Who Says Pancakes, Eggs, And Bacon Have To Be Eaten Before 9 AM

Breakfast at 6 pm? Why not? Snuggle into your bathrobe and enjoy a thoroughly fun, cozy breakfast for dinner.
Annie Lynch

Comfort food
There's something so comforting about eating a home-cooked breakfast -- lingering over that last bite of French toast before stepping out into the cold, the smell of sausage hanging in the air. And there's something so special and fun about eating those breakfast foods for dinner -- it feels wacky and a little naughty, like eating dessert first.

Having breakfast for dinner is a great way to break up the monotony of a weekday meal. It gives a boring Wednesday a jolt of fun and frivolity -- just what the family needs sometimes. Conversation flows over a plate of stuffed French toast, laughs come more easily while stirring cinnamon hot chocolate. The following dishes are easy to make and pretty delicious, too.

Getting started
Here are a few tips to make your Breakfast for Dinner more memorable:

The first time your family enjoys Breakfast for Dinner, come up with your own name for it. Something like Brinner or Dreakfast, you get the idea.

Have everyone change into pajamas. If you have bear claw slippers and pink rollers, now is the time to wear them.

Have the kids help with appropriate tasks, like measuring ingredients and whisking eggs.

Share weird or cool dreams as you eat. If the kids are old enough, you can share scary dreams, too.

The food!
To get everyone in a festive mood, start with Assembly Line Hot Chocolate. Use your favorite hot chocolate mix to prepare a mug of cocoa for everyone. Set up an "Extras" station, with bowls of cinnamon candy, chocolate mints, milk and dark chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg and mini- marshmallows. Let each person visit the station to personalize her hot chocolate.

Sweet Apple Sausages
So yummy, and so easy to make. The sausages end up with a subtle sticky-sweet coating of apple juice.

12 ounces uncooked breakfast sausage
1 cup apple juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. If sausages are linked, separate. Place sausages in 2-quart baking dish. Pour apple juice in dish, until sausages are covered halfway. Bake for 15 minutes, turn sausages, and bake for another 15 minutes or until well browned. Makes 5 servings.

Stuffed French Toast
A grander version of plain French toast. Top with syrup and butter, or eat plain. They're that good.

1 pound loaf challah bread
2 cups golden raisins, soaking in warm water
3 ripe bananas, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
6 eggs
6 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Oil for greasing pan

Cut challah into approximately 3/4-inch slices. Cut each slice in half to make sandwiches, except for the end pieces, which are too small to be cut in half and will be paired together.

In a bowl, add the drained raisins, banana and brown sugar. Mix well. Microwave for 45 seconds to warm the mixture. In a large, shallow bowl, beat eggs. Add milk and cinnamon; combine well. Lightly grease a non-stick frying pan with oil. Dip one side of a bottom-half bread in egg mixture.

Place bread, batter-side down, on frying pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons banana-raisin filling to bread in pan. Dip top-half bread in egg mixture. Place bread, batter-side up, on top of filling. Cook one minute on each side. Makes about 14 pieces of stuffed French toast.

Crazy Eggs
Sort of an omelet, sort of scrambled eggs, but a little funkier. This dish is a great way to serve vegetables and use up leftovers. The key is adding extra flavoring to the eggs before cooking. If you like, you can set up an "add- ins" station and have everyone choose fillings themselves.

2 eggs
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Non-stick cooking spray (or oil) for greasing pan
1/2 cup asparagus cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup diced tomato
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Whisk eggs and mustard together. Stir in asparagus, tomato and cheese. Lightly grease medium non-stick frying pan and, over medium high heat, add egg mixture. Scramble eggs, making sure the cheese melts and ingredients incorporate. Cook about 5 minutes or until eggs are fluffy and no longer wet. Makes 1 serving.

Variation: For another version of Crazy Eggs, use 1/3 cup black beans, 1/3 cup chopped black olives, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder.

Hash Brown Bake
Flavorful, cheesy hash browns baked in the oven for greater ease. Crumbled bacon or sausage added to the potatoes makes it even heartier.

2 tablespoons oil, plus more for greasing
1/4 of an onion, finely grated (about 4 teaspoons)
5 medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a 2-quart, lightly greased baking dish, arrange potatoes in a single layer. In a small non-stick frying pan, cook onions in oil over medium high heat until lightly browned. Add onions and oil to potatoes; mix until well coated. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Bake for 20 minutes or until potatoes are browned and soft. Cover potatoes with cheese. Bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Makes 6 servings.

Crunchy Maple Walnut Oatmeal
A stick-to-your-ribs, I-can't-believe-this-is-healthy dish. The syrup gives the walnuts a thin, crunchy coating after baking in the oven.

1/4 cup walnuts
3 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup water
1 cup oatmeal

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine walnuts, 1 1/2 tablespoons syrup and cinnamon. Arrange walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet, taking care to drain excess syrup. Bake for 5 minutes. Let walnuts cool for a few minutes, then finely chop them.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add oatmeal and 2 tablespoons syrup. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add chopped walnuts; cook for another 5 minutes. Makes 1 serving.PregnancyAndBaby.com

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