Do you ever feel that breakfast is the ultimate Catch-22? Without breakfast, we are not fully awake. But to prepare breakfast requires more than a dollop of alertness. Boiling water for poached eggs, hot butter for pancakes — the hazards! And the time — who has the time? And yet breakfast is a necessity. You are better for eating it. It fuels the brain and the body, and while anyone can pour milk and cereal into a bowl, you're even better off if you eat something with more substance, more staying power.
Let us help you. Bypass the morning Catch-22, and make your breakfast the night before. Here are 10 breakfasts that are especially good for making ahead of time — from homemade yogurt cups, to eggy muffins with herbs and prosciutto, to creamy steel-cut oats, made in the easiest possible way.
• First, want to see our readers' best ideas for make-ahead breakfasts? Creative, Healthy, Make-Ahead Breakfast Ideas - Reader Intelligence Report
Here are a few personal favorites now from our archives. All of these are breakfasts we have made and enjoyed. Take a look, then please add your own favorite make-ahead breakfasts in the comments below!
DAIRY & EGGS
• 1 Make Your Own Fruit-on-the-Bottom Yogurt Cups - A simple idea, and infinitely adaptable. Layer thick yogurt with jam, nuts, granola, seeds, nut butter or fruit. Set up a week's worth in the fridge on Sunday night and just grab one on the way out the door.
• 2 Make-Ahead Recipe: Crustless Mini-Quiches - These mini-quiches are best made ahead, and you can even freeze them!
• 3 "Ham and Cheese" Breakfast Casserole - A thick, hearty casserole of challah, eggs, ham, and cheese. It bakes up in the morning, and leftovers are great. Take a big wedge with you to work, wrapped in wax paper for munching on the go.
• 4 Breakfast to Go: Heidi Swanson's Cottage Cheese Muffins - These muffins straddle the gap between carbs and protein; they have a bit of flour, but they're also full of protein-rich dairy, eggs, and almond meal. You can add a bit of prosciutto for even more flavor. These really fill you up; I love making a batch and eating them for breakfast all week long.
GRAINS & BAKED GOODS
• 5 Oatmeal in Jars: Make a Week of Breakfast in 5 Minutes - This isn't your usual gruel oatmeal. Set up rich, nutty steel cut oats ahead of time — then just microwave the jar in the morning at the office. Ta-da! Hot, creamy oaty goodness.
• 6 Make-Ahead Breakfast Recipe Review: Oatmeal Clafoutis - These eggy, oaty bars are almost like a baked oatmeal, and they freeze beautifully. I like making a big batch, then freezing individually-wrapped bars. Easy to grab and reheat quickly.
• 7 Peanut Butter and Honey Granola - Of course we have to include a granola recipe! This one is sweet, rich, and filling. Great with yogurt, too.
• 8 How To Make Your Own Flavored Instant Oatmeal - An easy way to make your own instant oatmeal. Blend in your own favorite spices, or add raisins or other dried fruit, and bottle it up in a jar for your office drawer.
• 9 Breakfast Recipe: Apricot Yogurt Scones - Craving something a little sweeter? How about one of these apricot scones? They're sunny, tangy, and sweet.
• 10 Recipe: Quick and Homey Oatmeal Raisin Muffins - I don't know what it is about these muffins — maybe the juicy raisins, the soft oats, or the crumbly cinnamon topping — but as one commenter put it, "These muffins are way more delicious than they have a right to be." They are simple and quick, and a favorite breakfast in my house.
OK, your turn! What is your favorite make-ahead breakfast for the busy fall season?
(Images: See linked recipes for full image credits)
(Originally published September 12, 2011)