Disney's Frozen
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Mostly what I remember about meals when I was young is my parents' saying: "Children in (insert an impoverished nation of your choice) are starving, so clean up your plate and don't let this food go to waste." I'm convinced that sitting for hours trying to finish food that I could barely stuff into my mouth because I was so full is a big part of why I struggle with weight issues. 

I didn't raise my kids that way. I let them leave food at the table and on their plate. I wanted them to understand how to feed their bodies appropriately and be healthy. However, when you have dancer/athletes like I do, you never know when they are going to eat a super huge meal or a very tiny meal. So I always have leftovers - lots of leftovers. What do I do with them?

I make soups, casseroles, savory pies and eggs. I make lots of left over egg dishes. This is one of my favorites. I combine my love of roasting vegetables with a simple steamed egg and a bit of cheese. And while I'm at it, I imagine I'm helping to not waste food for starving children somewhere. Oh, and let's all give to Action Against Hunger while we are at it.
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 Cups Roasted Vegetables
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tbl Shredded Cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • 1/8 Cup Water

Preparation
  1. Drizzle olive oil into a pan that has been heated to medium high.
  2. Add the roasted vegetables and cook for about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Crack two eggs directly on top of the vegetables.
  4. Cook another 2 minutes. Lower heat to medium to medium low.
  5. Add water to pan and cover until eggs are steamed done and whites are set. About 2 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle with cheese and cover until melted. About 30 seconds. Season with black pepper.
  7. If you want a crunchier bottom on your vegetables, keep the lid off after adding the cheese so the water evaporates and a crust forms on the bottom.

Serving
This makes one hardy serving or two smaller servings.

Nutrition
Large hardy serving is about 300 calories.
Smaller half size serving is about 150 calories.
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There are so many ways to cook eggs, especially scrambled eggs. One of my kids' favorites are my silky eggs. The combination of cream, butter and low temperature create a yummy silky texture: smooth, warm and wonderful.   The recipe can be increased significantly for brunch or a larger group.

Ingredients

  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • A Bit Of Salt And Pepper

Preparation

  1. Heat butter in a non stick pan on medium low.
  2. Whisk the eggs and cream together vigorously and pour into the pan with the melted butter.
  3. Cook on medium low stirring frequently until just set. They will cook slightly after you remove them from the heat.

Nutrition
About 190 calories.


 
 
One of the most important things I have learned as an at home dad is that children are hungry. Always. You need to be prepared. No, seriously I mean prepared. Like you are preparing for war or you get melt down city and cranky tantrums that threaten to expose your parenting deficiencies post haste. You do not want those stern looks from the mothers at the swim practice because you weren't prepared. Failing all of "man"kind once again!

Nor do you want to drive into another fast food joint and unload your wallet on food that will only last about 20 minutes until the next emotional outburst. I have come to believe that these hungry, emotional responses from kids are what has driven the explosion in fast food, prepackaged sugar snacks and "nutrition bars". None of which is really good for our kids. 

What I do is overcook and carry. Make more food than your family can eat in one meal and carry extra with you whenever possible.  (Get a good portable cooler...sort of a food security blanket.)


The first step is to have extra basic ingredients. One of my favorite quick foods is fried rice, but the important part is that you need cold precooked rice. So, always make extra rice and store it covered in the refrigerator. And I am not talking about keeping extra Chinese take out rice in those nasty card board boxes. You only end up with rock hard, flavorless construction material if you do that. Put that rice in a different sealed container.

Once the kids are hungry, you can have a pretty nutritious meal within a few minutes. Here's my basic recipe.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups cooked and refrigerated rice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tsp soy sauce
2-3 drops fish sauce

Optional Ingredients
1/8 cup precooked diced chicken
1/8 cup precooked vegetables (scallions, carrots, broccoli, celery, onion, peppers are all good options)
1/4 cup finely diced lettuce

Preparation
  1. Heat a cast iron or non stick pan until it is very hot. You could use a wok too.
  2. Add the oil and let it heat a bit.
  3. Add the rice and start to heat. 
  4. Add optional precooked chicken or vegetables finely diced.
  5. While the rice is heating combine the egg, soy sauce and fish sauce and whisk quickly.
  6. Add the egg mixture to the rice and stir quickly until set.
  7. Add optional lettuce and wilt.
  8. Serve.

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Nutrition
2 Servings
Approximately 250 calories per 3/4 cup.
Reduce calorie count if vegetables are added.

