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Teresa Hatchell 2005

Teresa Hatchell

With the school year in full swing, youngsters everywhere are experiencing enriching, enlightening educational opportunities. In the resumption of their school morning routines, I sincerely hope that parents everywhere are reminding their children that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, because it "jump starts" a person's metabolism and provides protein and other nutrients to get our minds in gear to face the day with a positive attitude.

WHAT'S COOKING?: Grilling for Labor Day

Despite its reported benefits, breakfast is still one of the most neglected meals of the day, mainly because people don’t get up early enough to allow time for proper nutrition in the mornings. Then there are children who have parents who, because of their work schedules, have little or no time to prepare and serve breakfast – thus the growing market for quick, portable foods that can be toasted or microwaved and eaten on the way to school. It is important to stress that hunger may cause children and adults to be “hangry” or cranky, and often dulls a person’s capabilities of thinking, reasoning, imagining and creating.

WHAT'S COOKING?: Fresh, ripe tomatoes still abound

I want to share some great breakfast recipes, the first two of which, that may be stirred up the night before and baked the next morning, or baked the night before and nicely warmed in the microwave to provide tasty, beneficial breakfasts for several days. Too, all four of these recipes are filled with enough vitamins and minerals to keep your child’s mind and body going until lunch time.

Coincidently, since school started, several readers have emailed for a rerun of my recipe for Crock Pot Grits. Basically, when you follow this recipe, breakfast is ready the next morning except for adding: a few pats of butter, a handful of real bacon bit/pieces, a slice or two of cheese.

One further hint: in the dairy section of your favorite grocery store you can now find boiled eggs nicely packaged and not too cost prohibitive while providing a healthy dose of protein in a few quick bites.

WHAT'S COOKING? Time to enjoy boiled peanuts

Delicious sausage ‘n egg casserole

(If your family prefers bacon to sausage, simply fry/microwave, drain, and cut 10 nice strips of bacon into pieces, or, you may choose to use both sausage and bacon in this casserole.)

1 can crescent rolls

1 pound ground sausage, browned and drained

6 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

8 ounces grated Cheddar cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a square baking dish with Pam. Place the crescent rolls flat in the bottom of the dish. Put the cooked sausage on top of the crescent rolls. Whip the eggs, adding salt and pepper. Pour this mixture over the top of the sausage. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake this casserole at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

WHAT'S COOKING?: Readers ask for ideas for plentiful entrees

Ham, bacon ‘n cheese quiche

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup milk

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup chopped ham

5 strips cooked, drained, crumbled bacon

8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese

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1/2 cup chopped onions

Few drops Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt

Sprinkling of paprika

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, milk, beaten egg and flour. Stir until well combined. Stir in chopped ham, bacon, cheese, onions, Worcestershire sauce and seasoning salt.

Stir all of these ingredients well. Pour this mixture into a deep-dish pie shell. Sprinkle the top with paprika and bake the quiche at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. Note: This quiche can be frozen and warmed, by slice, in the microwave.

Cinnamon-apple breakfast quesadilla

2 (6-inch) flour tortillas

1/2 cup chunky applesauce, divided

1 teaspoon cinnamon-sugar divided

1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

2 tablespoons vanilla yogurt (optional)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place one tortilla on an ungreased baking sheet. Spread 1/4 cup of the chunky applesauce over the tortilla. Reserve 1/4 cup of chunky applesauce for garnish. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon-sugar over the applesauce. Top it with the cheese and the second tortilla. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon-sugar on the top. Bake at 400 degrees for six to eight minutes or until golden brown. Allow the quesadilla to cool for two minutes. Cut the quesadilla into quarters and serve it with the reserved applesauce and vanilla yogurt.

Peanut butter ‘n banana quesadilla

2 (6-inch) flour tortillas

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1 small banana

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Put one tortilla on an ungreased cookie sheet. Spread one tablespoon of peanut butter on the tortilla. Slice the banana and place the slices on top of the peanut butter. Place the second tortilla on top. Bake at 400 degrees for five minutes. Allow the quesadilla to cool for about two minutes. Cut it into quarters.

Crock Pot grits

Nonstick cooking spray

1 cup grits

4 cups warm water

Salt to taste

1 stick margarine or butter

Spray nonstick cooking spray in the bottom and on the sides of the crock pot. Pour all of the ingredients into your pot. Cook them uncovered on high for one hour and stir well. Then put the lid on, turn the heat to “low” and cook the grits for about seven hours on low. This delicious rendition of our Southern staple can cook overnight and be ready for the next morning for breakfast or brunch. Hint: If you get up for any reason during the night, you can give the grits a quick stir. (Note: The ratio of water to dry grits should be 4 to 1 -- for instance 4 cups of water to 1 cup of grits, 6 cups of water to 1-1/2 cups of grits, 8 cups of water to 2 cups of grits etc. Of course you may increase the amount of salt and/or margarine (butter) as you increase the amount of grits you are cooking. If you decide to use an amount of chicken stock (broth) as part of the liquid, factor that in as part of the “water” ratio.

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Contact Teresa Hatchell at tgmhatchell@yahoo.com.

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