For the 25 years we have been married, my husband has made a vile looking concoction of oatmeal, oat bran, raisins, yogurt, canned pineapple and a bit of milk. He mixes it all together in a large Tupperware container, and eats it every morning with fresh blueberries and pecans. He calls it Breakfast Stuff. I call it Gloop.

All of our overnight guests are offered some, and the health nuts love it. Me, not so much. But I do wish for a simple dish I could make once every week or two and then eat every morning for breakfast. It would make my life simpler.

Isn’t that what we all want? A simpler life in the morning?

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Breakfast egg souffles Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019 in Charleston. Grace Beahm Alford/Staff

Then I saw an ad on TV for a cup of ingredients such as onions, green peppers or celery, cheese and a meat, to which an egg could be added and scrambled in the microwave. I could make that, I thought! So I purchased one and tried it.

It was very tasty, and I liked it well enough, which is better than not so much. But it had its flaws. One is that I am not cogent enough in the morning to microwave a container for a certain number of seconds, stir, repeat and then wait for it to cool. I decided there had to be a better way.

The first person I talked to was my neighbor and co-cooker, Cathy Nutatis, who has young grandchildren and serves as my counsel for things children-related. She spoke about one who would eat nothing for breakfast but cooked oatmeal, topped with chocolate chips and milk, and watches the entire assembly process to be sure the chocolate chips are included.

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Hand-held mini waffles Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019 in Charleston. Grace Beahm Alford/Staff

She also told me she had purchased a waffle iron from a TV ad that makes waffle sticks. She makes the waffles from a gluten-free waffle mix; freezes them until whenever the grandchildren arrive and serves the sticks with a cup of syrup for dunking.

Cathy volunteered to create a batch of cooked oatmeal mixture with chocolate chips that could be made in batches and frozen. Named after her grandchild, June’s Baked Oatmeal is as good as an oatmeal cookie, can be eaten with or without milk, and can even be tucked in a container to be eaten on the way to school if need be. Voila!

I could not be outdone so I cooked up individual batches of chopped onions, bacon, sausage links, chopped zucchini, tomatoes, red bell peppers and chopped some herbs. I came up with two recipes from my books: Cheese Grits Souffle and an overnight casserole, to which individual amounts of the assorted vegetables and meats could be added before cooking.

Both of these could be baked in muffin pans or small loaf pans, cooled, frozen and reheated in a short period of time. At times, I have cut the batter into two halves and added one combination of ingredients to one half, another combination to the other, giving a variation in breakfasts.

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Breakfast that is portable can be made with ingredients already on hand in the kitchen, including meats, fruit and veggies Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019 in Charleston. Grace Beahm Alford/Staff

Basic Overnight Cheese Casserole

I have known people as well as restaurants to pass this off as a souffle, and why not? It is amazingly light and fluffy. Dijon mustard brings out the flavor of bland cheeses. A strong sharp cheddar or blue cheese will not need the full amount, but a Gruyere or Swiss cheese will. Feel free to experiment.

Ingredients

6 tablespoons butter

3 cups torn biscuits or favorite bread

9 large eggs

4 cups grated cheese

1-1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Dash of ground hot red pepper

3 cups milk

Directions

Line muffin pans, muffin tins or small loaf pans with parchment paper on the bottom to make for easier removal. Grease the paper with butter.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat and stir in biscuits to coat with the butter. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes until the butter is absorbed. Move the biscuit pieces to a large plastic zip-top bag.

Whisk together eggs, cheese, mustard, ground red pepper, and milk in a large bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer mixture to plastic zip-top bag containing the biscuits or bread. Place the bag inside a larger plastic zip-top bag with the zipper facing another direction in order to prevent leaks. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight or up to 2 days.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Ladle mixture into prepared containers, filling each three-quarters of the way to the top. Bake 15-20 minutes, depending on size of container. Let cool.

Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Run a knife around the inside perimeter of the containers to release, and then turn the cooled containers upside down on the lined baking sheet. Remove the paper from the bottom of the casseroles, and freeze in a single freezer-safe container or zip-top bag. When ready to eat, reheat desired number of casseroles in the microwave.

Variation

Add any of the following cooked items in 1-cup increments: Onions and red peppers, crumbled bacon, sausage and apples, tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, etc. Leftovers are good for this purpose.

Cheese Grits Souffle

One of the most popular ways of using cooked grits is to make them into souffles with beaten egg whites.

Ingredients

4 cups cooked grits, cooked with milk

1 pound grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup butter

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/8 teaspoon mace

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground hot red pepper

6 large eggs, separated

Directions

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.

Line muffin pans, muffin tins or small loaf pans with parchment paper on the bottom to make for easier removal. Grease the paper with butter.

The grits should have the consistency of a sauce. If they are very thick, add more milk and heat until absorbed. Stir in the cheese, butter, mustard, mace, salt and hot red pepper. Cool slightly. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if desired.

Lightly beat the egg yolks in a small bowl. Stir 1/2 cup of the grits into the yolks to heat them slightly, then add the yolks to the grits mixture and combine thoroughly.

Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form and fold into the grits. Pour into a baking dish. Bake until the souffle is puffed and lightly browned, 40-45 minutes.

Variation

Add any of the following cooked items in 1 cup increments: Onions and red peppers, crumbled bacon, sausage and apples, tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, etc. Leftovers are good for this purpose.

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Peanut butter and oatmeal with chocolate chips baked for breakfast on the go Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019 in Charleston. Grace Beahm Alford/Staff

June’s Baked Oatmeal

Three-year-old June is very particular about her container. Hopefully this recipe checks all of her boxes and eliminates the last-minute fuss.

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup peanut butter

3 cups old fashioned oats, not instant or quick cook

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

1 cup milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together melted butter, brown sugar and peanut butter until a smooth paste is achieved. Mix in the oats until they are completely coated with peanut butter mixture.

Add the baking powder, eggs, milk and vanilla and mix until all of the ingredients are incorporated. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 baking pan then sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until its top is browned. To bake in smaller, individual pans, adjust time accordingly.

Serve immediately in bowls with milk, or refrigerate. Cut into squares and eat cold or reheated in the microwave, and serve with or without milk.

Jack Bass’ Breakfast Stuff

Jack received this recipe from Ruth Johnson, wife of Judge Frank M. Johnson of Alabama. Jack makes one batch and then follows with making another batch right on top of the first batch. This recipe makes enough stuff for a week.

Ingredients

2 cups vanilla yogurt

1 cup of raw oatmeal, not instant or quick cook

1 20-ounce can pineapple tidbits

1 cup oat bran

1 cup of milk

1 cup of pecan pieces (optional)

Handful of raisins (optional)

Directions

Put yogurt in a bowl. Add oatmeal, pineapple, oat bran and milk. Stir vigorously until combined. Add pecans and raisins, if using. Refrigerate at least overnight.

When ready to eat, stir again as needed. Ladle into individual bowl. Bananas, blueberries or other fruit can be added at this time.

Nathalie Dupree is the author of 14 cookbooks, including the James Beard award-winning “Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking.” She lives in Charleston and may be reached through Nathaliedupree.com.