Another school year has begun.
Getting the kids out of bed, dressed and on the school bus can be quite a struggle. With working parents, everyone is trying to get out the door. Getting breakfast on the table only increases the stress on mornings when there isn’t even time to eat a bowl of cereal.
That’s why many parents are looking for easy yet nourishing breakfast ideas that can be made ahead and eaten on the go if needed.
There are lots of ideas! Breakfast oatmeal muffins can be full of fiber and fruit. Mini-quiches can be baked ahead and taken out of the freezer the night before or popped in the microwave. Breakfast burritos are made by filling tortillas with scrambled eggs, salsa, bacon and cheese. Roll the burritos by folding over the top of the tortilla, folding in the sides, then rolling to the end. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. To serve, remove plastic wrap, wrap the burrito in a paper towel, then microwave until hot (one or two minutes).
Smoothies are a modern meals-in-a-glass, relying on technology like blenders and freezers for their thick, shake-like consistency. They are an easy way to increase fruit intake and boost fiber consumption, and can replace junk food snacks.
Creating your own frosty, fruity refreshers is relatively easy and cheap — and often a healthier option. Begin with a half-cup or so of liquid (fruit juice, yogurt, milk or water). Then add the fruit, and blend. For thickness, use frozen fruit or add crushed ice. Using chunks of frozen fruit instead of ice cubes keeps the flavor strong and undiluted. A banana helps to sweeten and thicken the smoothie. Flavorings like fresh mint can add zip. Yogurt, cottage cheese, powdered milk or TVP increases the protein and creates a creamy texture.
The combinations of fruit, dairy and flavorings are endless — just use your imagination. Use seasonal fruit; it makes a difference in flavor. Right now, peaches, plums, pears, grapes and apples are in season. To keep the flavor strong and fresh, freeze the fruit first and use in place of ice cubes.
Basic Fruit Smoothie
1 cup Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla)
2 cups fruit of your choice (frozen if possible) — peaches or plums are my favorite
1/2 cup crushed ice
Place yogurt, fruit and chunks of banana in a blender. Blend until frothy. Add ice and blend for a few more seconds.
Pour into glasses. Garnish with chopped fruit, if desired.
Makes 2 large or 4 small servings
A frittata is an open-faced, round Italian egg dish often filled with seasonal veggies.
These delicious morsels are frittatas baked in muffin cups. They’re loaded with healthy veggies and hearty eggs. Store them in the fridge or the freezer for later use.
10 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups steamed, chopped greens like kale or spinach
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper or tomato
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion or scallion
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Steam greens and set aside to cool.
Line a dozen muffin cups with paper liners, or spray with cooking spray.
In large mixing bowl, beat eggs with milk, salt, and pepper.
Stir in greens, diced peppers and diced onion. Stir in half of the cheese.
Fill muffin cups nearly full with mixture, making sure to scoop up some of the veggies. Sprinkle remaining cheese evenly over tops.
Bake in preheated oven about 20 minutes, until eggs are just barely set.
Remove from oven and let cool in the pan about 5 minutes before removing muffins.
Serve. To store, place on a wire rack for about 30 minutes, then place in an air-tight container and refrigerate for later use, or freeze. Place frozen muffins in refrigerator overnight to use the next day.
Options: Add diced cooked ham, browned bacon or browned sausage for even more protein.
Use your imagination; add up to 3 cups of mix-ins.
Use other cheeses, like Swiss, parmesan or American.
Healthy Oatmeal Fruit Muffins
1 Tablespoon cooking oil
1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 small or 1 large unpeeled apples
1/4 cup raisins
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In bowl, beat together egg, oil, and syrup or honey. Stir in applesauce and yogurt, then oats. In a smaller bowl, mix together flours, salt, baking soda and cinnamon; fold into the batter. Core and dice the apples, and fold into the batter along with the nuts and raisins.
Butter the muffin pans well, or line with paper muffin liners. Fill 2 / 3 full. Bake for about 20 minutes at 375, till the tops are golden brown.
Option: Substitute apples with another fruit or berry or even a carrot.
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Author of the award-winning cookbook Garden Gourmet: Fresh & Fabulous Meals from your Garden, CSA or Farmers’ Market, Yvona Fast lives in Lake Clear and has two passions: writing and cooking. She can be found at www.yvonafast.com and reached at [email protected] or on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter: @yvonawrites.