Lazy Mom’s Guide to Breakfast

It’s back to school for Iowa City kiddos! Iowa City public elementary schools start before 8:00 a.m., meaning less time to get up and at ’em. If you’re like me, you need a few quick ways to make the morning go smoothly while also providing more sustenance than a pop tart. Unless pop tarts are your jam, in which case, no judgment here. I just personally cannot keep them in the house because I work at home and am alone all day. With the pop tarts.

Ok, back to the 5-minute breakfasts. Every year around this time I start frantically googling various versions of “quick breakfasts for kids.” I usually find that my idea of quick is somewhat different than, say, the food stylist at Bon Appetit. “Quick” to me does not include making a smiley-face out of cut vegetables atop a bagel with cream cheese, nor does it mean huevos rancheros (scrambled, so it’s quicker? No!). I don’t mind doing some bulk prep the night or weekend before, but I’m not going to style my daughter’s plate before I’ve consumed my morning allotment of coffee. My “quick” means something that is frozen and ready to pop in the microwave or sitting in a container in the fridge ready to throw on a plate and serve. Even better are those items that my 7 year-old can serve herself.

If this sounds like your version of “quick,” read on for two quick, make-ahead breakfasts. One sweet. One savory. Done and done.

Freezer Pancakes

My daughter loves pancakes. She especially loves chocolate chip pancakes. My mother used to make pancakes for us on weekend mornings and I have continued that tradition, but I make a double batch on Sunday morning and then freeze the leftovers to use throughout the week. If you have one of those unicorn-children that will eat pancakes made with whole wheat flour, greek yogurt, or other better-for-you ingredients, I’m jealous. If you have a kid like mine who believes that pancakes should be, well, pancake-y, then they will love this fluffy, white flour version that comes together in minutes.

pancakes cooking

Mom’s Pancakes

(from a 1960s “Good Housekeeping” cookbook my mom received as a wedding gift in 1966)

Whisk together in a bowl:

1 1/4 c. flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
2 T. sugar
3/4 t. salt
1 egg
1 1/4 c. milk
3 T. oil

Stir together until just combined. Batter will be lumpy and that’s a good thing!

Pour onto a greased griddle or pan. Drop mini chocolate chips onto the batter (optional, but delicious) and cook until bubbles form. Flip and cook on the other side for 1-2 minutes. Serve warm. Cool the extra pancakes on a wire rack until completely cooled. Layer with waxed or parchment paper and store in a freezer bag. Retrieve and microwave for 1 minute. Top with butter and serve to sleepy, hungry children.

Lazy mom's breakfast 2


Freezer Breakfast Burritos

Making breakfast burritos is not rocket science, but I follow this recipe because the proportions are just right. It’s our family’s go-to for a savory version of quick, especially for the grown-ups who also need a quick but filling start to their day. I make a dozen burritos on the weekend, wrap in foil and store in the freezer. No need to thaw, just throw a frozen burrito in the microwave for 3 minutes and you have a healthy, filling breakfast.

PicMonkey Collage

Freezer Breakfast Burritos

(from Our Best Bites)

3 tablespoons butter
12 eggs
1/4 cup water
pepper or Tabasco sauce
1 lb. lean turkey breakfast sausage
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper (any color), seeded and diced
12 8″ 100% whole wheat tortillas
6-8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese


In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. While the butter is melting, whisk together the eggs, water, salt, and pepper or Tabasco sauce. When the butter is melted, tilt the skillet to coat the pan. Add the eggs and allow them to cook until bubbly, then gently scrape the bottom of the pan, allowing more of the liquid-y egg mixture to come in contact with the pan. Repeat until the eggs are completely scrambled. Transfer the eggs to a bowl and return the pan to the hot stove. Add the sausage and cook, crumbling the sausage as it cooks, until it’s about halfway cooked. Add the onions and peppers and cook until the vegetables are tender and the sausage is completely cooked. Remove the pan from heat.

Place 1/3 cup scrambled eggs, 1/4 cup of the sausage/pepper mixture, and 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese into each tortilla. Roll the mixture tightly into the tortillas, folding in the ends as you roll, then roll tightly in aluminum foil. Place the wrapped burritos into a large Ziploc bag and freeze. When ready to serve, remove a burrito from the bag, unwrap it from the foil, and place it on a microwave-safe plate. I heat for 3 minutes or until hot. Serve immediately with salsa.

What are your go-to breakfasts for busy mornings and hungry kids?


Sherri is a transplant from Oregon who came to be a Hawkeye in 2006 and stayed for the sweet corn...and for the Iowa boy she met along the way! She and her husband (Kyle) have a 9 year-old daughter, Aissa. Sherri earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs at The University of Iowa and works for Ruffalo Noel Levitz as an Enrollment Marketing Consultant for colleges and universities. When she's not working, you can find her with her family, enjoying Iowa City and cheering on the Hawkeyes.



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