Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Make Ahead Breakfast

Ahh Breakfast. The most important meal of the day and yet the hardest one to get on the table to eat. I have never been a huge breakfast person. When it was just me, I would skip breakfast many times because I was in a big hurry. I would sleep in and then have no time to eat and still get to where I needed to be in time. Then you add in 3 little growing boys to the mix and not only did I have to get food on the table for myself but also some screaming toddlers.

I find breakfast to be even more stressful than dinner (the whole "witching hour" thing) to get on the table when you have little ones. The main reason is they wake up because they are hungry and crying is the fastest way of communication at this age. Most days I have to wake up at 5am to get up before Big and Medium Little and I have been up at least 2 times with Little Little. I have been trying to teach the older ones to sleep until 7am but it seems that 6am is the time they want to start stirring. So how does a groggy mommy get meals around that a 1 and 3 year old can eat without much help because I am tending to a 2 month old? I make my breakfast a month or so ahead of time. If I didn't we would be eating sugary cereal all the time.

Stock Photo

Planning Ahead

I am a big planner but you don't have to be to eat a nice breakfast. I have some standard recipes that require little more than an hour to make many and then a microwave to reheat for 90 seconds in the morning. I also have some that you need to get out the night before and then pop in the oven in the morning. 

I choose one day to make many different types of breakfast items and then kick the kids out of the kitchen. Dad is the only one in charge that day and Mom is 100% off limits to taking care of children. I have also spent a week making 2 or 3 dishes at nap time each day. The best way to set up any make ahead cooking is to choose one or two main ingredients and work off from those. It is also important to remember that you don't have to have a sausage based meal every day, for example, but you can make 4 sausage based items and have them throughout a month or two. It won't get repetitive if you don't want it to. 

How do I find what to make?

I have found a wonderful site for inspiration of make-a-head meals. Life as a Mom is a great resource for ideas of how to cook ahead of time, what meals work and ones that don't, and how to store foods. I have also found that going online and looking for OAMC (once a month cooking) meals I can get an idea of things that I would like to try. When trying a recipe I always make it small, test in the freezer and then try to eat it a few days later. I also send some to work with Dad to get their input as well. They are very good at telling me what needs to change, what they like, what they don't like, etc. Ultimately it is up to my family to make the decision because we will be eating it, but it nice to get other feedback from outside sources. I also try to make all my recipes toddler friendly. Since small children out number adults we try to have everything in a form little ones can eat them in. We don't sacrifice taste just sometimes the presentation is missing.

Some recipes I like (and so do the Littles)

Pancakes - make a ton, place on a cookie sheet, freeze for 30 minutes and place in a container. Placing on a cookie sheet will Flash Freeze them and keep them from sticking for the long term freeze. 

Muffins - I have my favorite muffin mix and I store the DRY ingredients in a mason jar. When it is early on a Sunday morning I just have to add milk, veggie oil and a egg. Saves time because you are not getting measuring cups and many other ingredients out.

Granola - I am working on my recipe for this. 

These are just a few that we have tried with success. I have a few that I want to try but haven't had time on my big cooking days. I also have a few that I like but need some tweaking to get just right. 

Do you freezer cook? Anything you do to make breakfast less hectic?

1 comment:

  1. I make extra french toast and pancakes for the freezer about twice a month, and then it is really easy on mornings my son has preschool. he still gets a hot breakfast and it doesn't have to be oatmeal everyday!