A poll by PRNewswire was published June of 2014 saying that six in ten Americans restrict at least one nutritional item from their diet, and sugar and gluten were among them. I have noticed a large increase in the amount of people who have food allergies in the last twenty years. We are fortunate that we do not have food allergies but I have been cooking from scratch the last ten years. I purchase fresh produce in season and avoid purchasing box mixes and pre-made quick items or canned foods. We plant a garden and have fruit trees. We can, freeze, and dry produce and herbs through out the summer. We have time to do this because we are retired.
The past year or two my husband requires a big breakfast or he feels very tired all day. There are some days that prevent me from making a hearty breakfast, so I have been pre-making and freezing breakfast items so he can heat them up in the microwave.
My husband was raised on a ranch and grew up eating grass fed beef, eggs, dairy, and home grown vegetables. His family had eggs, hash-browns, gravy, biscuits, bacon or ham for breakfast every day. His parents lived to be over ninety. Cholesterol was never a problem for them and they were not on medication during their senior years. My husbands test are always good. I will have one meal a week like this for myself but I prefer hot cereal or fresh fruit for breakfast.
This tutorial will share how I pre-make breakfast so he can have a hearty breakfast on the days I can't make them for him fresh. I will share some tips along the way and his favorite egg recipe. Follow through and lets get started~
Step 1: Meal Planning
Planning the menu a week or two in advance reduces food waste and "the time spent making meals in the long run". In the past I have set aside one day a month for a meal marathon, when I make homemade soups and other recipes for lunch and dinner. I have changed my routine to include breakfast for my hubby. I have added my home- made pre-measured biscuit and pancake mixes and cooking and preparing meat and potatoes on a separate day to my monthly marathon.
I spend a lot of my time doing prep work, cutting up fruits and vegetables, for freezing and drying herbs, pre-making entrees, soups,and for making jam.
I always cut more than what I will use for that meal and plan the next several meals to include those ingredients. When I bake or cook potatoes on top of the stove, I make extra for soups and hash browns. During the winter I bake the extra potatoes and during the summer I cook them on the stove top because my kitchen gets too hot in the summer.
I make boiled eggs for breakfast, during the summer and serve them with avocado, tomato, and some type of fruit and toast.
I take the advantage of buying bulk meats, dairy, and produce every month.
Step 2: Eggs
Our neighbors down the street gave me several dozen eggs a couple of weeks ago, from their back yard hens. I was hoping to have this project posted before Easter, so some of you might be able to try to find Ameraucanas eggs from a local grower, instead of coloring store bought eggs. They are beautiful without coloring!
The whites from fresh eggs can often be cloudy although this is a good indication the eggs are very fresh. The eggs become more translucent as they age. You can test eggs by placing them in a large deep bowl full of water at least several inches above the eggs. If they float throw them away. If they immediately drift to the bottom of the bowl they are very fresh and the older ones might even bobble at the bottom but they are still good.
Step 3: Baking Powder Substitute
You can make your own baking powder substitute:
1 teaspoon Baking Soda to 2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar and mix thoroughly and store in a glass or plastic container with a tight lid.
8 teaspoons Baking soda and 16 teaspoons Cream of Tartar would make 1/2 cup of baking powder. I am not sure how the ratio would be if you converted teaspoons to tablespoons because it may make a difference when making a large amount so I just measure by teaspoons.
You can test baking soda to see if it is still good by adding a little vinegar to a small amount of baking soda.
If it foams vigorously it is still good.
Cream of tartar is good for a very long time unless the container has been damaged. If there are clumps inside you can break them up in a spice grinder and they should be fine, unless you see moisture in the Cream of Tartar. You can test the Cream of tartar and baking powder together, by adding warm water and if they foam vigorously they should work fine for the recipe.
Step 4: Flour
The past few weeks I have been using different brands of various types of flours to make biscuits and pancakes. I have tried organic brands ( in the past) and have not noticed a huge difference in flavor, so I have been using AP Gold Medal flour for baking. I recently ordered some einkorn AP unbleached wheat flour and made a few baked goods with it. I had to laugh because I made my biscuit recipe with the flour and they did not rise properly and my husband raved about them! He said he did not care if they were small, it was flavor he wanted. I learned later that the baking soda was not active.
Baking with einkorn unbleached wheat flour can be tricky because it is low in gluten and does not like to be kneaded or worked with very much. I had just enough einkorn flour to make several recipes, from the company I purchased the flour from and they all were very good.
I wanted to test White Lilly flour but could not find it in my area, so I tried a couple of different types of AP white flour and we both decided that we will be switching to einkorn wheat, because it is higher in protein, lower in gluten, higher in fiber and trace minerals and although it is more expensive, I like the healthier benefits it offers and of course hubby loves the flavor!
Step 5: Freezing Hash Browns
I prefer making hash browns from baked or boiled potatoes to save money.
After the potatoes are cooked or baked almost done and cooled ( they should be hard but soft enough to stick a fork into the center), cover them with plastic wrap or in a covered bowl and place them in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day peel them and grate them.
Place the shredded potatoes loosely on a parchment lined cookie sheet and put them in the freezer until they are frozen.
Use a spatula to slip under them to break them up.
Then place them into a plastic bag ( the size you need for your family for one meal) and store them in the freezer.
I add flour and eggs to the sweet potato hash browns before I bake them, so the shreds stay together while they are baking. I tried them without adding eggs and flour and they did not hold their shape.
