Eggs are great because not only are they versatile; they’re also a good source of protein with a fairly low price tag.

Most of the time I’m not a huge meat eater − it isn’t because I’m adverse to eating meat, it has more to do with the cost. Buying meat is just plain expensive. I’m a 23-year-old who has just completed her first year of living on her own; anything that is expensive has long since been cut from my day-to-day budget. There are, of course, exceptions to that rule, and I have no intention of filling this column entirely with penny-pinching, low-cost recipes. I’m willing to splurge on things like salmon for the sake of putting out a good product, but in my day-to-day life I eat a lot of tuna fish, pasta and eggs.

Eggs are great because not only are they versatile; they’re also a good source of protein with a fairly low price tag. Even when buying organic eggs, which I would always encourage, a carton of 12 eggs costs roughly $3.50, meaning that each egg costs about 30 cents. When you consider all that can be done with eggs I would venture to say that the price is well worth the product. The other benefit to eggs is that they don’t spoil all that easily and they cook in a snap.

Eggs are great for breakfast, but they can also hold their own at the dinner table. I’m a big fan of quiche, an egg pie filled with almost anything and topped with cheese. Quiche can be made with or without crust. Anyone who is trying to cut out gluten can simply omit the crust. I have used the exact same mixture in both ways and it has turned out well.

The breakfast strata is something that would be great for brunch. It’s a recipe that is easy to throw together first thing on a Saturday.  It’s the kind of meal that’s nice to enjoy while you sit on the couch with a big cup of coffee and newspaper. It’s classic lazy weekend food.

Egg in a Hole is a traditional English dish. It’s also called Toad in a Hole or egg in a basket. My mom used to make these for my brother and I all the time when we were little. I’ve been eating them as long as I can remember but it took me about 20 years to figure out that the little toast circle that results from cutting out the hole in the bread is supposed to be used to sop up the runny egg yolk. Learn from my mistakes and make use of the toast.

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Egg in a Hole

1 egg

1 slice of bread

1 tablespoon of butter

Using a biscuit cutter or drinking glass cut out a circle from the center of the bread. In a pan over medium heat melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, lay the piece of bread down and crack the egg into the hole. If you don’t like runny yolk break up the yolk slightly at this point. If you want a runny yolk leave it in tact. Place the extra circle of bread left from cutting out the hole in the pan. Once the egg white has turned opaque flip the Egg in a Hole over. Flip the toast circle. Cook the Egg in a Hole for another minute or two and then remove it from the pan. Use the toast circle to absorb the last bits of butter in the pan and then serve it alongside the Egg in a Hole. Serves one.

Spinach, Onion and Parmesan Quiche
1 recipe of your favorite pie crust or one store-bought crust
5 eggs
3/4 cup cream
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 onion, diced
4 ounces of fresh spinach
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 extra parmesan for topping

Preheat oven to 350. Roll out the prepared pie crust and place it in a 9-inch pie pan, crimp the edges and poke holes in the crust with a fork. Bake the pie shell for 15 minutes. In the meantime, heat some butter in a skillet and sauté the onion until soft, add the spinach and sauté until wilted. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the veggies to cool. Whisk the eggs, milk, cream, salt and pepper. Stir in the veggies and the parmesan. Once the crust has pre-baked remove it from the oven, pour in the filling and top with extra 1/4 cup of parmesan. Return the quiche to the oven for 35 minutes or until it doesn't jiggle when shaken. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

Veggie Strata

8 eggs

4 ounce can of evaporated milk

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup of parmesan cheese

4 ounces of fresh spinach

1 small zucchini, chopped

1/2 of an onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

4 ounces of mushrooms, sliced

6 slices of sandwich bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-by-13 baking dish. Cut the bread into squares and place it in the bottom of the baking dish. Sautee the vegetables with a little olive oil until the zucchini begins to soften. Season the vegetables to taste with salt and pepper. Whisk the eggs, milk, butter and cheese. Season to taste. Spread the vegetables out over the bread and pour the egg mixture over top.

Bake for 30 minutes. Serves 6.