By Cheryle Finley
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day. For me, breakfast seems to work as an appetizer. Immediately after breaking the fast from the night before, I'm ready to eat all day long. I have long ago given up on taking my lunch to work. It's always devoured by 10 a.m., and I still have to order a mid-day sandwich or a salad.
One breakfast that fills me up longer than any other? A BLT with fresh tomatoes that are right out of the garden. Made a couple of inches thick on toasted whole-wheat bread, this is my favorite summertime start to the morning. Other options? On mom.me, I found some good ideas for breakfasts that should keep us energized and satisfied longer.
The first option is one I implement most winter days (that might not be a very good endorsement for feeling full longer): peanut butter on whole-wheat bread plus a little preserves. I always toast the bread and go easy on the preserves before calling it breakfast and heading out the door. Maybe I'm going too light on the peanut butter.
Oatmeal, either plain or with fruit -- or maybe with a swirl of peanut butter or a sprinkling of a few dark chocolate chips for added antioxidants -- is a great choice, as is cottage cheese and fruit. I say yum to the chocolate chip idea. Not a fan of cottage cheese? Switch it out with yogurt and add your favorite fresh fruit. This sounds perfect for those warmer mornings that are just around the corner.
Another versatile breakfast item is egg, scrambled and eaten plain or with added salsa and veggies in an omelet. How about scrambled eggs folded into a whole-grain tortilla for a breakfast burrito? I grab a hard-boiled egg and have an egg salad sandwich, again on whole-wheat toast, and I find it sometimes keeps me from eating my sack lunch until around 11 a.m., which is quite a wait after my 6:30 a.m. breakfast. Studies have shown eating eggs for breakfast may keep you fuller longer and lead to eating fewer calories during the day. They just require a little more preparation time, so allotting that time is important when setting your alarm.
Mix up a smoothie with blueberries for antioxidants, oranges for Vitamin C and bananas for potassium -- a great combination -- or adjust the ingredients to suit your taste. Can't find your favorite fruit in the fresh produce section? Use frozen for the same results. Whatever you choose for breakfast, I hope it's healthy and lets you focus on what your morning brings instead of where lunch is coming from.
When I first got the date for the Taste of Home Cooking School, it seemed so far away. Now, it's only three days away. Be sure to get there early and check out all the vendor booths. Then settle into your seat for a good time with some great ideas along the way. If you didn't see her during her previous visit, you will love Jamie Dunn, the Taste of Home culinary specialist. She's fun and informative and will be preparing some tasty spring recipes. You will get to meet the new Joplin Globe advertising manager Brent A. Powers as he and I give away some fabulous door prizes, including a grand prize, four-day Branson vacation package for four valued at over $1,200. I can't wait for Saturday!
We get today's recipes from "The Taste of Home Cookbook." I'm always looking for something different for side dishes, and the cauliflower recipe helps in that area. For a one-dish entree that is sure to please, we have the sausage and pasta recipe. It's a really good mixture of veggies and other ingredients. For dessert we have soft sugar cookies -- a favorite of just about everyone. Eat them plain or topped with some frosting. Happy Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day and happy eating!
4 cups fresh cauliflowerets
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Place cauliflower in a steamer basket; place in saucepan over 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil; cover and steam for 6 to 8 minutes or until crisp-tender. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients except cheese. Transfer cauliflower to ungreased 3-cup baking dish; top with yogurt mixture and cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Yields 6 servings.
Smoked sausage with penne and veggies
8 ounces penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans Italian stewed tomatoes
2 to 3 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon shredded Parmesan cheese, optional
In a large skillet, saute green pepper and onion in oil until crisp-tender. Add sausage, tomatoes, zucchini, corn, water, salt, basil, garlic and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Toss drained pasta with sausage mixture. Garnish with cheese if desired. Yields 5 servings.
Soft buttermilk sugar cookies
1/2 cup shortening
11/4 cups sugar, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a large bowl, cream shortening and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition (batter will be moist). Combine cinnamon and remaining sugar. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool on wire racks and store in airtight container. Yields about 30 cookies.
Address correspondence to Cheryle Finley, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.