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Breakfast kits save money, time

What the heck? Didn’t summer just start? I just realized school starts Monday.

Before you think I’m a total goofball, we home-school, so I’m blissfully detached from the school year schedule. But I’m not detached from morning chaos. That seems to be something we all have in common. The only way to mitigate the morning madness is to organize the chaos.

Here’s one trick I’ve found. If we make self-serve breakfasts, it frees me up to drink more coffee and search for matching socks. So let’s make a freezer full of homemade breakfast scrambled egg kits. You know, the kind you “just crack an egg” into. Wink, wink.

Have you seen those scrambled eggs kits? Microwavable cups holding diced potatoes, sausage or bacon with vegetables and cheese, ready to stir and microwave. I love everything but the price. So I make them myself.

To compare prices, these ready-made kits sell for $2.49 each and contain about 3 ounces of ingredients, except egg. I made a bunch of kits in a variety of recipe combinations. Mine weighed between 4 and 6 ounces and cost an average of 75 cents, including the cost of two eggs. Frugal and fabulous.

The ready-made kits are refrigerated and thus perishable. I made freezable kits, so they last indefinitely.

You’ll need zip-top bags for this project. Snack-sized baggies are great, but if you find snack-sized “portion pack” bags, they’re perfect. The bags are printed with measurements in quarter-cup intervals up to 1 cup. How cool is that?

To make the kits, I purchased bags of frozen, diced hash brown potatoes, frozen pepper-and-onion blend, frozen (fully cooked) breakfast sausage links, diced ham, cooked real bacon crumbles and a variety of shredded cheeses. As a guideline, a 32-ounce bag of diced potatoes makes approximately 20 quarter-cup portions or serves as the base for 20 kits. A 16-ounce bag of peppers and onions makes approximately 16 (2 tablespoons) servings.

These kits are totally customizable. Don’t want potatoes? Ditch them and add more of what you do want. Vegetarian? Swap the meat for more vegetables, like mushroom or zucchini. Like heat? Add chorizo and jalapenos.

Here’s the secret: If your kit contains between ½ cup and ¾ cup of ingredients, it will combine with two eggs and cook according to the directions below.

MAKE-AHEAD SCRAMBLED EGG KITS

What you’ll need

For each kit:

1/4 cup frozen diced potatoes

2 tablespoons frozen three-pepper-and-onion blend, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped ham, cooked sausage or cooked crumbled bacon

2 tablespoons shredded cheese

Here’s how

Place ingredients into a zip-top plastic bag and freeze until ready for use. Measurements don’t have to be exact. This is a great job for the kiddies.

When ready to serve, place the contents of the bag into a microwave-safe ceramic coffee cup that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Heat on high for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir. Add two eggs and stir well. Heat in microwave in 20- to 30-second increments, stirring each time, until fully cooked. Mine take about 2 minutes total time.

It’s best to err on the side of slightly undercooked, as the carry-over heat will continue to cook the eggs. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Use caution, as the eggs and the cup will be hot.

One benefit of these breakfast kits is kids can make breakfast themselves with adult supervision. Teach them how to use a timer and hot pads to protect against burning. You’ll be rewarded by knowing that if they starve to death in college, it’s on them.

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is a recipe developer and food writer of the website “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com.

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