If I am not able to make his breakfast the next day, I cook/bake the hash-browns the night before.
I make a plate of all the food items that need re-heated for breakfast on one plate and the fresh food and boiled eggs on a separate plate; so he does not need to remove them before heating the food. I am not that fond of eggs heated in the microwave but I will be sharing a recipe later, using eggs that taste pretty good re-heated in the microwave.
When I make the sweet potato hash browns I add the flour and egg and a little salt and pepper and usually shape them into squares and bake them on a parchment lined cookie sheet; at 350 until they are a little crisp and brown.
After they are baked and cooled, I freeze them like the russet potato hash-browns above.
Step 6: Pre Measured Pancake Mix and Biscuit Mix
I use our favorite recipes for pancakes and biscuits to make the pre-measured mixes.
I add all of the dry ingredients to a bowl and mixed them together thoroughly and store them in labeled plastic bags. Jars with tight lids are the best way to store them if you have counter space.
I grate frozen butter for the biscuits and place the grated butter loosely on a plastic plate and re-freeze them. I use a spatula to remove the butter from the plate and put the butter shreds in the bag and refreeze them.
When I make the biscuits or pancake mix, all I will need to do is add the wet ingredients and/ or the frozen grated butter and mix and/or roll as needed and cook or bake them.
Step 7: Pre-cooking the Meat
I alternate cooking bacon, sausage, and "I brown pre-cooked ham on occasion" to last a week in the refrigerator. Hubby prefers meat cooked well done.
I remove cold foods from the refrigerator and let them rest for about 20 minutes before placing them into a heated pan.
Sometimes I will cube/dice the meat for egg recipes or I will make sausage patties by cutting slices and use a mason jar lid and rim to form nice even patties and then fry the sausage.
After I cook the sausage, I make enough gravy from the pan drippings for the week.
I try to serve fresh fruits or vegetables with every meal to include raw with our diet.
Step 8: Biscuits
I make biscuits once a week and store them in a plastic bag for breakfast. I use full fat pasteurized milk and add lemon juice to make buttermilk because stores here do not sell full fat buttermilk.
I make a simple jam from fresh fruit using the least amount of sugar that is needed.
I make it a couple of times a month.
Step 9: Pancakes
Pancakes freeze well and taste good re-heated so I make them in advance, using my pre-made pancake mix.
I place half of the cooked cakes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper after they have cooled down and place them in the freezer until they are frozen, then I remove them from the freezer and re-use the freezer paper by cutting them the size of the pancake and layer the frozen pancakes between the freezer paper and place them into zip lock bags and put them back in the freezer.
The remaining half of the pancakes are stored in plastic bags and put in the refrigerator for that week.
If I am making breakfast for my husband, I re-heat on top of the stove or sometimes I will use the oven while I made the eggs.
Step 10: Favorite Egg Recipe
I have been making a full size breakfast everyday since March 31 for my husband. I usually make fried eggs, scrambled eggs, eggs over easy and boiled eggs for breakfast. Dried tomatoes would be tasty with his favorite egg recipe.
I made these eggs baked in a mini loaf pan; modifying my scrambled egg recipe, by adding chopped parsley, chopped chives, organic lemons zest and a pinch of lemon infused sea salt and I used one precooked diced sausage patty. I wanted to see how well this would re-heat in a microwave. I would have used a large muffin pan but I do not have a large one, so I used a mini loaf pan instead. I was pretty sure I would not like eggs made this way, especially re-heated in a microwave but I was amazed at how good it tasted.
I made two batches one with the yeast flakes and one without and my husband and I liked both of them. He thought I worked all day to make this recipe and told me he did not expect me to make it very often. I think I will keep it a secret, so he will feel extra special, having them for breakfast everyday for a week, about once a month! Maybe it will inspire him to remodel my tiny kitchen which needs more counter space.
When I made this recipe, I layered the egg whites first into a coated mini loaf and then I added the mixed yolks with the cooked vegetables, sausage, and then topped the loaf with the pre-cooked sliced mushrooms, the remaining egg yolk and lastly the parsley mixture.
3 egg yolks 2 were beaten with a tablespoon of nutritional yeast flakes and one was left whole.
3 egg whites slightly beaten.
1/8 to a scant 1/4 cup pre-cooked sausage patty, onion, mushroom, baby bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, corn and salt and pepper added to the two beaten egg yolks.
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 teaspoon organic lemon zest
I added one tablespoon of nutritional yeast to the beaten egg yolks to one batch.
Mix together and season to taste with lemon infused sea salt and ground pepper
Pam for coating the loaf pan
Bake at 350 degrees F for about twenty to twenty five minutes or until the whites are not runny.
Cool and store in a covered dish in the refrigerator, for up to a week.
Step 11: Sunshiines Final Thoughts
I love to cook but making breakfast has never been something I look forward to until now! Timing everything to be ready at the same time and keeping them warm, is really hard for me with a limited work space and an oven that does not have a warm temperature. I prefer not using the microwave.
There is a lot of prep work involved in making pre-cooked meals but in the long run it saves money and a considerable amount of time.
I am glad I made the decision to include breakfast in my cooking marathons because my husband has a lot more energy.
I hope these methods will make your cooking and baking marathons easier.
Thanks for stopping by and do have a safe and Happy Spring!