Thursday, September 16, 2010

Got Breakfast Cookies?

No one questions the importance of providing your family a healthy breakfast these days.  Some of the benefits include:  better brain power, especially when it comes to memory; better test scores, school attendance and mood; longer attention spans in school; better overall nutrition; and, healthier body weights, even for breakfast-eaters who end up eating more overall calories than those who routinely skip the first meal of the day.  The dilemma becomes finding the time on busy mornings to make any breakfast, much less a healthy one.  Honestly, some of the convenience foods that are available in stores these days are just plain scary when you examine their nutritional content (or lack thereof). 

I guess you can say that I am a bit obsessive about breakfast.  I love to test breakfast recipes and then figure out the best way to make them ahead of time for a quick breakfast on a busy morning.  That is one of the reasons that I started this blog.  I wanted to share some of the yummy, healthy recipes that I had found with family and other moms.

The very first "sneaky" recipe that I ever tried was for Breakfast Cookies.  That was over two years ago and to this day if we are out of breakfast cookies there is an air of panic in our home.  I love this recipe for many reasons.  First, they are delicious.  Second, they are super healthy stocked full of wheat germ, whole grain cereal, whole wheat flour and low fat ricotta cheese.  Finally, when I make a quadruple batch like pictured above then freeze the dough in balls, I have a quick and easy breakfast that is ready in less than 15 minutes, 12 of which I don't have to do anything but wait for the timer to go off.  Click here for the first post that I ever wrote about breakfast cookies. 

This is a great place to start if you are thinking about trying some healthier options in your home.  Besides what kid (or grown up) would not love having cookies for breakfast. 


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Skillet Wagon Wheel Pasta

I am so excited.  I got a new cookbook in the mail. I could seriously sit and pour over a cookbook for hours (or squeeze in 5-10 minutes as often as I can).  I may have even taken a cookbook to read while waiting for my son at Kindermusik.  I love cookbooks and cooking magazines.  My new love is America's Test Kitchen which is a great, informational TV show on PBS.  You can visit the website, too.  America's Test Kitchen is also responsible for the magazines Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country.  Their mission is to create and test recipes until they perfect them and then share the results.  They have scientists on staff to analyze ingredients and explain why certain reactions occur and therefore why your bread turns out flat, for example.  The inner science geek in me thinks that is awesome.  Their job is to test and re-test and re-test recipes until they get it just right.  How cool is that?  Well, as you can tell, I am pretty excited that America's Test Kitchen came out with a Healthy Family Cookbook.  I have tested three recipes so far and have not been disappointed.

First, I wanted to share this easy, one-skillet recipe for a healthy, kid-friendly meal.  The recipe calls for turkey or chicken italian sausage, spinach, peas and fun wagon wheel pasta.  It had a great flavor and the best part is that I was able to cook it all in one large skillet.  I also thought that incorporating the spinach with the pasta was a great way to include wilted spinach without setting out a serving of pure wilted spinach which may not look too appetizing for grown ups much less kiddos.  I used a seasoned chicken sausage as pictured below, but the recipe calls for sweet, Italian sausage.  You could change the recipe easily just by changing the type of sausage and style of pasta that you use.  I do think that I will add a few more peas the next time because I really like their sweetness with the other flavors in this dish.  It was also really good reheated for lunch the next day.  I do wish that some of the healthier pastas, like Ronzoni Smart Taste, came in fun shapes like this.

Click here, to get the full recipe in a printable version and ENJOY!