Make-ahead breakfast ideas: need I say more?
With a little advance prep, you can take one big thing off your a.m. to-do list—and still eat a satisfying, wholesome, and delicious meal. Check out 5 of my favorites, below.
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Overnight Tropical Buckwheat Pudding
Never tried buckwheat? You can pick up this protein- and fiber-rich, and gluten-free seed (yep, like quinoa it’s actually a seed) in the bulk section of the supermarket. (I recommend buying extra; buckwheat groats make a fantastic swap for rice as a side dish.)
1 cup buckwheat groats ($19 for a 4-pack, amazon.com)
1 cup milk (dairy, nut or soy) or a milk-yogurt combination
¼ cup chia seeds
2 ripe bananas, sliced
2 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil
Pinch of kosher salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract, optional
Raw honey or maple syrup to taste, optional
“Chopped mango or pineapple (or a combination)
Hemp seeds and/or unsweetened coconut flakes, optional
Make it: In a bowl, cover the buckwheat groats with cold water. Stir, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Drain buckwheat (it’s a little slimy, don’t worry about that) in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse gently. Drain again. Place buckwheat in a blender with milk, chia seeds, bananas, and salt. Add vanilla, if desired. Blend, then taste and sweeten with honey or maple syrup, if desired. Portion into 4 to 6 bowls or jars (or save the rest). Just before eating, top with fruit and/or hemp or coconut.
Somewhere between a muffin and bread pudding (without the bread), a slice of this feels like a treat but is loaded with nutrients. Make it your own: Change up the nuts, add raisins or blueberries, or use different spices. It’s delicious cold out of the fridge, but you can also pop it in the microwave for a few seconds before you hit the road.
2 ½ cups uncooked rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup milk (dairy or nut)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 ripe banana, cut into pieces
4 pitted dates, chopped
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg, beaten
Make it: Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 9-inch round baking pan. In a medium bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, walnuts, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a blender, combine milk, yogurt, banana, dates, butter, and egg; blend until smooth.Pour into bowl with oat mixture and stir until well mixed. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until firm. Serve warm, or let it cool. Then cut it into pieces, wrap each individually, and refrigerate or freeze.
Combine those frozen berries you always have on hand with chia seeds and you get a jammy mixture that’s like a less sugary version of fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt. This is a fantastic alternative if you want to incorporate chia in your diet but don’t care for the gelatinous texture of chia puddings.
Serves: 1 (can be multiplied)
½ cup frozen mixed berries
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 Tbsp. raw honey
Small pinch of salt
½ cup plain yogurt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Unsweetened coconut flakes and/or hemp seeds, optional
Make it: In a jar, stir together berries, chia seeds, honey, and salt. Whisk yogurt and vanilla together and pour over berry mixture in jar. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, top with coconut and/or hemp seeds, re-cover and go.
Customize these simple burritos however you like. Use pepper jack cheese, swap refried black beans for the chorizo, or try a corn salsa. Kids love them, too.
Yield: 4 burritos
4 oz. nitrate-free chorizo, casings removed
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup salsa, drained
½ cup cheddar or jack, shredded
4 taco-sized (8-inch) whole-grain tortillas
Make it: Warm a medium skillet over medium heat. Add chorizo and cook, breaking up with a spoon and stirring, until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a one side of a large plate with a slotted spoon. Wipe out skillet.
Place skillet back over medium-low heat and warm oil. Add eggs and cook, stirring often, until cooked through to desired doneness. Transfer to other side of plate with chorizo. Let cool.
Lay a tortilla out on a work surface (warm it briefly in the microwave to make it pliable, if necessary). Spoon one-fourth of chorizo, eggs, salsa and cheese down the middle. Roll up, folding in sides as you go. Repeat with remaining tortillas and fillings. Tightly wrap individually in plastic wrap, place in a freezer bag, press out excess air, seal and freeze.
To serve: Place a burrito in the microwave and cook until warmed through, 30 to 60 seconds.
Individual Vegetable Frittatas
Change up the vegetables to suit your taste (and what you have in the fridge). Try chopped kale or spinach, zucchini or yellow squash, broccoli or cauliflower. Leftover cooked vegetables work great, no need to re-cook them.
Yield: 8 frittatas
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup finely chopped seeded bell pepper (any color)
Salt and pepper
1 cup cremini or white mushrooms, chopped
½ cup chopped fresh herbs, such as oregano, basil, parsley or mint (or a combination), optional
6 large eggs
2 Tbsp. whole milk
Make it: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease 8 cups of a standard muffin tin. Warm oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion, sprinkle lightly with salt and cook, stirring, until softened, 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they release their liquid, about 2 minutes. Add bell pepper, sprinkle lightly with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 2 minutes longer. Divide vegetable mixture among greased muffin cups. Top with fresh herbs, if desired.
In a bowl, whisk eggs and milk until well combined. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Divide egg mixture among muffin cups, covering vegetable mixture.
Bake until frittatas are just set and slightly puffed, 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Run a small knife around edge of each frittata to loosen, then transfer frittatas from pan to rack.
Serve warm, or let cool completely, wrap individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate, or place in a freezer bag and freeze. (Take one or two out of the freezer the night before you’re going to eat them; let thaw in the fridge overnight.)
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