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“What’s for breakfast?”

“What’s for breakfast?” I get to hear this several times each morning. Well, since I’m not a great morning person and I absolutely refuse to crawl out of bed earlier than 5:30 am to fix a big “Brady Bunch” breakfast, I came up with some economical short cuts so my family isn’t stuck with cereal every morning and my budget is totally destroyed!

1. If I’m planning on serving bacon or sausage during the week, I will cook the entire package of bacon or sausage over the weekend. Next I wrap it in the paper towel it was drained on and store in it a zip lock bag in the fridge. To re-heat, I either pop it in the oven at 350 for about 5-10 minutes (comes out just like it’s fresh from the skillet) or I use microwave at 50 percent power.

2. Although frozen pancakes and waffles are not extremely expensive, I can still make my own cheaper. I have found that if I undercook the pancakes or the waffles just a bit they turn out perfect when re-heated in the toaster. I have also discovered it works well to put wax paper between the pancakes or the waffles before freezing them, that way I can take out one at a time without them sticking together.

Another option is to mix the pancake mix up ahead of time and store in the refrigerator. It takes just a few minutes to have a stack of piping hot pancakes.

3. Over the weekend, I sometimes fix a large breakfast pizza. I have discovered many different recipes for “breakfast pizza.”

Here is one of the simplest: Ingredients: Pizza crust dough, 1/2 package potato tots thawed and crumbled, 1 lb. sausage fried, crumbled and drained well, small package shredded cheddar cheese, 6 eggs beaten with 1/4 cup milk. Directions: Press pizza dough onto a cookie sheet or pizza pan. Over dough, layer potato tots, sausage, cheese, then pour egg mixture over all of it. Pop into 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. This keeps well in the refrigerator and can be reheated in the microwave. You can also add green peppers, onions, or whatever you prefer. My hubby likes to top his slices with salsa.

4. Here’s some other quick breakfast ideas: Bagels and cream cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, toast with peanut butter – for younger kids use fruit to make faces, yogurt with granola and fruit, or scrambled egg on toast with cheese.

5. Also scrambled eggs can be varied morning by morning by adding things such as lunchmeat, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, sausage, bacon, cheese, or tomatoes to them. Often people think of these items as an omelet, but they don’t necessarily need to be “in” an omelet. You can also just scramble the eggs, mix in the extra ingredients and cook the eggs as usual.

6. Another popular quick breakfast at our house is a fruit smoothie. One of my kids favorite recipes is “Quick Orange Breakfast Drink.” In a blender combine about 12 ice cubes, 6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate, 1 cup milk, 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla. Blend until smooth.

This reminds me of those wonderful orange crème bars. Of course, there are probably around a million or so recipes for smoothies. I suggest experimenting over the weekends until you find one your family enjoys for those busy weekday mornings. These are also great after school snacks, too.

I’ve also had to come to terms with the fact that I have children who have “non-traditional” breakfast tastes. For example, some of my kids will eat things like lunchmeat sandwiches, cold pizza, and fried chicken for breakfast. I give the credit for that one to their father.