Good morning! What’s for breakfast at your house today? Oh, you have no idea what to serve for breakfast?! No, no, no, that won’t do! Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it’s the meal that you have been waiting for (literally all night long).
If you have no idea what’s for breakfast, or if cereal is your usual answer, then we need to talk. Cereal is great, but it isn’t super nutritious or filling, and children need a good and satisfying meal to start their day. Let me be your breakfast coach and cheer you all the way to the breakfast hall of fame!
First of all, the formula is: breakfast = protein + grain + fruit.
Yes, it’s that easy, and you will be a master in a few minutes. Just remember one thing — your freezer is your friend. Many breakfasts in my house are pulled from the freezer and popped in the oven. I make biscuits, banana bread, or waffles from scratch, and then package them to place in the freezer. You can bake or reheat them in the oven or toaster for a quick grain. Toast, brioche, strudel, and scones are also great for breakfast. Just add a protein of your choice and a glass of juice, and all is well!
Savory or Sweet?
If your appetite leans towards breakfast in a bowl, your options include muesli with plain yogurt, granola with milk or yogurt, baked oatmeal (try this baked peanut butter oatmeal . . . yum!), stove-top oatmeal, Malt-O-Meal, Cream of Wheat, and grits — either buttered and sweetened with cinnamon and sugar, or made savory with cheese, bacon bits, and garlic salt. You can apply the same savory-or-sweet rule to rice in the morning. My favorite preparation of this grain is breakfast fried rice, which can also be made savory or sweet. If you use leftover rice from last night’s dinner, it’s easy to throw together.
For savory fried rice, add some bacon bits and a handful of chopped onion to a bit of melted butter, and sauté until the onions are soft. Add your cooked rice (cold from the fridge is fine), a splash of soy sauce, pepper, and garlic powder. Then heat through. You can also make space in the center of the pan and toss an egg in there — giving it a quick, hard scramble, and mixing it with the rest of the rice. Breakfast rice fried with bacon (or sausage), onion, and cheese works just as well.
For sweet fried rice, sauté the cooked rice in a bit of butter, add some brown sugar and canned coconut milk, and cook for a few minutes. Then toss in some sunflower seeds and raisins, heat through, and serve. You can use the same cooking method for an easy stove-top rice pudding by using a fat spoonful of brown sugar, a splash of milk, cinnamon, and butter.
Try another savory option: sautéed hash browns topped with cheese and a sprinkle of green onions. (Bacon or chopped ham can be added for you hearty meat eaters.) Make pigs in a blanket with canned croissant roll dough and cocktail sausages — or use finely chopped ham and cheese. Little people adore these!
If you mix up some homemade biscuits, you can freeze them (uncooked) to bake later. We make two kinds of biscuits for the mornings: plain or bacon and cheddar. We just put them (frozen) onto the baking sheet and add an extra five or 10 minutes to the recipe baking time. If you make a batch of waffles on the weekend, freeze some of those and pop those in the toaster in the morning.
When I put something else — like biscuits or strudel — in the oven to bake in the mornings, I toss frozen sausages onto a small baking pan and let them cook at the same time. You can make your own sausage patties or buy pre-made ones to save even more time.
Croissants can be bought, split, and put in the freezer ahead of time. Warm them in the oven to give them a fresh flavor. Fill them with a fried egg, cheese, and sausage, ham, or bacon, and your breakfast is done! You could also eat them simply with butter and jam like the French do.
Eggs are a big part of our breakfasts because we can prepare them in so many ways. Scramble them and serve with toast, jam, and juice. Personally, we eat that combo at least once a week. Serve them in breakfast sandwiches or breakfast tacos and burritos, use them for a frittata or quiche, or whip up another all-time favorite — the volcano pancake (also called a Dutch baby pancake) — in 10 minutes or less. You can also boil them, split them in half, and sprinkle a bit of seasoned salt on them. Use eggs as your morning protein when you don’t have another meat lying around.
Now look at all of the above ideas . . . and we didn’t even touch a box of cereal! Breakfast doesn’t have to be hard, but having a plan and some backup food items in the freezer (and in the pantry), can help make your breakfast easy, fast, and healthy!