Category: Breakfast

Pannetone French Toast

The day after the Pad Thai experiment, my sister took charge of breakfast. She had been given a loaf of Pannetone, an Italian sweet bread, and decided to use it to make French toast. A very rich breakfast indeed, but if it’s good enough for Giada, it’s good enough for us!

The Pannetone is sliced, and then soaked in a mixture of eggs, cream, milk, and sugar. The slices are cooked in butter on a griddle or frying pan until golden brown.

The recipe called for a garnish of mascarpone and powdered sugar, but we went with fresh fruit (not pictured here.) While this French toast made a nice breakfast, we all agreed that it fell short of amazing. Given the fact that it’s most certainly a ‘special occasion’ meal, we’ll keep looking for new options.

Baked Eggs with Spinach and Tomatoes

A balanced breakfast should include a variety of foods, so to accompany the wheat bagels I made this casserole from Real Simple. The base of the dish includes sauteed spinach and tomatoes which are held together with egg whites. The egg yolks are gently placed on the top, and then the entire casserole is baked for 20 minutes.

I am a huge spinach fan, so I used two (10 oz.) packages of frozen spinach instead of one pound of fresh spinach as indicated in the recipe. The result was that there was way too much spinach, and it overwhelmed all the other ingredients. Plus, everyone agreed that this recipe needed some cheese. We added freshly grated Parmesan at the table, but next time I might add shredded cheddar cheese and let it melt in the oven. With just a few small changes, I am confident that this will be a super easy and delicious breakfast casserole.


When I think about waffles, I picture a relaxing weekend brunch. But waffles can be a simple weekday option if you make them ahead of time and store them in the freezer. After just a few minutes in the toaster oven, they’re crispy and hot. My mom is actually the one who has been making a lot of waffles lately, since my nephew loves them. (His limited vocabulary does include the word “Yum!”) She gave me a few for my freezer, and they came in handy during my recent busy weeks. I topped them with a little peanut butter, sliced banana, and syrup for a great breakfast.

The recipe my mom uses for waffles is adapted from the recipe that comes with the waffle iron, and the same recipe that my grandmother used. Over the years, the recipe has changed to include whole grains and a little less oil. But I assure you that these waffles are much better than any you could purchase in the frozen foods section of the grocery store!

1 3/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour
2 t baking powder
1 T sugar
3 eggs
1/4 c. vegetable oil
3 T applesauce
1 1/2 c. milk

Preheat the waffle iron. Sift the dry ingredients into a medium sized bowl. Separate the eggs, putting the egg whites in smaller bowl. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff.
Add the egg yolks, oil, applesauce and milk all at one time to the dry ingredients. Beat until there are no lumps in the batter. Fold the egg whites into the batter using a spatula or other flat utensil.
Put a full 1/2 cup of batter in your waffle iron to make a 9-inch round waffle. This recipe makes about eight 9 inch waffles.

Broccoli Cupcakes

When I first went back to school to become a Registered Dietitian, I had no idea that such a wonderful community of dietetic students existed! I’ve only met Carlene via Twitter, but she is also a future dietitian and blogs at Carlene’s Figments. She came up with this creative recipe for Broccoli Cupcakes, complete with Hummus Frosting, and I just had to try it out.

I started with chopped frozen broccoli and thawed it in the microwave for convenience. After that, it was just a matter of mixing everything together. As usual, I couldn’t resist making one small change and I substituted half of the flour with whole wheat. The recipe came together quickly and while the cupcakes were baking I took out my food processor and made some hummus. I have to say, these are the cutest savory cupcakes I have ever made! And they tasted great too, with the fairly strong flavor of thyme and a light texture. The unfrosted cupcakes can be easily transported to wherever it is you need to be. Shhhhh, I even ate one in the library…..

Egg in a Sweet Potato Pocket

Isn’t this egg nested in a sweet potato clever? I can’t take credit for the idea though, I read about it on First, you bake a sweet potato and carve out the inside. Then, you crack a fresh egg in the hole, and bake in a dish at 375F for 20-30 minutes. It’s so easy! This could be a quick weeknight dinner, or you could add some shredded cheese and herbs for a fancier Sunday brunch.

Since I tried this a few times, I do have some practical tips. First, I would recommend you start with a large potato. I tend to pick smaller potatoes from the bin, and the egg white poured over the edges. Second, be very careful when cutting the potato because if you happen to slice through, the egg white will leak out the bottom. And finally, remember that you can bake the potato on the weekend when you have more time, and then cook the egg whenever you are ready for a meal. Have fun with this one!

Buttermilk Pancakes

I think my family’s favorite pancake recipe might be these Banana Sour Cream pancakes, but we had buttermilk in the house, and decided to try these Buttermilk Pancakes. We added blueberries to some, and chocolate chips to others. Because really, there’s nothing wrong with a little chocolate at breakfast! The key to these pancakes was beating the egg whites separately, and then folding them gently into the batter at the end. This made the pancakes really light and fluffy.

