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Betty Crocker cookbook features quick, delicious starts to the day

Betty Crocker’s latest cookbook features more than 200 easy-to-make morning meals, like these breakfast tacos. (Adriana Janovich)
Betty Crocker’s latest cookbook features more than 200 easy-to-make morning meals, like these breakfast tacos. (Adriana Janovich)

Quick look: Betty Crocker’s latest helps home cooks put together easy-to-make morning meals – from long and leisurely weekend brunches to quick, on-the-go bites. Fans of General Mills products who generally don’t have a lot of extra time in the a.m. will find this book particularly helpful.

What’s inside: Many of the more than 200 recipes in this book are geared toward fixing something fast or in advance. Make-ahead morning meals include several kinds of refrigerator oatmeal: oats mixed with yogurt and chia seeds then left overnight to soften up in re-sealable containers. Other quick and creative ideas include smoothie “poppers,” fashioned from juice, fruit and gelatin, then refrigerated.

The table of contents lays over a photograph of a griddle with chapter numbers spelled out in raspberry jam atop pancakes. The six chapters include “Just for Cereal Lovers” and “Eggs, Bacon and More.” The first is dedicated to smoothies: Creamy Mango, Tropical Papaya, Tropical Power, Luscious Lemon Drop, Green Goddess, Super Spinach, Peachy Chai and one that blends raspberries with Lucky Charms cereal.

Non-smoothie recipes are both sweet and savory, and include Skillet Eggs with Summer Squash Hash, Scrambled Eggs with Havarti and Wine, Praline Bacon, Cornbread Pancakes with Butter Pecan Syrup, Red Velvet Pancapkes, Maple-Bacon Buttermilk Waffles, Lemon Curd-Filled Butter Cake and a variety of egg bakes, stratas, casseroles, quiches, scones, muffins and biscuits.

Many of the grab-and-go recipes – most of which take five or 10 minutes from start to finish – call for pre-made or pre-packaged ingredients from General Mills, which also owns the Betty Crocker brand. There’s the aforementioned Lucky Charms smoothie as well as Oats ‘n’ Honey Crunchy granola bars topped with cream cheese and berries. The Rainbow Breakfast Bento Box involves placing Trix cereal and “colorful fruit” in small bowls or paper baking cups inside a larger dish or tray. Cheerios parfaits layer the cereal with yogurt and fruit, like bananas and strawberries; blueberries, honey and lemon zest; and pineapple, bananas, Mandarin oranges, strawberries and toasted, flaked coconut.

A couple of the quick recipes also call for microwaving milk and granola bars to make “gran-oatmeal.” While there is one recipe for scratch-made granola, it’s followed by another which uses Fiber One Honey Clusters.

Not all recipes are aimed at hectic mornings – nor incorporating General Mills products. The “Hearty Brunch Dishes” chapter focuses on recipes that serve many and take a little longer to make. While they include more preparation and cooking time, the instructions are relatively simple, which might particularly appeal to novice cooks. Plus, most recipes come with helpful “Start Happy” tips in colorful break-out boxes, noting substitutions, food safety advice, serving suggections and more.

What’s not: There are no difficult directions or complicated explanations in this cookbook. Instructions are unfussy and straightforward. The hardest thing to make might be the Hollandaise sauce for the Eggs Benedict.

Breakfast Tacos

From “The Big Book of Breakfast and Brunch” by Betty Crocker

A photo of these beauties is featured on the cover. They come from the “Eggs, Bacon and More” chapter and took about 20 minutes from start to finish.

I used soft corn tortillas instead of hard taco shells because that’s what I had on hand – and what I like better. An entire tablespoon of butter seemed like a lot for this recipe; you could probably use half that amount or opt for cooking spray. Other than that, the measurements seemed perfectly proportioned for six, fully stuffed tacos.

They were also easy to make – and pretty tasty, too.

4 eggs

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup chopped red or green bell pepper

4 medium green onions, chopped (about 1/4 cup)

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese

6 taco shells

1 cup shredded lettuce

1 small avocado, pitteld, peeled and sliced

1/4 cup chunky-style salsa

In a small bowl, beat eggs, garlic salt and pepper thoroughly with a fork or whisk. Stir in bell pepper and onions.

In an 8-inch skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Pour egg mixture into skillet. As mixture begins to set at bottom and side, gently lift cooked portions with spatula so that thin, uncooked portion can flow to bottom. Avoid constant stirring. Cook 3 or 4 minutes or until eggs are thicked throughout but still moist. Gently stir in cheese.

Heat taco shells as directed on the package. Place lettuce in taco shells. Spoon eggs onto lettuce. Top with avocado and salsa.

Yield: 6 tacos