A while back, my family challenged ourselves to go a whole week of eating a cooked breakfast every. single. day. Our Sunday breakfast recipe was my favourite, mostly because it was as easy to make as pouring a bowl of cereal.
Are you a big breakfast eater? Making breakfast a priority instead of a possible after-thought was new for me.
We found that eating a good breakfast made us feel more energetic. We woke up with an appetite and actually enjoyed making something fresh to fill it with. Eating a full breakfast filled me up for the morning, so I could focus on my work without my stomach growling at me. I think it really helped improve my digestion, too.
If you’re keen to get something more interesting happening in the mornings, start with this Sunday breakfast option. It’s a healthy version of a full English, and it’s an absolutely delicious way to kick off a Sunday. Once you’ve tried this and seen how easy it is, I reckon you’ll soon be making a cooked breakfast more than once a week.
This is nice for breakfast too: Pineapple and strawberry breakfast loaf
Sunday breakfast with baked tomatoes, egg pies, beans and mushrooms
Makes 4 serves
Takes 10 mins
Bakes 15 mins
• 1 sheet puff pastry
• A little melted butter
• 4 free-range eggs
• 4 vine-ripened tomatoes
• 1 can baked beans
• About 200gm button mushrooms, chopped
• Olive oil
• A knob of butter
• 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 200ºC and lightly grease a 12 hole muffin tin.
Cut the puff pastry into quarters. Line four holes with squares of puff pastry. Lightly brush some melted butter over the pastry and crack an egg into each.
Fill the remaining holes with tomatoes and baked beans, then pop the whole tray into the oven to bake for 15 mins.
While that’s cooking, sauté the mushrooms in olive oil and butter, with the garlic. Cook until soft and slightly crispy on the outside.
The first thing my boys do when they walk in the door is create a school bag minefield in the middle of the hallway. Then they head straight into the kitchen, open the fridge door and stare in there like they have never see food before. It’s time to play after school snack roulette.
“I’m sooooo hungry”
“We have no food”
Insert 10,000 variations of the above and that is pretty much as close to a “hello Mum, was your day?” that I am going to get until they hoover down said after school snack.
It does not matter how much I have packed in their lunch box for them during the day, when they get home they are starving. Like chew the handle on a hockey stick kind of hungry.
And so my priority is to feed them, BEFORE they go and get all hangry on me and turn into feral animals scavenging for food.
As much as I once had this homely image of me welcoming the kids at the door and then serving them up a freshly baked scones whilst we chat about their day, the reality is – who has time for that every day? Besides, I suck at making scones.
Add an after school activity into the mix and the pressure is on to impress with something they actually want to eat. Fruit is my go to option for feeding the troops their after school snack. Quick, easy, healthy and affordable.
Making fruit fun is the goal here people and if you manage to sneak a few veggies in there without them noticing then bonus points for a sneaky win. Here is my go-to quick and easy way to make a healthy after school snack, with little to no effort required.
Another good one: Yoghurt and mixed berry oat cups
Fruit and yoghurt cones
• 4 flat-bottom ice cream cones
• Fruit cut into small pieces
• Vanilla yoghurt
Fill the cones with the fruit salad and drizzle over the yoghurt. Done!
What’s the go-to after school snack at your place?
These nutritious breakfast bars are made for busy times, and these are busy times indeed. Everyone is T+E (tired and emotional – remember when that was a thing, along with D+Ms?). My kids would rather have 15 extra minutes in bed than get up and make a proper breakfast, and I’m inclined to let them. That’s when a yummy, nutritious breakfast bar comes into its own.
My kids grab one of these on their way out the door. This is after we have the ‘you still need to clean your teeth even though you haven’t had breakfast yet’ talk. I’m not sure it works, either, but who doesn’t brush their teeth in the mornings?
Breakfast bars are endlessly versatile
You can change up this breakfast bars recipe to suit your tastes and your pantry. I’ve offered a few suggestions below, but I say go for it. Pack the nutrition in, with plenty of protein from nuts and seeds, and it will keep everyone go, go, going all morning.
Note that this one is not for those on a nut-free regime. Although, feel free to leave out all nuts and peanut butter and just throw in an extra cup of oats and some coconut oil to substitute.
Try this zippy brekkie too: Yoghurt and berry oat cups
Go anywhere breakfast bars
Makes 16 bars
Takes 15 mins
Bakes 20 mins
• 1 ½ cup rolled oats
• 1 cup almonds or ¾ cup ground almonds
• 1 tbs ground flaxseed (optional – add an extra few almonds if omitting)
• 1 tbs ground maca (optional – add an extra few almonds if omitting)
• ½ cup sunflower seeds
• pinch of cinnamon
• pinch of nutmeg
• ¼ cup maple syrup
• ¼ cup peanut butter
• 1 cup pitted dates
• ¼ cup boiling water
• 1 egg
Line a tin with baking paper and preheat oven to 170°C.
Toast the oats in a heavy-based frypan until golden, then put them into a large mixing bowl.
