One of my long-time friends taught me the value of preparation as a means of prioritizing and saving time. Every weekend she would take one afternoon (or whole day, if needed) and make an entire week’s worth of dinners for her family of five. That way she could consolidate her shopping list to her recipes and make one trip only to the market, buying that night’s as-needed fresh ingredients (greens, fruits, etc.) on her way home from work.
When her kids were old enough, she conscripted their help. A week’s food filled her freezer and mealtime was a matter of heating up.
This plan lends itself perfectly to the most-important meal of the day – breakfast – that is frequently the most difficult to get on the table in the time crunch of work and school departures. So here are three easy and kid-friendly recipes to make ahead, refrigerate or freeze, and deliver in no time at the hurry of morning.
Not a dessert, these flourless treats are healthy, homemade goodness
3 ripe, mashed bananas
1/3 C unsweetened apple sauce
2 C uncooked quick-cooking oats
1/4 C milk (skim is OK)
1/2 C raisins (and/or any other dried fruit you want to add, such as cranberries)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon OR cardamom
1 Tbls sugar or more, to taste
1/4 C chopped nuts (optional, but adds protein)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a bowl really well. Let this mixture stand for at least 5 minutes to let the oats become well hydrated. Heap the dough by teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes and let cool. Makes about 2 dozen. Freezes well. Can be heated to be served warm in oven or microwave (on low).
TIPS: Cookie lends itself to variations. Try using cookies as “bread” in PB&J breakfast or lunch sandwich. Adds protein and sweetness.
Warm a cookie and spread with cream cheese, plain, fruit or vegetable types, for more protein. Substitute canned pumpkin pie filling for the applesauce and add nutmeg and/or cloves to the spices for a completely different taste.
Freshly baked or warmed up, these pies hit the breakfast spot
3/4 lb breakfast sausage OR 1 C diced, cooked ham
1/8 C minced onion
1/8 C minced green or red bell pepper
1 – 2 pkgs prepared pie crust (2 to a pkg)
3 eggs, beaten
3 Tbls milk
1/2 C shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat, combine sausage, onion and green pepper. Cook until sausage is evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside. If using ham, cook onion and pepper until softened, add ham, and cook on low until fully heated.
Roll out one pie dough at a time. Cut out with a round glass or cup in a size that will line the bottom and sides of your muffin cups. Spray muffin cups lightly with vegetable spray. Place cut-out dough pieces loosely into the cups, pressing to fit along sides. Pour sausage or ham mixture into the cups. Mix together the eggs and milk, and divide between the cups. Sprinkle tops with shredded cheese.
Bake 18 to 20 minutes, or until filling is set. Makes 10 pies. Pies freeze well after cooling and reheat in oven or microwave.
Note: Use mini-muffin tins for appetizer-or party hors-d’oeuvres-size pies.
BREAKFAST SAUSAGE LOAF
Very tasty and hearty.
1 lb bulk sausage
1/4 C brown sugar
1 Tbls butter or margarine
4 large eggs
2 Tbls milk
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 (8 oz) package refrigerated crescent rolls
1 C shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and stir in the sausage and brown sugar. Cook and stir until the meat is crumbly, evenly browned, and no longer pink. Drain and discard any excess grease. Transfer sausage to a bowl; wipe the skillet clean.
Melt the butter in the clean skillet over low heat. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and black pepper. Pour the eggs into the skillet. Allow the eggs to cook undisturbed until they begin to set, then gently stir the eggs until scrambled and set but not dry, 5 to 7 minutes.
Roll out the crescent roll dough, and line the bottom and sides of the prepared pan with 3/4 of the dough. Layer the sausage, scrambled eggs, and cheese into the pan, then top with the remaining 1/4 of dough. Pinch the corners and sides of the dough together.
Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Serves 6. Keeps up to a week in refrigerator or can be frozen and reheated in microwave.
TIP: To lower fat content, substitute a low-fat sausage, like turkey sausage, skim milk and light butter or margarine.
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