Northwest NEWS

August 23, 1999

Home & Garden

Dining In: Wake up sleepyheads with breakfast

   Whether they're heading off to school or out to play, kids need a nutritious breakfast. Well-fed children feel better, learn better, and behave better than hungry children. Meet the challenge with these eye-opening ideas to give your little sleepyhead a good start on his or her day...

   To cut down on dishwashing, make scrambled eggs in the microwave, right in the serving dish. In a 10-ounce custard cup or small bowl, beat together 2 eggs and 2 tablespoons milk until blended. Cook on full power, stirring once or twice, until the eggs are almost set, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Stir. If necessary, cover the container with plastic wrap and let it stand until the eggs are thickened and no visible liquid egg remains, about 1 minute.

   In a hurry? Then spoon the scrambled eggs into pita bread pockets, with or without a sprinkling of shredded cheese or a dollop of catsup or jelly. Grab an easy-to-eat fruit, like an apple or banana, and your little one can eat on the run.

   Make, cool, wrap, and freeze a batch of French toast when you have extra time. To eat, don't bother to defrost. Simply pop individual slices into the toaster or bake the batchful in a preheated 375-degree oven for about 8 to 10 minutes. For a quick, nutritious topping, open a jar of applesauce.

   To wake up a preschooler's taste buds, make Green Eggs and Ham. Beat together 2 eggs and a couple of spoonfuls of cottage cheese. Add a handful of finely chopped spinach and a spoonful or two of chopped lean cooked ham. Cook just like scrambled eggs and serve with whole-grain toast. For an easy breakfast on the go, cook beaten eggs into an omelet, but don't fold it. Simply slide it onto a tortilla and top it with salsa. Then roll up or fold the tortilla for out-of-hand eating.

Flash-In-The-Pan Frittata

   2/3 c. water
   1/2 c. quick-cooking brown rice
   1 c. frozen vegetable blend
   1/4 cup low-fat (1%) cottage cheese
   2 eggs
   2 Tbsp. reduced-sodium teriyaki sauce

   In a 8-to-10-inch omelet pan or skillet with ovenproof handle, bring water and rice to boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until water is absorbed, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in vegetables and cheese. In small bowl, beat together eggs and sauce until blended. Pour over rice and vegetables. Cook over low to medium heat until eggs are almost set, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand until no visible liquid egg remains, about 5 minutes or broil about 6 inches from heat until no visible egg remains, about 2 to 3 minutes. Slide from pan onto serving plate. Cut in half or into wedges.

Baked French Toast Wedges

   4 whole English muffins, cut into 1" cubes
   3 large eggs
   1/2 c. sugar
   1 tsp.cinnamon
   1 tsp. vanilla
   1/4 tsp. salt
   1 2/3 cups half-and-half, whipping cream or whole milk
   2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
   1/8 tsp. nutmeg, preferably freshly grated

   Spray 10-inch quiche dish or deep-dish pie plate with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange muffins in a single layer in dish. In a medium bowl, beat together eggs and combined sugar and cinnamon. Stir in vanilla and salt; mix well. Add half-and-half and melted butter or margarine, mixing well. Pour evenly over muffins; press down on muffins to moisten with liquid. Sprinkle nutmeg evenly over mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight or bake immediately. Bake in 350-degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Transfer to cooling rack; cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

   Cut into wedges and serve warm with desired fruit topping or heated maple syrup. At this point, French toast may be cooled completely, cut into wedges, placed between sheets of waxed paper in a plastic freezer storage bag and frozen for up to one month. Place frozen wedges on baking sheet and bake in 350 degrees oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until thawed and heated through. Makes 6 servings.

Toppings for French Toast

   Mixed Fruit Topping: Combine 1 kiwifruit, peeled and diced, 1/2 cup fresh raspberries and 1 ripe small banana, sliced with 2 tablespoons honey and 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice. Let stand 5 minutes. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

   Strawberry Topping: Combine 1 1/4 cups thinly sliced strawberries, 1/4 cup strawberry jam or currant jelly, and 1 teaspoon orange juice in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and cook at high power one minute or until warm.