Rick's Recipes: Start the New Year With A Better Brunch

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Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but brunch is the most fabulous! The problem is that it is too easy to get the day off to an unhealthy start. When dining out, opt for a fresh fruit plate, poached eggs and dry toast, oatmeal with fruit or a salad. If you’re cooking at home there are so many healthy brunch recipes you have no reason to feel deprived. Here are a few of my favorites.


Buttermilk Waffles

Adding rolled oats adds fiber and reduces calories. Serve with fresh fruit or sugar-free syrup to keep it healthy.



2 cups buttermilk

½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats

2/3 cup whole-wheat flour

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup toasted wheat germ, or cornmeal

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

¼ cup packed brown sugar

1 Tbs. canola oil

2 tsp. vanilla extract



Mix buttermilk and oats in a medium bowl; let stand for 15 minutes.

Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, wheat germ (or cornmeal), baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.

Stir eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla into the oat mixture. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients; mix with a rubber spatula just until moistened.

Coat a waffle iron with cooking spray and preheat.

Spoon in enough batter to cover three-fourths of the surface (about 2/3 cup for an 8-by-8-inch waffle iron).

Cook until waffles are crisp and golden brown, four to five minutes.

Makes four large waffles.

Wrap any leftovers individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to two days or freeze for up to one month. Reheat in a toaster or toaster oven.

Nutrition Information

Per serving: 188 calories, 4 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 328 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (3 g fiber), 8 g protein.


Zucchini Frittata

To make this even healthier, use an egg substitute or all egg whites



4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 cup diced zucchini, (1 small)

½ cup chopped onion

½ cup grape tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes, halved

¼ cup fresh chopped basil

¼ tsp. salt, divided

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

5 large eggs

2 oz. crumbled goat cheese



Heat two teaspoons oil in a 10-inch nonstick oven-proof skillet over medium heat.

Add zucchini and onion; cook, stirring often, for one minute.

Cover and reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is tender, but not mushy, three to five minutes.

Add tomatoes, basil, 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper; increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring, until the moisture has evaporated, 30 to 60 seconds.

Whisk eggs, the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and a grinding of pepper in a large bowl until blended.

Cook over medium heat for five minutes.

Place skillet under broiler.

Broil until the frittata is set and the top is golden, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Loosen the edges and slide onto a plate.

Cut into wedges or squares and serve, makes two servings.

Nutrition Information

Per serving: 376 calories, 28 g total fat (10 g sat. fat), 590 mg sodium, 10 g carbs (3 g fiber), 21 g protein


Smoked Salmon Salad

The bagel is the guilty party in the lox and bagel sandwich; turn it into a salad and sub flat bread or whole grain crackers for a healthy alternative.



2 baby radishes, thinly sliced

8 thin slices red onion (optional)

6 cups mesclun greens

2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 Tbs. chopped capers

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 oz. smoked salmon

¾ cup light cream cheese

4 Wasa crispbread or toasted pumpernickel slices

1 lemon, cut into wedges



Toss vegetables, lemon juice, oil, and capers in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Add salmon and gently toss to combine.

Spread crisp-bread with light cream cheese and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over, serves one.

Nutrition Information

Per serving: calories 290, 25 g total fat (23 g sat. fat), 410 mg. sodium, 55 g carbs (12 g fiber), 8 g protein


Grab & Go Cereal Bars

Make a batch of these for those hectic days when you don’t have time to sit down to a healthy breakfast. They’ll keep in the fridge for a week.



3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

½ cup chopped walnuts, (about 2 oz.)

3 cups unsweetened puffed-grain cereal, such as Kashi

2 cups chopped dried apricots

¼ cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp. salt

12 oz. silken tofu, drained (about 1 1/3 cups)

1 large egg

½ cup canola oil

1 cup honey

1 Tbs. vanilla extract

2 Tbs. freshly grated lemon zest



Preheat oven to 350°.

Coat a large (15 ¼ by 10 ¼) jellyroll-style pan with cooking spray.

Spread oats and walnuts on a baking sheet with sides.

Bake until fragrant and light golden, eight to ten minutes.

Transfer to a large bowl and add puffed cereal, dried apricots, flour and salt; stir to combine.

Meanwhile, puree tofu, egg, oil, honey, vanilla and lemon zest in a food processor or blender until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

Make a well in the center of the oat mixture; fold in the tofu mixture until combined. Spread the baking pan with non-stick spray, spread the misture evenly in the pan.

Bake until firm in the center and golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting into 16 bars with a sharp knife.

Nutrition Information

Per serving: 306 calories, 12 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 87 mg sodium, 46 g carbs (3 g fiber), 6 g protein


Breakfast Casserole

This is a great party dish because it can be made the night before and refrigerated until you pop it into the oven.




4 large eggs

4 large egg whites

1 cup nonfat milk

2 Tbs. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary

¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper

5 cups chopped spinach, wilted

4 cups whole-grain bread, crusts removed if desired, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1/2 pound, 4-6 slices)

6 oz. diced ham steak

½ cup chopped, roasted red peppers

3/4 cup shredded Gruyere, or low-fat Swiss cheese



Preheat oven to 375°.

Coat a 7-by-11-inch glass baking dish or a 2-quart casserole with cooking spray.

Whisk eggs, egg whites and milk in a medium bowl.

Add mustard, rosemary and pepper; whisk to combine.

Toss spinach, bread, ham and roasted red peppers in a large bowl.

Add the egg mixture and toss well to coat.

Transfer to the prepared baking dish and push down to compact.

(If making ahead, refrigerate at this point)

Cover with foil.

Bake until the casserole has set, 40 to 45 minutes.

Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and continue baking until the casserole is puffed and golden on top, 15 to 20 minutes more.

Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving, serves six.

Nutrition Information

Per serving: 286 calories, 10 g total fat (4 g sat. fat), 813 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (4 g fiber), 23 g protein


Breakfast Taco

A lighter take on the breakfast burrito or, go ahead and use a low-carb tortilla and make it into one big burrito instead of two tacos. Add any vegetables you like, they will add little in the way of calories or fat.



2 corn tortillas

1 Tbs. salsa

2 Tbs. shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

½ cup egg substitute

Non-stick cooking spray



Coat a small nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium heat.

Warm tortilla(s) on both sides.

Top tortilla(s) with shredded cheese and set aside.

Add egg substitute to skillet and cook, stirring, until the eggs are cooked through, about 90 seconds.

Divide the scrambled egg if using the tacos, placing on top of the cheese. Two tacos or one burrito equals one serving.

Nutrition Information

Per serving: 153 calories, 2 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 453 mg sodium, 15 g carbs. 17 g protein

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