Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas: Home-Ec 101 Ask the Audience

Dear Home-Ec 101:

I am in need of some breakfast food that can be eaten at my desk at work. I admit it, I’ve been spoiled. For the first 4 years after college I worked for a bookstore in a mall with a multitude of restaurants. The next 8 years I worked in an office building with an on-site cafeteria & coffee shop. My office has just relocated to a new building with no cafeteria. There are lots of restaurants nearby, but they cost more and take longer than running across the street to the cafeteria or down the hall to the bagel shop. I’m a person that can’t eat until I’ve been awake for awhile and I’m already getting up at 4:30 AM to make it to work by 7 AM so getting up earlier and eating at home isn’t really an option, and there are only so many days in a row I can eat cereal.

Do you have any suggestions for easy breakfasts that can either be made at home the night before and reheated in the office microwave, or made at work? I have access to a microwave and instant hot water, but no toaster. My normal breakfast is a caramel light frappucino – but not only is that not particularly budget friendly, I know it’s not good for me so I am trying very hard to cut back. Also, sometimes it’s not enough and then I’m starving at 10 AM and hitting the snack machine. I’m getting desperate, today I had a breakfast Lean Pocket. Help!

Starving in Stanford

Heather says:

I can sympathize with not being able to eat until later in the morning, I’ve been that way my entire life. I have coffee to stave off the crazy, but actual food has to wait until I’ve been up for a while.

We eat a lot of eggs in our home. My mother raises chickens and we reap the reward. How lucky is that?

Breakfast burritos are extremely quick, can be made in large batches and are kept in the freezer for quick, microwaveable breakfasts. Just scramble some eggs and cook bacon or sausage and wrap in a tortilla. I usually chop up a little cilantro to add to mine. Wrap these individually in plastic wrap and freeze.

Frittatas are another very flexible egg dish. Here’s a basic outline of how to make a frittata. I find the leftovers microwave just fine. To keep this idea from getting tiresome, change up your ingredients. Use different kinds of sausages and a variety of vegetables or take a tip from the Spanish and use potatoes to make tortilla -not the flour kind.

I have a granola recipe I triple and bake. I store the granola in an airtight container and it’s perfect as a cereal, in yogurt, or heck eaten out of hand.

In the near future I’ll try to pull together a tutorial for pasties (not the kind you find in adult establishments, rather the type you find in upper Michigan bakeries).

As I’m supposed to be on vacation right now -at least I’m writing outside, right?- I’m going to open this question up to the Home-Ec 101 audience.

So Home-Eccers, what suggestions do you have for quick, microwavable breakfasts?

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13 thoughts on “Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas: Home-Ec 101 Ask the Audience”

  1. Starving in Stanford ~ Consider taking a small crock pot to work. You can cook just about anything in it for lunch. (I personally love crock pot baked potatoes or sweet potatoes. Just wrap in foil and cook on high. Do NOT add water.) I also kept a box of spring mix lettuces (that I buy at Sam’s) with a paper towel in the box at work in the frige. I would fix a container of toppings from our leftover dinner items and bring it to work the next day. If we had chicken then I would shred up some leftover chicken and add whatever veggies I had on hand, peel a boiled egg, chop up some almonds, cube an apple and voila! Salad! If we had steak then I would slice it thin, add some cheese crumbles, cut a few grape tomatoes…well you get the idea. It uses up leftovers and keeps the veggies from wilting. Google Salad Toppings and get lots more ideas.

    There are a lot of great recipes out there for healthy breakfast muffins or breakfast bars. Most of them have whole wheat flour, wheat germ, flax, nuts, some dried fruit, olive oil/butter and raw sugar. I love to make up a batch on the weekend baked in muffin cups. Then I just grab a couple with my coffee or juice and go!

    I know you can buy frozen breakfast sandwiches on croissants, frozen waffles, frozen pancakes, etc. So….it stands to reason you should be able to make your own healthier (and cheaper I hope!) variety. Make up 4 or 5 store them in containers and see how they do!

    I always kept oatmeal in my desk at work along with a variety of nuts, granola bars, dried fruits, crackers, peanut butter, microwave popcorn and cans of vegetable soup. Yep, I have been known to eat vegetable soup for breakfast! LOL! I was most certainly the go-to girl for anyone who forgot their lunch at home….tee hee!

    Hope you have found lots of great ideas for your work fare!

  2. @KeterMagick Sharing: I freeze most all of my fruits to avoid adding ice to my smoothies. I don’t like the “watered down” flavor. I save a lot of otherwise tossable fruit that way, too. Bananas are the easiest to freeze…just put them in the frige. The peels will darken but the insides stay about the same. To use them just put in a bowl of warmish water whilst you collect your other ingredients. Then cut the defrosting banana in half and squeeze it out of the peel. Toss the peel, of course. It is also easy to fix containers (like those yogurt containers you saved and aren’t sure what to do with ’em) with your favorite mixes pre-prepared. It is also quick and easy when the containers are all ready ready all ready! LOL!

