Ready, set, breakfast!

oatmeal in jars

Over at The Kitchn they're discussing must-haves to keep at your desk for emergency lunches. I was glad to see the shout-out for nut butter: a jar of peanut butter lives in my desk drawer for just such situations. I would add tuna pouches to their list.

But even if I have last-minute lunches well in hand, I continually struggle with eating a good breakfast. I am not a morning person and often miss out on a hot breakfast because time just gets away from me. It's not difficult to fry an egg and a few slices of bacon, but if you are like me, even that simple task is unworkable during the frantic morning rush. Therefore, after what seemed like the millionth breakfast of Greek yogurt and a banana, I turned to the EYB library to find hot breakfast foods that required little time and slight input from a sleepy morning brain. I was delighted to find hundreds of make-ahead breakfast items available.

The recipe I plan to try first is oatmeal in jars from The Kitchn. I've used a crockpot to make "overnight" oatmeal before, but the simple yet brilliant idea of pre-cooking oatmeal and putting it in individual serving containers somehow eluded me. This technique is wonderful because in mere seconds you can have a delicious and healthy hot breakfast. For variety, you can add nuts, berries, syrup or jam.

I also like items I can bake straight from the fridge or freezer and which are easily scalable. For starters, there is this overnight egg and cheese strata from Leite's Culinaria. This one is sized for two, but I see no reason you couldn't make individual portions in small ramekins. Then all you have to do is pop one in the oven before starting your morning routine and breakfast is done with no oversight required. Other strata would work as well; many of them could be frozen in small ramekins and baked right from the freezer.

These individual coddled eggs with mashed potatoes from Epicurious also sound perfect: you can make the mashed potato part ahead (or even use leftover mashed potatoes). In the morning, you just need to crack an egg, bake for a short time while you finish getting ready, and you're set. Yotam Ottolenghi's Shakshuka look fantastic as well. You can make the pepper portion ahead, so all you need to do in the morning is again crack an egg, go put on your makeup, and return to a delicious meal.

In the same vein as strata are these mini-muffin frittatas from Simply Recipes. You can make them ahead and quickly reheat in the microwave for a hot, homemade breakfast. Another item you can make ahead, freeze, and easily reheat are these "grown-up" hot pockets made with puff pastry.

Even though I was mainly searching for hot breakfast ideas, I was intrigued by this quinoa granola recipe. At least it would be something to add to my usual yogurt and banana breakfasts. What is your favorite make-ahead breakfast food?

Photo courtesy The Kitchn

2 Comments

  • Rinshin  on  3/10/2014 at 5:40 PM

    I sometimes make 5 days worth of steel cut oatmeal and just keep in plastic container. The portions are put into a ceramic bowl and microwaved. Small amount of milk or yogurt is added with some dried fruits. When craving Japanese style quick breakfasts, I do so same. Rice ojiya which is thicker version of Chinese jook/congee is made to last 4-5 servings. Portion are placed in bowls and microwaved with egg in the middle and some sprinkling of furikake.

  • PatriciaW  on  3/29/2014 at 7:53 PM

    Do you know this trick for releasing dishes from the freezer (I'm thinking of your strata frozen in individual ramekins here). Line a dish with plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, and pour in the mixed ingredients. Wrap the foil around the top, then freeze. Once they are frozen, take them out of the dish and pop them in a freezer bag. (Label with the recipe and the date.) When you want to eat it, unwrap it and pop it back in the dish you froze it in. I use that technique with pie filling - great way to enjoy a fresh apple pie in the winter. Make a pie crust, pop in the frozen filling and bake. Delish.

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