Fill the freezer with healthy breakfasts for busy school mornings

Posted Aug. 26, 2013, at 11:52 a.m.
For better days that begin with a balanced breakfast, spend a little extra time in the kitchen on the weekend to fill your freezer with healthy breakfast food recipes for busy school mornings.
Handout | California Milk Advisory Board/MCT
For better days that begin with a balanced breakfast, spend a little extra time in the kitchen on the weekend to fill your freezer with healthy breakfast food recipes for busy school mornings.

Love the convenience of a heat-and-eat breakfast item but hate buying processed, packaged foods? Plan a little extra time in the kitchen on the weekend to fill your freezer with these healthy breakfast food recipes for busy school mornings.

Plan on a weekend family meal with a double batch of Cottage Cheese Pancakes topped with Ginger Almond Pears and washed down with Going Green Smoothies. Other make-ahead recipes that can be frozen and reheated for a fast and healthy breakfast during the week include Ham and Cheese Tea Biscuits, Apple Carrot Muffins, Tomato Quiche and Breakfast Burritos.

For more recipes, tips and articles on why better days begin with breakfast, visit HealthyEating.org/Breakfast.

FEATURED FAMILY MEAL:

COTTAGE CHEESE PANCAKES

Total Preparation Time: Under 15 minutes

Actual Cooking Time: 15 to 30 minutes

Number of Servings: 4 (3 pancakes each) (316 calories/serving)

Use cottage cheese to make a more calcium-filled pancake.

Ingredients:

1 carton California cottage cheese (16 ounces)

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons orange marmalade (for divided use)

4 eggs, separated

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon butter

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

4 thin orange slices for garnish (optional)

Mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Preparation:

Combine cottage cheese and one-quarter cup of the marmalade in a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Beat egg whites until they are stiff, but not dry. Transfer the beater to the yolks to save washing in between. Beat yolks until they are light in color. Beat in the cup of cottage cheese-marmalade mixture, reserving the remaining cup of the mixture for the topping. Add the flour and salt and continue beating until completely mixed. Carefully fold in the beaten egg whites.

Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Wipe the butter out of the pan with a paper towel. Spoon the batter (1/3 cup for each pancake) into the hot pan. Cook pancakes over medium heat until golden brown on the first side.

Very carefully turn the pancakes over to brown the other side. While the pancakes are cooking, combine the maple syrup and remaining 2 tablespoons of marmalade; mix well and set aside.

To serve, place three pancakes on each of four plates. Top each serving with 1/4 cup of the reserved cottage cheese-marmalade mixture. Spoon one tablespoon of the maple-marmalade mixture over the top of each serving. Garnish with twisted orange slices and a sprig of fresh mint, if desired.

GINGER ALMOND PEARS

Total Preparation Time: Under 15 minutes

Actual Cooking Time: 15 to 30 minutes

Number of Servings: 6 (144 calories/serving)

Pears are one of the few fruits that actually improve in texture and flavor after being picked a little green. Store them in a paper bag for a couple of days to speed up ripening. A little softness around the stems and a change in skin color means they’re ready. Bartletts, red Bartletts, or Anjou varieties have the best flavor and are good for cooking.

When the time comes for thickening the pear sauce, we prefer arrowroot over cornstarch, although it is a little harder to find. Arrowroot comes from a tropical tuber whose root stalks are dried and ground into a fine starchy powder that’s very easy to digest. Sauces thickened with arrowroot are a little finer than those thickened with cornstarch, but you can use either. This recipe is easy to cut in half.

Ingredients:

5 firm ripe pears

3 cups apple cider

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh gingerroot

3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot

1 teaspoon pure almond extract

Salt to taste

Preparation:

Peel the pears, quarter them lengthwise and core. Slice pears thinly and place in a saucepan with the apple cider and ginger root. Add a pinch of salt.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until pears are tender, about 15 minutes.

Dissolve cornstarch or arrowroot in 1/3 cup cold water and add to the simmering pears, stirring, until the sauce is thick and clear.

Remove from heat and stir in almond extract. Serve warm or cold.

GOING GREEN SMOOTHIE

Total Preparation Time: Under 15 minutes

Actual Cooking Time: No cooking required

Number of Servings: 4 (83 calories/serving)

Easy-to-make smoothie for a quick breakfast.

Ingredients:

1 cup water

2 cups green grapes (seedless preferred)

1 cup fresh pineapple chunks

1 medium banana

4 cups fresh spinach

1 cup ice cubes

Preparation:

Place all ingredients into blender. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to high. Blend until smooth.

“Family Meals Matter” features registered dietitian-approved recipes with foods from all the food groups to reflect the Dairy Council of California’s nutrition philosophy. For information, nutrition tools and additional family meal recipes, visit www.healthyeating.org.

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