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Start new year with a great breakfast

In just a few days we'll be issuing in a brand new year. We all hope it will be a good year.

Many of us know that the best way to start a day, let alone a year, is with a delicious and nutritious breakfast.

Well, maybe on New Year's day, a tasty brunch is more appropriate in case you enjoyed a New Year's Eve celebration to welcome in 2009.

Ordinary scrambled eggs and bacon just don't measure up for starting a new year. Eggs do have lots of potential, though, so let's stir up an omelet. Those fluffy egg concoctions we enjoy so much in our local diner can certainly be made in our own kitchens. The secret to the Fluffy Diner-Style Cheese Omelet featured today is just one little ordinary appliance that most of us have in our kitchens. What is it? Just a simple hand-held electric mixer. Often, we whisk eggs for an omelet, but too many times the omelet is flat and not fluffy. By beating first, the heavy cream to soft peaks and then the eggs until frothy, you will be amazed how light your omelet will be.

If you are serving 4 folks, it's easy to double the omelet recipe. You may cook them in 2 skillets at the same time or if you only have 1 skillet, just set half the mixture aside while you do the first. After cooking, place the first one on a warmed plate, tent with foil to keep warm and be sure to wipe the skillet clean before doing the second.

Like a heartier omelet? Here are a couple fillings that you're sure to enjoy. For a Sausage and Pepper filling, cook 4 ounces bulk sausage in a skillet over medium heat, breaking up clumps, until browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer to plate lined with paper towels. Add 1 tablespoon butter, 1 small onion, chopped, and 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped, to empty skillet. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in sausage and season with salt and pepper. Add half of mixture to omelet along with first amount of cheese. Add remaining half with second half of cheese.

Another really hearty filling is a Baked Potato choice. Microwave 1 large Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces, on high power, covered, in a large bowl until just tender, 2 to 5 minutes depending on the wattage of your microwave. Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook 4 slices bacon, chopped, over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer to plate lined with paper towels. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat. Cook potatoes in bacon fat until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer potatoes to bowl, add cooked bacon and stir in 2 scallions, sliced thin. Season with salt and pepper. Continue as with Sausage and Pepper filling.

Is your family partial to French toast? Today two recipes are included for you to enjoy. The first one, Brunch French Toast, has a caramelized brown sugar and maple crust. The final sprinkling of brown sugar, cinnamon and maple syrup gives it a delicious candied top.

Another variety of French toast worthy of celebrating a New Year is simply a Stuffed French Toast. The sweet cream cheese filling is the perfect contrast to the crisp exterior of the French toast. When selecting which bread to use, large loaves of sandwich bread with slices about 5 inches by 4 inches work best so the filling fits in well.

To add some special flavors to the toast, reduce the cream cheese to 4 ounces and substitute 2 tablespoons blueberry jam for 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Or, make an Apple Pie version. Again, reduce cream cheese to 4 ounces and substitute 3 tablespoons apple butter for 1-1/2 tablespoons of the sugar. So the kids want a little chocolate? Make them Chocolate Chip French Toast. Again, reduce cream cheese to 4 ounces and substitute 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips for 1-1/2 tablespoons of the sugar. Omit cinnamon.

To go along with either the omelet or French toast, a dish of fresh mixed fruit will be delicious. Grapefruit and oranges are so flavorful now. Add some fresh pineapple and a sliced kiwi to the sections for a refreshing (and very nutritious) combination. A sprinkling of granola or toasted coconut added just before serving gives a special touch.

A New Year always offers new opportunities and some challenges. Here's to an especially fine one for you and your family!

Source: Battle Creek Enquirer

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