Breakfast in bed is a love language in our home. Anytime there is a special occasion to celebrate — a birthday, Mother's Day, Father's Day — the rest of the family follows an unspoken agreement to meet early in the kitchen to craft a breakfast-in-bed tray. I'm always first, and as I get the project rolling my daughters show up one at a time, bleary-eyed and clutching handmade crafts or cards and flowers from the garden.
As the team leader for many of the breakfasts our family has orchestrated, I've developed a few best practices.
tip No. 1: Do the bulk of the work the night before. Overnight breakfast recipes are key. The (critical) decorating of the tray with small kiddos sucks up a surprising amount of time, leaving little space for complex recipe execution in the morning.
Tip No. 2: Serve something a little special. Stepping outside the routine breakfast menu can make the whole morning feel like a party.
Tip No. 3: Keep in mind the logistics of eating off a tray while mostly reclined in bed. Cereal, aside from breaking rule No. 2, is just about impossible to eat in bed without spilling. Think twice before getting too cozy with messy and liquid-based meal ideas.
So what dish covers all these bases? And is healthy? Egg strata, which layers bread, eggs, meat and veggies all in one dish. I make mine in a muffin tin, which results in perfect portioning, pretty presentation and the flexibility to pick up breakfast with your hands or use a fork and knife. I use white whole-grain bread and a combination of eggs and egg whites to keep the nutrient profile reasonable.
Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook "Supermarket Healthy."