AEB Summer Intern Takes on Five-Day Egg Challenge

Disclaimer: All opinions expressed are my own and are not representative of the entire American Egg Board. 

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Samantha, and I am this summer’s industry affairs and engagement intern for the American Egg Board. I am an incoming junior at Northwestern University, and have been interning at AEB since the beginning of June. The week of July 19th, my boss left for vacation and I was left to my own devices. So, I decided to take on an egg challenge, as any egg intern would.

I spent the week utilizing eggs in different ways for each of my lunch meals, based on recipes from AEB’s website. For most of the meals, I cooked eggs in a way that I had never tried before. I also timed how long it took to make each dish from start to finish, going at my normal, slow cooking speed.

The goal of this challenge was to test the versatility of eggs and to learn more about how eggs can fit into a college lifestyle, one that is often defined by limited time and money.

In my unusually sparse kitchen, I already had milk, shredded cheddar, salt, pepper, salad dressing and butter on hand. I bought a carton of eggs, a loaf of sourdough bread, a container of sliced ham, a bag of salad and a tomato.

I have never fried an egg before. With the fried eggs as my base, I wanted to make a fried egg sandwich. I fried two eggs and used two slices of sourdough bread, two slices of ham, salt, pepper and some shredded cheddar. I would recommend using sliced cheese instead of shredded, but I was working with what I had.

I really enjoyed this meal! It was simple yet filling. However, it was a little messy to eat because the yolks ran out of the sandwich a bit. I made the eggs over-easy to try and prevent them from being too runny, but I can be more careful in the future.

In total, it took 10 minutes and 20 seconds to make this recipe. The cleanup was also easy and quick, with only one pan, knife, spatula, fork and plate. I made this recipe on Monday, and it was a great way to start the week and the challenge. I would make a sandwich like this again, and in the future, I want to explore how I can make fried egg sandwiches with different fillings to make them more versatile.

For context, I have made omelets before, but never in the microwave. I also have made scrambled eggs in the microwave. So, I figured this recipe would combine those two experiences.

The ingredients for the omelet were close to identical to the ingredients I used to make the fried egg sandwich except for using a tomato instead of bread. In hindsight, I could have broken up the recipes so it didn’t feel so repetitive. I used two eggs, salt, pepper, butter, about half a tomato, a bit of shredded cheddar and two slices of ham. For equipment, the recipe called for a pie plate, but I didn’t have that, so I used a shallow bowl instead.

To be honest, this recipe was not my favorite. I burned my finger when I took the omelet out of the microwave, so that was a downside. It also took me 16 minutes and 17 seconds which was surprisingly long, but that was partially because it took me longer than expected to dig out the tomato from my fridge and it took some time to figure out what I should use instead of the pie plate. However, I think with practice this recipe could take about five minutes.

A pro to this recipe is that there wasn’t much time just standing around. While the omelet was in the microwave, I used that time to chop the tomato and the ham. The cleanup was also quick, as I could eat the meal out of the same bowl I cooked it in. Because of the size of the bowl I used and the amount of tomato and ham filling I prepared, I also couldn’t fold over the omelet.

I am willing to try this recipe again to see if I can complete it in much less time. If I can get this recipe done in five minutes, I can see it as a quick lunch for the future.

Originally, I was not planning on making French toast. I have made French toast on multiple occasions and wanted this challenge to be cooking dishes I haven’t made before. But, since the first two meals this week tasted similar, I wanted to make something sweet instead of savory. I also had already bought the two main ingredients (eggs and bread). In total, I used two slices of sourdough bread, butter, two eggs, milk, cinnamon, syrup and an apple.

Because I was only cooking for myself, I improvised on the recipe a little because I was making a much smaller quantity. Even with the improvising, the recipe turned out really well. I am impartial toward breakfast foods and sweet foods, but I think this was the most success I have ever had with French toast. The cooking process was smooth and only took me 12 minutes and 33 seconds. It was also a fairly simple clean-up, with only a pan, spatula, bowl, knife, fork and plate.

Apart from my love for French toast, I am glad I made this recipe as a part of this challenge because it used eggs as a key ingredient in a different way from traditional egg recipes.

After my detour from savory methods of cooking eggs that I had never tried before, I returned to the challenge’s primary goal by hard-boiling eggs. I made a salad and added the eggs on top. The salad was a premixed bag, and I also added French dressing.

I prepped the eggs in the morning so they would have time to cool in the refrigerator before I added them to the salad. I also overestimated how hungry I would be and made four hard-boiled eggs, which was probably two too many.

The Thursday I made the salad was a hot day, so having a cold dish was different and necessary. It was a refreshing salad and a good way of getting some vegetables in.

The downside to this recipe was how long it took – 27 minutes and 13 seconds. This was by far the most time-consuming recipe. In the future, I want to try using the steaming method at this link to speed up the process of peeling the eggs. Peeling the eggs was what took the longest, so trying a different method of doing so should save some time!

For transparency’s sake, I made this recipe on the Monday of the following week. Because of that, I didn’t really get sick of eggs at all during the first week. I bring this up because the poached egg sandwich was almost identical to the fried egg sandwich, down to the runny yolks.

This recipe was straightforward, but comparing it to the fried eggs, I preferred the fried eggs. The fried egg sandwich was quicker and cleaner. I think that just comes down to a general preference for fried eggs over poached eggs. This recipe took 12 minutes and 43 seconds. I could have tried to make the sandwich more different from the fried egg sandwich, but I was trying to keep with the ingredients I bought for the challenge.

In conclusion, this challenge was successful in showing the many ways you can use eggs on a budget. Most of the recipes were also time-efficient and didn’t require an excessive amount of cleanup. Out of all the dishes I made, my favorites were the fried egg sandwich and the French toast.