Let the Kids Help Cook a Hearty Breakfast

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By Ann Cipperly

While the kids are out of school, let them help cook a hearty breakfast. Children are generally hungry in the morning. Instead of giving them cold cereal, let them help prepare waffles, pancakes and other breakfast favorites.

Nutritionists say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and research has shown that children perform better if they have eaten a good breakfast. After breakfast, they can get started on home schooling.

Many breakfast favorites can be prepared ahead. If your children want French toast for breakfast, let them help assemble a baked French toast the night before, and bake it first thing in the morning.

If you prefer making French toast in the morning, Nell Samford’s recipe is easy to ensemble and then bake. With the French toast baked, everyone can eat at the same time instead of making a few slices at a time on the stove top.

Mary Skinner’s Breakfast Cupcakes are fun for children to help make. It is a tasty way to get kids to eat eggs.

Bacon is easier when baked in the oven. It also cuts down on stove top cleaning with grease splattered, especially if it is a glass stove top.

Instead of buying sugar loaded yogurts, select plain Greek yogurt and serve with fresh fruit or stir in a tablespoon or two of peanut butter. A teaspoon or two of local honey will also add a touch of sweetness to plain yogurt.

When buying peanut or almond butter, look for ones that use ground roasted nuts, and avoid any with sugar, palm oil and other added ingredients.

Almond or peanut butter also adds flavor to oatmeal. It is just as easy to prepare regular oatmeal in the microwave as it to make the sweetened packages, and it is much healthier. If sweetness is desired, add fresh fruit. My father used to sweeten his oatmeal with a small amount of orange juice.

Granola is a tasty way to serve oatmeal. Bake a big batch and have enough for the week.

Pancakes can be prepared ahead and frozen. Single servings can be reheated in the microwave. Instead of syrup, top a sweet stack with blueberries or strawberries.

Teach the children how to make hearty, nutritious breads and muffins during the day to have for breakfast the next morning with fruit juice or a smoothie. Martha Tabor’s Glorious Morning Muffins are delicious embellished with grated carrots, chopped apples and pecans.

I remember when one of our sons wanted to make waffles from scratch without using a mix. He had flour flying (just like his mother), but he had fun measuring and mixing. Then, he savored his creation.

If you have fresh fruit on hand, kids will enjoy decorating waffles or pancakes and making funny faces with berries.

On days when you don’t know what to cook for supper, breakfast foods can be good then too.

With the kids at home now, it is a good time to teach them to cook. Look over the following recipes and create scrumptious breakfasts to give everyone in the family a great start to the day.

Before going into the kitchen with children to help cook, cover these rules first:
-Wash hands in warm, soapy water before and after handling food.
-Pull back long hair, off the shoulders.
-Keep counter tops and working surfaces clean.
-Teach children to wait until food is cooked before tasting. Don’t let them lick their fingers or put their hands in their mouths, especially when working with raw foods such as cookie dough and raw meat or poultry.
-Avoid double dipping or putting spoons back into food after using them for tasting.
-Remember, young cooks need supervision.
-Follow the four simple steps:
-Wash hands, surfaces and kitchen utensils.
-Keep raw meat, poultry and seafood separate from cooked and other ready-to-eat foods.
-Cook to proper temperatures.
-Refrigerate leftover food promptly.

Cipperly can be contacted at recipes@cipperly.com.

Recipes:

Fruit Yogurt Smoothie
8 oz. container low fat vanilla yogurt
2 cups fat free milk
½ cup frozen pineapple-orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 banana, chopped
Combine all ingredients in a blender; process until smooth.

Breakfast Cupcakes
Mary Skinner
6 eggs, beaten
1 lb. sausage, browned and drained
2 cups shredded cheese
1/3 cup milk
Salt and pepper
Hungry jack flaky biscuits (try to find regular size flaky biscuit if you can)
Preheat oven to 350.
Brown sausage. Remove from pan and let dry on paper towel to soak excess grease. (Really pat it.)
Lightly beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper in small bowl. Spray a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Divide each biscuit into 3 pieces, putting one in each muffin tin.
Press into cup.
Take a scoop and fill each 3/4 full with egg mixture. Bake about 12 to 14 minutes or until they are firm on top.

