christians. Lent is a time of reflection and of abstinence; of giving up certain indulgences and foods in the weeks leading up to Easter. The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday therefore became the day to use up those foods that you would be required to forego during lent. Pancakes were a way to use up things like butter and eggs which were forbidden during lent.
Whether your family will be observing Lent or not, serving what traditionally would be considered breakfast (or lunch items) at supper doesn’t need to be just a one day or religious observance. It is also a great way to stretch your food budget.
Some breakfast/lunch foods that I’ve served for supper include:
Quiche – I always try to keep a few pie shells in the freezer that I make up with any pie dough leftover from making turkey or pumpkin pies. Then when I want a quick, inexpensive meal, I pull out one or two of the pie shells (depending how many people I’m feeding).
No two quiche will be exactly the same because I use whatever I have on hand. Sometimes it’s just onions, celery and grated cheese over which I pour an egg/milk mixture seasoned with salt and pepper. If I have chopped spinach in the freezer I may thaw and drain that and add it to the quiche. Or if I’ve got a bit of chopped ham in the freezer, that might get added. Bake at 350F for 30 to 40 minutes, until egg mixture is set.
Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup (or mushroom soup or whatever soup I have on hand)
Sausages and biscuits with gravy – Since moving to the South, we’ve added this to our menu, but I don’t think I’ve ever served it for breakfast. It’s just become one of those quick, easy suppers on nights when I really don’t feel like spending a lot of time cooking.
A batch of biscuits takes maybe five minutes to mix together and another 10 to 12 minutes to bake. Fry up some sausage patties and top with pan or canned gravy, add a side of veggies and you’ve got supper on the table in under 20 minutes.
And of course, pancakes. As I mentioned earlier, we’re having them with sausages tonight, but I’ve also served them topped with poached or fried eggs. Or sometimes I just set everyone’s favourite toppings on the table along with the plate stacked with pancakes and let everyone decide for themselves what they want.
So the next time you’re stuck for supper ideas, think breakfast!