Monday, September 3, 2012

Recipe: Back to School Breakfast

I spent the first fifteen years of my school career at schools which began their fall classes prior to labor day. But here, in Anaconda, school starts tomorrow. Furthermore, this week marks four long (and early) days of work for Trevor and I, both.

This time of year is always recharging for me - especially when the temperature begins to change. I find myself organizing, cleaning and preparing myself for the busy season that fall seems to be. Today, I spent the day cooking ahead for the week, reorganizing pantry shelves and dishes, and with Trevor’s help, cleaning the house from top to bottom. Unfortunately, our list of “to-do’s” still isn’t finished but I’m feeling ready to take on the next few days.

I find that one of the biggest struggles with the busyness of this season (with its piles of school work and necessary packed lunches) is eating healthy. With early mornings and late nights, it’s easy to fall into the habit of eating out, grabbing fast food, or snacking all day - especially for those of you who don’t have to eat gluten free.

Throughout my public school career, I rarely ate breakfast. I didn’t eat eggs until well into my teenage years. Pancakes? Only with chocolate chips. Cereal? Occasionally. I didn’t find a morning meal necessary until late in high school, particularly after adopting an allergy-friendly diet. Being on a gluten free diet means consuming less carbs and for me, that means eating more often.

While cereal is a quick and easy breakfast, I find that it typically makes me not feel well - and within an hour or two, I’m hungry. With access to gluten-free bread and a microwave, my usual breakfast was an egg, sausage and cheese sandwich. Then there was the baked oatmeal. And now? Mini quiche and cornbread muffins - gluten free, healthy, pre-portioned, and easy to reheat in the oven.

Mini Crustless Quiches
This recipes makes 1 dozen servings.

Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/4 Cup of Corn Starch
3 Large Eggs
2 Egg Yolks
1 1/2 Cups of Milk
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, minced
1/4 Large Red Onion, minced
4 Slices of Bacon, diced (uncooked)
Baking Spray
Black Pepper

You will also need foil cupcake liners. 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a medium pan, saute diced bacon over medium heat.
While the bacon fries, mince the red onion and pepper - when finished, add to the pan. 
Sautee until the bacon is finished cooking.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, additional yolks and corn starch.
Add in milk and continue whisking.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place foil cupcake liners on a cookie sheet or in a muffin pan.
Spray thoroughly with baking spray.
In the bottom of each liner, sprinkle a generous helping of cheddar cheese.
Then place a spoonful of bacon/pepper/onion mixture in each cup.
Pour egg mixture over the top until the liners are 3/4 or more full.

Bake until the quiches are firm and start to brown on the top. (20 minutes or more)

This is a basic recipe that can be altered with different fillings and cheeses. Try ham or sausage. Add mushrooms or fresh basil. I simply used pantry items that we needed to use up in our fridge. After baking, leave the quiche in the foil liners for easy reheating in the oven. For microwave use, this is not required - feel free to bake straight in a muffin pan. 

Gluten-free Cornbread Muffins
This recipes makes 1 dozen muffins.

1 Cup of Corn Meal
1 Cup of Gluten-free Bisquick (or another gluten-free baking flour with xanthum gum or regular wheat flour)
4 Tsp of Baking Powder
1/4 Cup of Sugar
1 Tsp of Salt
2 Eggs
1 Cup of Milk
1/4 Cup of Melted Butter

Preheat oven to 425.

Sift bisquick with sugar, baking powder and salt.
Add in the corn meal and stir until evenly distributed.

In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the eggs.
Add the milk and melted butter, whisk until combined.
Add in the dry ingredients - stirring just until moist.

Once again, you want to use 12 foil cupcake liners and spray them with baking spray.
Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the muffins.

Once again, if planning to reheat in the oven, I suggest leaving the muffins in their foil wrappers. For microwave heating, this is not necessary - feel free to bake straight in a muffin pan or using paper liners.

These recipes do not create large serving sizes which makes them great for children headed back to school or when you’re eating an early lunch like me (11? really?). To make for a more substantial and well rounded breakfast, we chose to add a slice or two of bacon and some fresh pineapple but I know you’re creative people.

Overall, this took less than an hour and a half - with plenty of time for cleaning the kitchen and cutting pineapple - and provided us with hot breakfast for the entire week. Even if you’re not headed back to school, this is a great way to eat healthier while working full time. Truth be told, I simply couldn’t take another morning of watching Trevor eat generic-brand fruity pebbles.

What are your favorite make ahead or quick breakfast recipes? 

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