Tips
The trophy wife hates the lettuce added at the end. I learned that trick from an old Chinese home style cook book. I love the flavor and the texture. So I only add it to mine!
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A friend of mine I met during my college years while we were both waiters at a local Mexican restaurant makes a wonderful cheesy egg dish. But first, you should know that she has the most delightful personality, an incredible sense of humor, a voracious love of coffee and about a thousand voices including the most convincing baby voice. So, of course we hit it off famously. Many times our restaurant gang would end up at her house either after a late night shift or in the morning for brunch. Along with her very strong and aromatic coffee, she would make her famous cheesy eggs. I'm convinced the magic to cooking them is the love she put into that pan because simply all she did otherwise was just cook the cheese right into the eggs as they were scrambling. They were creamy and delicious; melt in your mouth good. I honestly could not eat enough of them. So I have been making versions of her eggs now for years for my family and I finally decided it was time to "skinny" them up because I've put on a few pounds over the years eating those dang eggs. So here is my version of Debi's Cheesy Eggs albeit a little bit skinnier, just like I'm hoping to be!
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Ingredients
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges
  • 2 Slices Kirkland Lean Ham
  • Spray Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Optional Hot Sauce For Serving

Preparation
  1. Heat a large non stick pan to medium. 
  2. Chop the ham
  3. Spray the pan with oil.
  4. Add the ham and stir until starting to warm.
  5. Add the cheese wedges and lower heat to medium low.
  6. Once the cheese starts to soften and melt quickly whisk the eggs and add them to the pan.
  7. Stir as the cheese melts and the eggs start to set.
  8. Cooking the eggs on a lower temperature will take a little longer than normal. Once cooked you may season to taste.
  9. Serve with fruit and strong coffee of course!

Servings
1 Serving

Nutrition
About 260 calories per serving. You could lower the calorie count by about 35 calories if you substitute 1/4 cup egg white for one of the eggs.

Tips
Eggs scramble best if the pan is already hot, the pan temperature is lower than normal, and you whisk them well right before adding them.
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On cold mornings at the cabin when I was a boy, my mother used to make a wonderful breakfast cake from mashed potatoes and a little egg and butter. She'd fry it up in a pan and serve it with a side of eggs and bacon. I can still feel the chill and the mist in the air. There seemed like nothing better. After making her potato cakes for years, I thought, what is stopping me from improving it. Well I did and the secret is in the pork fat because as we all know: Pork Fat Rules.

Ingredients
  • 1 Cup Dehydrated Potatoes (Flakes Or Buds)
  • 1 Cup Warm Water
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Butter (More For Topping)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Bacon Grease
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Non Stick Spray Or Butter For Frying

Preparation
  1. If you do not have bacon grease saved in the refrigerator, you will need to render some bacon and remove the grease and let it cool so it doesn't cook the egg.
  2. Your water should be warm, but not boiling. Mix the water and the potatoes with the salt.
  3. Add the egg and mix well. Add the butter and the bacon grease.
  4. Divide into four portions and make thick patties.
  5. Fry in non stick pan approximately 4 minutes on each side over medium heat until they are golden brown.
  6. Serve with butter as is or with an egg and bacon side.

Servings
4 servings

Nutrition
About 150 calories per cake.

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Tips
Rendering bacon fat seems to have disappeared from home making practices. My grandmother and mother always used bacon fat. I know we are all up in arms about being healthy with lower fat and sodium, but you don't need very much to add great flavor to a dish. It also makes the best dressing base, especially if you combine it with olive oil. So next time you cook up some bacon, drain off the fat and save a bit in a jar in the refrigerator. It keeps quite a long time.
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Smoothies are so popular and kids love them, but most of the time they are loaded with sugar and empty calories because they use concentrated juice or other added ingredients. Not this one. It is fresh, simple, creamy, and loaded with goodness!
Ingredients
  • 1/2 Cup Golden Sweet Frozen Pineapple Chunks
  • 1 Cup Frozen Strawberries
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Cup Skim Milk (Soy Or Almond Milk Also Works)

Preparation
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or power hand mixer cup.
  2. Blend until smooth. Add additional milk if needed.
  3. Pour in glass and garnish with a piece of fruit.

Servings
1 serving

Nutrition
238 Calories Per Serving

Tips
You can substitute soy or almond milk to make this dairy free. You can also add protein powder. Adjust calories accordingly.
 
 
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My father hates standing in line. He refuses to go to some church buffets because there will be a big line. He will go to lunch early at the cafe to avoid any hint of a line. And he will generally not go to weddings or funerals because heaven forbid there might be a receiving line. 

I used to think that perhaps he just hates talking to people. After all that's what you do standing in line. But he is an affable guy and can strike up a conversation with anybody. I finally realized that it wasn't standing in lines that he hates, it's that he hates wasting time.

Feeding children can be a lot like standing in line. You can spend hours on planning, shopping, preparation, cooking, and serving. The kids devour it in less than ten minutes and run off with their friends leaving you with more than just dirty dishes - that wasting time guilt.

So to assuage my guilt I devised a number of quick meals with quality ingredients. They can be prepared quickly, are colorful and flavorful, and you can spend less time over the stove and more with your children. Here is the first in many no more standing in line breakfasts!