Nutritionists tell us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. With breakfast, we are replenishing our bodies from the night before and charging them for the day ahead. How we will perform during the day is affected by what we eat in the morning. Yet, breakfast tends to be rushed and routine–more so than any other meal. Here are dozens of ideas to help you build better breakfasts.
Eggs don’t have to be boring
Wander through an egg cookbook for a skillion ideas on what you can cook with eggs. Years ago, we got a little egg cookbook from the Iowa Egg Council and have worn it to tatters. I notice that they have more cookbooks available.
Here are some of the egg dishes that we enjoy. (They’re more techniques than recipes but you’ll get the idea.)
o Scrambled eggs in all their variations. Try Spanish scrambled eggs with leftover rice, salsa, and sautéed onions, peppers, and chilies. Or the old standby–cheddar scrambled eggs. Try adding a can of Mexi-corn to scrambled eggs. We like Chinese vegetables added to our scrambled eggs.o Omelets in their variations. Think about the omelets on the menu at your favorite restaurant. Whatever you can do with scrambled eggs, you can do with an omelet. An omelet is a great way to showcase your favorite vegetables.
o Quiches. Think of quiches as savory pies instead of sweet pies. Check out a few recipes for ideas and then experiment with the ingredients that you like. Many quiches are loaded with cheese but they don’t have to be. Load them with your favorite veggies instead.
Here’s how to make a quiche practical for a busy morning: Make the crust and line the pie pan the night before or purchase a pie shell from the grocer. Mix the filling the night before and stick it in the refrigerator. When you get up, load the pie shell with the filling and set your quiche to bake. By the time the kids are ready for school, the quiche will be ready to come from the oven.
o French toast. French toast can be quick and easy. For variety, try different breads. We love hearty breads like multi-grain bread for French toast and fruit-filled bread like raisin bread. French toast is a great way to use up day old bread. Or try stuffed French toast. Consider this a technique and not a recipe. Load your French toast with different fruits or your favorite preserves. Try mixing nuts, raisins, or preserves into the cream cheese filling.
o Breakfast burritos. Anything that you can do with scrambled eggs, you can wrap in a tortilla. We like veggies and cheddar loaded with salsa. Try nuts, cream cheese and pineapple. The Iowa Egg Council has a recipe for Hawaiian Enchiladas you might want to try.
Consider breads for breakfast
Biscuits, scones, muffins, English muffins, bagels, pancakes, toast, and quick breads all make great breakfast fodder.
The argument is that breads take too long and are too much trouble for breakfast. They don’t have to be. Consider these alternatives:
o Toast. Try cheese or thinly sliced deli meat on toast as a quick and easy breakfast. Spread a little cream cheese on your toast and top it with a slice of fruit or jam. We like peanut butter or peanut butter and cream cheese on toast. Or try peanut butter and raisins or peanut butter and sliced bananas on toast.o Pancakes. Pancakes are quick and easy especially if you are using a mix. The grocery store mixes tend to be made almost entirely of flour but you can bolster the mix by adding dry milk or buttermilk powder. Or you can make your own mix.
o Muffins. You don’t have to invest a lot of morning time in muffins. Consider refrigerator muffins. Mix up a batch of refrigerator muffins on Sunday evening, keep the batter in the refrigerator, and you’ll have fresh muffins for most of the week. Simply load up the muffin tins when you get up and let them bake while you herd your family through their morning routines.
Don’t forget the bread machine
What could be better than fresh bread for breakfast? Most bread machines have timers. You can program these machines to turn out perfect bread just in time for breakfast. Consider some of the fruit and nut breads for breakfast. Fresh Cranberry Nut Bread with whipped cream cheese butter or California Raisin Bread with strawberry butter sounds pretty scrumptious.
Eat what you like
Remember our college days when we thought pizza was a staple and cold pizza was the breakfast of champions? I’m not ready to go back to those days but a salad or a sandwich sounds passable in the morning. The point is, if you like it, try it for breakfast. Who said we have to classify foods into breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
Take a second look at hot cereal
Hot cereal is quick and easy and doesn’t have to be boring. Try spiking your hot cereal with dried fruit, nuts, or coconut. (Dried pineapple, coconut, and raisins is a combination we love.) You can even make it in the microwave. Mix the goodies, the cereal, and a touch of salt in a bowl. Add water and nuke it for about three minutes. Presto–instant hot cereal. (With microwaving cereal so easy, we don’t understand how the cereal conglomerates manage to sell any of those little packets.)
Get the kids involved
Democracy doesn’t always work but letting the kids vote on breakfast foods is a good way to get support. If they have a say in those breakfast burritos, they are less likely to revolt the next morning. Try having a breakfast council on Sunday evening and planning your meals for the week.
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