Whole grain breakfast bake with ginger and pears that you prep the night before. It sounds like a win to me! I originally made something like this with apples and cinnamon and I decided that the same concept would work just as well with pears and ginger. It turns out I may actually like this variation even better.
Baked oatmeal is a great breakfast when you have guests around the holidays (or any time for that matter!) because you can get it ready the night before and pop it in the oven the next morning. That way you don’t have to get your butt out of bed super early to cook them breakfast, and they don’t come into the kitchen in search of coffee only to find you slaving over the stove, which in turn makes them feel obligated to help. Let’s be honest, they don’t want to help. Chances are they didn’t sleep well because they aren’t in their own bed, or not in a bed at all, and all they want is some caffeine in an extra large mug to help get them motivated to face whatever their day will bring. You know what I’m talking about. We’ve all been there.
I love making frittatas. They are the answer to every single food serving conundrum:
What do I feed our out of town guests?
Eek! It’s the end of the month and my refrigerator is practically empty!
Where else can I attempt to hide this excess of zucchini?
Making a frittata is as easy as making scrambled eggs. You move the eggs around a bit but before they are cooked through entirely, you sprinkle some cheese on top and put the whole pan under the broiler. The cheese gets all melty and the whole thing puffs up and it looks ten times more appetizing than a pan of scrambled eggs. Since you finish cooking the egg mixture under the broiler, it all comes together enough that you can cut neat little wedges to serve it instead of heaping a glob of eggs on your plate. Even if you’re only making it for yourself with end of the month leftovers, it’s still nice if your food actually looks like you want to eat it, don’t you think?
If you’re not already on the quinoa cup train, hop on board! I first pinned these from Iowa Girl Eats and let them languish on my Breakfast board for several months before I finally gave them a try. I make little egg fritattas in muffin pans all of the time but despite putting quinoa in just about everything else, I was skeptical about adding it to eggs. In the end, I’m so very glad I tried them because they have become a staple in my weekly meal plans.
I am perpetually mystified by those people that do not eat breakfast. Or the folks that have a piece of toast and a cup of coffee and go on their way, inexplicably full despite eating what I would consider little more than a bowl of air. I wake up HUNGRY. If I don’t eat, then watch out because I am unhappy, very cranky, and even more short-tempered than usual. Suffice it to say, breakfast for me has to be substantial. A bowl of cold cereal just isn’t going to get the job done. Give me a bowl of oatmeal or a giant smoothie that requires a quart size mason jar to serve it and then I’m happy.
I understand that mornings are busy. Ours are definitely busy, which is why I make lots of baked oatmeal. It’s delicious, it freezes well; it’s a perfect make ahead breakfast. The other week, I was lamenting over the fact that I was out of my regular oats and I discovered that I apparently went on a bulgur bender over the past few months because I have enough bulgur in my pantry to feed the entire populace of Turkey. I did some experimenting and I now have a new favorite hot breakfast that combines cooked bulgur and quick cooking steel cut oats. The bulgur makes it extra chewy and the apples and raisins give it some sweetness without adding lots of extra sugar. An added bonus is that bulgur has a similar nutritional profile to oats, but with twice the fiber.
It is my general belief that more people would eat their vegetables if they came in colors as beautiful as those found in swiss chard. The stems are practically hot pink! Why wouldn’t you want to eat that? Don’t even get me started on the fact that swiss chard as a great source of Magnesium as well as Vitamins K and C.
Be that as it may, to some, the idea of eating a plateful of chard is less than appealing (Yes, Ray, I mean you). Here, we pair some sauteed chard with caramelized onions and Gruyere in a quinoa crust. The onions are sweet, the Gruyere is nutty, and you don’t even realize you’re eating something that’s actually really good for you, which is exactly how I prefer my food to be. You could definitely substitute any old swiss cheese here, but one reason you can use so little is because Gruyere has a more intense flavor than your average swiss. If you splurge for it, wrap up the rest and throw it in your freezer, because we’ll use it again in the future!
Do me a favor, and don’t wig out about the prospect of a quinoa crust. It’s actually a fantastic idea. I thought for about five minutes that I was the brainchild behind this whole concept, until I Googled “quinoa crust” out of curiosity and discovered that not only did I not create it, but I’m actually late to the quinoa crust party. I wish I could adequately describe it with a word other than “chewy” or “crispy,” both of which seem entirely too prosaic for an idea that is so innovative. Unfortunately for you, I’m getting nowhere on that front, so I suppose you’ll just have to give it a try and find out for yourself.
If you have never cooked quinoa, don’t be afraid. It is cooked much like couscous or rice. Do make sure to rinse your quinoa before putting it in the pot, otherwise it can have a bitter flavor. Once cooked and cooled somewhat, combine it with a beaten egg and press the mixture into a pie pan to form your crust. I found that getting the mixture evenly distributed was most easily done by using a large dry measuring cup to press the mixture down and around the sides of the pan.