I was struggling with finding room in the freezer for the items I brought home from the grocery store on a recent Sunday afternoon. I couldn’t figure out why there was no space, so I decided it was time for a clean out.
After pulling out bags of frozen peas, I found the culprit. Crammed in the back of the freezer were two boxes of frozen breakfast corn dog-looking things I had never seen before.
My older son is 20 and works full-time doing drilling and blasting. He is up and out the door early and often comes home late so he’s been buying “convenience foods” he can heat up and eat when he wants.
I’m sure he shoved them way back in the freezer so I wouldn’t spot them and give him a hard time about the high amount of sodium and lack of nutrition in his food choices. Hiding them from me was the only good choice he made.
I decided to enlighten him with some better breakfast alternatives, ones he can make in a few minutes or make at night and grab in the morning as he’s headed out the door.
One easy, on-the-run breakfast choice is overnight oats. You don’t have to buy expensive, prepackaged overnight oats either. You just need some oats, a container, cow or plant-based milk and some add-ins, if you want, like raisins and nuts.
You can also choose sweetener that suits your taste such as honey, brown sugar or agave syrup. Other good add-ins are chia seeds and goji berries, which will provide extra nutrition. All you do is combine your ingredients and set the container in the fridge, no cooking required.
If you have a few minutes before you head out the door, try three-ingredient pumpkin applesauce pancakes. Add oats to a blender with the pumpkin applesauce (you can use regular applesauce too) and add a couple of eggs, then blend and you have a quick and easy batter. Pour the batter into a heated skillet and you have tasty pancakes.
When it comes to portable, on-the-go food, tacos are hard to beat. I buy the substantial, handmade corn tortillas and heat them in the toaster if I’m in a hurry, which works well.
For an easy filling, I cut an apple chicken sausage (my favorite) in half lengthwise then cook them in a skillet. While the skillet is still warm, add grated zucchini and pour a couple of beaten eggs over the top. Tuck all the ingredients into a tortilla and you’re good to go.
I didn’t give my son a hard time about the processed food he bought. I didn’t have to. A couple of days after I discovered them in the freezer, I found both boxes, unopened, in the trash. I’m not quite sure what prompted him to throw them out but I was proud he made the choice on his own. I also spotted a container of overnight oats in the fridge.
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup raisins or other dried fruit
1 cup milk (regular or plant based)
1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/4 cup walnuts (or other nuts) chopped
Add the ingredients to an 8-ounce mason jar or a lidded container and shake to combine. Set in the refrigerator overnight. Adjust sweetness to suit your taste.
Quick Pumpkin Applesauce Pancakes
1 cup pumpkin applesauce (regular applesauce also works)
3/4 cup rolled oats
Add pumpkin applesauce, oats and eggs to a blender and blend until smooth (1 to 2 minutes). Coat a skillet with non-stick cooking spray and set over medium heat. Pour enough batter into the skillet to make pancakes about 4 inches in diameter. Cook until bubbles form on the top and the edges are lightly browned, about 3 minutes, then flip and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup grated zucchini
2 eggs, beaten
pinch of Kosher salt
pinch of pepper
2 corn tortillas
1 piece of sweet apple chicken sausage, cut in half lengthwise
Add oil to a skillet and set over medium-high heat. Add the tortillas and heat until they start to brown slightly, then flip and cook for an additional minute. Set aside.
Add the sausage and cook on each side until browned, then remove from skillet and set each piece of sausage in a tortilla.
Add grated zucchini to the skillet and cook for about 4 minutes or until it starts to brown, then pour the egg over the zucchini. Cook until the egg has set, then remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
Divide the egg mixture in half and add half to each sausage and tortilla. Fold tortilla in half and eat like a taco.