Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Another Hearty Breakfast

My kids are tired of oatmeal. I allow them to put raisins, dried cranberries, dates, figs, dried apricots, cinnamon, vanilla, milk, berries, nuts, or any combination of those in it (endless options, if you ask me). But they just sit at the table forEVER lately when it's what's for breakfast.

I want them to get the health benefits, but they are just burnt out on it, I think. (Maybe this has something to do with the giant Costco-sized box we keep buying and the fact that I refused to buy cereal for about 6 months?)

Anyway, I decided to look at some different recipes to get them to eat oatmeal again. I read through about a million oatmeal recipes, and tried some really gross ones, before developing this Baked Oatmeal recipe. It comes out as bars, and we serve it in a shallow bowl with maple syrup on top. The kids will actually eat it! I like it because I can put it together the night before, pop it in the oven in the morning about a half hour before waking up the kids, and then by the time they are showered and ready to eat, breakfast is ready.

Baked Oatmeal Squares

4 cups old-fashioned oats (the kind that cook in about 5 minutes)
1/2 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1/2 cup Splenda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 cup nonfat milk
1 cup water
2 Egg Whites
1 Egg
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup raisins

Combine oats, brown sugar, Splenda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl.

Mix together all wet ingredients (milk through vanilla) in a small bowl. Pour over dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined. Gently stir in raisins.

Mixture will look dry. Spread in a 13x9 glass dish. Refrigerate covered overnight.

In morning, cook in a 350F oven for 35 minutes. Allow to set for a few minutes before cutting into bars. Makes 8 servings.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Pudding

My kids would eat cereal every morning for breakfast if I let them. But that just gets on my nerves for some reason. I like to mix it up - sometimes we do eggs and toast, sometimes oatmeal, sometimes smoothies.

I recently had some bananas that were getting a little overripe, and some big slices of Whole Wheat Nature's Pride bread that needed using. I decided to make a bread pudding using those. I had never made bread pudding before, so I perused MANY recipes (both online and in my Joy of Cooking cookbook) to get ideas.

This is what I came up with. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture or figure out nutritional stats. But it was good! The bananas were sweet and went well with the brown sugar, and the chocolate chips made it feel decadent - like dessert for breakfast!

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Pudding

8 slices whole wheat bread, torn into bite-size pieces
3/4 cup fat-free egg substitute
1 can Evaporated Milk (I used fat free)
1 cup water
2/3 cup packed brown sugar (could use substitute if available)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
3 large bananas, peeled and sliced
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.

Grease an 8x8 baking dish (I used nonstick spray).

Mix together egg substitute, milk, water, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. Add bread pieces and stir until combined. (I used clean hands for this step).

Place half of bread pieces in pan; top with banana slices. Cover with remaining bread, pouring any leftover liquid on top.

Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake for 50 - 60 minutes, or until edges start to brown and egg looks set.

Allow to set for a few minutes before cutting into slices. Top each serving with a small handful of chocolate chips.

Makes 6-8 servings.