Protein packed breakfast and snacks

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As grocery prices continue to rise and our family adapts to the addition of a new little one I find myself turning back to several recipes that are make-ahead, full of protein and fit the bill for breakfast or snacks. These have to be low in sugar, high in protein, and cheap to make relative to the number of servings I get. These recipes also tend to freeze well so I can freeze individual portions to pull out and eat when we need something quick.

Brownie Baked Oatmeal

This recipe is altered slightly from one I found online a while ago. I have changed it to suit my tastes. This really does taste like the best kind of gooey chewy brownies with the satisfaction of whole oats. It is high in protein and not only satisfies my sweet tooth but meets some dietary needs too.

Non-stick cooking spray

2 very ripe medium bananas

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cups milk

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (you can also make your own chocolate chunks if you really want this to be processed sugar free)

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Coat an 8x8-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set it aside.

Mash the bananas with a fork in a large bowl. You should have about 1 cup.

Add the dry ingredients and stir the mixture with a rubber spatula to combine.

Add the milk, peanut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla, and stir to combine. Stir in half of the chocolate.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared baking pan, spread it out evenly, and top with the remaining chocolate. Bake until the oatmeal is puffed, set, and the edges start to pull away from the baking pan, 30 to 35 minutes.

Let the oatmeal cool for 10 minutes on your kitchen counter. Serve warm or at room temperature. The oatmeal will be very creamy and scoopable when warm. As it cools, it will become firmer and sliceable.

Chai Breakfast Quinoa

My kids love quinoa and chai tea so this is the perfect combination. A nice break from oats but definitely packed full of protein, also makes a quick and delicious warm snack when they come in from playing outside in the wind and snow.

2 cups milk of choice (can be non dairy)

4 chai tea bags

4 cups cooked quinoa

4 tablespoons chia seeds

4 tablespoons maple syrup

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Add the milk and tea bags into a small saucepan. Warm the milk and allow the tea to steep for 4 minutes. Remove the tea bags, press out any extra tea, and add the remaining breakfast quinoa ingredients. Stir until quinoa has warmed, about 1 minute, and transfer to bowls. Top with chopped nuts, warmed up almond butter or fruit of your choice. Also great plain.

Make ahead breakfast quesadilla

My kids and I love beans for any meal and these make and freeze quesadillas are filing, full of protein, and because of the beans don’t require as many eggs as breakfast burritos (always a plus when paying 50 cents an egg). If you don’t like spinach you can leave it out or swap for a different green. These can be frozen flat on a sheet and then wrapped individually in wax paper, placed in a baggie in the freezer and microwaved or reheated in a skillet for quick breakfast.

10 large eggs

1 tablespoon milk

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

5 cups lightly packed fresh spinach roughly torn or chopped (about 4 ounces)

1 can reduced-sodium white beans (15 ounces) , such as cannellini, Great Northern, or white kidney, rinsed and drained.

1 1/2 cups freshly grated cheese such as cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, or another similar melty cheese.

8 whole wheat tortillas medium taco size.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Set aside.

Add the olive oil to a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until it is hot and shimmers. Swirl to coat the pan, then add the spinach and cook, stirring often, until it begins to wilt, about 1 minute. Add the beans, reduce the heat to medium low, then carefully pour in the eggs. With a rubber spatula, cook the eggs low and slow, using the spatula to move them around the pan often. Continue cooking until the eggs are scrambled and just set, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with additional salt or pepper as desired. Remove from the heat. (If freezing the quesadillas, let the filling cool completely.)

Assemble the quesadillas by sprinkling a tortilla with one-eighth of the shredded cheese, leaving a small border all the way around the edge. Spoon one-eighth of the egg mixture on top, then fold the tortilla in half. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. To freeze lay flat on a cookie sheet and freeze until solid then wrap individually in wax paper.