Culinary Sleuth

Rise, Eat and THEN Shine:
Best Breakfast Ideas

by Lynn Kerrigan


The studies are in and prove what Mother often nagged about: "Eat your breakfast. You can't start the day on an empty stomach." Now science validates Mom's admonishment with proof positive that breaking the nightly fast is good for our health, increases energy, elevates brain power and makes us all warm and fuzzy inside. Breakfast is back! If you're like me, breakfast is often a hastily gulped cup of coffee and bagel. Sometimes even the bagel didn't make the list. Now wiser, my morning bowl of cereal really works. I'm no longer hungry—even at lunch time and my energy level breaks sound barriers. I noticed another surprising benefit too. Those carbohydrates I consume help me stay serene. Not even the nastiest boss disturbs my space.

As our lives grew more complicated and Mother trudged out the door, briefcase in hand right after Daddy, old fashioned family breakfasts became a haunting memory of a simpler life. Pity, because it improves children's performance at school, boosts performance on the job, and may even contribute to weight loss. The weight loss theory is this: When we break the nightly fast with a morning meal, we rev our metabolism, we're less likely to crave mid-morning snacks and the word "sluggish" never makes it into our vocabulary. Revving the metabolism is the key. When we don't eat a morning meal our metabolism stays stalled at the same sluggish rate it was as we slept. Metabolism increases each time we eat because our bodies must work to convert food into energy. When metabolism increases, we burn more calories.

Studies prove children who eat a nutritious breakfast do better on tests than their non-breakfast eating peers, but you may find it difficult to get your teenager to sit with you at a morning meal. They typically need the most sleep among all age groups and tend to "sleep in," then race out the door as if chased by demons. But if you lock a child into the habit of breaking the fast early on, the need for morning nourishment will remain with him throughout his life. It starts with you. Like everything else, children learn by example. So set the clock twenty minutes earlier, whip up a nourishing meal, sit your fanny down and greet the day together. You'll not only increase your child's and your own brain power but provide a loving and healthy way to take on the day.

Even if rushed, a breakfast of cold cereal and fruit provides a powerful start to face the world. Cereal has gotten a bum rap over the years. Now that prices have dropped and since most vitamin-fortified cereals meet part of our daily requirements, they're a nutritional bargain. Just remember to read the labels. Some cereals are more fortified than others and many have enough fiber to meet 1/3 of daily needs. And finally, if you're worried about feeding your child sugar coated cereals, you can relax. Sugar has never proven harmful to people and contrary to popular belief is not a factor in Attention Deficit Disorder or hyperactivity.



For special occasions, here are a few Egg-stravagant dishes fitting a Morning Feast.


Baked Scrambled Egg Casserole

Heat oven to 250 degrees. Grease a 2-quart casserole. In large skillet, melt margarine. Sauté onions until crisp tender. In large bowl, beat eggs; stir in half & half and ham. Pour egg mixture into skillet with onions; mix well. Cook over medium heat. As mixture begins to set, gently lift cooked portions with spatula so that thin uncooked portions can flow to bottom. Avoid constant stirring. Cook until eggs thickened throughout; spoon into prepared casserole dish. Pour soup evenly over top. Bake at 250 degrees for 30 minutes; sprinkle with cheddar cheese and bake 10-15 minutes longer.


Acapulco Baked Eggs

Put butter in 8-inch square baking pan. Set pan in 350 degree oven to melt. Shake pan to distribute butter evenly. Slightly beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until eggs begin to set. Sprinkle with cheese and chiles. Draw a wide metal spatula across bottom of pan several times to break up mixture. Bake, breaking up mixture again several times for 5 more minutes or until of desired doneness. Serve with tomato sauce, ketchup or chili sauce, if used. Garnish with sliced tomatoes.


Bacon n' Cheese Breakfast Pizza

Roll pastry to fit a 12-inch pizza pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes. Sprinkle bacon and cheese evenly over crust. In a bowl, beat eggs, sour cream and parsley until smooth; pour over pizza. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until pizza is puffy and lightly browned. Yield 6 main-dish or 18 appetizer servings.


Bacon 'n Eggs Crescents

Cook the bacon crisp; crumble. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Separate dough into 4 rectangles. Place 2 rectangles in ungreased 8-inch square pan; press over bottom and 1/2 inch up sides to form crust, sealing perforations. Place cheese slices over dough. Sprinkle bacon and onions over evenly. Blend milk and eggs; pour over bacon. Separate remaining dough into triangles; arrange triangles over bacon-egg mix; do not seal. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and filling sets.


Copyright © 1997, Lynn Kerrigan. No portion of this article may be reproduced for publication without express, written permission of the author.


This page created 1997 and modified February 2007