Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been obsessed with building menus that will help me stock my freezer with quick meals when I don’t have time to cook. And while I’ve been largely focused on main dishes for dinners, I’ve also been taking the time to fill the freezer with easy and healthy breakfasts. Breakfast is sometimes our Achilles heel because:
- It can get lost in the weekday morning fray. I love (and I mean love with a passion) to sleep, so I tend to want to stay in bed as long as possible on any given day. During the week this means there isn’t a lot of wiggle room in our morning routine. One little thing like a too-long shower, a forgotten homework crisis, or a missing favorite shirt can mean I barely get everyone out the door on time.
- We get tired of the same old options. Toast and cereal only go so far, and if those are our main choices for too many mornings running everyone gets tired of them. I try to mix it up a bit with bagels and English muffins, but in the end those can get old as well. Even when there is time for breakfast (but not enough for me to cook eggs, bacon, or pancakes) the options aren’t always appealing.
When we don’t eat breakfast at home, some or all of us sacrifice a healthy breakfast. From a kid perspective that means grabbing breakfast at school, which can be fun every now and again. For the adults, it means grabbing fast food or a muffin at the local bakery. The costs (and calories) can add up quickly. While there are plenty of frozen breakfast options at the grocery store, they aren’t inexpensive and the ingredient lists aren’t necessarily inspiring.
As part of my freezer filling fun, I’ve been stocking up on breakfast foods as well. Waffles are a family favorite. I make extras on the weekends and freeze them individually. A quick toss into the toaster and they are ready. It’s much less expensive than buying Eggo or even store brand waffles, and I know exactly what is in them.And while waffles are great, my favorite freezer-friendly breakfast is muffins.
I used to make muffins from a boxed mix, but I became concerned about the processed ingredients and the cost. Also, when I make muffins at home, I can use fresh fruit and even sneak in a bit of whole wheat flour or wheat germ to up the nutritional count. I’ve tried a variety of muffins and some freeze better than others. After much experimentation, a Lemon Blueberry Muffin recipe from My Recipes has proven to be the best option. The muffins are low in calories and fat, and the recipe is a great base for many variations on a theme. I’ve made the muffins with orange and blackberry and even lime and raspberry. When peaches are in season I’m going to try those as well. To make these freezer-friendly I:
- Double or even triple the recipe.
- Skip the glaze because it doesn’t freeze well.
- Use my food processor to cut the butter into the flour to speed up the mixing process.
- Make the muffins with whatever berries are in season so the price is lower and the fruit is sweeter.
- Wrap them individually in sheets of aluminum foil (I buy the pre-cut boxes of foil at SAMs) and freeze them in a zip-top bag.
To warm a muffin, heat it still wrapped in foil in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes. Sometimes I’ll toss a muffin into the oven right when I turn it on and then heat it for 25 minutes or so. Muffins are imminently portable, so I can set them to reheat in the midst of our morning routine and everyone can take them to go as they are on their way to work or school.
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