Monday, March 5, 2012

Morning, Noon or Night

When I come home from a long day of work or a weekend away, I don’t feel like cooking nor do I have any food in my house. Breakfast for dinner time! There is no meal that is faster, easier or sometimes more comforting then a nice breakfast meal, morning, noon or night.

Why have you done a good thing?

Breakfast-for-dinner is a wonderfully nutritious, fast, and easy meal. Loaded with healthy whole grains and fruits, as well as good sources of calcium and protein from eggs and nuts, breakfast-for-dinner can be a very healthy way to spice up the dinner routine. Breakfast-for-dinner takes very little preparation, usually requires no trips to the grocery store, or planning ahead as you have most of those items in the pantry or fridge as staples. It’s a great way to mix things up at dinnertime, especially for the family. Always a hit with kids, breakfast dishes are a great way to get them involved in the kitchen.

Here are some great breakfast meals for morning, noon or night meals:

-English Muffin Omelet Sandwiches. Make a homemade breakfast sandwich. Cook an omelet or egg scramble anyway you like with veggies and/or low-fat cheese on a whole wheat English muffin or Thomas’s Bagel Thin. Serve it up with a side salad or fruit salad.

-Almond Butter French Toast Sticks. Spread 1 tbsp almond butter on whole-wheat toast and dip in 1 egg scrambled with ½ cup fat free milk. Fry in the pan with Pam spray until golden brown on each side. Have up to 2 slices. For the kiddies, slice them up into thin slices for easy dipping.

**Don’t like almond butter? Try this dish with any nut or seed butter.

-Pumpkin Waffles with Greek yogurt dip. Do you have a waffle iron you never use? Prepare the batter using your favorite waffle mix (trans fat free!) and add a couple of tbsp of pumpkin puree into the waffle batter. Cook the waffles in your waffle maker until golden brown. Mix plain Greek yogurt with 1 tbsp of honey to slightly sweeten. Sprinkle waffle with cinnamon and slice. Dip waffle slices into the yogurt dip.

*No pumpkin puree? Try applesauce or mashed banana.

**Want something more savory? Try mixing in low-fat sharp cheddar cheese and diced veggies into your waffle.

-Blueberry Oatmeal Pancakes with Nut Topping. Using your favorite trans fat free pancake mix, add ½ cup oatmeal into the mixture. Before cooking the pancakes, take a ¼ cup of nuts per person and mix with 1 tbsp of honey. Toast nuts in the toaster until fragrant (about 5-10 minutes). Cook each pancake individually per package directions and add a few blueberries per pancake. Top with nut topping (it’s super sweet; no need for syrup!)

-Peanut Butter Banana Waffle Sandwiches. Super easy meal: Take 2 frozen waffles (recommend Van’s Light Waffles, Kashi 7 Grain). Spread 1-2 tbsp of natural peanut butter and add sliced banana. For the kiddies, try using mini waffles such as Van’s Minis or Earth’s Best Organic Mini Waffles. If you are feeling extra hungry, serve this up with a side of scrambled eggs or egg whites.

-Whole-Wheat Cinnamon Baked French Toast:

1 loaf of whole-wheat cinnamon bread (Try Pepperidge Farm Swirl 100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin bread)

4 eggs

3 cups of skim or 1% milk (also try soy, rice, or almond milk)

1 tbsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp of honey

1 apple, diced

½ cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take half the loaf of bread, cutting off the edges and cut into cubes. Place bread cubes in a greased 9 by 13” casserole dish. Cut the edges of the other half off of the bread but preserve in slices. Top the cubes with slice bread from the rest of the loaf. Beat the eggs with the milk and add vanilla, honey, apple, raisins. Pour the egg mixture over the bread making sure all the bread is well-coated with the egg mixture. Bake in the oven, covered, for 40 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for 20 more minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and serve up in scoops. Serve warm.

So try thinking of breakfast as an option for dinner, mixing in good morning favorites for a great evening.

--Amy Santo, MS RD CDN

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