Simple Ways to Cook Eggs
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Simple Ways to Cook Eggs
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Easy Egg Dishes

Soft or hard, fried or baked, poached or scrambled, eggs are perfect for serving at breakfast or any time of the day. They're one of the least expensive and most versatile sources of animal protein, with a dozen sometimes priced as low as $1 on sale. A few good tips to keep in mind when cooking eggs: Cast-iron cookware can react chemically with egg whites, turning eggs a harmless — but unappetizing — green. If possible, use nonstick cookware instead. The best way to test an egg for freshness is to put it in the bottom of a bowl of water. Fresh eggs rest on their sides, while questionable eggs float. Egg products are featured in a wide variety of sophisticated fare, but even an inexperienced cook can master the simple recipes here with ease.

Related: 20 Ways to Jazz Up Your Oatmeal

Hard-Boiled Eggs
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Hard-Boiled Eggs Recipe

Hard-boiled eggs are portable and convenient for eating on their own and serve as the chief ingredient in other tasty breakfast, lunch, or dinner recipes, including salads and sandwiches. They also take little time, and are easy and simple to make. For easy-to-peel shells, boil eggs that have been sitting in the refrigerator for a few days. Place the raw eggs at the bottom of a pot just big enough to accommodate them (with too much room to move around, the shells may crack before the whites have solidified). Add cool water to a level 1 or 2 inches above the eggs. Put the pot on a cold burner, then turn on the stove and bring the water to a full, rolling boil. Turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the water for 15 minutes. Remove the hard-boiled eggs from the water and submerge in a bowl of ice water. Hard-boiled eggs can keep in the refrigerator for several days and still be good to eat when you need a protein boost, or decide to make egg salad.

Related: Where to Find a Good, Cheap Breakfast in Every State

Soft-Boiled Eggs
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Soft-Boiled Eggs Recipe

Soft-boiled eggs are also easy to make, and take less time than hard-boiled eggs, but need to be served in eggcups. If eggcups are unavailable, make do with a ramekin or teacup filled with dry rice or other small grains. To soft-boil eggs, follow the directions for hard-boiled eggs but let the eggs sit in the water for only 2 to 3 minutes. Although soft-boiled eggs can be eaten on their own, they're more popular as a sort of dipping sauce for toast — always a fun, tasty addition to brunch. To eat, place the soft-boiled egg with the smaller end facing upward. Gently crack the shell near the top, and either scoop out the runny insides with a spoon or dip toast directly inside the soft, runny parts of the egg.

Poached Eggs
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Poached Eggs Recipe

The simplest use for poached eggs is to serve them on toast, although they're also an ingredient in recipes such as eggs Benedict. Start by filling a saucepan with water 2 inches deep. Add one-half teaspoon vinegar and bring to a simmer — not a full boil. Meanwhile, break an egg (be sure it's fresh) into a small cup or bowl. When the water is simmering, stir it gently to create a slow whirlpool in the center of the pan. Slide the egg into the water (don't let it touch the bottom). The egg should cook for about 2 minutes for a runny yolk, and 4 minutes for a firm yolk. Remove the poached egg with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel to absorb excess water. For perfect results, serve poached eggs immediately, over toast.

Deviled or Stuffed Eggs
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Deviled Eggs Recipe

"Deviled" eggs, sometimes called "stuffed" eggs, are simply hard-boiled eggs with the yolks removed, flavored, and returned to the white. Deviled eggs are a bite-sized, tasty party classic that never goes out of style. They can also be perfect to enjoy with lunch or as an appetizer before dinner. When making deviled eggs, start by cutting hard-boiled eggs in half lengthwise and scooping out the yolks. In a bowl, combine the yolks and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar, one-half teaspoon table salt, one-half teaspoon freshly ground pepper, and 1-and-a-half teaspoons yellow or spicy brown mustard. Mash together until smooth. Spoon the mixture back inside the yolk-less egg whites and sprinkle with paprika. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to three days. These deviled eggs are delicious but can can be modified in an almost endless number of ways to cater to different tastes.

Fried Eggs
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Fried Eggs Recipe

For novice cooks, the hardest part of frying an egg is probably flipping it without breaking the yolk. Start by melting 1 tablespoon of butter or cooking oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. If using cooking spray instead, heat the pan until a drop of water sizzles instantly and evaporates on contact, then spray. Break the egg, pour it carefully into the pan so the white and the yellow don't intermix, and immediately turn the heat to medium-low. Once the white has set completely, flip it over carefully. Cook for another 1 to 3 minutes, until the yolk reaches the desired firmness and is less runny. Serve fried eggs immediately with toast to mop up any leftover yolk. Fried eggs are also popular as a sandwich ingredient or a topping for other breakfast items, such as corned beef hash, or even pasta for dinner.

