Tag Archives: healthy breakfast

Freezer Smoothie Packs

 

We all know mom always said breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  But we all know that sometimes it is the hardest meal of the day. It’s too early, we don’t have time, we can’t think of anything that sounds good, you don’t want to cook… the list of excuses goes on and on.

It’s hard to come up with something that is tasty, healthy, and also can be made in the 5 minutes you have before you rush out the door for the day.

Don’t worry dear reader, I’ve got your back.

Smoothie packs ready for the freezer

Enter: the freezer smoothie pack.

Just a few minutes of prep ahead of time on a weekend and you can have a whole week’s worth of healthy, on-the-go breakfasts ready and waiting in your freezer. These little bags are such a simple yet brilliant answer to the morning breakfast rush. And boy, are they customizable! All you really need is a good handful of greens, a fruit or two or three, and some baggies.

In the morning, just grab one bag, toss it in the blender with enough liquid (milk, almond milk, coconut water, tea, juice, whatever you like), blend and go. And if you have the kind of blender that makes single servings and you drink right out of it, your morning could not BE any simpler!

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For each smoothie pack, you will need:

  • 1 medium zip-top baggie
  • 1/2 – 1 cup greens (spinach, beet greens, kale, collards, etc)
  • 1/2 – 1 banana
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chopped other fruits

You can try just about anything in these freezer bags. It makes a great answer to almost-mushy fruits in the fridge, halves of things left over, and whatever fruits are in season and on sale. I used peaches, pears, bananas, local blueberries, and avocado. I also had half a pineapple and some beet greens from my garden, so I tossed those into a few bags as well.

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Step 1: Wash, peel, and cut up your fruits as needed. You can also slice your greens into smaller pieces to make blending easier.

Smoothie pack and blender

Step 2: Toss your baggies into the freezer. That’s it! When you are ready for a super quick healthy breakfast (or lunch, or snack, or dessert…) pour the contents of the bag into a blender, and add your liquid of choice. I like green tea for a gentle caffeine kick, or almond milk for some creamy smoothness.

Enjoy!

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Chocolate peanut butter banana oatmeal

 

Are you looking for a super quick breakfast recipe?  A breakfast that takes less than 5 minutes to make, is packed full of protein, and costs less than $1?  Can I get a HEALTH YEAH!

Oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfast staples, for so many reasons.  Oats are full of fiber to keep you full all day, so you don’t get the early afternoon munchies.  Oats also contain several micronutrients such as manganese, selenium, phosphorus, fiber, magnesium, and zinc.

And, not to mention, oats are dirt cheap!  You can get a huge tub for like $5.  Talk about affordable meals.  Oh, and if you get the quick-cook kind, you just need a minute or two in the microwave and bam, you’re ready for the day.

All you have to do is keep these ingredients around the house, and you can whip up a super healthy breakfast for under a dollar in under 5 minutes.  No more excuses for having just coffee in the morning, you can fill your belly all morning long with healthy whole foods with the push of a microwave button. You can even blend all the ingredients for a thick breakfast smoothie instead.

Cocoa PB Banana Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 large banana
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup milk and/or water

Chocolate peanut butter banana oatmeal

Step 1: Cut or mash the banana in a bowl.  Add the oats and cocoa powder (more if you really want it chocolatey!), and then add the water and/or milk.  Add slightly more or less depending on the consistency you want.

Peanut butter banana oatmeal

Step 2: Microwave for 1 – 2 minutes, give it a good stir.  Add more liquid if needed, or another sprinkle of cocoa on top.  Breathe in the delicious cocoa smells, and dig in!

This is almost Elvis worthy.  All it’s missing is some bacon to be a breakfast fit for the King.  But that seems like a little bit too far… but if you want to try it out, rock it.  And let me know how it goes!

Peanut butter banana oatmeal

Peanut butter banana oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 large banana
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup milk and/or water

Instructions

  1. Cut or mash the banana in a bowl. Add the oats and cocoa powder (more if you really want it chocolatey!), and then add the water and/or milk. Add slightly more or less depending on the consistency you want.
  2. Microwave for 1 - 2 minutes, give it a good stir. Add more liquid if needed, or another sprinkle of cocoa on top.
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http://www.budgetepicurean.com/less-than-5/peanut-butter-banana-oatmeal/

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Mexican Breakfast Strata

 

Don’t you just love it when you make something that takes literally just a few minutes, but turns out amazingly delicious and also very impressive looking?  Me too!  So the other day, my coworkers and I realized that it was someone’s birthday.  We had totally forgotten, and felt terrible, so we decided the following day would be birthday breakfast!  Obviously, I volunteered to cook something.  Problem was, I didn’t think that through…

The next morning, I checked the fridge, and didn’t see much besides some eggs.  But whatever I made had to be transportable; sunny side up doesn’t travel well, and reheated scrambled eggs is icky.  Then I saw a half loaf of bread and the light bulb went on: Strata!  Strata is a breakfast casserole based mostly on eggs and bread.  You can add anything at all pretty much, and it makes a delicious layered meal.