Oven Baked French Toast Slices
Nell Samford
Baking the slices is a great way to prepare French toast for a crowd. Serve with syrup.
6 eggs
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup milk or more
Optional—small amount of brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon
12 slices bread, stale or day old is best
Combine eggs, salt, vanilla and milk, blending well. Add brown sugar and cinnamon, if desired.
Grease a large rimmed cookie sheet heavily with butter.
Dip each slice of bread in the egg mixture, coating well. Lay on cookie sheet. If any egg mixture is left, pour over bread slices.
Bake at 425 until lightly brown.

Melanie’s Homemade Granola
The Granola will keep fresh up to two weeks stored in an airtight container.
2 cups regular oats
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped slivered almonds
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 300. Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine orange juice, honey, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat just until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in oil and vanilla. Pour honey mixture over oat mixture, stirring to coat.
Spread mixture in a thin layer onto a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 300 for 10 minutes; stir well. Bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. (If you want the granola to be crunchier, turn the oven off and let the granola cool in the oven). Spoon granola into a bowl and stir in dried cranberries.

Easy Cheese Grits
Mary Skinner
1 cup grits
4 cups water
1 tsp. salt
1 stick butter
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire
8 oz. box Velveeta cheese
Cook grits in water with salt, according to package directions.
Add butter, cheese and Worcestershire.
Stir until cheese and butter melt and mixture is smooth.
It is so easy and good. We love them with any breakfast food.

Homemade Waffles
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat waffle iron. Beat eggs in large bowl with hand beater until fluffy. Beat in flour, milk, vegetable oil, sugar, baking powder, salt and vanilla, just until smooth.
Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mix onto hot waffle iron. Cook until golden brown. Serve hot.
Note: Batter can be kept covered in the refrigerator for several days. Whisk the batter good before using.

Oven Baked Bacon
Line cookie sheet with foil for easy cleanup. Place bacon slices in one layer on cookie sheet.
Place in a cold oven and set temperature to 400 degrees for 18 minutes. Time can vary if the bacon is thicker. If bacon contains sugar, lower oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Melanie’s Multi-Grain Buttermilk Pancakes
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. low-fat buttermilk
3 large eggs (or 3/4 cup liquid egg substitute)
3/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
Butter and maple syrup
Preheat griddle for 5 minutes on high setting. Into a medium bowl, sift flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in oats. Add buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter. Stir mixture only until dry ingredients are moistened.
Pour batter by 1/3 cupful onto griddle, forming about 6 pancakes at a time. Cook pancakes until golden brown, turning when bubbles appear and edges look dry. Repeat with remaining batter.
Serve hot with butter and maple syrup. Makes 10 pancakes.
Blueberry Pancakes
To make Blueberry Pancakes, follow basic recipe, but stir in 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (thawed and well-drained), and 1 tsp. grated lemon zest into batter.

Glorious Morning Muffins
Martha Tabor
In large mixing bowl, combine:
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup oatmeal
In another bowl combine:
1 ½ cups grated carrots
1 ½ cups grated apples
1 cup oil
3 beaten eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup pecans
Add the second bowl into the dry ingredients and stir until moistened.
Bake at 375 degrees in greased muffin pans for 18-20 minutes. These freeze well. Can reheat in microwave.

Breakfast Parfait
Granola
Yogurt, any flavor
Fresh fruit of your choice
In a clear glass, layer ingredients.

Breakfast Burrito
Flour tortillas
Scrambled eggs
Ham, sausage or bacon, optional
Shredded cheese
Salsa or taco sauce
Warm tortillas in oven. Spread with scrambled eggs, cheese and meat, if desired. Drizzle with salsa or taco sauce. Roll up and serve with extra sauce.

Granola Bars
2 cups low fat granola cereal
¼ cup brown sugar
1/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries, cherries or blueberries
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients. Spray or grease an 8-inch square baking pan. Press ingredients into pan. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly brown.

Zesty Grits Casserole
Joanne Woodall
1 lb. sausage
1 cup quick cooking grits
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar Cheese
1 stick butter
10 oz. can diced tomatoes with chilies (Rotel)
1 egg
1 tsp. salt or to taste
Brown sausage until light brown. Cook grits according to package directions. Stir into grits the cheese, butter, tomatoes with green chilies, egg, and salt. Add sausage and stir well.
Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until heated through.
This casserole may be prepared in advance and heated when ready to serve. Serves 8.

