4 Inexpensive Breakfasts in Under Five Minutes

By Thursday Bram on 22 February 2008 (Updated 13 September 2013) 19 comments

For breakfast, would you like a greasy McBreakfast or an expensive caffeine boost from CoffeeBucks? Or would you like something that is not only fast and cheap, but actually might be good for you?

I know that time is a precious commodity in the mornings, but there are options beyond the drive through. Some of these recipes can be made even cheaper, if you’re willing to put in a few extra minutes somewhere along the way.

Apple Cinnamon Instant Oatmeal

This first recipe I found on Joseph Hall’s blog. He has several other options for improving on plain old instant oatmeal (Peach Ginger, Strawberries ‘n’ Cream, Cranberry Orange) — but I’m an old-fashioned girl when it comes to flavors and I love this option.

3 tablespoons chopped dried apples
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 to 3 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1/2 cup plain instant oats

According to Joseph, all you have to do is the following:

Add dry ingredients to a pint- or quart-size resealable bag. Seal and shake to distribute evenly. Unseal, press out the air, and reseal. When ready to serve, pour into a bowl and cover with hot water. Allow to sit for at least a minute before stirring. Add more water, milk, cream, etc as you like. Add sugar or salt to taste.

Time and Expense: Even if you count washing the dishes afterwards, you’ll only barely graze the five-minute mark. You can make numerous batches ahead of time and even take them along to work if you can get hot water there. Want to make this option as cheap as possible? Wait for apple season to roll around, buy your apples at the lowest price possible and then dry them yourself.

Bacon Muffins

I know the name sounds a bit weird, but if you have a little time in the evening, I recommend whipping up a batch of these muffins — they’ll make several days’ breakfasts and will last for quite awhile in the fridge. You can customize the recipe as you please and they are a great grab-and-go breakfast.

Basic muffin mix

2 cups all-purpose flower
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup milk
2 eggs, well-beaten

Mix ingredients until well-blended. Pour into greased muffin tin. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

While mixing ingredients, I add about 4 slices bacon — cooked and crumbled. You can swap in just about any pre-cooked meat, or even vegetables. I go with bacon because I like a little protein to get me started and I can use turkey bacon if I’m in a hurry — it comes pre-cooked. There are plenty of fruit-based muffins as well.

Time and Expense: This recipe takes a little planning ahead, but you can have up to 12 breakfasts made and ready to go in about 30 minutes. With the exception of bacon (a relatively cheap meat), these ingredients are not only cheap but also versatile.

Crockpot Breakfast Casserole — Southwestern Style

Crockpot cooking is the epitome of easy cooking: Toss stuff in, stir and leave it over night. Open it up in the morning, and you’ve got breakfast. This is a great option if you’ve got plenty of hungry mouths to feed — we’re not talking about breakfast for me and my cat here.

8 eggs
1/2 pound breakfast sausage
1 small can green chilis
1 medium onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 cup grated Pepper Jack cheese
1 teaspoon butter

Grease the crockpot with the butter. Layer meat, veggies and cheese, repeating until you’ve used all the ingredients — your last layer should be cheese. Beat the eggs and pour over the mixture. Cover the crockpot and turn on low. Cook for 7-8 hours. Serve with salsa or sour cream.

Time and Expense: While there is a little bit of prep necessary, there’s only five minutes needed in the morning to dish up and serve this breakfast casserole. And you can mix up the ingredients and use up what you have on hand. The only real must is the eggs.

The Breakfast Shake

This recipe is one of the easiest I know of that you can customize to what you actually have around. I’ve been known to just use up little bits of several kinds of fruit or to swap in frozen condensed juice with no problems. Fresh fruit is also an option, but you’ll need to substitute ice cubes for a portion of the yogurt or milk.

1/2 cup frozen fruit
1 cup yogurt or milk

Break larger fruits (like bananas) into pieces. Blend ingredients for about 30 seconds. Add sweeteners as to taste.

Time and Expense: While you can mix up a batch of shakes for practically cents per serving, this is one of the messier breakfast recipes I know of — especially if you’re feeding small children. It can still be made and cleaned up in under 5 minutes, but cleaning the blender might wind up left for later.

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Myscha Theriault's picture

Go, girl! We do the oatmeal thing quite a bite. I've been promising myself to get better at testing out crockpot breakfasts, but alas . . . it hasn't happened yet.

Guest's picture
Kayla

We do smoothies quite often at our place - the easiest cleanup I have found is to rinse the blender container with water and then put about one cup of hot water with one drop of dish soap in it. Next put the container back on the blender (make sure lid is in place) and run the blender until the water gets all soapy (the force of the blender actually cleans the inside of the container better than the dishwasher) - dump out the soapy water, rinse container and air dry in dish rack - maybe 1 min tops...easy!

Guest's picture
Kayla

I also forgot to add that a great way to get veggies to kids is buy the pre-washed organize spinach and put about a cup in your favorite frozen fruit smoothie - the kids can't taste it because spinach takes on the flavor of what it is with - great way to get greens in kids...

Guest's picture
Laura

We were given a Magic Bullet knockoff for Christmas - kind of a mini-blender, where the blade fastens directly on to the cup - and it's fabulous for smoothies in the morning. Everybody gets exactly what they want in their smoothie and the blade and cups go in the dishwasher.

Guest's picture
Olivia

We do the hot cereal bit often (especially in cold weather) in the microwave, just raisons and oats, water and a dash of salt. Cook on high for 1 min 45 seconds right in the bowl. The only thing- don't use melamine. The kids doctor it up as they like.

