Breakfast for dinner is a trend with a new name: brinner

The Charlotte ObserverMarch 4, 2014 


Shakshuka is a Middle Eastern breakfast dish of eggs poached in tomato sauce that's substantial enough for dinner.


Maybe it's time for brunch to make way for "brinner."

The "brunch" concept has been around since the 1890s, when British college students came up with the word for having a later Sunday breakfast after Saturday drinking binges.

But brinner is another idea: Eating breakfast foods for dinner because you love them.

It must be a real word. It's in the Urban Dictionary, and it's turning up on the food-trend lists, part of a larger movement toward eating what you want, when you want it: breakfast for dinner, pizza for breakfast, eggs on pizza for dinner.

You can't look around the food-blog world without seeing new uses for waffle irons: stuffing waffles, made with leftover Thanksgiving dressing; pizza waffles, using a waffle iron to reheat pizza slices; French toast waffles; mac-and-cheese waffles. It's enough to make Mrs. Butterworth's head spin.

Lindsay Landis, a Nashville food blogger (Love & Olive Oil) wrote the cookbook Breakfast for Dinner with her husband, Taylor Hackbarth. Landis has fond memories of her childhood, when her father would whip out breakfast for dinner.

"He could barely do a frozen pizza," she says. "But he could do scrambled eggs. Whenever Mom was out of town, that's what he did."

These days, brinner is more practical than brunch. Who really has time to go out for brunch on a busy weekend morning? Add the typical restaurant wait, and you could blow a whole Saturday trying to get a waffle.

Make a waffle yourself on a Tuesday night, and you have a delivery system for maple syrup and bacon, too.

That's part of the idea behind turning breakfast foods into dinner: We love pancakes, waffles, omelets and the like. But actual breakfast — the event between getting up and leaving your house — is not the time to do anything more elaborate than cereal/bowl/milk/skedaddle.

Landis picks savoriness, doing things that might involve eggs but don't necessarily involve maple syrup, such as shakshuka, a Middle Eastern dish of eggs poached in a rich tomato base.

"You've always got eggs" in the refrigerator, she says. "We tried to take it a little beyond that."


This traditional Mideastern breakfast of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce can be a substantial vegetarian dinner. Serve it with pita or crusty bread for sopping up.


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped

2 mild chile peppers, such as Anaheims, seeded and diced

1 hot chile pepper, such as jalapeño, seeded and diced

1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

½ cup vegetable or chicken broth

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 to 8 medium or large eggs

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

Pita bread or crusty bread

Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and chile peppers; cook until onion is softened and just beginning to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juice, broth, cumin, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper. Lower the heat and simmer 20 to 22 minutes, or until thickened. Stir occasionally so it doesn't stick.

Make indentations in the sauce with the back of a spoon and crack an egg into each. Cover and cook 6 to 8 minutes, or until whites are set and yolks are thick but still runny. Sprinkle with the parsley and feta, and serve with warm bread.

Makes 3 to 4 servings.

From Breakfast for Dinner

This recipe is fabulous on pancakes or waffles, on a grilled cheese sandwich, or spooned over runny cheese to serve with crackers.

Bacon jam

1 pound bacon, cut into ½ -inch pieces

1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup cold brewed coffee

½ cup cider vinegar

½ cup orange juice

¼ cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

1⁄8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup bourbon

Heat a large skillet or pot with a lid over medium-high heat. Cook bacon until it starts to brown but is still chewy, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and spread on a plate lined with a paper towel. Drain all but about 2 tablespoons bacon fat.

Reduce heat to medium. Add onions and garlic; cook until onion is softened, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently so garlic doesn't burn. Return bacon to skillet and add coffee, vinegar, orange juice, maple syrup, brown sugar, orange zest, ginger and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 to 45 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a food processor and pulse briefly until finely chopped. Return to pan and cook 15 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. (If it gets too dry and pastelike, add ¼ cup water.)

Add bourbon and simmer 15 to 30 minutes, until thick, syrupy and dark in color. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Refrigerate up to 3 to 4 weeks in an airtight container. Makes bout 2 cups.

From Breakfast for Dinner

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