Chicken eggs, primarily. Eggs are probably the easiest protein to add to a quick meal, anytime of the day, but certainly for breakfast. They have survived seasons of being bad mouthed for their cholesterol and for harboring salmonella and are presently in pretty good standing.
The marvelous thing about an egg is the balanced pairing of a protein and a fat along with other nutrients in a shell designed to take pressure fairly well. This thin layer of calcium allows the collection, cleaning and transport of eggs, not to mention being pushed out of, sat upon and walked over by the chicken. Packaging genius!
I love that eggs go from raw to safely cooked in practically no time at all. Almost any way you want to apply the heat works well. But there is something to avoid in cooking eggs, that is high heat. Egg protein, which is the clear part that turns white, is denatured by high heat and becomes plasticized.. Don’t walk away from the stove when your eggs are cooking because there are only a few seconds between runny/disgusting and hard like rubber.
I don’t know why people think brown eggs are healthier since brown is only the color of the shell, and we don’t eat that, right? However, anyone who has ever raised chickens knows that chickens who have a happy life running around eating greens and catching bugs have eggs that look markedly different on the inside. Nutritionally there will be a difference. To see exactly how much difference diet can make in the amounts of saturated fat, cholesterol, and vitamins in an egg, you can visit the website Egglands Best and look under health benefits.
Just so we’re clear on terms, cage free is a step better than eggs with no other delineation, but it still allows for large scale chicken houses where crowded conditions necessitate giving antibiotics. Organic will mean that there are no additives of this kind and usually friendlier living conditions for the birds. And there is a lot to be said for having your own small flock, letting them roam free in your garden (great insect control, btw) and gathering your own eggs. Many urban communities do allow backyard chickens, roosters prohibited for obvious reasons, however, we are not all so blessed.
I was able to raise chickens when we lived on a farm. Sometimes a hen would lay a whole clutch of eggs in some out of the way place. There might be a dozen by the time I found them and they would still be okay to eat, but if you don’t know where your eggs are coming from refrigeration is best. Eggs will be considered “old” after three weeks but still may be safe to eat past that point. Older eggs are easier to peel when hard boiled while fresh eggs will be more difficult. Many people say that adding a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice, or a tablespoon of salt and ½ tablespoon of baking soda to the boiling water helps the peel come off easier.
My latest egg cooking experiment was to use my muffin tin, an egg still in the shell in each cup, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. The result was like a boiled egg but the husband pointed out the not-so-efficient use of energy. The best method of hard cooking in the shell is to place in pan with water to cover by an inch, bring to a boil over high heat, turn off the heat and let sit for 15-20 minutes and then cool quickly in ice water.
You can also poach eggs (for a somewhat different but good taste experience), scramble them, fry them, or use them in a variety of recipes – the information on them would fill a book. I don’t want to overwhelm you, just sayin’… Just eat them.