What do you eat when cereal just doesn't cut it for breakfast?
Yogurt and granola is great. Avocado toast is divine. Microwaved frozen breakfast sandwiches will get the job done and save you a trip to a fast food joint on the way to work or school. But with just a little planning, you can make quick work of the first meal of the day with your Instant Pot or other multicooker.
My multicooker has become indispensable for cooking steel-cut oats, polenta and other dishes that usually require a long simmer on the stove. Once you get the technique down, the variations are infinite. Coco Morante's cheddar-black pepper grits could just as easily be served for dinner as breakfast, especially if you include some roasted vegetables or shrimp on the side. Alea Milham's cinnamon roll-inspired steel-cut oats could easily be tweaked to become a batch of pumpkin spice oats or spiced apple oats. She includes instructions on freezing small portions of the oats so you can preserve any leftovers for later.
I still prefer to bake quiches and frittatas in the oven, but I loved the mini frittatas from Megan Gilmore's "The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook" (Ten Speed Press, $19.99), which utilize the pressure cooker function on a multicooker to steam them in small, easy-to-transport jars. Whether you are scrambling the eggs on a stove-top or steaming them into a frittata, this recipe is an excellent way to use up whatever vegetables you might have in the fridge. If you don't have feta, you could use another kind of cheese or leave the dairy out altogether.
The more good-for-you ingredients you can squeeze into the most important meal of the day, the better you'll feel for the rest of the day.
Cheddar-Black Pepper Breakfast Grits
A bowl of cheesy, silky grits is breakfast by itself, or you can serve it alongside a pile of lightly dressed mixed greens at brunch. In this extra-thick version of a Southern classic, the corn flavor really shines through. Any variety of coarse grits will work well, and my favorites are produced by Anson Mills and Bob’s Red Mill. For sweet grits, omit the cheeses, pepper and green onions. Serve the grits topped with a pat of butter or a splash of cream, along with a drizzle of maple syrup or a spoonful of brown sugar.
— Coco Morante
4 cups water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup coarse grits (not instant)
1 tightly packed cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for serving
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 green onions, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced
Select the saute setting on the multicooker and add the water, butter and salt. Cover the pot with the glass lid or the regular lid (but unlocked) and bring to a simmer. Uncover the pot. While whisking continuously, slowly pour the grits into the simmering water. Continue to whisk until the mixture returns to a simmer.
Secure the pressure cooker lid and set the pressure release to "sealing." Press the cancel button to reset the cooking program, then select the porridge setting and set the cooking time for 20 minutes at high pressure (if using fine grits, shorten the cooking time to 10 minutes). (The pot will take about 5 minutes to come up to pressure before the cooking program begins.)
When the cooking program ends, let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes, then move the pressure release to "venting" to release any remaining steam. Open the pot and add the cheddar, Parmesan and pepper, whisking vigorously to smooth out any lumps. Ladle the grits into bowls and serve sprinkled with additional cheddar and the green onions. Serves 4.
— From "The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook: 200 Deliciously Simple Recipes for Your Electric Pressure Cooker" by Coco Morante (Ten Speed Press, $29.99)
Cinnamon Roll Oatmeal
This is so tasty I could eat it for dessert. OK, OK — this is so tasty that I do eat it for dessert. Although you can make it under pressure in a multicooker, I like to put this recipe in the slow cooker on Saturday night so we wake up to an almost-made breakfast on Sunday. All I have to do is quickly make the toppings, and breakfast is ready. If you are using a larger slow cooker, put a bowl inside the slow cooker and place the ingredients in that bowl. Add water to the slow cooker up to the halfway mark on the bowl. This creates a water bath and will prevent your oatmeal from being scorched in the large slow cooker.
To store this breakfast in the fridge or freezer, divide the oatmeal between individual microwave-safe containers. Spoon the cinnamon topping over the oatmeal. Then drizzle the icing over the top. Seal and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to a month. Thaw frozen oatmeal in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes on high power. Stir in milk as needed to reach the desired consistency.
— Alea Milham
For the oatmeal:
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup steel-cut oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 cup water
For the cinnamon topping:
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the vanilla icing:
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup powdered sugar
To make the oatmeal in a pressure cooker, turn on the saute function and heat the butter. Stir in the oats and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Then add the brown sugar, vanilla, milk and water. Stir and seal the pressure cooker. Press the manual or porridge function and cook for 10 minutes. Use a natural release for 5 minutes and then release the rest of the steam manually.
To make in a slow cooker, omit the butter and add the oats, brown sugar and vanilla to a 3- to 4-quart slow cooker. Pour the milk and water over the oats. Stir to combine, and cover. Cook the oatmeal on low for 6 to 8 hours.
When you are ready to serve the oatmeal, make the cinnamon topping and vanilla icing. To make the cinnamon topping, combine the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. To make the vanilla icing, add the milk and vanilla to a small bowl. Slowly add the powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency.
To serve, spoon the oatmeal into bowls. Drizzle the cinnamon topping over the oatmeal, then drizzle the vanilla icing over the cinnamon topping. Serves 4.
— Adapted from "Prep-Ahead Breakfasts and Lunches: 75 No-Fuss Recipes to Save You Time and Money" by Alea Milham (Page Street Publishing, $21.99)
Take-Along Veggie Frittatas
These portable veggie frittatas are the perfect protein-packed breakfast if you need to eat on the go. I cook them in 8-ounce wide-mouthed glass jars for easy travel, storage and portion control, but you could also prepare this in a 7-inch round pan to make a larger frittata served by the slice. Feel free to swap out the veggies to use up anything you have on hand. The flavor combinations are limitless. To bake this as a single large frittata, grease a 7-inch round pan with olive oil and pour in the mixture. Follow the given instructions, but cook on high pressure for 10 minutes, then let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes before removing the lid.
— Megan Gilmore
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 green onions, tender white and green parts only, chopped
1 cup chopped spinach
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Combine the eggs, salt, bell pepper, green onions, spinach, feta and a few grinds of black pepper in a mixing bowl and stir well.
Grease four 8-ounce Mason jars with olive oil and then divide the mixture evenly among the jars.
Pour 1 cup water into the Instant Pot and place the trivet on the bottom. Place the four jars in a single layer on the trivet and secure the lid. Move the steam release valve to sealing and select manual/pressure cook to cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, then move the steam release valve to venting to release any remaining steam. When the floating valve drops, remove the lid.
Use oven mitts to remove the jars. Tip the frittatas out of the jars and onto plates to serve warm, or cover the jars and store in the fridge for 5 days. Enjoy these frittatas chilled or reheat them, if desired. Serves 4.
— From "The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook" by Megan Gilmore (Ten Speed Press, $19.99)