I have decided there are two kinds of breakfasts: the ones created for the Internet, and the ones we really eat. The former are easy to identify. They are impeccably plated, well-lit, plates neatly centered on a placemat with a freshly ironed napkin nearby. These meals are often accompanied by words like “fast”, “easy”, “healthy”, and are described, without irony, as “typical”.
I work in a large, busy office, and I see how real people eat breakfast. Placemats? Cloth napkins? My observations suggest that those beautiful Internet Breakfast oatmeals are more likely to be eaten out of a coffee mug with a compostable spoon that starts losing its shape when the food is too hot. This is Real Breakfast
My own workweek breakfasts won’t win prizes, either. I down a hard-boiled egg before hitting the freeway. I may snack on fruit if traffic isn’t moving (and this is typical). I eat cottage cheese while my computer is starting. Yeah, I’m looking to up my breakfast game *a bit*, but with simpler, more practical goals. It’s time to stop aspiring to Internet Breakfast and start making Real Breakfast.
My basic rule for Real Breakfast is that you shouldn’t be cooking from scratch — unless you really, really want to — while a) trying to blow dry your hair, b) mainline your morning beverage, and c) make complicated clothing decisions with the intent of wearing matching shoes! I’m a Sunday meal prepper, so these breakfast ideas are something that can be made in advance and tossed into your lunch bag.
My other rule is that I don’t worry too much about “traditional” breakfast foods. I’m gluten free, so breads, pastries, pancakes, and other foods are off the list, and making them using gluten-free flours is simply not a viable alternative for me. Again, if you have the time and energy, go for it! The suggestions below are just ideas to help you up your own office breakfast routine!
- Baked Omelette. Okay, this won’t pass the “real omelette” test, but, hey, it’s the end result that matters. And this concept works great for weekday breakfasts. Plus, and this is going to be a theme, you can customize the ingredients to suit your taste and what you have on hand.
- Breakfast Salad. What? Salad for breakfast? Have you gone crazy, Kassia? Yes to the first question; probably to the second. But I *did* say I don’t worry much about having traditional breakfast foods in the morning (and this article from Saveur supports me 100%). Of course, if you’re still trying to get used to the idea of non-traditional breakfast foods, you can ease into the idea with the BLT Breakfast Salad (even easier if you make your eggs in advance).
- Breakfast Soup. In Vietnam, pho is a breakfast food (in my world, pho is a 24-hour a day food). Soup for breakfast is just about the most perfect way to start the day ever. Especially when it’s cold outside. Or it’s morning. Or whenever. This breakfast posole is just the ticket. And by breakfast, I mean, make it for dinner one night and enjoy the leftovers.
- Frittatas. Oh yes, our old friend the frittata is making my breakfast-on-the-go list. Here’s why: you can make a frittata for Friday’s dinner, leaving enough leftover for next week’s breakfasts. Oh, and you can enjoy your frittata hot or cold. Plus, you can make a frittata with just about any veggies and / or meats you have in the fridge. This is a total win!
- Muffin-Tin Eggs. My friend Roxanne makes amazing mini-chile relleno appetizers for parties. Being the good friend I am, I generously take the leftovers to toss into my bag for breakfast the next week. I know, I know, I am a giver. This recipe is a good starting point for ideas. Oh, and if you’re looking for something Paleo and tasty, how about these sausage pizza egg muffins? As you can see from the recipe, there are lots of ways to customize this dish to suit your taste.
- Polenta Squares. I use polenta as the basis for lots of things, and nothing could beat a bowl of polenta topped with cooked spinach, bacon or sausage, add some scrambled eggs, and yum! However, this recipe for breakfast polenta squares may come in a close and delicious second.
- Savory Greek Yogurt. We’ve all sprinkled granola over our yogurt and considered it a win (and it is!), but how about taking your yogurt in an entirely different direction? Like, oh, with gently spiced chickpeas? Add a bit of spinach to the dish for added nutrients. Seriously, try this recipe once, and you’ll be hooked!
Obviously, there are lots of other great breakfast ideas (I heroically avoided including the tater tot casserole recipe I have), so I’m eager to hear your ideas!
Tip of the Week
Those compostable spoons are something I applaud as a crazy environmentalist, but they aren’t great for hot foods. I keep a personal set of silverware in my drawer — a spoon, fork, and knife — for meals. A set like this is about $12, but will last forever.
Gluten-Free Meal of the Week
I’m heading out of town for a week, so lots of what is on the docket for meals involves cleaning out the leftovers that have piled up while we’ve been crazy busy with life. Since the husband surprised me with tacos last week, we have a stockpile of corn tortillas that need a good home.
And that leads me to enchiladas, one of the most versatile foods I know. Yes, you can eat them rolled in the traditional style, but have you ever considered them as a casserole? Of course you have. And once you start thinking casserole, the next step is cutting them into squares for breakfast.
The recipe linked below includes chicken and corn. You can play with the ingredients. Note: many canned enchilada sauces have wheat included in the ingredients. Read labels carefully. One trick I’ve learned is to use salsa in place of the enchilada sauce for a safe, gluten-free enchilada!