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Morning Glories: Rise and Dine

Posted: November 3, 2009 9:28 p.m.
Updated: November 4, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Avocado and Potato Hash Sauté a skilletful of potatoes, onions and bell pepper, and finish with avocados, ham and a fried-egg topper - delicious! Yield: 4 servings (about 5 cups) 1 pound small Wisconsin red or yellow potatoes (about 5) 3 tablespoons olive oil 3/4 cup ch...

 

Got a case of the break­fast blahs? Cure it with a hot breakfast bursting with big flavors.

Any day is off to a good start with a delicious avocado-bacon pita sandwich or crisply browned potatoes, folded into a frittata. What’s more, you’re doing yourself a favor when you take time for a nutrient-packed breakfast rather than grabbing some­thing sugary — or, even worse, skipping the meal altogether. Studies show that eating breakfast not only leads to higher energy levels and better concentration throughout the morning, but also helps out with weight control by reducing hunger pangs later on.

With the right makings on hand, it’s easy to whip up a nutritious meal. For instance, a serving of potatoes not only generates quick energy but delivers as much potassium as two bananas and as much vitamin C as an orange — who knew? Avocados, another great break­fast ingredient, are rich in fiber, potas­sium, B-vitamins and more — in all, nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

Most people don’t think about eating avocados in the morning, but their rich buttery flavor offers a break from the same old boring breakfast routine. Avocados originated in Mexico and over centuries growers have perfected their cultivation. Mexican avocados (the Hass variety) are ripe when their pebbly skin turns dark and yields to gentle pressure. This talented fruit slips out of its skin in seconds, ready to be sliced or diced for a big-flavor breakfast.

Everybody loves potatoes and they cook in just a few minutes when diced, even faster in a microwave — and take to all kinds of flavors. To maximize the nutritional benefits of potatoes, leave the skins on. Wisconsin grows many varieties, from russets to yellow flesh potatoes (each with a unique flavor and texture) and you can count on finding them in your supermarket year-round. Potatoes cost just pennies a pound, and keep extremely well when stored in a cool, dark place with adequate humidity and ventilation.

What’s for breakfast, once you’re stocked up? Here are some ideas guaranteed to get your morning off to a delicious start.

Putting the sizzle back in breakfast
Try some fast, treat-yourself-right breakfast options that won’t make you want to hit the snooze button.
n    Spread whole-wheat toast with mashed avocado. Sprinkle with salt and add a squeeze of lime juice. Or eat half an avocado, seasoned the same way, right  out of the shell, one spoonful at a time.
n    Bake or boil extra potatoes to enjoy the next morning. Heat briefly in a microwave oven, mash in some cottage cheese, ricotta, or plain yogurt, and season with salt and pepper.
n    Make a tasty burrito filled with homemade hash brown potatoes, avocado, ham and shredded cheese — so portable!
n    Slice avocado onto bagel halves. Top with red onion slices and smoked salmon.
n    Quarter cold cooked potatoes, and brush with olive oil. Broil or grill until browned. Serve with scrambled eggs and sliced tomatoes.

Avocado and Potato Hash
Sauté a skilletful of potatoes,
onions and bell pepper, and
finish with avocados, ham
and a fried-egg topper — delicious!

Yield: 4 servings (about 5 cups)
    1     pound small Wisconsin red or yellow potatoes (about 5)
    3     tablespoons olive oil
    3/4     cup chopped onion
    1     cup diced sweet red bell pepper
    1/2     teaspoon salt
    1/4     teaspoon dried thyme Hot pepper sauce, to taste
    2     fully ripened avocados from Mexico, halved, pitted, peeled and cubed
    1/2     cup ham cut into strips
    4     large eggs

Prick potatoes with fork; place in microwave; microwave until fork tender, 4 to 5 minutes; cool; cut in
1-inch pieces.
In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; add onion and red pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in salt, thyme and hot pepper sauce; cook, turning occa­sionally, until hot, about 5 minutes.
Gently stir in avocado and ham. Serve with fried eggs sprinkled with chopped chives, if desired.
Per serving: 486 calories, 15 g protein, 39 g carbohydrates, 32 g total fat, 24 g unsaturated fat, 8 g fiber

Potato and Spinach Frittata
Instead of plain old scrambled eggs — what a yawn!
— whip up this easy frittata with the great flavors of browned potatoes and cheddar cheese.

Yield: 4 portions
    2     tablespoons olive oil
    3     cups Wisconsin red potatoes cut in 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 pound)
    1     teaspoon salt, divided
    1/4     teaspoon ground black pepper
    6     cups baby spinach
    1/2     cup chopped red onion
    8     eggs
    1/4     cup shredded cheddar cheese, optional

In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until
hot; add potatoes; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes.
Add spinach and onion; stir until beginning to wilt, about 1 minute.
In medium bowl, lightly beat eggs with remaining
1/2 teaspoon salt; gently pour over potatoes. Cook, gently lifting edges with spatula to let uncooked egg flow underneath, until golden on bottom and moist on top, 5 to 7 minutes.
Lower heat to medium; cover skillet; cook until top is set, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 345 calories, 18 g protein, 25 g carbohy­drates, 19 g total fat, 11 g unsaturated fat, 6 g fiber

Avocado Breakfast Pitas
Recipe for breakfast bliss: Two fabulous ingredients, avocados and crisp bacon, tucked into a take-and-go sandwich.
Yield: 4 portions (about 2 cups)
    4     slices bacon
    1     fully ripened avocado from Mexico, halved, pitted, peeled and diced
    1     tomato, diced
    2     tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
    1     teaspoon lemon juice
    1/4     teaspoon salt
    2     (6-inch) pita breads, cut in halves
In large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp, about 8 minutes.
In mixing bowl, place avocado, tomato, cilantro, lemon juice and salt.
Remove cooked bacon from skillet; crumble; add to avocado mixture; toss to combine.
Remove all but 1 teaspoon bacon drippings from skillet; add avocado mixture to skillet; heat until warm, about 1 minute. With large spoon, stuff each pita half with about 1/2 cup avocado mixture.
Per serving: 211 calories, 6 g protein, 21 g carbohydrates, 12 g total fat, 8 g unsaturated fat, 3 g fiber

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