Process the whole almonds in a food processor until finely chopped, then add to the mixing bowl, OR add your ground almonds to the mixing bowl. Combine oats and almonds then add the flaxseed, maca, pepitas, sunflower seeds, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Heat the maple syrup and peanut butter in a small saucepan on medium heat until fully melted. Add the mix to the dry ingredients then put the saucepan back on the heat and immediately add the dates and pour over the boiling water.
Boil the dates for a minute or two, then pour into the food processor and whizz until pureed. Add the puree to the mixing bowl and stir through. Once the mix is cool, crack in your egg and thoroughly combine all ingredients.
Press the mixture into the baking tin, pressing down firmly with a large metal spoon. At this stage you can sprinkle the top with extra sunflower seeds if you like (Note: I love the extra crunch, but my kids reject the breakfast bars if I do this 🙄).
Bake for 20 minutes until golden on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan. Cut into bars and then cool completely on a wire rack.
These bars will keep for a few days in an airtight container on the kitchen bench or wrap in baking paper and freeze. Serve with a glass of milk and some cut up fruit for quick, easy mornings.
Would breakfast bars like these come in handy at your place too?
Now here’s an easy everyday breakfast idea: bake this pineapple and strawberry breakfast loaf for the toaster. You can freeze this recipe in slices, taking a slice out and popping it straight into the toaster in the morning. Remember to hit the little ‘freezer’ button on the toaster to get a nice, crunchy toasted slice.
A breakfast loaf like this one is simply a lovely way to start the day. Spread it with butter, top it with ricotta and fresh strawberry slices, or use it as the basis for a yoghurt and berry ‘pudding’. Yum!
This recipe makes two good-sized loaves – one for you and one to gift to a friend. It’s nice taking a breakfast loaf over to a friend’s, don’t you think? They will love you for introducing them to this delicious, easy recipe. Mornings have never tasted so good (or been so darn easy!).
This is also easy for mornings: The easiest ever way to cook bulk pancakes
Pineapple and strawberry breakfast loaf
Makes two loaves
Takes 10 minutes
Bakes about 1 hour
• 1 250g punnet of strawberries, sliced
• 1 250g tin of crushed pineapple, drained
• 4 eggs, lightly beaten
• 2 cups of castor sugar
• 1 ¼ cups of vegetable oil
• 3 cups of plain flour
• 1 teaspoon of baking powder
• 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon of salt
Preheat oven to 180ºC (170ºC fan-forced). Grease and line two standard 28cm x 15.5cm x 7.5cm loaf tins.
Mix together the strawberries, pineapple, eggs, sugar and oil. Set this fruit mixture aside.
In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add the fruit mixture and stir until combined.
Divide the batter between the two prepared loaf tins and cook for 50 – 60 minutes. The loaves are ready when an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack and serve warm or cold.
• This breakfast loaf freezes well – either the entire loaf for up to a month or in slices for a couple of weeks. Wrap in greaseproof paper then put into an airtight freezer-proof container before freezing.
I have to confess, before I came up with this amazing tuna tagliatelle recipe, my pasta repertoire in the past tended to go something like this:
Spag bog, spag bog and spag bog.
(that would be Spaghetti Bolognese for the less bogan-ish among us).
It’s just one of those recipes that everyone kind of knows off the top of their head and you can pretty much make it without to much thought and even with a baby on the hip, a toddler or small human attached to your ankles and without having to take your eyes of the Bold and The Beautiful.
A bit like me in my early parenting days.
Okay, me yesterday.
Whatever, my point remains – spag bol is soooo darn easy to make so why change?
Because it is boooring!
There I said it… although because I am such a wuss I would like to take a moment to sincerely apologise to any seriously dedicated spaghetti lovers that I may have just offended.
The thing is I am just sooooo over spaghetti Bolognese and so I thought I would come up with a new pasta dish. It just had to meet these strict criteria:
• Easy to make
• No fussy hard to find ingredients
• The kids have to eat it without any mind bending moaning from them or bribery from me
• It can be made in pretty much the time it takes for a pot of pasta to cook.
Right! Here’s me smashing my self-imposed challenge with my Chilli tuna tagliatelle with lemon and asparagus. Get on it!
Chilli tuna tagliatelle with lemon and asparagus
Makes four serves
Takes less than 20 minutes
• 400gm can of tuna in spring water, drained
• A generous handful of parsley, finely chopped
• 1 lemon
• 2-3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
• 3 tbs of olive oil
• ¼ cup of grated or shaved parmesan cheese
• 1 bunch of fresh asparagus
• 1 packet of tagliatelle egg pasta
Cook pasta according to instructions.
Cover asparagus with 2 cups of salted boiling water and let it stand for 10 to 12 minutes until it is crisp and tender. Then drain and chop.
While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a fry pan and cook garlic and parsley until onion is soft. Add tuna and cook for a few minutes then add the juice from one lemon, a little salt and pepper and the asparagus.
Drain pasta and toss it through the tuna mix.
To serve sprinkle with chilli flakes for the chilli lovers, some cracked pepper and sprinkle over the parmesan cheese.
What’s a quick dinner at yours?