I don’t like chaos, I don’t like hectic mornings, and I don’t like cold cereal . One of these things doesn’t fit with the others…
I’m a firm believer that kids need a healthy, balanced breakfast in their bellies before they hop on the school bus. Unfortunately, mornings at our house can be crazy, so mommy at the stove flipping eggs is not a reality. The good news is that I have a first grader whom I trust with the microwave! Once a month I spend one to two hours whipping up batches of breakfasts that, literally, salvage the morning from madness. I’ll share my favorite recipes and how-to’s with you so that your kids won’t have to rely on eating pop tarts at the bus stop (although we all know they really would like to.)
If you occasionally make a family favorite, just think of making an enormous batch. My kids love French toast, so I take a loaf of bread, use a pizza cutter to cut each slice into thirds, dunk them into my favorite French toast batter, and then bake them in the oven on cookie sheets. Once they are cooked and cool, I stick the cookie sheets into the freezer to “flash freeze” them for about 20 minutes. Then I just put them into a freezer bag for easy morning access. Just pop a couple into the microwave for 20 seconds and serve with some fruit a juice for a balanced meal (extra points if you use a multigrain bread!)
Another family favorite is homemade pop tarts. I roll out refrigerated pie crust, cut it into even squares, then put some pie filling, applesauce, jelly, or pureed fruit on each square and fold them in half and seal them. After they are baked for 20 minutes in the oven, and cooled, I do the same “flash freeze” method for a great quick breakfast. My older daughter can stick these in the microwave for about 40 seconds (beware of hot filling), and breakfast is served!
Get your kids involved
My girls also love oatmeal on a chilly morning, and while it doesn’t take long to make, the clean up can be a pain (I admit I have a pan of crusty oatmeal in my sink right now). Instead I love to make a 12-serving batch of Oat Bran Cereal or steel cut oats, and once it’s cooked, add honey or any other sweetener you use. Then I divide the oatmeal into a muffin or a cupcake pan and let my kids ‘decorate’ their oatmeal. Cranberries, granola, chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds, and even mini chocolate chips are great toppings. When they are finished I, again, flash freeze the oatmeal cups. After 20 minutes in the freezer, I pop the frozen cups out into a gallon freezer bag and they are ready to be warmed for about a minute for a quick breakfast.
For a real breakfast treat at our house, we take a package of sausage links, two tubes of crescent rolls, and six eggs to make breakfast rolls. Cook the sausage and scramble the eggs, and then assemble some of each onto a crescent roll triangle. Bake them for 12 minutes at 375 degrees and then flash freeze them (if they last that long). My kids usually eat 2 of these and warm them for just under a minute. This recipe is great for little hands to like to help stir and assemble.
Keep It Simple
School morning breakfasts don’t have to be complicated or elaborate. I just like them to have a carbohydrate, some meat, and fruit. You can make large batches of pancakes and flash freeze them, bake several loaves of zucchini or banana bread and freeze it in small slices, or even bake an egg casserole and freeze it in individual sections. Every few weeks I also cook several pounds of bacon and sausage so my family can just grab a few to go with their breakfast. If worse comes to worse, you can always crack and egg into a mug, give it a quick stir with a fork, cover it with a napkin and stick it in the microwave for 40 seconds. But, with a little advance planning, a great breakfast can be ready for your family with a touch of a button.
What are your favorite breakfast recipes to get your family out the door?