Mornings are tough on any family, especially when it’s the beginning of the school year and routines are still hard to settle into. Finding the time to make a healthy and delicious snack that you know your kids will love is almost as hard as finding the socks that your dryer eats. Thankfully, most kids not only love, but beg for cereal in the morning, and there are hundreds of quick and easy ways to make great snacks and even full meals using just a few handfuls of your favorite morning munchable.
Cheerios of any variety and Cinnamon Toast Crunch has been a staple in my house for years. Something about the wholesome goodness of those little O’s and the sweet warm crunch of the cinnamon squares just makes every day a little brighter. These next two recipes will inspire you to go far beyond the traditional bowl, milk and spoon, with plenty of tweaks to customize for picky eaters and allergens.
Cinnamon Nut Crunch
This recipe is perfect, and because it take just 10 minutes to bake, you can be up, fed and out the door in no time. The sweetness and texture of the cereal and nuts over the soft warmth of the whole grain bread soaked in egg is just incredible in the morning, and I’ve never met a kid who didn’t like French toast. This recipe makes enough to serve 3 people but can easily be doubled or tripled.
You Will Need:
¼ cup of milk
½ tsp ground cinnamon
5 or 6 slices of whole grain bread
1-3/4 cup of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal
1/4 cup of sliced almonds
Heat oven to 450*. Beat eggs, cinnamon, and milk together in a shallow bowl. Pour the cereal and sliced almonds into a small Ziploc bag and crush gently, a fun task for the youngest in your family.
Coat both sides of the bread in the egg mixture and then press the cereal mixture into the bread. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and line up the slices of bread on the sheet. Bake the French toast in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cereal and bread is golden brown. Serve as you would regular French Toast with syrup or honey and butter.
ALLERGIES: WHEAT, ALMONDS, EGGS, MILK, CINNAMON
Some pretty obvious changes that you can very easily make to this recipe; substitute a different kind of nut for the almonds or eliminate them altogether. Sprinkle brown sugar over the freshly baked Toast. Use a French baguette or challah bread for a more classical variation.
The whole grain bread and almonds will help to keep your kids focused and alert during the school day, and the super easy addition of the yummy cereal makes a good breakfast a great one. This is a recipe that your kids can easily learn to prepare themselves with just a little help from mom with the oven.
My mom made every variation of this snack since I was old enough to pick up a Cheerio and put it in my mouth. We called it Cheeriola because it wasn’t quite Cheerios and it wasn’t quite Granola. It can be made in huge batches on Sunday night, prepackaged for the whole week Monday morning and save you lots of time when assembling school lunches or thinking about a scrumptious after school snack. It’s also a great recipe to show your kids, teaching them the use of a mixer, a cookie sheet and a timer.
You will need:
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups of Cheerios any variety
½ cup of chopped nuts
½ cup of instant oats (optional)
1 tbsp honey
*To get started, let me show you a great way to quickly and easily separate egg yolk and egg white, because this recipe only requires the egg white. Crack your egg, but keep the two halves upright with the contents of the egg split between them. Over a bowl, carefully switch the egg yolk back and forth between the two halves of shell until all the white is in the bowl, and only the yolk is left in the shell. Toss the yolk, or do what my grandfather use to do, swallow it whole…. :-/
Anyway, first thing you have to do is make the coating for the Cheeriola. Preheat your oven to 350*. With your mixer on high speed, beat the egg white until it is frothy, meaning a whole lot of bubbles. When it reaches that stage you can slowly beat in the brown sugar and salt and cinnamon.
Keep beating at a high speed until the mixture is a beige color and very smooth and glossy looking, it doesn’t take very long.
Gently add the cereal, nuts and oats into the egg mixture, and mix until everything is evenly coated. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper or very lightly spray it with cooking spray.
Spread your Cheeriola in the thinnest layer possible onto the wax paper and bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes. After it is baked take the entire sheet of wax paper with the Cheeriola still on it and set it aside, away from the heat. Drizzle the honey over the top and let it cool for 30 minutes.
The end result is a slightly browned and sweet smelling snack that is delicious any time of the day, and great for after school because it will fill you up until dinner.
This is so simple to make, and if you keep it in a sealed container in the fridge it can keep for a week. You can mix other things with it like candy pieces or whole nuts and use it as trail mix, or even pour warm milk over it and eat it like oatmeal.
Allergies: EGGS, WHEAT, MILK, NUTS, OATS
If you like the little glass cups that I use to measure and display ingredients click HERE for a look at Williams-Sonoma’s site. I also bought my mixer from them.
For more great recipe ideas and cereal nutrition info click HERE.