We make smoothies when the bananas are getting a bit overripe or if we have a bunch of messy fruit (like peaches during canning season). You can use almost any combination. And we clean the blender in a similar way as a previous poster does. Very simple.

Myscha Theriault's picture

That I am LOVING that spinach idea. I'm thinking it would be good for pregnant moms as well?

Guest's picture
Amy

I am going to bookmark this post! Thanks for the yummy recipes.

Guest's picture
Jessica

I second the spinach in smoothies thing. Sometimes when I haven't had a lot of greens in my day, I will make myself a smoothie and stuff my blender full of spinach. Since spinach contains a lot of water, it blends down to next to nothing. You can put a lot in without actually tasting the spinach and it's very healthy :)

Guest's picture
valletta

I follow a sort of modified South Beach diet and like making individual egg quiches (without crust). Basically just eggs, veggies ( I usually use zucchini shredded, maybe peppers, onions, bacon) poured into a muffin tin, topped with a little lowfat cheese.

Linsey Knerl's picture

These are all yummy ideas.  I've been promising myself that I'm going to plan ahead on breakfast better.  These tips will really help!

Linsey

Guest's picture
Guest

Smoothies are also a great way to lose weight.

We we do here at my home is,

1 scoop of high quality protein powder (choc or vanilla), a bannana (must have)a squirt of Flax seed oil, a large scoop of homemade yogurt, a few strawberries, blueberries, mango or nothing, ice and then enhanced soy milk.

I don't even think about food until 2:00.

I like the easy blender clean up idea. I've thought about contacing my blender company and asking if I could purchase an additional blender glass.

Beignet

Guest's picture
BigRed

I'll have to try the spinach idea--can't quite get my head around that one, plus my kids (and DH and I) all love spinach in almost any form, so it's not something we have to force.

Smoothies are a great way to get nutrition (esp calcium and protein) into teenagers, who hate to get up early, are almost never hungry for anything with protein (eggs, in particular) and are starving within an hour of eating. We buy those deep-discount over ripe bananas and peel and freeze them for smoothies. You can easily break the banana into chunks and add to the smoothie ingredients and it maintains a creamy, frozen, almost milkshake-like texture and consistency. Adding ice cubes is a guarantee of separation into a yucky aqueous layer and a clotted solids layer, which defeats the whole breakfast idea.

A typical smoothie (serves 2) will be:

1 cup of plain, nonfat yogurt
1-2 frozen bananas
1/2 cup orange juice (with lots of pulp)
fresh berries or mango cubes
1/2 cup low-fat milk

Whirl until smooth. Pour into two tall glasses and prop up teenagers to drink. This gets much-needed nutrients into growing girls (who for some reason won't normally just drink milk), and keeps them satisfied until lunchtime.

Another one that is nice for us dieting folks:

1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
2 Tablespoons Ovaltine (malted if you like it)
1 frozen banana, broken into chunks.

This is like having a creamy chocolate milkshake, and also supplements calcium, protein, and potassium. You can get crazy and add powdered milk too, but it's not as cheap as it used to be.

Guest's picture

Thanks for sharing these. I blog about cooking at least once a week, and since I focus only on simple things, I think I'll link to your recipes here. They all sound great!

Guest's picture

old-fash rolled oats. 3 minutes in the microwave, add some raisins, perfect healthy meal. note OLD FASH oats, not the instant crap loaded with sugar and artificial flavorings. unfortunately this stuf retains heat like crazy so you have to let it sit for awhile before eating; it's like freaking magma, and watch the oven lest you have an eruption.

a new treat is skyr, an Icelandic fresh cheese that's similar to plain yogurt, but thicker, and it's too expensive for my budget, but if I could make it easily at home I would: low carb/fat, high protein, and it tastes pretty good. 

Guest's picture
Amanda

I've tried tofu blended with fruit in shakes and it works great! I'm not a fan of tofu flavoring so berries and honey will squash that flavor (which I guess is the same reasoning with spinach, but i picture a green shake!!)

Guest's picture
jammadave

Now, maybe my crockpot has too large a footprint, or something (causing the food to be too shallow to require that much heating), but I tried the egg casserole one, and it came out inedible. On Low for 7-8 hours, are you sure that's correct? I've got a big, *I think* 6-qt, crockpot (the oval, stainless-steel-finish kind).

My rendition of this recipe came out blackened on the outside, and sickening in texture, somewhere between jello and styrofoam. The only difference was my use of fresh peppers instead of canned. Total disappointment.

I was looking forward to the casserole, but after the disastrous results, I am glad to say I went ahead and took the time to properly cook up the rest of the eggs and sausage onhand (and those came out fantastically).

Guest's picture
Zorana

The recipe is great.
I used whole wheat flour and added a little bit of chopped spinach along with bacon.
yummie & easy!

Guest's picture
Amanda b

Came across your post when I was looking for quick and cheap breakfast ideas. We just tried the breakfast casserole this morning. My husband likes spicy so I put hot breakfast sausage in and diced jalapeños instead of the chili's. It was a winner!! He wants this many times more. Thank you

Guest's picture
Les Kent

Oh my gosh, the bacon muffins were truly awful. What a disappointing waste of expensive bacon. Could you possibly have forgotten an ingredient like, oh, a rising agent? I should have taken a hint from the fact that you apparently bake with 'flowers'.