Upon checking the freezer, I found some turkey bacon, and a half bag of frozen corn and peppers/onions.  Since I always keep cans of diced tomatoes and different types of beans around, it just made sense that a Mexican themed strata came together.  Full disclosure: I had no idea how this would come out!  I threw it all together, popped it in the oven, and got in the shower.

Once it was done, I covered it in tin foil, wrapped it in towels to keep it warm, and stuck it in a reusable bag to take it to the office.  An hour later, after a round of “Happy Birthday” which was satisfactorily embarrassing for the coworker in question, came the moment of truth.  I pulled out the pan, uncovered the casserole, and the whole room erupted in “Oh my GOSH that looks amazing!” and “that smells SO good, what is it!?”.  Once we dug in, the compliments just kept rolling.  Almost everyone had seconds, and we finished the whole pan between 6 people!

All this is not to brag, but mostly to convince you that even though it might sound complicated, it is really not.  Even if the combination sounds weird, it does work well.  Just give it a try and see.  You can make strata for the first time on a weekend just to be safe and make sure you have time to get it just right, as long as you make it.  And then tell me I’m right.  🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 8-10 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 loaf of bread
  • 1/2 pound turkey bacon
  • 1 cup peppers and onions
  • 1/2 cup frozen or canned corn
  • 1 1/2 cup salsa or 1 can diced tomatoes with chilies
  • 1 cup black beans (or other type)
  • Optional: shredded cheddar cheese
  • Optional: fresh or dried oregano

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Step 1: In a large bowl, break all the eggs and scramble them well with a fork.  Add the milk and mix well.  Tear the bread into rough chunks.  You can also use a few days’ old bread for this, just add a splash more milk.  Some recipes call for leaving the bread overnight to soak, but I just made it right away and it turned out great, so it’s up to you.

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Step 2: In a frying pan, cook your bacon.  You can also use ham, sausage, and/or chorizo instead.  Or just omit the meat entirely to keep it vegetarian.

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Step 3: Add the vegetables and beans to the pan.  Heat well, and cook until peppers and onions are tender.

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Step 4: Spray a large 9×13 pan with cooking oil or spread with butter.  Pour in the bread and egg mixture.  Add optional cheese if using.

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Step 5: Pour the meats and vegetables and beans into the bread and eggs.  Mix it all together well.  You can also choose to keep it layered like a breakfast lasagna, if you have the time for that.

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Step 6: Bake the whole shebang in a 350 degree oven for about 35-45 minutes.  If you cover it with foil, it will bake faster, if you do not use foil, it will brown on top faster.

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Step 7: For the most impressive presentation, sprinkle with a little more cheddar and fresh oregano springs right when you take it out of the oven.  The cheese will melt from the heat.  Serve immediately, and try to keep yourself from devouring the whole pan in one sitting.

 

 

Mexican Breakfast Strata

Mexican Breakfast Strata

Ingredients

  • 8-10 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 loaf of bread
  • 1/2 pound turkey bacon
  • 1 cup peppers and onions
  • 1/2 cup frozen or canned corn
  • 1 1/2 cup salsa or 1 can diced tomatoes with chilies
  • 1 cup black beans (or other type)
  • Optional: shredded cheddar cheese
  • Optional: fresh or dried oregano

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, break all the eggs and scramble them well with a fork. Add the milk and mix well. Tear the bread into rough chunks. You can also use a few days' old bread for this, just add a splash more milk. Some recipes call for leaving the bread overnight to soak, but I just made it right away and it turned out great, so it's up to you.
  2. In a frying pan, cook your bacon. You can also use ham, sausage, and/or chorizo instead. Or just omit the meat entirely to keep it vegetarian.
  3. Add the vegetables and beans to the pan. Heat well, and cook until peppers and onions are tender.
  4. Spray a large 9x13 pan with cooking oil or spread with butter. Pour in the bread and egg mixture. Add optional cheese if using.
  5. Pour the meats and vegetables and beans into the bread and eggs. Mix it all together well. You can also choose to keep it layered like a breakfast lasagna, if you have the time for that.
  6. Bake the whole shebang in a 350 degree oven for about 35-45 minutes. If you cover it with foil, it will bake faster, if you do not use foil, it will brown on top faster.
  7. For the most impressive presentation, sprinkle with a little more cheddar and fresh oregano springs right when you take it out of the oven. The cheese will melt from the heat. Serve immediately, and try to keep yourself from devouring the whole pan in one sitting.
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http://www.budgetepicurean.com/breakfast/mexican-breakfast-strata/

 

Eggs in a Green Nest

 

One of the hardest hurdles when transitioning to healthier eating, at least for the majority of people, is eating leafy greens.  We all know that leafy greens are the healthiest things out there.  They contain tons of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.  They cost us next to zero calories to consume.  Greens are full of digestible and indigestible fiber to keep your digestive system strong and healthy.

