Making mornings rock: Author of 'What's for Dinner?' brings us up to speed on breakfasts

Story by Valerie Phillips
(Standard-Examiner correspondent)
Tue, May 28, 2013
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When Jana Schofield became a new bride more than 35 years ago, she wanted to impress her husband by making a different dinner every day during the first year of marriage. But her total recipe collection comprised only about a week of dinner recipes.

So she started organizing recipes and menus into a three-ring binder so that she could rotate and reuse them over the years. Her handy planning guide eventually became a self-published cookbook, “What’s for Dinner?” ($15.99), which has sold more than 19,000 copies since it came out in 2002.

Now she’s back with “What’s For Breakfast?,” with more than 150 recipes organized into 24 weekly menus. Each week has a shopping list for easy planning. There’s an index at the back of the book that groups recipes by preparation time, so the cook can find recipes based on the amount of time available.

“So if you have 30, 15, or even five minutes, you can find a recipe to suit your schedule.”

The Syracuse woman sells the books mainly by word-of-mouth, on her website, and at gift shops such as Aunt Addy’s in Farmington, For Your Kitchen in Clearfield and From Our Home To Yours in Clinton, and Plates and Palates in Bountiful.

“I’m a breakfast person,” Schofield said in an interview. “It has always been my favorite meal.”

Soon after completing her first book, her son suggested she do a breakfast cookbook as a sequel.

“After spending 25 years working on the first book, I had no desire to even think about another one,” she said.

But as her grown children began asking for their favorite breakfast recipes to cook with for their own family, she realized she had to do the book.

Schofield remembers her mother always prepared a hot breakfast in the morning. She also has fond memories of her grandmother’s big breakfasts, which often included Danish ebelskivers, little round pancake balls.

So she was surprised when she went off to college to find out that many people skipped breakfast, saying that eating in the morning made them sick to their stomach. When she married, she found out her husband was one of those people. But over the years, she converted him into a devoted breakfast eater.

“Our bodies are in a state of fast when we get up in the morning. They need to be rehydrated and fueled to give us energy,” she said.

She cited a study presented at the Learning Connection Summit in October 2012, where brain scans of children who eat breakfast showed more activity than those of children who skip breakfast. Although some people avoid breakfast as a weight-loss strategy, Schofield contends that those who eat breakfast are less likely to snack throughout the morning.

“Fueling up early in the morning increases our metabolism and leads to a higher total calorie burn by the end of the day,” she wrote in her cookbook.

According to Schofield, a healthy breakfast should offer about 300 to 500 calories, in a combination of protein, carbohydrates and fiber. Many of her recipes call for whole-wheat pastry flour to give baked goods a light texture with the benefits of whole grains.

The book has a wide variety of recipes, such as Apple Raisin Frittata, Orange Pineapple Salad, Baked Oatmeal, Banana Oat Smoothie, Breakfast Chimichangas, Caramel Apple Crepes, Strawberry Stuffed French Toast, Appleskivers (ebelskivers with chopped apple), Grilled Reuben Sandwich, Ham and Potato Casserole, Spicy Egg Burritos, and Sweet Potato Pancakes.

If you’re one of those people with a lot of whole wheat stored in the basement, the Chewy Whole Wheat Cereal offers a way to use it. Place the ingredients in a slow cooker on low the night before and wake up to a cooked breakfast. The Banana Oat Smoothie is a good way to use up leftover cooked oatmeal. The Cinnamon Roll Souffle is a great make-ahead meal that is refrigerated the night before and baked in the morning.

Currently, Schofield is donating $5 for each book sold on her website to a friend diagnosed with cancer who must quit her job while undergoing chemotherapy. For more information on this fundraiser, visit Sunshine Rae’s Journey at Schofield is also offering free shipping through June.

Here are three recipes from the book.

 Chewy Whole-Wheat Cereal

Your slow cooker simmers this healthy breakfast so it’s ready to go in the morning.

2 1/2 cups water

1 cup whole-wheat kernels 

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 sticks cinnamon

2 tablespoons honey

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Combine water, wheat kernels, salt and cinnamon in slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. 

Remove cinnamon sticks and stir in honey. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Serve with milk and dried fruit if desired. 

Banana Oat Smoothie

3/4 cup cooked oatmeal

2 ripe bananas

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

1/4 cup almonds 

1 cup ice

Add all ingredients in blender and process until smooth and thick.

Cinnamon Roll Souffle

This is a great do-ahead dish that is refrigerated overnight and baked the next morning. It’s also a great way to use up leftover dinner rolls.

12 dinner rolls (can be old and stale)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

8 ounces low-fat cream cheese, cubed

12 eggs

3 cups fat-free half-and-half

4 tablespoons maple syrup, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup powdered sugar

4 ounces softened cream cheese

Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Break rolls into pieces and place half of them in baking dish. Mix together brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle half over the rolls. Top with half of the cream cheese cubes. Repeat layers of rolls, sugar and cream cheese. 

Whisk together eggs, half-and-half, 2 tablespoons maple syrup and vanilla. Pour over rolls. Cover and refrigerate overnight. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes, or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Beat together powdered sugar, softened cream cheese and remaining maple syrup until smooth. Drizzle over soufflé. Serves 8.

Nutritional information per serving: 516 calories, 21 grams fat, 10 grams saturated fat, 372 milligrams cholesterol, 479 milligrams sodium, 61 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 36 grams sugar, 20 grams protein, 14 percent daily value vitamin A, 5 percent daily value for calcium, 12 percent daily value for iron.

Valerie Phillips blogs at



The time crunch is usually the excuse given for skipping breakfast. Here are Jana Schofield’s tips to get around that:

• Prepare breakfast while cleaning up dinner the night before. 

• Many recipes that take 30 minutes or more baking time can be baked with your dinner the night before, and then warmed in the microwave the next morning.

• When using potatoes or rice in a breakfast recipe, cook extra for dinner the night before and use the leftovers.

• Double the recipes and freeze leftovers to be used later. This is especially helpful when cooking for just one or two.

• Measure and assemble the dry ingredients the night before, so liquid ingredients can quickly be added in the morning.

• Make your own baking mixes by lining up several quart freezer bags on the counter and measuring ingredients, assembly-line fashion, into each bag. Write instructions and anything that needs to be added on the bag before storing.

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