What to do with Thanksgiving Leftovers: How To Make Breakfast Egg "Volcanoes"
Using Your Leftover Potatoes, Stuffing and Cranberry Sauce the Morning After
Thanksgiving is months away, but we happen to have the fixins for one of my husband's favorite breakfasts. Actually, he hasn't made this recipe for years, not since his bachelor days before I appeared on the scene, when he came home with a load of leftovers after Thanksgiving dinner at his sister's house. So, this is my first time making and tasting this reportedly yummy-delicious day-after dish.
So, come on into our kitchen and join us as we create Jeremy's special concoction. You can have a Day-After-Thanksgiving (or any other day) leftovers breakfast volcano of your own to try when we're done.
Photo credits: All photos on this page were taken by me, Deb Kingsbury, while Jer did the cooking.
Thanksgiving Leftovers a la Breakfast Volcanoes
This is a very simple, flexible recipe, with no exact amounts or cooking times. Can't beat that!
Prep Time: Sorta give or take 5 minutes
Total Time: More or less 25 minutes
- (Roughly) Equal parts leftover mashed potatoes and stuffing
- Spray cooking oil
- Eggs (one per volcano)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix your leftover potatoes (lumpy or smooth, makes no difference) and stuffing (whatever kind you happen to have) in a mixing bowl.
- Form potato/stuffing balls, the size of which are up to you as long as they're large enough to make a "crater" big enough to hold an egg. Form said crater.
- Place your volcanoes on an oiled or non-stick skillet on low heat, long enough to lightly brown the bottoms to create a solid foundation.
- Spray a cookie sheet with cooking oil and transfer your volcanoes onto it.
- Crack an egg into each crater.
- Bake until desired "doneness," depending on how runny or solid you want your eggs.
- Oila! You can dig in or, if you wish, make your volcanoes erupt with cranberry sauce. (See recipe for homemade cranberry sauce below.)
Our Recipe Did Not Come from a Cookbook
No, see, Jer was watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade one year (reclining in his blue La-Z-Boy that I REALLY hope goes away when we move to our new house next year), and the hosts were babbling, filling time between floats and all that, when celebrity chef Rachel Ray came on, which caught Jer's attention. (He thinks she's cute.)
Anyway, Rachel brought a plate of her leftover hash brown mounds with egg for the hosts to try, and they "mm"ed and "ooh"ed, so Jer grabbed a napkin and pen and jotted down the idea. He later added his own style to the leftovers recipe (the molten lava a/k/a cranberry sauce) and his own name -- volcanoes -- and there you have it.
Step by Step
The making of a leftovers breakfast volcano with Chef Jer and his crew
Assembling the Ingredients - A three-step process....
First you open the fridge and pull out the Tupperware or Seran wrap-covered dishes of leftovers. For this recipe, you can leave the leftover green bean casserole behind.
Next, set said leftovers, along with the eggs and cooking spray, on the counter.
Close fridge behind you.
Now, if you need to take a break after all that, to snack on a few bites of cold leftover potatoes or stuffing in order to even out the bowls, feel free.
The Mixing Of.... (Clean hands required)
You certainly can use a mixing spoon if you wish, but we usually go with the fingers in our house. (Jer forgot who he was for a moment and started out with a spoon, but that spoon was quickly set aside for bare hands.)
Scoop equal portions -- or not -- potatoes and stuffing into a bowl, or simply dump one into the other's Tupperware dish, and mix, mix, mix. If you find mushing up potatoes and stuffing relaxing, feel free to continue as long as you desire.
Jer gets a little overzealous when he mushes and mixes, so some of it ended up on the floor. But that's one of many reasons we have four-legged assistants.
Cleanup on aisle 7!
Forming the Volcanoes - A delicate process....
Spray some cooking oil onto your cookie sheet -- or you can do this right in your oiled skillet -- and plop your leftover tater and stuffing balls on there. If you wish to get artistic, you can form those balls into more volcano-ish cone shapes. Jer gets impatient when he's hungry, so he just went with round lumps despite my urging for more realistic mountains. Our loyal assistant, Jazzy, agreed with me.
