Hearty breakfasts for those cold winter ski trips

Hearty breakfasts for those cold winter ski trips

I am not, not, not, a morning person. Everyone who knows me will agree.

And yet, somehow, I keep having to live life as if I were. Or at least, living life as if I were not less of a morning person than the rest of the world.

If the world desperately needs someone to do something at 2 a.m., even at 3 a.m. – make important decisions, find and sort objects, form cohesive thoughts and sentences – I’m the one.

But at 8 a.m.? 7 a.m.? Or even, heaven forbid, 6 a.m. or earlier? Fuhgeddaboutit.

That’s why, on any road trip that involves morning, my friends drive; I cook. And it means that, on any given weekday morning, if I’m facing traffic and then facing 100 or more (oh, hell, FIVE or more) other human beings in a lecture hall or campus meeting room, I tend to be both fragile and stupid. The answer? Overcompensation by preparation.

You might be heading out in the early morning to take advantage of an atmospheric river that has dumped 3 feet of snow on Breck. Or get up to treeline with a bestie before the tourists do. Or just get out the front door to shovel your driveway before that yahoo with the Skidoo breaches the peace. Regardless, having breakfast ready to warm up or just pop into your mouth can make these challenges easier. Here are four easy, make-ahead, quick-to-reheat breakfasts that will fill you up and warm your soul.

And should you see someone stuffing their face at a stoplight on a weekday morning, wave  instead of judge. It’s probably me, accessorizing my post-pandemic outfit with crumbs.

Tasty crumbs.

Spinach and Chevre Mini Frittatas

Slap a couple of the mini frittatas into the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds, and breakfast, plus a serving of veggies, is done for the day. (Susan Clotfelter, Special to The Denver Post)
Slap a couple of the mini frittatas into the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds, and breakfast, plus a serving of veggies, is done for the day. (Susan Clotfelter, Special to The Denver Post)

You can find recipes for these portable little egg pucks all over the internet. Once Starbuck’s debuted its sous vide egg bites, the recipe hackers swarmed. These mini frittatas can be made in an Instant Pot, but I prefer a silicone muffin pan and the oven. The muffin pan allows for a double recipe to make a dozen at a time. The recipe is quite forgiving; you can substitute your favorite cheeses, vegetables or seasonings and add cooked breakfast meats or other proteins if you like. A food processor is the best tool for breaking up the chevre and distributes it, creating a light and fluffy texture, but you can use a blender. Makes six mini frittatas.


1 cup frozen spinach, loosely packed

3 whole eggs

3 egg whites

3 tablespoons half-and-half

2 ounces plain or herbed chevre

1/2 teaspoon salt

Dash of black pepper

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, smooth or whole-grain

2 tablespoon finely grated parmesan

1/2 teaspoon paprika


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Put the spinach in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup and defrost, 30 seconds at a time, until thawed but not hot. Using a folded paper or clean cloth towel, press as much water as possible out of the spinach. Set aside.

Combine the eggs, egg whites, half-and-half, chevre, salt, pepper and mustard in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse quickly a few times, then process for about 20 seconds, until the mixture is foamy and you can no longer see chunks of chevre. Pour the mixture into a measuring cup with a lip.

With a fork, fluff the spinach until it separates into leaves once again. Divide the egg mixture into six of the cups of an ungreased, silicone muffin pan (do not use paper muffin cups). You may have to make two passes to evenly distribute any seasonings that have sunk to the bottom of the measuring cup. Next, divide the spinach among the six frittatas, poking the spinach leaves under the egg mixture with a fork to detangle and distribute them; the egg mixture should be about a quarter-inch from the top of the muffin cups.

Top the frittata with parmesan; sprinkle with paprika. Bake for 15 minutes and then check for doneness. When the edges just begin to brown and pull away from the muffin cups a bit and a toothpick comes out dry, the frittata are done. They can be refrigerated for up to a week, or frozen for a month. To re-warm, cover with a paper towel and microwave for 20 to 30 seconds.

Chorizo Goetta

You can eat goetta by itself, with your favorite condiments, with eggs or with biscuits and gravy. But don't get fussy: it's best hot right out of the skillet. (Susan Clotfelter, Special to The Denver Post)
You can eat goetta by itself, with your favorite condiments, with eggs or with biscuits and gravy. But don’t get fussy: it’s best hot right out of the skillet. (Susan Clotfelter, Special to The Denver Post)

Goetta is a Cincinnati specialty, created by German farmers. It’s akin to Pennsylvanian scrapple, only with oats and onions rather than cornmeal. The key is to not obsess about its fragility, to fry it in a dry, yes, DRY, skillet, and to let it get nice and dark brown on both sides. The inside should steam when you break it open with your fork, and your first forkful should warm you all the way down. It’s a bit of work to make, but it makes a lot and sticks with you. My version subs chorizo for plain ground pork and adds a bit of chile powder for more kick – but adjust that kick to your own heat tolerance and the spiciness of the chorizo. Makes 10 slices or 4 to 5 servings.


1 1/3 cup steel-cut oats

1 cup finely chopped onion

2 cups beef broth

2 cups water

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 pound loose, mild chorizo (not links)

2 large or 3 small cloves minced garlic

3/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon marjoram

1/2 teaspoon mild chili powder


Line an 8- by 4-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap.

