A hot breakfast is possible, even on busy mornings before school, and the benefits include both nutrition and family time. Doris Lippe of Leawood and her husband, Darren, have two teenage boys she prepares breakfast for each morning before school.
Q: Why do you prepare breakfast each morning?
A: The nutrition a hot breakfast offers is important, but in addition to that, it is treasured family time. We always have breakfast together. It is a time for talking, praying, sharing devotionals and resetting so we can each navigate our day better.
My children were always early risers, so preparing breakfast naturally became one of our activities. Now it is cherished family time, but we are done by 6:30 so no one is late to school.
My dad said that breakfast was the most important meal. I grew up on a farm and had chores to do or animals to help feed before school, but my dad made waffles every Saturday morning. I cherish that memory and now hope my children will take our breakfast time to heart and remember it fondly.
Q: What are some of your breakfast menus?
A: We have biscuits and gravy each week, sausage-egg burritos each Monday and pancakes or waffles every Saturday. Throughout the week we enjoy such breakfasts as oatmeal, bird’s nests (where eggs are cooked in a hole cut in a slice of bread), mini pancake and sausage sandwiches or an egg-ham casserole.
For our biscuits and gravy I crumble 2 1/2 biscuits onto the plates before topping them with the gravy. It is our tradition, and that is the way the boys like them. The recipe may say it serves four, but I find it feeds two hungry teenage boys.
Sunday, we attend early church services so we have a self-service breakfast, with each of us preparing our own. During the summer each of the boys prepares one breakfast every week.
Q: What tips can you share so others can spend minimal time but create a hot meal?
A: The preparation is simple so I can quickly prepare breakfast in just 10 to 15 minutes. I plan ahead, using menus I know are popular and recipes I have prepared before.
Cook ahead when you can or use convenience foods when that helps with the meal preparation. I purchase premade biscuits at the warehouse store and keep them frozen so they are ready to use. I buy bulk sausage or larger packages of sausage links and cook it all at once so I have frozen, cooked sausage ready to use. Some mornings I quickly heat breakfast in the microwave oven.
Q: Do you ever serve breakfast for dinner? Is dinner a family time as well?
A: We never serve breakfast for dinner, but we try to have dinner together every night, in spite of our busy schedule. Meals around the table are important for me. We enjoy an early dinner time as the boys come home from school hungry and may have activities later that evening. Friday is always our pizza night.
Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore are cookbook authors and food consultants that make up The Electrified Cooks. They have published eleven cookbooks and thousands of recipes. They are members of Les Dames d’Escoffier and blog at pluggedintocooking.com. Email them at KCComeIntoMyKitchen@gmail.com
Biscuits and Sausage Gravy
Makes 4 servings
4 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
2 cups 2 percent milk
1 cup frozen, fully cooked bulk breakfast sausage, partially thawed
4 to 5 warm biscuits
Melt the butter in a 1 1/2 -quart saucepan over low heat. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from the heat.
Gradually stir in the milk. Return to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil, stirring constantly, 1 minute or until thickened. Stir in the sausage and cook, stirring frequently, until heated through.
Break the biscuits into bite-size pieces and arrange on plates. Spoon the gravy over the biscuits.
Tip: Purchase larger packages of bulk breakfast sausage. Cook the sausage in a skillet over medium heat until browned, stirring frequently to crumble the sausage. Drain well. Freeze the browned sausage in 1-cup portions in sealed freezer bags. Be sure to label and date the bags. The frozen browned sausage is ready to add to the gravy on busy mornings.