Sunny-Side-Up Eggs
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Sunny-Side-Up Eggs Recipe

A slightly different yet delicious classic, sunny-side-up eggs are essentially fried eggs not flipped during cooking and take less time to cook. The method to cook a perfect sunny-side-up egg: Add 1 tablespoon of butter or cooking oil to a nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted and sizzling, break the egg (careful not to break the yolk and have it leak into the white), pour it into the pan, and turn the heat immediately to medium-low. The transparent white of the raw egg will solidify and whiten as the egg cooks. One school of thought says to leave the egg alone until the runny white has set completely, then remove from the pan and eat. If preferred, spoon some of the oil or melted butter in the pan over the egg white (but not the yolk) while the egg is cooking to add flavor. Serve with bacon or sausage or alone.

Scrambled Eggs
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Scrambled Eggs Recipe

According to expert tips, a quick and easy way to make scrambled eggs, a breakfast staple, is to cook them slowly over medium-low heat, which gives them a fluffy texture. To scramble two eggs, crack them into a bowl with 2 tablespoons of milk or cream and use a whisk to beat together. (The dairy makes the eggs creamier and less bland, but it is optional.) Pour the contents of the bowl into a hot, buttered pan. Let the eggs sit for half a minute to a minute, until the bottom starts to set. Add pepper and salt to taste, along with any additional flavoring such as herbs or shredded sharp cheese. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to move the eggs gently around the pan. After a minute or two, the eggs should start forming "curds" in the pan. When the eggs still look wet but there's no more liquid in the pan, turn off the heat. Like other fried eggs, scrambled eggs can be served with bacon or even in sandwiches for a perfect meal.

Omelet
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Omelet Recipe

Many novice cooks are intimidated by omelets, but a failed omelet can always be turned into scrambled eggs for a tasty meal. To make a good omelet, in a mixing bowl, whisk together two eggs, 2 tablespoons of milk or cream, and one-quarter teaspoon each of salt and pepper until blended. Beat well for a fluffier omelet. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a nonstick pan over medium heat until sizzling. Pour in the egg scramble and let sit for a minute or two, until the bottom starts to set. Use a spatula to spread the eggs gently and evenly around the pan. When the top starts to set, pour one-third cup of fillings such as shredded cheese, diced ham or bacon, avocado, spinach, and other chopped vegetables over half of the omelet. Flip the empty half over the fillings and serve immediately.

Tip: If you're looking to enjoy something new, you can easily turn omelet ingredients into a frittata by baking instead of frying. A cast-iron skillet is recommended for taking a frittata from the stove top to the oven for finishing.

Baked Eggs Recipe
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Baked Eggs Recipe

The easiest and most elegant way to serve baked eggs is in small ramekins, although a muffin tin works too. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. For each serving, break two eggs and empty them into a greased ramekin (or muffin tin). Carefully spoon 1 tablespoon milk or cream over the eggs, making sure to cover them evenly, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the eggs are set and baked to perfection. Enjoy!

Quiche
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Quiche Recipe

Don't let the fancy French name fool you; a quiche is simply a delicious egg and cheese pie, which is easy to make with crispy store-bought pie crust. While preheating the oven to 425 degrees, beat together four eggs and 1 cup milk or cream in a mixing bowl. Be sure to beat them well, or else the quiche will have a dense texture. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon onion powder, and one-half teaspoon cayenne pepper, and beat again. Sprinkle 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese over the bottom of a 9-inch pie crust and pour the contents of the bowl carefully over it. (Although a different type of shredded cheese can be used to cook a quiche, a good, sharp cheese is preferable; mild cheeses are more likely to be overwhelmed by the other ingredients.) Put the pie on the center rack of the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then, turn the oven down to 300 degrees and bake for another 35 minutes until crispy. After baking, let the baked quiche sit an additional 10 minutes before eating. This dish is perfect with salad for lunch or dinner, not just breakfast, and can also be a tasty meal the next day when heated in the microwave.

French Toast
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French Toast

There are many ways to make French toast, but the basic idea is to mix eight eggs and one-third cup of milk in a bowl — spices such as nutmeg are optional — and soak slices of bread in it that can be heated until golden brown on a lightly greased, large nonstick skillet over high heat. Don't forget to preheat, and to let the bread stand a bit before going on the skillet for two to three minutes per side. Any bread will work, including slightly stale bread, and you can get creative with mix-ins and toppings.

Toad-in-the-Hole
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Toad-in-the-Hole

It's really just another way to have toast with your eggs, but people love it: Cut a hole in bread, toast each side in a lightly oiled skillet, break eggs into each hole, cover the pan to let it sit for roughly five minutes so the eggs set. Salt and pepper to taste afterward. 

Microwave Eggs
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Microwave Scrambles in Cups or Bowls

If you coat a mug or ramekin with cooking spray and drop in egg with whatever items you'd enjoy in an omelet or on a dish — frozen shredded hash browns, cheese, tomato or salsa, spinach — you have an efficient meal ready to zap in the microwave. Beat slightly to blend ingredients; microwave on high for 30 seconds; stir; and give the dish another 30 seconds of microwaving, give or take, so the egg sets. Experiment with ingredients and toppings.