Sausage Balls
Pat Dakin
1 lb. roll medium or hot sausage1 bar white sharp cheddar cheese (I like the Kraft in the black wrapper)3 cups BisquickMelt cheese over a low heat.  Mix in sausage; mix in Bisquick.  Roll into small balls, walnut size.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 20-25 minutes until brown.  Cooking time will depend on ovens.  Can be rolled into balls and frozen, then place into plastic bags and bake as needed.

Beth’s Coffee Cake
Mary Skinner
Cake:
1 yellow cake mix
1 stick margarine, melted
8 oz. sour cream
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
6-oz. pkg. vanilla instant pudding
1/2 cup water
Nut Mixture:
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tsp. cinnamon
Icing:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. butter flavoring
Spray three 8-inch or two 9-inch cake pans with Pam. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix first 7 ingredients in mixing bowl and beat on medium speed 3 minutes.
Prepare nut mixture by combining brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon.
Sprinkle nut mixture lightly in each pan, reserving half of mixture.
Pour 1/3 (if using 3 pans) or 1/2 (if using 2 pans) of batter into pans.
Sprinkle each top with remaining nut mixture.
Bake 30-40 minutes.
Pour Icing over warm cake.

Overnight French Toast
1 loaf French bread
8 eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup half and half
1 ½ Tbsp. sugar
¾ tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. vanilla
Cinnamon
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
Confectioner’s sugar, optional
Slice French bread and place in a greased 9 by 13 inch pan. Mix eggs, milk, cream, sugar, salt, vanilla and two dashes of cinnamon. Pour over bread; cover and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to bake, spread softened butter over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Dust top with confectioner’s sugar if desired.

Quick Oatmeal Pancakes
2 cups pancake and waffle mix
1 ½ cups water
½ cup oatmeal (uncooked)
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
¾ tsp. cinnamon
Heat griddle to 350 degrees. Grease lightly. Combine all ingredients; mix just until large lumps of pancake mix disappear. For each pancake, pour ¼ cup batter onto griddle. Turn when pancakes begin to rise and edges looked cooked.
To freeze: Wrap pancakes in foil or place in freezer bag. Store in freezer up to three months. To reheat, stack three pancakes on plate; microwave for 1 ½ minutes.

Swiss and Cheddar Baked Grits
Nell Samford
4 and 1/3 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups quick-cooking grits, uncooked
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups (5 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese
Bring water and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Gradually stir in grits; return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until cooked.
Remove saucepan from heat; stir in 1/4 cup butter, 1 1/4 cups cheddar cheese, 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper. Set mixture aside, and let cool 15 minutes. Stir in beaten eggs.
Pour half of grits into a lightly greased 12 x 8 x 2-inch baking dish; sprinkle Swiss cheese over top. Spoon remaining grits over cheese.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until set. Uncover and sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheddar cheese on top. Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Muffin Frittatas
4 eggs
¼ cup milk or cream
½ tsp. salt
Assorted optional toppings: shredded cheese, chopped spinach, cooked sausage, ham or bacon
Parmesan cheese
Whisk eggs, milk and salt. Pour into greased 6-cup muffin tin. Add about two tablespoons toppings of your choice. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until set. May need to run knife around edge to loosen.

Make Ahead Egg and Sausage Casserole
1 lb. sausage, cooked
8 eggs, beaten
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 slices bread in bite-size pieces
2 cups milk
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients. Pour into a greased 9 by 13 inch pan. Refrigerate overnight. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Cheese Danish
Pam Guyton
2 cans crescent rolls
Two 8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 egg white
1 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9 x 13 pan with Pam nonstick spray.
Unroll one can of rolls and lay in bottom of pan.  Beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg until creamy.  Spread evenly over rolls, then lay second can of rolls over top.  Brush with egg white.
Whisk powdered sugar, milk and vanilla for glaze and set aside.
Bake 30 minutes until golden brown. Pour glaze over hot Danish and cool for 20 minutes.

Banana Bread
Gail Swarthout
3-4 ripe bananas
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Combine all ingredients, mixing well. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

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