    Some of my faves: Fuzzy Navel: Prepared and frozen peach slices, mandarin oranges, and a few pineapple chunks. Add in a banana, a cup of peach yogurt, an egg and a little juice, almond milk or whatever liquid you like. Blended Berries: Prepared and frozen berries, grapes and cherries. Add in a banana, a cup of berry, strawberry, blueberry and/or cherry yogurt along with an egg and juice/almond milk. Tropical Blast: Prepared and frozen strawberries and pineapple chunks. Add in a banana, an egg, a cup of yogurt (pina colada if you like!) and orange juice.

    I use eggs for cheap and easy protein. However, I am sure there are alternatives. Adding chocolate syrup and a chocolate breakfast powder make any of the above smoothies chocolatey good, too!

  3. I used to make quiche all the time, back when I had the same issue. It was something I could do on Sunday evening, and I would have on hand for at least the first 3 days of the week (if my brother hadn’t eaten it all before then). It is very filling, easy to make, and it you can make hundreds of variations to keep it from getting boring. One of my favorite recipes I found on the Hillbilly Housewife website. Check it out!

  4. If you spend some time on the weekend preparing a couple of things for the week ahead, you might find all you have to do is grab it in the morning and go. Perhaps some bagel or english muffin breakfast sandwiches? Yogurt and granola parfaits? I like to make a big bowl of all kinds of cut up fruit and have it ready throughout the week for whatever may come my way. Also, I like “egg bites”, which are just scrambled eggs (with whatever cheese, veggies & flavoring you want) baked in a muffin tin (I even like a mini-muffin tin.) Super easy to reheat and very portable.

    Again, I think perhaps if you want the healthiest options you’ll have to spend some time on the weekend to prepare and package things ready for you to just grab in the mornings. Good luck!

  5. My fiancee’s grandmother makes this delicious “Breakfast Casserole”.

    Basically, you layer ground beef or sausage, beaten eggs, onions diced potatoes in a standard casserole dish and bake at 400 degrees for about 40-45 minutes. It’s crazy easy and takes no time to prepare.

    This aroma takes over the entire house and wakes everyone up. The best “alarm clock” I’ve ever experienced.

  6. I also can’t eat in the early morning, but by 9 AM I am starving. Recently, I discovered that I can drink a smoothie even if I can’t bring myself to eat, and that smoothie often will carry me to lunch. I fill the blender halfway with fruit (strawberries, blueberries, peaches, bananas, mangoes, etc.), add a dash of vanilla and a couple of teaspoons of brown sugar, some flax seed, nutritional supplement if wanted, fill up with ice, and then pour in coconut milk to fill. Blend until smooth. If too thin or separates too easily, add a pinch of xanthan gum and blend again. This makes enough smoothie for four people to have a big glass. Two glasses will hold me to lunch for sure. Leftovers will hold in the refrigerator; it will separate, but you can blend it again.

    I have always cooked for myself at work, and now that I work for myself in my own office, I have a microwave, small crock-pot, mini-fridge, and a cabinet which stores the microwave and dry staples. But I was always able to do the same kind of cooking for myself even in corporate jobs, using the break room. So here are my basic ingredients, which with a little pre-planning and a few plastic containers, can be transported and stored in most work places (assumes a communal refrigerator/freezer):

    Shingles: pitas, tortillas, crackers, flatbreads, english muffins, grahams

    Schmears: homemade plain yogurt, hummus, tzaziki (greek yogurt+finely diced cucumbers+whatever else you like), bean paste/refried beans, cheese spread, egg salad run through the blender until pasty, butter, jar spaghetti or indian curry/tandoori/etc. sauce, jams/jellies/preserves, nut butters, nutella, vegemite or marmite when I can find it

    Frozens: anything small or shredded (peas, mixed veggies, chopped spinach, cooked salad shrimp)

    Microwaveable mushies: oatmeal, grits, rice noodles

    Toppers: anything that can be diced or is small to begin with (shredded cheese, sprouts, sesame/sunflower/pumpkin seeds, diced veggies, dried or fresh fruit, sausage, ham, leftover pulled pork, bacon crumbles)

    Proteins: thin sliced ham and cheese, eggs, canned fish

    Seasonings: savory seasoning mix (pepper, salt, spices), salt, pepper, parsley flakes, cinnamon sugar, onion flakes

    Sauces: soy sauce, mustard, anything else that looks good…

    Olive oil spray.

    Add-water cornbread mix. (You can make cornbread in a crock pot on low.)