Combine oats, onion, broth, water, bay leaves and salt over medium heat in a large, heavy Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Once the mixture boils, turn the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the water is mostly absorbed, about an hour.

Add the beef, chorizo, garlic, pepper, marjoram and chili powder. Stir into the oat mixture with a stiff spatula or spoon until all of the chunks of meat are blended in. Cover, keeping the heat low, and cook for an hour, checking frequently to make sure the mixture is barely simmering. You may have to scrape the bottom of your Dutch oven frequently to keep the mixture from burning, but if it becomes a little brown, don’t worry. Just mix it in and keep stirring. The mixture should be the consistency of stiff cookie dough.

Remove from heat, uncover and allow to mixture to cool to just warm, not hot. Fold into prepared loaf pan. Cover with another layer of plastic wrap and press down to form mixture into a loaf. Refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight.

Heat a cast-iron or sturdy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; do not add oil or other fat. Remove the chilled loaf of goetta from the pan; place on a cutting board and unwrap the plastic. Carefully cut the loaf into one-third to one-half-inch thick slices and slide into hot, dry skillet. Heat until brown on bottom side, about four minutes, then carefully turn to brown the second side. Serve piping hot.

Rockin’ Pocket Sandwich

Need breakfast or lunch on the go? Wrap up a couple of vegan pocket sandwiches. (Susan Clotfelter, Special to The Denver Post)
Need breakfast or lunch on the go? Wrap up a couple of vegan pocket sandwiches. (Susan Clotfelter, Special to The Denver Post)

If you want to freeze this pita sandwich to microwave and eat later, just chop the arugula and mix it into the bean and salsa mix, and wrap each pocket in parchment instead of foil. You can also add frozen grilled street corn (elote) or seasoned cauliflower rice. Just thaw, and then drain, any frozen vegetables that you add. If you’re adding fresh vegetables, that step usually isn’t necessary except with cucumbers, which should be seeded and lightly dried. Makes about 8 pocket sandwiches.


1 can beans, rinsed and drained (garbanzo, black, adzuki, or black-eyed peas work)

1 8-ounce jar of fruity salsa (pineapple, peach, or mango)

Salt, pepper, or other seasonings to taste

4 pita breads, split into 8 bread pockets

1 cup baby arugula, loosely packed

1 cup grated cheese (optional)


Tear eight, 12-inch sheets of aluminum foil and 8 half-sheets of paper towel.

Combined the rinsed beans and salsa in the bowl of a food processor or chopper. Pulse for a second several times, until the beans and salsa are well mixed. Taste and correct for seasonings, adding salt, pepper, chiles, or finely chopped cilantro. Remove from food processor.

Toast the pita halves. then line each pocket with arugula leaves and grated cheese, if desired. With a spoon, stuff each pocket with a quarter-cup (or more) of the bean mixture. Wrap each pocket with a half-sheet of paper towel (to catch any liquid that leaks out) and then foil.

Because these pitas have no animal proteins other than the optional cheese, they don’t need to be refrigerated if eaten the same day. After that, the arugula will start to droop. So if you’re going to make these sandwiches ahead, roughly chop the arugula and toss it into the bean mixture.

Ginger Blueberry Whoopie Pancakes

Are these pancakes, or whoopie pies? Who cares? They’re gingery, sweet, and totally portable. Make the pancakes small-ish, so you don’t feel pig-ish if you eat two. If you’re not into almond butter, these can be filled with peanut butter, cream cheese, or lemon curd – or try a combination.

If you have egg rings or other tools to make pancakes that are perfectly round and consistently sized, this is a good use for them; otherwise, just embrace your inconsistent, beautifully unique pancakes.


For the filling

1/2 cup unsweetened almond butter

1/4 cup crystallized ginger, snipped into very small chunks

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

For the pancakes

2/3 cup finely ground almond flour

2/3 cup all-purpose flour (regular or gluten-free; most substitute gluten free flour blends that work for quick breads will work)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 large eggs

1/4 cup whole milk, half and half or milk substitute

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

Vegetable oil spray

1 cup frozen wild blueberries (Regular frozen blueberries will do, but the smaller berries make cooking the pancakes easier.)


Combine the almond butter, crystallized ginger, and In a large bowl, blend the flours, baking powder, baking soda and 1 / 4 teaspoon of the salt until combined. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and remaining 1 / 2 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until foamy and well blended. Add the milk, hone, and vanilla, and whisk again to combine. Add half the flour blend and stir well to combine; then add the second half and repeat. Allow to rest for 30 minutes, then whisk again.

Heat a non-stick skillet or griddle over medium-low heat. When warm, spray very lightly with vegetable oil. Fill a quarter-cup scoop two-thirds full of batter and pour gently into pan in a spiral motion, making no more than four pancakes about three inches in diameter, at a time. Immediately sprinkle about a tablespoon of the blueberries onto each pancake. When edges of the pancakes look solid and retain the shape of bubbles (a few minutes), flip each pancake and cook the other side. Remove cook pancakes to a large plate and allow to cool. Be patient and don’t get the pan too hot. If the pancakes begin to stick, add more cooking spray. Place pancakes into a resealable bag or cover with plastic wrap or foil.

When pancakes are cool, spread half of them with the gingered almond butter. Top with a second pancake, wrap in foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate or freeze.

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