A Blue Ribbon Breakfast of Champions
By Janet Tharpe

A Blue Ribbon Breakfast of Champions
Cheesy Asparagus and Mushroom Quiche!

Breakfast has always been among my top three favorite meals of each day. It sets the tone for the day's activities and gives you the whiz-bang energy you need to stay your chipper, sweet self... no matter what the day brings. I found myself doing a little daydreaming recently and thought it would be fun to create "ultimate fantasy menus". There are SO many terrific recipes out there that there's absolutely no way to narrow them down into a top 10 list. Instead, here are just a few of our faves... an extreme breakfast menu fit for Just A Pinch queens!

First up, we're serving a tasty stunner from home cook Dana Ramsey. We've tried several of Dana's recipes in the past and are always bowled-over by their sheer deliciousness. It was her cheesy Asparagus and Mushroom Quiche, however, which caused Honorary Crew member Leah Stacey to exclaim, “When I saw the mushrooms, bright green asparagus and gooey cheese, I couldn’t wait to take a bite!!” And it's no wonder! This recipe is a delight for all the senses, as beautiful as it is delicious. Dana credits a stealthy addition of Dijon mustard as her secret to making this quiche really stand out. "This is very easy and very yummy," says Dana, echoing the sentiments of the entire Kitchen Crew.

For a touch of sweetness to your dream meal, try adding Michelle London's Pecan Orange Bread to your morning routine. "As the innkeeper at Belle Oaks Inn in Texas, this was one of the first things I was taught to make by the owners," explains Michelle. "Their "signature" breakfast bread, it is always a huge hit with guests, and is deceptively simple!" Pretty as a picture, this sweet bread has quickly become a Kitchen Crew favorite. Topped with a delicate citrus glaze, the flaky bread - made from pre-packaged buttermilk biscuit dough - conceals a hidden layer of cream cheese that is simply out of this world. It's traditional fruit, cheese and bread... just in a prettier, tastier, and downright beautiful package. A great start to an inevitably great day.

Health-conscious cook Stacey Morgan contributes a crafty morning-time favorite, Breakfast Egg Crowns. I fell in love with Stacey's creative presentation and thoughtful use of ingredients. Baked in a muffin tin using individual tortillas, each "crown" is like a mini omelet of egg, cheese, spinach and chicken. "This low calorie, high fiber, high protein breakfast will keep you full for hours," says Stacey. And we can attest to the fact that you won't even miss the bacon! The addition of chicken is a smart way to add heartiness without adding the bacon fat. (Oh, and they're really cute, too.)

Capping off this marvelous morning meal is a new recipe reminiscent of an old favorite: Orange Julius. Like many of us, home cook Sarah Carlson has fond memories of sipping on the mall version of the frothy orange refresher. She's taken her love one step further, though, by whipping up her own version to have any day of the week! "If you like the Orange Julius from the store...this one I made is almost identical! It's super yummy and my kids just love it," smiles Sarah. Kitchen Crew gal Gail Herbest weighed in on Sarah's recipe. "Orange Julius was one of my very favorites when I was a kid," she says. "This tasted just like the ones we use to get at the orange Julius stands... right down to the thick and creamy top! A very refreshing drink with fantastic flavor." And who could ask for a better morning eye-opener than that? Watch out mornin' Joe, Julius is giving you a run for your money!

Many thanks to these talented Blue Ribbon cooks for starting our day off right with this amazing collection of recipes. I'm going to have to set my alarm clock for a little bit earlier from now on.... So many great dishes, so little time!