Oo, Wait, Here's an Idea!
I wonder if Jer would go for this.....
We could squish the tater-stuffing balls into these volcano molds, make a deep crater, drop an egg in, and bake, then dump them out.
Okay, yes, I realize the egg would then be on the BOTTOM of the volcano, but that might be kinda neat. Then you could drizzle the cranberry sauce over the top, and it would look very volcano-ish. Whaddya think?
This non-stick mold is oven-safe up to 446 degrees Fahrenheit.
Back to Jer's Method of Breakfast Volcano Making.... - Now, with your fingers or a utensil, create a crater in the center of each mound.
Browning the Bottoms of Your Volcanoes - Lightly fry 'em up in a pan
Jer isn't exactly sure if Rachel Ray did this step with her leftovers lumps, but through careful experimentation he's concluded that this recipe turns out best if the volcanoes are lightly browned on the bottom, not only for the taste factor but because the skillet step forms a more cohesive formation, so says he. You may end up concluding that this step isn't necessary for you, and that's perfectly fine.
The Cracking of the Eggs - Don't break those yolks!
Carefully crack an egg into the crater of each volcano. In our household, broken yolks are simply unacceptable, but that's for you to decide. If you can live with less than perfection, hey, by all means allow broken yolks.
The Baking Of.... - How cooked do you want your eggs?
That's what you need to decide. Do you want your eggs runny with liquid yolks? Or do you want them solid through and through, like hard-boiled eggs but not?
We ended up baking both of our breakfast volcanoes for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. By that time, the whites were cooked and ... well, white, but the yolks were still runny delicious. We were kind of surprised at how much longer it took to bake the eggs than it does to fry them up in a pan.
Will Your Volcanoes Erupt?
The cranberry sauce lava flow -- it's up to you.
The Making of the Lava Flow -- Homemade Cranberry Sauce - She's gonna blow!
You can always use store-bought cranberry sauce if you prefer, or no sauce at all if you'd rather that your volcanoes haven't erupted yet. But if you want to make your own "lava flow," here's the recipe we use for homemade cranberry sauce. (We didn't actually have some left over this time, so we made up a fresh batch.)
- 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar
- 1 cup of water
- 4 cups of fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
- Wash and sort through the cranberries to remove any yuckies.
- Bring water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
- Add the cranberries and bring back to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the cranberries burst.
- Add the cinnamon and stir.
- Remove from heat and let the sauce cool at room temperature.
- Chill in the fridge.
Cranberry Sauce Ingredients - With some options....
While our recipe uses water, many others use orange juice or half water, half juice instead. Others also include orange or lemon zest in the mix.
And you can use all white sugar or half-and-half like we do. I suppose you could even use all brown sugar.
The cinnamon in our recipe is optional, and you can also add about a quarter teaspoon of nutmeg and/or allspice.
Blueberries or currants can add sweetness to the sauce. Just add them to the saucepan with the cranberries. Some folks like to add raisins.
Boil and Dissolve - Bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Add Cranberries, Boil Again, and Simmer
After the sugar has been dissolved, add your cranberries and bring the water back to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer until the cranberries burst, which takes about 8 or 10 minutes. I usually let mine simmer even longer, though.
Let the sauce cool at room temperature, then put it in the fridge to chill and "gel" before serving.
Add Your (Chilled) Lava and Serve
As a first-time (Not-the-)Day-After-Thanksgiving Leftovers Breakfast Volcano eater, my conclusion is....
Yum! That was very tasty, I must say. Mine was gone before Jer was halfway through his.
But ... uh-oh.
I just realized we were supposed to save one of these for you. Oops!
Well, I guess you'll just have to make them yourself. Between you and me, though ... I won't tell if you just can't wait to have the leftovers on hand and instead make the taters and stuffing fresh for your volcanoes.
More Leftover Recipe Ideas: Not just for Thanksgiving
- Recipes for Everyday Leftovers
A bunch of recipes from Allrecipes.com. There are a bunch, so you can browse by ingredient, view the top 20, the daily recipes, or the newest additions.