Sugary, artificially flavored and colored breakfast cereals really aren’t the best way to start the day, no matter what their manufacturers claim. But who has time to cook a wholesome breakfast every morning? You do, if you use these five recipes to create make-ahead, freezable breakfasts in bulk. Just defrost them in the microwave or toaster oven and give your child a wholesome start to the day.
Once a month, I spend a lazy Saturday morning in the kitchen cooking for my freezer while my husband and son go do guy things. In just two or three hours, I get to save time on dinner preparation and get a jump-start on breakfasts. Thanks to these recipes, making breakfast in the morning involves little more than pouring milk, setting out a bowl of fresh fruit, and pushing a few buttons on the microwave or toaster oven.
Oatmeal: Not only is oatmeal considered a super food, it’s a super way to fill your child’s rumbling stomach. But don’t mess around with those individual “just add hot water” packets; they’re usually packed with added sugar, preservatives and artificial flavors. Why not make a big pot of old-fashioned (not instant) or steel-cut oats, then freeze single servings in a muffin tin for busy breakfasts throughout the week? Add raisins or whatever dried fruit your family likes before freezing, then pop the frozen servings into a bag. To serve, just microwave a disc of oatmeal in a bowl on the defrost setting and serve with milk, brown sugar and more dried fruit.
French Toast Sticks: More nutritious than their store-bought counterparts when made with whole wheat, French toast sticks are very easy to prepare. Stir together 3 eggs, 3/4 cup skim milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Slice whole wheat bread into sticks 1 1/2 inch thick and dip them in the egg mixture. Melt butter in a skillet and cook the French toast sticks until brown on both sides. Arrange on a cookie sheet so they’re not touching, freeze until solid, and transfer to a plastic bag. To serve, heat them in the oven or toaster oven, sprinkle with powdered sugar if you like, and drizzle on some maple syrup. (See my recipe for homemade maple syrup for a low-cost alternative to the store-bought stuff.)
Pigs in a Pancake Blanket: Wrap fully cooked linked sausages in a pancake and arrange on a cookie sheet so they’re not touching. Freeze then transfer to a plastic bag. To serve, just microwave until warm and add a side of syrup for dipping.
Not Mickey D’s McMuffins: Preheat the oven to 325F and grease a muffin tin. Crack an egg into each indentation, and pierce the yolk with a fork. Bake until eggs are cooked through (5-10 minutes). Meanwhile, split and toast English muffins. When the eggs are done, turn them onto a rack to cool. Place one egg, a slice of Canadian bacon or ham and a slice of American cheese on a muffin half, and top with the other half. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and freeze until solid, then store in a bag. Defrost these in the fridge overnight for best results. To serve, remove plastic wrap, roll in a paper towel and microwave until heated through.
Breakfast burritos: (These are my son’s favorites.) Brown pork sausage meat until fully cooked. Scramble and cook 10-12 eggs. Stir sausage into eggs. Shred 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese. Wrap 12 whole wheat tortillas in a paper towel and microwave until warm. To assemble burrito, lay a tortilla on the counter and fill with 1/4 cup sausage-egg mixture. Sprinkle on cheese. Wrap into a burrito, and wrap this in plastic wrap. Freeze. Defrost the night before serving for best texture and either heat in the microwave or toaster oven to serve.
As a bonus, all of these breakfast besides the oatmeal can be eaten on the go. Yes, sometimes we run late and have to do that. Don’t you?