So why do they taste so bad?

Foods which to us taste bitter have an array of compounds in them that naturally protect the delicate leaves from insects who would love to snack at the salad bar of nature.  It is these compounds which tend to be so beneficial for our health.  Unfortunately, humans usually dislike the bitter taste at first.  Fortunately, you can re-train your taste buds to enjoy bitter, and there are many cooking techniques to make bitter foods more palatable.

Adding small amounts of high quality fat like olive oil, or a sour taste like vinegar or lemon juice, can help temper the bitterness of greens.  Sea salt or other salty sources like hard cheeses also helps mask the harsher flavors and draw out the sweeter notes.  My recipe for simply sauteed power greens uses these techniques to create a delicious side dish that even most greens-haters can enjoy.

Greens and Egg

In this simple breakfast recipe, I combine those techniques with fresh eggs for a superstar breakfast that is ready in under 10 minutes, packed with vitamins and nutrients and protein, and will keep you happy and full all morning long.  Enjoy over some brown rice or with whole wheat toast for a well rounded meal.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 fresh organic eggs, if possible
  • 1 large bunch greens (kale, collards, mustard greens, etc) or a mixture of greens to make about 1 – 1 1/2 cups
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp hard, salty cheese such as Parmesan
  • Optional: 1-2 slices wheat bread or 1/2 cup brown rice

Greens in Pan with Egg

Step 1: Rinse your greens to remove any dirt, and slice into thin strips or shred by hand.  Add the oil to the pan, then the greens, and drizzle with lemon juice.  Cover with a lid, and steam the greens for 5-7 minutes.  Optional: you can add a chopped clove or two of garlic

Greens and Egg Yolk and Toast

Step 2: Mix the greens, they should be bright and slightly wilted now.  Use a spoon or spatula to make a small indent in the pile of greens, and crack an egg into the hole.  Cover again, and steam for another 5-7 minutes.  The longer you cook the egg, the more well-done the yolk becomes.  5-7 minutes will leave it slightly runny, as in above photo.

Once the egg is cooked to your desired done-ness, remove to a plate and serve!  I sprinkled a little hard cheese over the egg, which gives it the perfect salty balance to the tart & bitter greens.  You can also use sea salt for the same effect.

You can easily increase this recipe to feed several more people, simply increase the volume of greens and crack in one to two eggs per person.  This is delightful plain with toast, or you could serve with black beans, salsa, hot sauce, relish… whatever floats your culinary boat.

 

Vegetarian Breakfast Strata

I’ve said many times, and I’ll say it again, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
I’ve also said many times that I love easy, make-ahead meals. This breakfast strata could be put together or baked the day before and stored in the fridge if needed. It is super simple and could incorporate any type of veggie or bean you prefer. You can make it completely vegan by using egg substitute and no cheese too.
 
Ingredients:
3 slices bread
1 can beans, slightly mashed
1/2-1 cup vegetable (spinach here)
8-10 eggs, beaten
sprinkle of cheese

Step 1: Lay the bread in an oven-safe pan sprayed with oil. Layer on the mashed beans, cheese and spinach.

Step 2: Add the egg mixture.

Step 3: I sprinkled more cheese on top. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes, until eggs are fully cooked.

Mmmmmmm! Hot, healthy, and protein packed breakfast. Actually this doesn’t necessarily have to be for breakfast, you could have this any time of the day.

 
What are your favorite strata ingredients?

Healthy & hearty turkey bacon breakfast sandwich

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This week Meijer had a sale on turkey bacon for $1.99 and whole wheat english muffins for $1. These are 2 of my favorite things, because they make an amazing breakfast sandwich in about the time it would take you to drive through somewhere, and much cheaper. Plus it tastes amazing!
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Ingredients:
1 english muffin (preferably 100% whole wheat)
1 egg
2 slices turkey bacon
1 slice cheese
Ketchup (if you like it, I do)
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Step 1: Slice the turkey bacon in half. Fry the 4 pieces about 4 minutes, turning once. They should be slightly browned on both sides.

Step 2: Cook the egg. If you like the yolk runny, flip it and take it off heat sooner. I like my yolk cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Step 3: Layer the hot egg, cheese, and bacon onto the muffin, top with a squirt of ketchup and the top of muffin, enjoy!

 You can of course use other breakfast meats like a sausage patty or ham. Or get rid of the meat and use avocado, hummus, tomato, or other veggies for a vegetarian/vegan option.
Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 1
  • Calories: 317.7
  • Total Fat: 15.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 214.7 mg
  • Sodium: 770.3 mg
  • Total Carbs: 27.0 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 4.4 g
  • Protein: 18.7 g