    Combine! Some of my favorites that aren’t all that obvious (like quesadillas) are:

    – Place grits, egg, butter and diced sausage in a bowl, top with seasoning blend, stir (egg will break) and microwave until egg is set. Cheese shreds can be added if wanted. Makes a thick, hearty meal.

    – Microwave egg noodles until tender. Add frozen oriental blend veggies, onion flakes, canned fish with juice, egg, soy sauce, and seasoning blend. Microwave until egg sets, let sit for a few minutes to finish veggies and rehydrate onion. Makes a pho-like soup. This can also be done in a crock pot.

    – Spread spaghetti sauce on english muffin, top with cheese and chopped veggies, microwave until cheese melts, let set for a couple of minutes before eating. Makes pseudo-pizza.

    Experiment! In a couple of workplaces, I partnered with coworkers to fix breakfast, lunch, and sometimes even dinner.

  7. My suggestion is baked oatmeal – there are plenty of recipes available online for the exact amounts and it’s easy to make, mix up some rolled oats, milk, an egg, and some fruit and sugar, pour in an 8×8 baking dish and bake for a while. In the morning you can just cut off a square and reheat it for 20-30 seconds in the microwave (or just eat it cold, but I prefer it hot). It stays pretty solid, kind of like a soft breakfast bar. There are a ton of combinations so you won’t get bored of it and it can be made with lots of different kinds of seasonal fruits. Add some nuts for protein and you’re set for at least a couple of hours.

  8. Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
    1/3 c quick oats
    2/3 c apple juice
    dash cinnamon
    Microwave 1.5 min and enjoy!

    I keep juice in the fridge at work and the oats and cinnamon measured in baggies in my desk.

  9. Breakfast can be anything. My brother once described to me the breakfasts he was served when he had to go to Japan for work. Fish, rice, miso and…salad. With that “breakfast is what you make it” in mind, here are some things I’ve had for breakfast that are easy to take along:

    Hard-boiled eggs can be made ahead and peeled, and they’re ready to eat as-is, or they can be made into egg salad to have as a sandwich, a wrap or to spread on whole-grain crackers.

    Hummus! I don’t buy pitas or pita chips, but I always have tortillas. I like to spread hummus on torn pieces of tortilla.

    Fruit and cheese – I especially like golden delicious apples with muenster cheese. Cut both into chunks and it’s a breakfast you can nibble on while you’re working.

    Peanut butter and banana wrap – roll up a banana in a tortilla you’ve already spread with peanut butter. (Or any nut butter, of course)

    Cold sausage – I had some sweet Italian sausage left over and plan to use it in another meal, but one piece became my breakfast yesterday. I must have protein in the morning, and I needed something really fast. It was ready to go, and it was delicious.

    Cold pizza – and orange juice. This has been a favorite of mine since childhood. A slice of cold pizza is good, but to me, orange juice elevates it to nirvana for me. (Totally serious.)

    Breakfast sandwiches – I make my own “McMuffin” type sandwiches. I’ve got a very small cast iron skillet in which I fry an egg until the yolk is hard, and put that on a toasted & buttered english muffin with a slice of cheese. I skip the meat. Eat it right away or stick it in a microwaveable container to heat up later. You could easily make it the night before or even make up a couple at a time to have on hand.

  10. I know pre-packaged food isnt that great for you but the breakfast bowls or breakfast hot pockets are what I turn to if I have to eat at the office. Not sure if you made a breakfast burrito the night before, how it would hold up.

  11. I like oatmeal, too, especially steel cut oats! BUT, if I eat that in the morning, I’ll be sleepy in two hours. I need protein to keep me going until lunch. So, if I don’t feel like scrambled eggs, salsa and plain yogurt, my usual brekkie, I always have protein powder on hand for quickie meals. I also carry a small container with a serving of protein powder in my purse, in case I don’t get a chance for a proper meal when I’m out.

  12. I consider myself a morning person but I am not really with it until I’ve eaten breakfast, and I don’t like other people very much until then either. Breakfast, therefore, is crucial to my ability to function at work. I LOVE oatmeal – I always have – so if you’re not a huge oatmeal fan this may not appeal as much. But I use quiet Sunday evenings to make a 4-serving batch of Steel Cut Oats, divide it into microwavable bowls with lids, and stick them in the fridge. Monday through Thursday I take one of those and a banana to work and heat it up/eat when I get to the office. We’re spoiled and always have bagels on Fridays.

    There are lots of recipes/methods out there but the one I use is simple: Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium size pot. Add 1 cup of steel cut oats and reduce heat to very low. Do not add salt! Leave the lid slightly askew and stir occasionally, cooking for 20 minutes. Oats will thicken considerably. Add 1 cup of milk and about 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Simmer for 10 more minutes. Add sweetner if desired and divide into bowls. I have also recently seen recipes where you can put it in mason jars with lids. Microwave for 1.5 to 2 minutes and add a little more milk if it’s too thick.


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