Breakfast with Mateo | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Breakfast with Mateo

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Oatmeal was a staple in my son's breakfast menu for most of his preschool years. As a working mom, I chose it because it was easy to make and filling for his little tummy. Then last year, I took a year off from full-time work and decided to shake up his morning routine. He was older then and was open to trying new things and had proclaimed he was tired of oatmeal.

At first I thought it would be hard to find items to add to my son's breakfast routine. But the more I looked into it, the more I realized that a variety of foods are perfect for his breakfast. From eggs to yogurt and granola, if you think outside the box just a little, you can find great things to serve your kids to take the boredom out of breakfast.

Try these simple recipes for a breakfast that hits almost all the levels of the food pyramid.

Roasted Red Potatoes
1 pound of red potatoes
1/2 envelope of herb and garlic dry soup mix
2-4 tablespoons of olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Dice potatoes into bite-size cubes. Rinse and drain off excess water in a colander. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Sprinkle the soup mix over top and olive oil. Mix well using cleans hands. Make sure all potatoes are coated well. Transfer to a baking sheet. Bake 20 to 30 minutes until potatoes are tender.

Egg bites
4 eggs
2 tablespoons of milk
1/4 envelope of herb and garlic dry soup mix
1-14 ounce package of precooked sausage links
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup of diced tomatoes Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Spray mini muffin pan with cooking spray. In a separate large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and dry soup mix. Set bowl in refrigerator to chill. Cook smoked sausage according to package directions. Once fully cooked and cooled, cut into quarter-inch slices. Place one slice of sausage in each muffin cup and fill with egg mixture. Leave a little room at the top to add a few diced tomatoes and a sprinkle of cheese. Bake 7 to 10 minutes or until the egg mixture puffs up a bit and is firm in the center. Test this by sticking a sharp knife through the center. If it comes out clean, they're ready. Use a spatula to remove the egg bites from the pan. Serve warm.

Breakfast Smoothie
1 cup of peach slices (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1-6 ounce container of flavored yogurt or 1 cup of vanilla yogurt
1 cup of milk (regular, lactose free or soy)
1/2 cup of ice cubes
Whipped cream (optional)

Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. To serve, pour into glasses. Add a dollop of whipped cream. For extra potassium and creaminess, consider adding half of a banana. Tip: Keep frozen fruit handy. It will take all the work out of making a quick smoothie in the morning.

Reinventing Breakfast
If you're tired of the same old breakfast menu or if you want to rethink the leftover is from last night, here are some ideas to reinvent breakfast.

Salsa: Great on eggs, breakfast burritos or over hash browns for a morning Mexican fiesta.

Flour Tortillas: Brush with melted butter and add a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon, bake for 7 to 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven. These lightly sweetened chips taste great with yogurt or fresh fruit. For a savory treat, fill a warmed tortilla with scrambled eggs, cheese, sausage or bacon and salsa for tasty breakfast burrito.

Toast: Add a few slices of bacon or ham with a fried egg, and you've got an easy breakfast sandwich.

Jelly, jam and preserves: Don't get stuck in the routine of eating the same grape, strawberry or apple jelly. Try preserves and jams in a variety of flavors: apricot, boysenberry and raspberry֖the options are endless. And it's not just good on toast; mix jellies, jams and preserves in with your favorite ground sausage for extra sweetness, add to store-bought muffin mix, or even heat and pour over pancakes, waffles or French toast.

Oatmeal: Try adding in fresh or dried fruit, heated fruit preserves, nuts, honey, vanilla or almond extract, cinnamon or raisins. During the holidays, add pumpkin or pumpkin spice. For an extra treat, add a dollop of whipped cream on top. My son especially likes it when I use whipped cream to make a smiley face.

Pancakes: For an Italian flare, add ricotta cheese to your pancakes. It makes pancakes moist, light and airy. I like to mix in ricotta cheese and frozen blueberries to store-bought pancake mix for a change of pace.

Canned Biscuits: Make your own pigs-in-a-blanket with sausage. Using a package of brown-and-serve link sausages, roll up a link of sausage into flattened jumbo biscuit. Cook according to package directions. Great for easy kid-friendly dipping.

Fruit and Cheese: Serve a variety of cheeses and fruit with a glass of your child's favorite juice. Add some yogurt and a muffin and you've got a filling breakfast for any hungry stomach.

Lunchbox favorites: Granola bars, fruit cups, string cheese or even peanut butter and jelly (with some slices of banana) are not just good for lunch.

Yogurt: A versatile breakfast staple. Add dried fruit or make a fresh fruit and granola parfait. Serve with warm muffins. My son likes to dunk his muffin into his yogurt.

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