When we weren’t eating cold cereal, weekday breakfasts as a kid involved one of three prepared dishes: oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, or a pan-fried slice of bread with an egg cracked in the center. In our house, these egg-in-toast numbers were named One-Eyed-Jacks, though I’ve since heard them called Winkies, Eggs-in-A-Hole, and Bullseyes. It’s a rather efficient method for getting a filling breakfast into hungry tummies that demands little of the cook.

This recipe takes that basic preparation and subs in one of the all-time-favorite kid foods, the bagel, for toast. I’ve upped the nutritional ante by including fresh spinach that gets quickly wilted in the same pan you cook the egg and topping the whole lot with a sprinkling of grated cheese. The spinach and cheese are optional; even without them, Egg in a Bagel Hole remains a nourishing meal, particularly if you can get a whole grain bagel into the mix.

The key, really, is to slice the bagel into three rounds instead of two, which allows for a crispy outside and even balance of egg to bread. Cutting bagels in thirds can be useful for other preparations as well, something I wrote about a while back here.

The cooking time varies based on how you like your eggs. I find these are particularly pleasing with a soft yolk. If you’ re concerned about serving your family eggs that aren’t cooked through, especially if you have little ones or preganant people under your roof, consider using pasteurized eggs such as Safest Choice.  These eggs are gently heated just enough to eliminate unsavory bacteria while still keeping the shell intact.

Opting to cook the egg firm has its upside too, since it can be wrapped in a napkin and pressed into small hands as your kids head out the door for the day. A meal on the go.

Need more meal inspiration? Check out these Easy Weekday Breakfasts. 

Easy Egg-in-a-Bagel Breakfast

Yield: 1 serving

Easy Egg-in-a-Bagel Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 1 bagel, preferably whole grain
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Handful fresh spinach leaves (optional)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons grated cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. Use a bread knife to slice the bagel into three rounds (as opposed to the customary two). Save 2 of the slices for another use.
  2. Take a round cookie cutter that is about 2 inches in diamer (you can also use another shape such as a heart or star) set it over the bagel hole, and cut down, creating a bigger hole.
  3. Set a frying pan over medium-high heat and melt the butter. Put the bagel in the butter. Crack the egg in the center of the bagel so the yolk settles inside the hole. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.. Cook for a few minutes until the bagel browns lightly and the white begins to set. Use a spatula to flip the bagel over. Season with salt and pepper on the second side and continue to cook until the yolk is done to your liking. If you are using spinach, add it to the pan and saute just until wilted.
  4. Once the egg is cooked, use a spatula to transfer it to a plate. Top with the wilted spinach and/or grated cheese if desired.