Pancake sandwiches, chicken and waffles, egg casseroles — breakfast seems to be inspiring creativity and breaking barriers morning, noon and night. The only challenge the most important meal of the day has is its designated time slot.
With morning madness, some days pulling together a delicious, satisfying breakfast can be nothing short of impossible. Easy and delicious one-dish breakfast pudding, strata and casseroles can be made the night before, eliminating the breakfast “scramble.” These hearty meals provide a tasty, warm way to kick-start the day.
While we normally think of puddings as dessert, they make a satisfying breakfast that can be customized based on seasonal ingredients and toppings. These puddings feature California dairy products which will help keep your hunger at bay until lunch. The California Milk Advisory Board has a few tips for embracing this timeless trend and heating up your mornings.
* Make it a habit. Breakfast puddings help start your morning on the right foot by filling your bowl with ingredients found in your recommended daily food groups. According to the USDA, people who miss breakfast often weigh more than those who don’t. Children who eat breakfast have shown improvement in school subjects and having an improved memory. For parents, get the kids involved. Research has shown that young adults who participate in food preparation are more likely to meet dietary objectives in fats, calcium, fruit and whole grain consumption. Some experts also believe breakfast helps get your metabolism running in the morning, helping to make better choices the rest of the day.
* Stick to the basics. Did you know that breakfast contributes important vitamins and minerals your body needs? Milk, a key ingredient in most breakfast puddings, is a rich source of both calcium and vitamin D, important nutrients for all age groups. Instead of reaching for that toaster tart, go back to the basics of breakfast with comfort foods like oatmeal and breakfast puddings. These cozy dishes are perfect for a cold morning in the mountains or breakfast in bed on a spring day.
* Don’t count on running late. Too many people skip breakfast because of the fear of missing the carpool or client meeting. Recipes like Raisin Bread Pudding with Spiced Apples (featured below) include microwavable instructions to enjoy your breakfast in a speedy fashion at home or at the office. Plus, this recipe also has baking instructions for those weekends you have some extra time to warm up the oven and let the aroma fill your kitchen.
* Enjoy with company. Don’t wait for the next big holiday to enjoy brunch with friends and family. Invite them over this weekend. Most breakfast recipes are made to serve more than six, which make them perfect to enjoy with your favorite guests. Make a breakfast pudding and serve with sliced fresh fruit, yogurt and a warm pot of coffee.
* Enhance with favorites. Once you’ve tried this recipe as is, try making it your signature dish by substituting your favorite bread, dried fruit and toasted nuts. Most breakfast puddings, stratas and casseroles start with a base that can be easily tweaked to make endless flavor possibilities. For other inspiring ways to make breakfast, check out RealCaliforniaMilk.com. Look for the Real California seals to ensure your dairy products are made from 100 percent California milk from California’s dairy farms.
Milk Raisin Bread Pudding with Spiced Apples
2 large eggs
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups nonfat or lowfat Real California Milk
8 slices cinnamon-raisin bread, toasted and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 tablespoon apricot jam
1 tablespoon water
Spiced Apples (recipe below)
Real California whipped cream (optional)
Heat oven to 350 F. In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and salt. Gradually whisk in milk. Scatter bread in a shallow 1-1/2-quart casserole or 8-inch baking pan. Pour milk mixture over bread, pushing bread down to thoroughly saturate. Bake about 40 minutes or until puffed and browned, and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Mix apricot jam and water and brush on top of hot pudding. Serve bread pudding warm or at room temperature with Spiced Apples and a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.
Note: Bread pudding may be assembled the day before and refrigerated covered. Allow an extra 10 to 15 minutes baking time.
Makes 6 servings.
1/4 cup Real California butter
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or substitute 1/4 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves)
3 small or 2 large red-skin apples, cored, quartered and sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Melt butter in a medium saucepan; stir in water, sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Stir over medium heat until sugar melts and sauce is smooth. Add apples; cook, basting with sauce, until apples are barely tender. Stir in lemon juice. Serve hot with bread pudding.
In a 4-cup glass measuring cup, microwave milk on high (100 percent power) 2 to 2 1/2 minutes until hot but not boiling. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt together. Gradually stir in heated milk. Scatter bread in a microwavable 1-1/2 inch quart casserole or 8-inch glass baking dish. Pour milk mixture over bread; push down to thoroughly saturate. Cover loosely with wax paper and cook on high for 3 minutes. Rotate the pudding one quarter turn, reduce power to Medium (50 percent power), and cook 4 to 6 minutes longer, until a knife inserted 1 inch from the center comes out clean. Let pudding stand directly on a counter 10 minutes to equalize the heat and finish cooking. Glaze and serve as directed above.
Combine butter, 1/4 cup water (instead of 1/3 cup directed above), sugar and spice in microwavable bowl or large pie plate. Microwave on High 2 to 3 minutes until butter has melted. Add apple slices and baste with sauce. Microwave 3 1/2 to 6 minutes until fruit just becomes tender, stirring apples once and basting with sauce. Stir in lemon juice.