Ready? Set? Go. Go. Go.
With the whirlwind of a new school year starting, I am looking for shortcuts to make my morning routine easier. My son will be starting Kindergarten this year so breakfast will be even more important for him. I want to give him the best start in learning with a good meal to start to his day. A big fan of a warm breakfast, I'm not sure I can commit to getting up and making something from scratch everyday. With a new baby and this school thing my schedule is going to be pretty crazy. I'm nervous about this new milestone in my son's life, but confident that I can have a positive impact.
This sounds like the perfect time to break out some big batch freezer cooking!
Have you tried it? Just a few hours on the weekend can set me up for a whole week of easy meals.
To get started, I grabbed my daughter and headed to our local Walmart. Her brother was off picking out school clothes with his grandparents so it was a great time to get it all done. There were a couple Nestle products I wanted to pick up to make our Back to School breakfasts go even faster.
Knowing I can't leave myself out of fast breakfast options, I grabbed a box of Carnation Breakfast Essentials. I love the milk chocolate, but for smoothies bases I prefer the Classic French Vanilla flavor. Busy mornings I often forget to eat, but since I am nursing I need those precious calories even more right now. If I have less than 5 minutes before heading out the door, I can always whip up a delicious French Vanilla Berry Smoothie.
You will Need:
- 1 pouch Carnation Breakfast Essentials in French Vanilla
- 2/3 c. 1% milk
- 1/2 c. frozen mixed berries
- 4 ice cubes
The smoothie is a great option for me, but what about my kids?
My kids really like French Toast, but I wanted to make it even easier for busy mornings. As a kid, I enjoyed buying fast food French Toast sticks at the fast food drive-thru. This recipe is my nod to that convenience without the drive-thru or fried part.
I like to get my son involved in the kitchen. It's so easy and since this recipe doesn't contain raw eggs, I don't worry about him making a mess or sneaking the occasional taste. I handle the cooking and freezing portion but at 5-years old can handle the measuring, mixing and dunking. I think Owen enjoys eating this French Toast even more since he helped make it.
My kids have many food restrictions, including dairy and eggs. I enjoy using the Coffee-mate products because they not only come in a variety of fun flavors, but they are a creamy non-dairy option.
Owen's Freezer French Toast Sticks
(non-dairy and egg free)
You Will Need:
- 10 slices of bread - I used Tapioca bread
- Ener-G egg replacer
- French Vanilla Coffee-mate
- butter or non-stick spray for cooking
In a bowl, whisk together the ingredients except the butter. I pour it into a small casserole dish wide enough to fit the slice of bread. Working one at a time, dip the bread into the batter to coat one side, and then the other.
Cook over medium high heat until golden brown on both sides. Place each slice on a cooling rack to cool completely.
To prepare for freezing I like to cute the slices into strips. This makes it a fast finger-food, ready for dipping and eating in the morning. Place the cooled slices on a parchment paper lined baking sheet in a single layer. Freeze for at least an hour and then transfer to a large zip topped bag and then store in the freezer.
To reheat, place several slices on a plate and microwave for 30 seconds to a minute. Heating time will vary depending on how many slices you plan to reheat at once. Serve with a small bowl of syrup or mashed fruit for dipping.
For this meal my son paired his French Toast sticks with strawberry syrup and our orchards peaches. He gave it a thumbs up for taste and it has this mom's seal of approval because it is so fast to get ready.
Another make ahead freezer recipe I love is the versatile egg cup. Whether you call it a crustless quiche, or an egg muffin, it is a fast way to have eggs in the morning without the frying pan. We have a lot of eggs available on the farm so I often whip this up to use up our surplus. I am a big fan of this frugal protein.
Leek & Zucchini Egg Cups
You Will Need:
- non-stick cooking spray
- approx. 1/3 c. panko breadcrumbs
- olive oil
- 2 leeks, sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 medium zucchini
- 8 eggs
- 1/2 c. Original Nestle Coffee-mate
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 c. sharp Cheddar or Monterey Jack Cheese, grated
- 1 Tbsp. corn starch *optional
Spray 24 muffin cups with non-stick spray. Add approximately 1/2 Tbsp of panko to each cup and gently tip and shake to coat up the sides. Set aside.
Slice and prep the leeks by filling a bowl of water and adding sliced leeks to it. The grit and dirt will fall to the bottom. Drain and sweat in pan with 1 tsp. butter and 1 Tbsp. olive oil till tender. Set aside and let cool.
Grate the zucchini*, lightly salt it and set aside in a colander so it can drain for about 15 minutes. Squeeze out any excess moisture and then soften in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Add to the sauteed leeks, set aside and let cool. *Substitute in the vegetables you have on hand. Spinach, mushrooms, or bell peppers also work well.
While the vegetables are cooling, whisk together the eggs, creamer, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. If you prefer a firm egg, add the cornstarch, dissolved in a little water, at this time. Leaving it out the egg will be more delicate but both will freeze well.
In each muffin cup, add a tablespoon of the vegetable filling. Add 3 tablespoons of egg mixture and top with grated cheese. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes until the top is golden and the egg has set. Let them cool for 5 minutes before loosening the edges and inverting on a wire cooling rack. Let them cool completely before freezing in a single layer on a baking dish. Store in a freezer bag or container.
To reheat, microwave for 30 second intervals until they are warmed through. Cooking time will vary depending on how many egg cups you are heating up.
Now I am set for back to school. Nestle products helped me prepare a variety of quick and easy meals. My freezer is stocked and ready for breakfast. I'm sure my son is going to have a great time, but the real question is whether I will survive Kindergarten...
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