Make Breakfast an Event, Not a Chore
By Deborah Salomon
Obviously, breakfast is the most -important meal of the day, or else toaster waffles/pancakes/pastries, precooked bacon, biscuit combos, cereals galore and now frozen oatmeal would not survive.
Children need the nourishment most. Children also get into sugar-coated ruts. And parents experience a time crunch, perceived or real.
Ever wonder why the parent who buys microwavable breakfasts wants perked coffee? With the right mindset in place, solutions abound:
The Oat Meal: Kids who like oatmeal cookies should love the real thing. A pot of quick-cooking plain oatmeal is ready in a minute more than the sweetened, -artificially flavored stuff in little packets. Let kids flavor their own from an oatmeal condiment bar - small containers filled with raisins and dried berries, peanut -butter, jam, mini-marshmallows and mini-chocolate chips, even oatmeal cookie chunks.
Or, instead of water, cook oatmeal in apple cider and top with a spoonful of canned apple pie filling. Oatmeal can be made ahead, refrigerated, spooned into a bowl with milk and heated in the microwave.
Make-Aheads: French toast shouldn't come from a toaster. Twice a week, stir together six eggs and about 1 cup of milk in a shallow rectangular container with tight-fitting lid. Dip eight or more slices of firm white bread into mixture and layer in the container. Refrigerate. Spray a square nonstick griddle with cooking spray or rub with butter, brown 4-6 slices at once, in less than five minutes - so much better than the cardboardy frozen kind.
Note: Instead of syrup, try grated cheese on French toast.
Once you're griddle-savvy, keep a jar of pancake batter made from a mix in the fridge, also. Shake, pour, flip. Easy.
Eggs Otherwise: Egg McQuickies in five minutes: Lightly grease an 8-inch nonstick skillet and heat to medium. Whisk four or five eggs with salt, pepper and a splash of milk. Pour into skillet, cover and cook until eggs are set.
While eggs are cooking, toast four English muffins. Cut omelet into quarters. Sprinkle with bacon bits from a jar. Tuck each quarter into an English muffin.
Think Inside the Bun: Lower-fat chicken and turkey sausages come flavored or mild, fit perfectly into a hot dog bun, make a tasty breakfast alongside fresh fruit. Scrambled eggs get a new look on whole-grain burger buns.
A.M. Sandwiches: Grilled cheese, grilled ham and cheese, grilled cheese and -tomato, peanut butter and banana, -strawberries and cream cheese, egg salad.
What grown-up hasn't eaten cold pizza for breakfast? Try simple English muffin (or bagel) oven pizzas: Toast muffins, spread with a spoonful of spaghetti sauce, top with a round slice of provolone, run under broiler.
Quirkies: Kids can be adventurous if approached young enough. Keep a bowl of mac and cheese made with interesting macaroni shapes, milk, Velveeta. Tempt a lazy eater with chicken noodle or other chunky soups. Smile and offer canned ravioli, a rib-sticking frosty-morn -breakfast. Rich rice pudding studded with raisins ... Divine.
Shakes: Ready in seconds from the blender, enriched with EggBeaters or other pasteurized egg product, ripe banana, berries. A spoonful of frozen orange juice concentrate, vanilla yogurt and milk - yummy. For a thick -butterscotch shake, buzz plain yogurt, milk, a splash of pasteurized eggs and -several teaspoons of butterscotch instant pudding powder.
Anytime Fruit: Nothing wrong with canned peaches or pears, applesauce, grapes, pineapple for breakfast. Surprise the little ones with half a ripe kiwi served in an egg cup with a demi-tasse spoon to scoop out the good stuff. Accompany their breakfast sandwich with a fruit smoothie from the blender and send the kids off nourished and happy.
Contact Deborah Salomon at -firstname.lastname@example.org.
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