Start the year off right with a scrumptious, nutritious meal for friends and family.


A Kid-Friendly, Easy-to-Make Meal

You can enjoy waffles, eggs, French toast, and other delicious brunch fare on New Year's Day without fighting the restaurant crowd -- or abandoning your resolution to eat healthier. How? Invite your friends and family over for this tasty buffet brunch that will take you only about an hour to put together that morning (giving you time to peek in on the parade). The secret: simple steps you can finish the day before.

Our mouthwatering spread, consisting of three entr?es, a salad, and punch, comfortably serves six adults and three children; all the dishes are kid-friendly, nutrient-rich, and low in calories. If you wish, you can round out the meal with a fresh fruit platter. The new year never got off to a nicer start.

Make-Ahead Cinnamon French Toast

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

You can complete all the prep work for this recipe -- inspired by whole grain versions of cinnamon raisin bread from Vermont Bread Company and Pepperidge Farm -- before the New Year's Eve festivities begin.

  • 8 slices whole grain cinnamon raisin bread
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup honey (don't serve to children under age 1 because of the risk of infant botulism)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 6-oz. bottle Stonyfield Farm Organic Strawberry Smoothie
  • Fresh berries for garnish
  1. Arrange bread slices on a 1"-deep nonstick jelly-roll pan. In a bowl, combine eggs, milk, honey, vanilla, and salt. Beat with a wire whisk until golden yellow, about 3 minutes. Pour mixture over bread. Turn to coat both sides. Arrange so slices aren't touching (the bread will swell as it absorbs the mixture). Cover with plastic wrap. If desired, refrigerate up to overnight.
  2. About 30 minutes before brunch, preheat oven to 450?F. Uncover bread, and pour off excess liquid. Bake 10 minutes. Turn over and bake 10 more minutes, until slightly puffy and starting to brown. Use a wide spatula to remove from pan. Turn bread slices over again and arrange them on a platter. Pour smoothie into a pitcher and let guests drizzle it over their toast.

Each child-size serving (1 slice of toast with 1 1/2 tbs. smoothie) 184 calories, 8 g protein, 33 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 3 g fat (1 g saturated), 108 mg cholesterol, 1 mg iron, 141 mg calcium, 265 mg sodium.

Cheesy Potato Mini Frittatas

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Serving scrambled eggs at a buffet is a big challenge. It's tricky for home cooks to make enough so that every guest can enjoy them while they're hot. The solution: Make mini frittatas that all come out of the oven at once. The children will love them, and each one provides 10% of the calcium that 4- to 8-year-olds need daily.

  • 1/2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 3 oz. (3/4 cup) Sargento shredded Reduced Fat Mild Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Ready Pac No Tears diced onion
  • 3/4 cup precooked shredded potatoes, such as Reser's Potato Express
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. dried dill or 1 tsp. dried chives
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley and sliced cherry tomatoes for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 375?F.
  2. Use canola oil to grease a 12-cup muffin pan. Place 1 Tbs. cheese, 1 tsp. onion, and 1 Tbs. potatoes in each cup. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, mix milk, eggs, dill or chives, salt, and pepper. Using an eggbeater or whisk, beat until creamy yellow. Pour 2 to 3 Tbs. egg mixture into each muffin cup. Stir each slightly to mix ingredients.
  4. Bake about 15 minutes, until firm and just beginning to brown. Remove from oven. Allow frittatas to stand in muffin pan 3 minutes. Using a narrow spatula, remove from pan. Arrange on a heated serving platter. Garnish with parsley and cherry tomatoes. Serve immediately. Makes 12 frittatas.

Each child-size serving (1 frittata) 77 calories, 5 g protein, 3 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 5 g fat (2 g saturated), 111 mg cholesterol, 0 mg iron, 84 mg calcium, 130 mg sodium.

Multigrain Blackberry Waffles

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15-30 minutes, depending on size of waffle maker

The blackberry glaze turns ordinary waffles into a dish guests of all ages will rave about. Plus, it supplies vitamins A, C, and E as well as disease-fighting antioxidants and fiber.

  • 2 cups Arrowhead Mills Multigrain Pancake & Waffle Mix
  • 2 large eggs, beaten with a fork
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups skim or low-fat milk
  • 2 cups blackberries, fresh or thawed
  1. In a large bowl, combine waffle mix, eggs, canola oil, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and milk. Stir until no longer lumpy; do not overmix. Cook according to the directions that came with your waffle maker.
  2. Meanwhile, heat remaining maple syrup and blackberries in a saucepan on low heat until the syrup is almost boiling. Cool a few minutes and serve over the waffles. Recipe makes 12 standard or 6 Belgian waffles.

Each child-size serving (1 standard waffle) 188 calories, 5 g protein, 35 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 4 g fat (0 g saturated), 36 mg cholesterol, 1 mg iron, 129 mg calcium, 215 mg sodium.

Citrus Salad with Oranges and Grapefruit

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 0 minutes

Sweet seasonal citrus, mild-tasting greens, and a delicate dressing give this salad kid appeal. And it supplies all the immune-boosting vitamin C that 4- to 8-year-olds need daily. Make the salad ahead of time, and add the dressing just before serving.

  • 2 heads butterhead lettuce, washed and torn
  • 6 blood oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 1 pink grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
  • 1/2 cup sliced shallots
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, oranges, grapefruit, and shallots.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, orange zest and juice, salt, and pepper. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat.

Each child-size serving (1/16 of the recipe) 97 calories, 1 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 7 g fat (1 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg iron, 30 mg calcium, 1 mg sodium.

Cranberry Lime Punch

Prep Time: 5 minutes, plus an hour to chill

Cooking Time: 0 minutes

This elegant punch tastes so good that your guests will undoubtedly request the recipe.

  • 4 cups cranberry juice cocktail
  • 2 cups pineapple juice
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 4 cups sparkling water
  • Ice cubes
  • Lime slices for garnish

In a punch bowl or pitcher, combine juices. Chill an hour or more. Before serving, stir in water and ice. Garnish with lime slices.

Each child-size serving (3/4 cup) 69 calories, 0 g protein, 17 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg iron, 11 mg calcium, 4 mg sodium.

Express Lane

New and nutritious, these products are a delicious addition to your brunch or can substitute for a from-scratch recipe.

  • Horizon Organic Egg Nog. This beverage tastes amazingly rich and creamy despite the fact that it contains only 3 grams of fat per 1/2 cup -- about one-third of the amount in the traditional whole-milk version.
  • Smucker's Squeeze Reduced Sugar Strawberry Fruit Spread. Unlike many other reduced-sugar products, this spread isn't artificially sweetened. It packs just 20 calories per tablespoon.
  • Van's Hearty Oats Waffles. This company's most recent line of fiber-rich, whole grain waffles comes in three flavors: maple fusion (our favorite), berry boost, and oats 'n honey. Just pop the frozen waffles in the toaster and enjoy.

Copyright ? 2005. Reprinted with permission from the December/January 2006 issue of Child magazine.