This Sept. 21, 2015, photo shows baked eggs in sweet pepper sauce in Concord, N.H. The sauce for these baked eggs uses healthy fast foods you can keep in your pantry, such as jarred roasted red peppers and simple marinara sauce. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

This Sept. 21, 2015, photo shows baked eggs in sweet pepper sauce in Concord, N.H. The sauce for these baked eggs uses healthy fast foods you can keep in your pantry, such as jarred roasted red peppers and simple marinara sauce. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Busy nights call for fast food, but no drive-thru needed

  • By MELISSA D'ARABIAN
  • Tuesday, October 13, 2015 4:45pm
  • LifeFood

School, kids, work… It’s always something. Whatever the culprit, we are all busy. And on those crazy-busy days, dinner can sneak up on me, and suddenly I find my whole family ravenous. And the busier and more hectic the day, the more likely we are all craving something satisfying and hearty.

And this, my friends, is the perfect storm for making some regrettable food choices. This is when the pizzas get ordered out of desperation, not true desire. And I like to save the once-in-a-while foods like greasy Chinese takeout or drive-thru burgers for just that: once in a while. In our house, fast food is for cravings, not convenience.

When we need a tasty dinner fast (so a trip to the supermarket is out of the question), I turn to a trusty protein source: the egg. Eggs remain one of the least expensive proteins around. Yes, you can do scrambled eggs for dinner (and we do!), but to bump the egg up a notch and get it squarely out of breakfast-for-dinner territory, try these baked eggs in sweet pepper sauce.

Fill a ramekin with about 1/2 cup of sauce or fillings (from cooked meat to tomatoes to salsa and black beans), add the egg and bake for about 8 minutes. Serve with some nice bread you keep in the freezer for just such a culinary emergency, and your fast food becomes a feast.

The sauce for these baked eggs uses healthy fast foods you can keep in your pantry, such as jarred roasted red peppers and simple marinara sauce (just check the labels to avoid added sugars). You can throw the whole thing together in less time than it took you to read this. Really.

Baked Eggs In Sweet Pepper Sauce

Start to finish: 20 minutes

Servings: 4

1/2 cup chopped jarred roasted red peppers, drained

2 tablespoons capers, chopped if large

1/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 1/4 cups jarred marinara sauce

4 eggs

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Baguette, sliced

Heat the oven to 350 F.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, mix together the red peppers, capers, olives, Italian seasoning and marinara. Heat in the microwave (cover with a paper towel to avoid splattering) on high until warm, about 30 seconds (depending on oven).

Mist four 8-ounce ramekins with cooking spray. Divide the sauce among the ramekins. Use the back of a spoon to make a crater in the sauce at the center of each ramekin. One at a time, crack each egg into a small bowl, then gently transfer it to the crater in each ramekin. Season with salt and pepper, then give a quick mist of cooking spray. Set the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the whites are set, but the yolks are still runny, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve with slices of baguette.

Nutrition information per serving: 240 calories; 80 calories from fat (33 percent of total calories); 9 g fat (0 g saturated; 2 g trans fats); 215 mg cholesterol; 1020 mg sodium; 29 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 12 g protein.

Food Network star Melissa d’Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook, “Supermarket Healthy.” http://www.melissadarabian.net

More in Life

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Let there be lights!

When I stopped in at one of our local stores, I didn’t cringe when I saw all the holiday decorations on display.

Cabbage, potatoes, salmon and an assortment of pantry staples make for a culinary challenge. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Take a culinary pop quiz

Get creative with what’s in your pantry

This undated John E. Thwaites photo, perhaps taken near Seward, shows the S.S. Dora grounded. (Alaska State Library photo collection)
Resilience of the Dora, part 3

Her long career had come to an end at last.

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Sometimes I wonder, who needs who

Dog whispers we are not. Suckers for unconditional love, you bet.

Meredith Harber (courtesy)
Minister’s Message: Don’t let termination dust bring you down

If I’m honest, this time of year is the hardest for me mentally and emotionally.

Pieces hang on display at the Kenai Art Center for the open call show on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘They felt like they could share with us now’

Art center open call offers space for new artists.

The Cosmic Hamlet Entertainment film crew prepares for a new scene to roll on the set of “Bolt from the Blue” at the Kilcher Homestead on Sept. 28. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
‘Bolt from the Blue’ film features Homer

“The Office” star Kate Flannery cast in feature film produced in Homer.

These old-fashioned doughnuts don’t skimp on the fat or sugar. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Memories of old-fashioned doughnuts

My recipe is for old-fashioned doughnuts, and since I make these maybe twice a year, I don’t skimp on the sugar and fat.

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: October is here again

The days are shorter. We are losing nearly six minutes a day. It’s getting colder.

This John E. Thwaites photo shows the S.S. Dora near Sand Point, Alaska. Thwaites sailed as mail clerk on the Dora between at least 1905 and 1912. (Alaska State Library photo collection)
Resilience of the Dora, part 2

The S.S. Dora touched lives on and became part of the history of the Kenai Peninsula and Southcentral Alaska.

Steller Sea Lions can be seen in an enclosure at the Alaska SeaLife Center on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, in Seward, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska SeaLife Center to Alaskans: We’re still here for you

You rallied and kept us alive. Today, we’re writing to say thank you.

A wood-carved whale hangs in the Nikiski Senior Center on Sept. 23, 2021. (Photo courtesy of the Nikiski Senior Center)
Whale of a job

Nikiski Senior Center gets addition to dining room.