We enjoyed our pancakes with a side of fresh fruit. The little person’s plate started with a blueberry pancake and fresh strawberries, and the rest of us enjoyed pancakes with strawberries, bananas and sliced apples. Everyone had a great breakfast, and was ready to start the day!

Starbucks Oatmeal

This semester, I am eating breakfast on the go almost every morning at my job, at my internship site, or at school before class. I’ve even eaten breakfast on the T! My staples are Overnight Oats, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and yogurt parfaits. Much to my delight, Starbucks sent me a coupon to try their oatmeal. A free, hot breakfast? Sounds great!

The oatmeal itself is plain, made with water. But the barista told me he’d give me “the works” which includes a packet of mixed nuts, a packet of dried fruit, and a packet of brown sugar.

I used all of the dried fruit, about half the nuts, and a sprinkle of brown sugar. The texture was different than stove top, but this was still a pretty good bowl of oats. With these nutritional stats, this is a convenient and healthy whole grain breakfast. Of course, I’d prefer fresh fruit over dried, but Starbucks does sell bananas, so that is an option.

And of course, you can easily get a dairy serving with a beverage. Check out this post for great tips on how to customize a drink to meet your needs.

Pumpkin Steel Cut Oats

My family was on a roll with starting new traditions this year, including breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. We decided to try Pumpkin Steel Cut Oats, adapted from a recipe from the American Heart Association. With just a few minutes of preparation the night before, breakfast cooked while we slept.

Some people had to get up at 5(!) am to put the turkey in the oven, while others of us slept in a little (or a lot) later. But no matter when you got out of bed, there was a hot bowl of oats ready. I decreased the amount of sugar from the original recipe, so these oats were not overly sweet but they were spiced well. The walnuts on top added a little crunch, and it was a great way to start the day.

2 c. steel cut oats
5 c. water
2 c. skim milk
1 c. pumpkin
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 T cinnamon
3/4 t nutmeg
1 c. dried cranberries
1 t vanilla extract
Chopped walnuts, for garnish

Mix oats, water, milk, pumpkin, sugar, spices, cranberries, and vanilla in a large bowl. Pour into a large crockpot coated with cooking spray. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve with chopped walnuts.

Mushroom Thyme Muffins

Muffins have kind of a bad reputation, usually the size of a softball and laden with added sugar. But these just might be the most elegant and nutritious muffins that I have ever made. I adapted the Cottage Cheese Muffins on 101 Cookbooks to include mushrooms and thyme, as suggested.

I over baked them slightly, although there’s nothing wrong with a muffin that’s (very) golden brown. The texture is somewhere between a traditional flour based muffin and a mini quiche. But the taste is incredible, even though I used canned mushrooms and dried thyme. I imagine they would be even more wonderful with fresh vegetables and herbs! Go ahead and try these, or come up with your own variation. They would be a great at a holiday brunch.

1 (4 oz.) can mushrooms, drained
1 tsp. olive oil
1 c. cottage cheese
1 c. almonds, ground in food processor
1/4 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. Parmesan cheese, divided
1 t baking powder
1 t thyme
4 eggs
1/4 c. water
Salt & Pepper

Saute mushrooms in olive oil for 5 minutes, and then set aside to cool briefly.

Mix cottage cheese, ground almonds, flour, 1/2 c. Parmesan, baking powder, thyme, eggs, water, and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper.

Coat a (12) muffin tin with cooking spray, and fill evenly with batter. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 c. of Parmesan. Bake at 400F for 25-35 minutes.

Fall Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

My cooking group’s theme this month was “Breakfast for Dinner”. We’ve done that theme before and it’s always a good one, and this year we even wore our pajamas and slippers. It was a very relaxing evening of chatting and eating…..

My contribution was this fall fruit and yogurt parfait. If I were serving this at home, I would have made the parfait in wine glasses. But I was taking this to South Boston and there aren’t enough cup holders in my Hyundai, so I used a more easily transportable pie dish. The fruit at the bottom was inspired by this recipe, which is good enough to stand on it’s own. The cranberries make it less sweet than you might expect, but it works well with the yogurt, and the granola adds some crunch. It’s perfect for a fall breakfast, or um, dinner.

There were more great dishes at our meal, and I’ll be back to talk about those later!

2 Macintosh apples, peeled and chopped
1 pear, peeled and chopped
1 c. cranberries
1/2 c. water
1 tsp margarine or butter
2 T sugar
2 c. plain nonfat yogurt
1 c. granola

Place apples, pear, cranberries, water, margarine, and sugar in a saucepan. Simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, until fruit is soft. Remove from heat, and allow to cool completely before spreading in a pie dish. Chill fruit layer for 2 hours, or overnight. Spread yogurt on top, and then sprinkle granola over the entire dish.

-Recipe adapted from