Written by Amber Baughman
ISU Dietetic Intern
Mornings can be extremely busy, and sometimes it is hard to find time to fit in breakfast. I am not a morning person, so I need an easy and fast breakfast option every morning. Breakfast has been called the most important meal of the day and for good reason. Studies have shown that eating breakfast has many benefits, including feelings of well-being and better cognitive performance. Eating breakfast is associated with a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Although breakfast is important for adults, it is even more crucial that children have breakfast every day. Eating breakfast can help children and adolescents do better in school by improving memory, test grades, school attendance, and mood.
Sadly, breakfast consumption has been declining among youth in the U.S. However, with some planning ahead, breakfast can be ready in just a few minutes. One of my favorite breakfast items to make is Scrambled Egg Muffins. They are like a blank canvas, you can use whatever vegetables, meat, or cheese you have leftover in the fridge. They are also packed full of protein, so they will help you stay full longer! I make six of them on Sunday and then warm one or two up each morning for breakfast. Now you can sleep in those few extra minutes in the morning and still enjoy an easy, healthy breakfast!
Recently my husband got groceries and came home with a carton of 18 eggs. I usually only buy a dozen eggs so I asked him if he had something planned for all the eggs. He didn’t so I started thinking of how I was going to use them. I know it’s only 6 more eggs but it seemed like a lot of eggs to use! After eggs are purchased, they can be stored in their original carton in the refrigerator for 3-5 weeks. Usually the “sell-by” date on the carton will expire during that storage period, but the eggs will remain safe to use. I could make hard-cooked eggs or egg salad, but I’ve had my fill of those for a while after all the hard-cooked eggs at Easter! What came to mind next was to make breakfast for supper. Scrambled Egg Muffins, Easy Quiche, or French Toast are all tasty ways to use up the eggs and change up what we have for supper. And my kids like smoothies so I could serve Fruit Smoothie to get in a serving or two of fruit. No sleeping in past this breakfast!
When breakfast time rolls around each morning, I am very hungry. This is a good thing because it is certain that I will eat the most important meal of the day. The problem is that my husband and children are not big breakfast eaters – they are satisfied with milk, fruit, and cereal or toast. That is just not enough for me, especially now that I am expecting child #3.
To solve my problem, I looked to our August recipe – Make Ahead Breakfast Burritos. I make a batch of the burritos, freeze them, and then grab one out of the freezer and reheat when I need it. These are perfect for me on the mornings when I need more to eat than the rest of my family. On top of that, these burritos are full of the nutrients I need to keep myself and my baby healthy. I get fiber, vitamins, and minerals from the vegetables and whole wheat tortillas, protein from the eggs, and calcium from the cheese.
Even if you are not a big breakfast eater, this recipe is still great because it cuts down on breakfast prep and clean up time. Busy fall schedules are going to be starting up again, so this recipe gives you a quick, yet filling, breakfast before you head off to work or school for the day. I think I am going to make another batch of these soon, so they are in the freezer when “back to school” time rolls around.
Make Ahead Breakfast Burritos
Serving Size: 1 burrito | Serves: 8
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 cup potatoes, diced (1 medium potato)
- 1/2 cup onions, diced (1/2 medium onion)
- 1 cup bell peppers, diced (1 medium pepper)
- 8 eggs, beaten
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup 2% fat cheddar cheese, shredded
- 8 flour tortillas (8″)
- Spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Cook the potatoes for 6-10 minutes over medium heat.
- Add onions and peppers to the potatoes. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the potatoes are browned.
- Add beaten eggs to the vegetable mixture. Cook for 4-5 minutes over medium heat. Stir off and on until there is no liquid.
- Stir in the garlic powder and pepper.
- Roll up each burrito. Use 2 tablespoons of cheese and 1/2 cup of the egg mixture. Serve or freeze.
- You can freeze the burritos. Wrap each burrito tightly in plastic wrap. Freeze in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Seal wrapped burritos in a freezer bag when they are frozen.
To reheat the frozen burritos. Remove the plastic wrap. Wrap burrito in a damp paper towel. Set microwave on medium power. Heat burrito for 3-4 minutes.
- Wash hands after handling raw eggs and before making burritos.
- Wash vegetables under running water.
- Add hot peppers, salsa, or cayenne pepper for a spicier burrito.
I often have overnight company around the holidays and many times I am looking for tasty, simple dishes I can serve hot from the oven with toast, fruit and milk. Scrambled egg muffins work for guests and they are very versatile. I have used a lot of different veggies such as mushrooms, tomatoes, and spinach. I have even added ham or Canadian bacon. If you’re in a real hurry, you can skip the muffin pan all together and make it in a 8 x 8-inch pan. It will take about 20 minutes in an 8 x 8 pan. To be sure, bake to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
Other tips for this recipe include:
- Diced means to cut into small pieces (1/4 inch or less).
- Vegetables can be chopped up the night before and stored in the refrigerator to make the recipe even faster.
