Try new breakfast go-to, save time, money

QUEEN OF FREE: CHERIE LOWE

By Cherie Lowe

An apple and peanut butter, one cup of coffee … it’s what’s on my morning menu nearly everyday of the month. Friends, I’ve fallen into a breakfast rut.

In some ways I love this default first meal of the day. It’s simple to prepare and I don’t have much time or mental capacity to spare when I rise before the sun comes up to begin the work of my life and home. It’s fairly healthy, too.

Although I’ve been cutting back on the caffeine a little in the new year because I had to admit that I had a problem. But the same meal, day in and day out, becomes a little bland and overly routine. So, I’ve been on the prowl to find new recipes with convenient, quick ways to prepare.

I’m ready to punch up the flavor of the most important meal of the day without spending hours of prep work in the kitchen (nobody’s got time for that). Here are some unique and healthy ideas I’ve found to make breakfast sing without much fuss.

Waffle eggs

Protein in the morning allows your body to burn efficient fuel all day long. I always feel fuller after an egg. But preparing eggs can be a messy venture. And the fewer dishes I have to wash each day, the better. After seeing a quick video on Facebook one day, I decided to begin preparing eggs in my waffle iron.

I simply scramble two eggs with my favorite add-ins — salt, pepper, a tablespoon of milk or plain Greek yogurt, chopped veggies — and of course cheese. While I’m doing this, I heat the waffle iron (you’ll need to grease it if it’s not non-stick). Carefully pour the mixture into the center of the hot iron, spreading out the mixture evenly. Close it and cook for just about one minute or until the steam stops seeping from the sides. Sure, your omelette has a non-traditional shape, but the clean up is a snap and you’ve just made a protein packed meal in less than five minutes.

Overnight oats

A quick search on Pinterest, the online bulletin board of crafts, recipes, household tips and more, reveals that people love the overnight oat breakfast concept. Prepare a mix of equal parts of raw rolled oats, milk and yogurt in a jar or bowl.

One third to one half of a cup of each should be more than enough. Health nuts can add nutrient-rich ingredients like chia or flaxseed, too. The basic recipe is a blank slate, and you can add any other fruits, nuts, spices (mmmm cinnamon), nut butters, sweeteners or even chocolate to customize your oats to your taste.

Then simply place the mixture into your refrigerator to chill and expand while you sleep the night away. In the morning, the dish is eaten cold so you can pull it straight from the fridge and begin your day.

Pre-cooked pancakes

As a kid, it was always a special week when my mom purchased the box of frozen pancakes that we could place in the toaster or microwave to heat up on our own. In a matter of seconds, I had my very own delicious breakfast with much less hassle and fewer dirty dishes. Now, I often love to treat my girls to the same morning delicacy.

But instead of purchasing the pre-packaged variety of my youth, I choose to fix a double batch of our own favorite batter whenever we have a weekend big breakfast. Then I portion out and freeze the extras for a quick breakfast luxury any day of the week. Whether you used a boxed mix or a from scratch recipe, this cost effective method cuts allows you to add favorite flavors, too!

Breakfast burrito

Sometimes you need a breakfast that can move with you. Whether you eat on your commute to work or after you arrive at school, a breakfast burrito puts the most important meal of the day right into your hands. The basic ingredients include egg, cheese, breakfast meats such as bacon, ham or sausage, and even hash browns or potatoes.

I love the ability to prepare an entire week’s worth of these on the weekend, wrap them in aluminum foil and freeze. Since everything inside is already cooked, they merely need reheated in the oven while I’m getting ready for my day. This grab-and-go meal provides much more energy for my day than a granola bar or sugary doughnut while taking a similar convenient form.

While I don’t think I will ever really completely tire of my basic apple/peanut butter/coffee breakfast, it’s so nice to have more options to fit my busy lifestyle. A small amount of preparation on the weekend keeps me well-fueled when it counts the most and rescues my budget from trips through the drive through, too.

Greenwood resident Cherie Lowe and her husband paid off $127,000 in debt in four years and now live debt-free every day with their two kids. She is the author of “Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After.” Send questions, column ideas and comments to newstips@dailyjournal.net.