by Evan Noetzel, Chef Magazine

This article was mentioned in the "Proteins for Breakfast" feature (page 14) in the July 2009 issue of Chef Magazine.

Whether serving up a weekday breakfast or a weekend brunch, back-of-house employees often become overwhelmed when the morning rush hits. To ease this burden and save valuable prep time and labor costs, try integrating some of the following premade, preportioned and/or presliced breakfast proteins--everything from bacon to beans to quinoa--into your morning menu.

Sausage solutions
  • America's number-one sausage brand, Johnsonville Foodservice offers a complete line of products to fit any menu need. For instance, Johnsonville Breakfast Skillet Sausages (available flavors include Spicy Sunrise and Southwestern Style) can add value to breakfast sides and sandwiches, while the company's Fully-Cooked Premium Sausage Crumbles are a perfect hassle-free ingredient for omelets, quiche (pictured right) and breakfast pizzas.
  • To add a touch of down-home tradition to your breakfast menu without costly prep time, consider R.L. Schreiber's line of White Gravy Mixes. Add Southern appeal to biscuits and skillet dishes with options like Premium Country Sausage Flavored Gravy Mix or Premium Low-Sodium Peppered Biscuit Gravy (each available in 1.5-pound bags for foodservice).
  • Through its Wright Brand of pork products, Tyson Food Service offers Pure Pork Breakfast Sausages. These 1-ounce pork sausage patties come fully cooked, so they're ready to use right out of the package. Although these patties work for any day-part meal, they're ideal for breakfast creations--like a Hash-Brown Sausurrito (recipe follows).
Hash-Brown Sausurrito
Tyson Food Service, Springdale, Ark.,

Yield: 12 servings

12 Fully Cooked Wright Pork Sausage Patties
12 8" Tyson Mexican Original Heat-Pressed White Flour Tortillas, warm
12 Tyson Hash-Brown patties, cooked and coarse chopped
3 0z. flame-roasted pepper and onion, thawed
1/4 c. Monterey Jack cheese sauce, commercially prepared
6 T. picante sauce

Method (1) Place sausage patties on sheet pan lined with baking paper. Heat in preheated conventional oven at 350°F for 12 to 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 140°F. Remove from oven; keep warm, above 140°F. (2) To assemble single serving: Place 1 tortilla on flat work surface. Arrange chopped hash-brown patty in center of tortilla. Slice 1 sausage patty in half, and arrange over hash browns; top with 1/2 T. pepper and onion, 1 T. cheese sauce and 1/2 T. picante sauce. Fold closed; serve immediately.

Bacon basics
  • In its more than 70 years in business, family-owned and operated Nueske's Applewood Smoked Meats has perfected it bacon-smoking process. Yet, its latest offering, Wild Cherrywood Smoked Bacon (pictured right), which was introduced to the foodservice world at this year's National Restaurant Association Restaurant Hotel/Motel Show, goes a step further. By combining sea salt, Turbinado sugar and celery juice, Nueske's has created a completely nitrate-free bacon product--without sacrificing taste or shelf life.
  • For those morning shifts when staff is limited and time is at a premium, Sugardale offers its Chef-Finish bacon. The bacon comes partially cooked, so it's ready to plate after only cooking for 45 seconds to 1 minute per side. It also produces less grease than raw bacon, so it saves prep and clean-up time.
  • Jones Dairy Farm, yet another reliable name in foodservice breakfast items, offers an entire line of bacon solutions--from precooked thick-sliced bacon to uncooked Cherrywood-smoked bacon to a whole or half Old Fashioned Slab.
No meat? No problem
  • A truly versatile ingredient and great source of protein, beans seem to find their way into dishes across the entire menu. And, of course, beans are right at home in a number of breakfast items. Bush Brothers' line of Bush's Best beans include meal-enhancers and extenders like Black or Pinto Beans, which are perfect for breakfast burritos. Or, if you'd prefer a meat-friendly option, Bush Brothers Maple Cured Bacon Baked Beans are a hearty side for any breakfast (pictured here in a breakfast burrito).
  • Serving a breakfast dish that uses quinoa allows you to offer health-conscious customers something that's both nutritious and, more than likely, unique on your menu. And thanks to Minnesota-based Indian Harvest Specialtifoods, such a product can be menued without labor-intensive preparation: A bowl of Indian Harvest's Sunrise Blend with Qunioa Flakes--a protein-pack blend of bulgur wheat, buckwheat groats, red rice, brown flax seed and whole-grain quinoa flakes--is ready for service after just 20 minutes on the stove top. Mix in dried fruit, nuts, honey and spices for a warm morning meal.
  • With more and more carnivores embracing the "flexitarian" trend, it's important to provide such customers with vegetarian options that replicate the tastes and flavor profiles of meat. Thankfully, the foodservice divisions of Gardenburger and MorningStar Farms, both from Kellogg's, have you covered. For instance, MorningStar Farms' Veggie Breakfast Sausage Patties allow you to create a truly original and vegetarian-friendly item on any breakfast menu.

The Society for Foodservice Management (SFM) will host its 30th National Conference from Sept. 29 to Oct. 2 in San Francisco for onsite foodservice industry professionals. The four-day event, titled "Building Bridges, Competitive Strategies for Today and Tomorrow," will feature educational sessions on building business strategies, career and personal development and culinary innovation. The Culinary Institute of America will present culinary sessions on flavors and unique dining options. The conference will also include a complementary seafood sustainability resource tour, a scheduled restaurant dine around and a Walk for Hunger Awareness across the Golden Gate Bridge.

The SFM National Conference will take place at the Westin St. Francis Hotel. Registration is open through C
onference attendees who complete their registration on or before Aug. 18 will receive a discount.