- Serve extra leftover egg muffins chopped up in tortillas or with a green salad and roll for another meal.
Scrambled Egg Muffins
Serving Size: 1 muffin | Serves: 6 | Cost Per Serving: $.59
- 2 cups washed vegetables, diced (broccoli, red or green bell peppers, onion)
- 6 eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup low fat cheddar cheese, shredded
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray muffin tin with nonstick spray.
- Add chopped veggies to the muffin tin.
- Beat eggs in a bowl. Stir in salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Pour eggs into the muffin tin and bake 20-25 minutes. To add cheese, remove the tin from the oven during the last 3 minutes of baking. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the muffins and return the tin to the oven.
- Bake until the temperature reaches 160°F or a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
We always hid Easter eggs when I was a kid. I think my parents must have hidden the eggs before we got up, but with seven kids the eggs got hidden several more times before they finally were stored in the refrigerator. The next few days we ate lots of egg salad, deviled eggs, creamed eggs on toast, etc. As I look back I wonder if we followed the USDA rule that Hard-cooked eggs should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking and used within a week. Maybe not…have food safety rules gotten stricter??
I make hard cooked eggs a couple times a month. They are nutritious, inexpensive, quick and very easy to make. I love our featured recipe, Creamy Egg-Salad Sandwich. We show it on whole wheat English muffins, but it is good spread on crackers if you chop the eggs a little finer. We also have a great deviled egg recipe that I often use as an appetizer.
USDA has a web site called Shell Eggs From Farm to Table. It has the answers to about anything you can think of. There is even section called Are Easter Eggs Safe? The answer: Yes, but…..Check it out.
Creamy Egg-Salad Sandwich
- 6 large hard-cooked eggs
- ¼ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
- 1½ teaspoons prepared mustard
- 1½ teaspoons sweet pickle relish
- ½ cup celery, chopped finely
- Dash salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 whole wheat English muffins
- Prepare eggs as directed – prepare hard cooked eggs.
- Crack and peel the eggs; chop coarsely and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Add mayo, mustard, relish, and celery. Mash together.
- Season with salt and black pepper.
- Serve on toasted English muffins, whole wheat bread, or crackers.
Take a look at our spring dinner. It’s healthy, tasty, easy, and costs less than $30 for 8-10 people. You could save a little more if you switched to another vegetable—like frozen green beans, made your own rolls, and skipped the deviled eggs (they are a little extra treat). Our menu is:
Asparagus with Lemon or Roasted Asparagus
Rhonda’s Deviled Eggs
Fruit Kabobs or Fruit Salad
Fresh Baked Cloverleaf Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls
Angel Food Cake with Frozen Whipped Topping and Strawberries
This week one of the national big box stores is advertising less food for twice as much! Their menu is ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans, rolls, and pie or muffins.
Get the the recipes with nutrition information and grocery shopping list.
-pointers from Peggy
If your schedule is so hectic that a trip to drive-up seems like the only option, consider stocking your shelves with “Go-To” Meals. These are meals that satisfy hunger, take minimal effort and time, but maximize taste. Nutritional value is fulfilled when you plan for at least one food from each group in MyPlate. Only a few ingredients are required, so preparation and clean-up is a snap. Plus, they save money on your food bill!
Here are a few ideas to get you thinking…
- Peanut butter and jelly is an old favorite that’s even better when served on toasted whole wheat bread. Add baby carrots, apple slices and milk.
- Pita pocket sandwiches are stuffed with veggies and healthy lunch meat. Its shape is perfect for eating on-the-go. For some variety, try a whole grain bagel sandwich.
- Scrambled eggs or omelets with added onions, peppers, leftover vegetables and cheese need only fruit and toast to make a meal.
- Beans and brown rice cover two of your main energy sources. The protein in the beans fuels your muscles, while the complex carbs in the rice provide lasting energy. To save time, try a quick-cook variety of brown rice.
- Soup and crackers will fill you up fast. Three Can Chili needs only milk, crackers and fruit to make a meal.
- Oatmeal pancakes taste great, no matter what time it is. With a powdered mix, you can be flipping some hotcakes in a flash. Add some fruits to the pancakes—or on the side—and milk to drink. To save more time, make some ahead..
- Chicken burritos are easier to make than you might think. Heat chicken, beans and vegetables, and wrap them in a tortilla. Sprinkle on low-fat cheese, and you’ve nearly hit all of the major food groups with one bite.
-pointers from Peggy
What I learned about the cost of eggs is interesting. Alan, my son, had a late morning graduation party with egg casserole, fruit and coffee cakes. Almost every coffee cake recipe called for 4 eggs. At the store, I found large eggs to be $1.29 per dozen. Medium eggs cost $ .69 per dozen. A book I have indicated that 5 medium eggs are equal to 4 large eggs. By using the medium eggs, I saved 14 cents for each recipe.
-contributed by Jan Temple
P.S. For more information comparing egg size and cost, see the all about eggs section on the meat and beans aisle of the SpendSmart. Eat Smart. web site.