As hectic as during the week can be for our family of four, sometimes our weekend schedules are even busier. Many mornings there is just not enough time to prepare the hearty breakfast I know I want to serve my family. I’ve heard for years that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I believe it. If breakfast is awful, your whole day could end up down the tubes. Today I’m joining Kitchen PLAY and 7 other bloggers to share some scrumptious recipes and ways to Build a Better Breakfast with Milk and My Plate. I make sure my family has a positive start on the weekends by serving this Overnight Ham, Egg and Cheese Bake.
I’m a big fan of overnight casseroles for breakfast. I can prepare all the ingredients the night before, and place the baking dish in the refrigerator. In the morning, I slowly make my way out of bed and head to the kitchen to make some coffee. Like many parents, I need coffee to focus in the morning. At the same time, I remove the casserole from the refrigerator so the baking dish can return close to room temperature. I don’t want my baking dish to explode in the oven with too sudden a change of temperature. That would make for a messy and cranky morning.
This dish has all the major food groups covered. Whole grains, lean protein, and milk make this breakfast bake unstoppable for energy and nutrition for my family. Milk provides protein for building lean muscle, vitamin A for a healthy immune system and 5 bone-building nutrients, including calcium and vitamin D. . It’s important to include milk with breakfast because 85% of Americans fall short of milk recommendations. Research shows people that drink milk and people that eat breakfast have more nutritious diets. They also tend to be leaner than non-milk drinkers and people that skip breakfast.
I know when I skip breakfast, I am starving by lunch time. When I’m too hungry, I tend to make my lunch decision based on the shortest line in the cafeteria. That may not always be the healthiest choice for me. If I took the time for breakfast, or even simply drank an 8 oz glass of milk, I would have received 8 grams of high-quality protein to keep me satisfied until lunch. If I paired that same glass of milk with this amazing casserole, there is no telling what I could accomplish by lunch time.
The US Dietary Guidelines recommend eating right, staying active and drinking three glasses of lowfat or fat free milk each day to maintain a healthy weight. My Plate is a free guide illustrating the five food groups that are the building blocks for a healthy diet using a familiar image—a place setting for a meal. When building your meal, be mindful and balance calories. Increase your fruits and vegetables to cover half your plate, and choose whole grains for at least half of your grain selection, and of course include a daily serving of milk.
Everyone can use the MyPlate section at TheBreakfastProject.com to find delicious recipes that include lowfat and fat free milk to help close the gap between actual and recommended milk consumption. The MyPlate ideas can get you closer to meeting the recommended daily milk intake as outlined by the US Dietary Guidelines.
Interested in sharing your ideas on how to create a better plate too? Join me and Kitchen PLAY for a fun Twitter party on November 19, 2013 at 7:00 PM ET to talk more about My Plate, The Breakfast Project, and of course milk. Register for the party here, and follow the conversation with the hashtag #MyMilkMyPlate. We’ll also be sharing some tasty breakfast recipes you won’t want to miss.
What tip do you have to share that helps you reach the recommended daily milk intake?
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup of milk
- 6 slices of your favorite bread (I used 16 grain)
- 12 oz lean ham (thin sliced)
- 1 ½ cups of shredded cheddar cheese
- Spray an 8X8 baking dish with non-stick spray.
- Using the slices of bread and lean sliced ham, prepare three sandwiches.
- Using a bread knife, slice each sandwich into cubes.
- Place a layer of sandwich cubes in prepared baking dish.
- Sprinkle sandwich cubes with shredded cheese.
- Repeat with more sandwich cubes and cheese until all cubes and cheese are layered in the baking dish.
- In another bowl mix the eggs and milk.
- Pour the milk and egg mixture over the cubed sandwich pieces and cheese, making sure all pieces are fully submerged in liquid.
- Cover with plastic wrap tightly and refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to bake the casserole, remove baking dish from the fridge, and bring to room temperature, approximately 30-40 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Remove plastic wrap and bake casserole in oven for 50 minutes or until firm to touch in the center and slightly crisp on top.
- Remove from oven, let set for 5 minutes.
- Slice and serve.