Frittata

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It is amazing to me how fads come and go.

In my brief time on this earth (eye roll inserted here), eggs have gone from being an everyday breakfast staple, to a big-time no-no at any meal, to a powerhouse of nutrition.

When I was a kid, a big bowl of scrambled eggs was passed around the breakfast table. Yes, we almost always ate all three meals together, sitting at a table, with no television or telephone. Notice I said “telephone” not “phones”. And the telephone was attached to the wall by a cord. If it rang, no one wanted to even look at it because if you did, you had to get up from your chair to answer it. By the time you returned to the table, the eggs might be all gone (I grew up with brothers).

When I was in college, my dad underwent bypass surgery at the age of 55. He needed to lower his cholesterol and eggs had turned into a plague food for health. We pretty much eliminated eggs, salt and, to his greatest disappointment, ice cream. He always said that the only good thing to come from his new “diet” was that he could no longer eat liver. He even told the doctor he would need a note for his wife that said he had doctor’s orders not to eat it! The doctor and the nurses laughed on that one for a long time.

And now eggs have returned to glory and we highlight the nutritional benefits but acknowledge that there are limitations. Gee … the age-old saying shines again:

Everything in moderation.

Today, the TV is often on. Our cell phones are not far from us. And breakfast is usually an individual affair. Most evenings though, we share dinner at the table. Last night, eggs made an appearance in the form of frittatas.

A frittata, aside from being really fun to say, is basically a crustless quiche. Technically, the cooking process for a frittata starts on the stove top and finishes in the oven or under a broiler. I take a much more simple approach and just bake it. I will occasionally finish it off with a minute or two under the broiler just to give it that perfect texture on top.

Frittata

8 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard or 1 teaspoon prepared mustard

Baker’s Choice: 
1 cup Cheese, 1-2 cups Meat, 1/2 – 1 cup Vegetables, Herbs and Spices

This is where personal preference comes into play. Ham, bacon, chorizo, sausage, chicken … swiss, cheddar, monterey-jack, ricotta, chèvre, parmesan … onions, peppers, corn, potatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, kale … basil, oregano, thyme, chives, cumin, cilantro … whatever makes your favorite omelette or pizza can make your favorite frittata.

Editor/Son’s Challenge: I dare anyone to make a frittata containing all of the above ingredients.

It is also up to you if you use raw ingredients or sautéed. I think sautéing the meats and vegetables with the dry spices brings out more flavor. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat a 9″ glass pie plate with cooking spray. 

Crack eggs, one at time (it is much easier to fish a random egg shell from one egg than it is from eight), into a bowl and whisk gently. Add milk, salt, pepper and mustard and whisk until well combined. 

Place meats, vegetables, herbs and/or spices into pie plate (if still hot from sautéing, allow to cool a few minutes). Add cheese (if using) and pour egg mixture evenly over the top. 

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until center of frittata is set (does not move when pie plate is nudged). Remove from oven. Place under broiler for a minute or two, if desired, to brown the top a little more. Remove and allow to rest for 2-3 minutes before slicing.

I usually cut each frittata into 6 wedges and plan for it to serve 3 people.

Options and Ideas

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Although this looks like a ham and corn combination (also pictured on the left in the title picture) it is actually a Mexican frittata. The meat is smoked chicken sausage with mango and jalapenos. It also has corn, onions, poblano peppers, stone-ground mustard and shredded Mexican cheese blend. Served with a little sour cream or enchilada sauce, it was a big hit.

The other frittata in the blog picture is inspired by Italian flavors: roasted zucchini, tomatoes, red onion, dried basil and thyme, prosciutto, Dijon mustard and parmesan. Although it looks much more impressive (at least to me), it wasn’t nearly as flavorful. Next time I think I would use sun-dried tomatoes instead of fresh, Italian sausage instead of (or along with) the prosciutto and ricotta cheese along with the parmesan.

Yep … I can drive my family crazy with this type of analysis. Until they stop sitting at my table, and enjoying the leftovers for breakfast or lunch, I guess I’m okay.


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Anita Hinkeldey McVey

From the farm in Alta ... to college in Ames ... to the suburbs of Des Moines in Waukee ... I am an Iowa girl through and through. I married the cute, but quiet, guy who made me laugh out loud in Statistics class and we have two awesome, but terribly sarcastic, boys. In 1999, I quit my research job to be home with those active boys. Staying home allowed me to spend more time preparing meals, trying new recipes and striving to serve healthier options for my family. Now that my boys are men ... well, "adults" anyway ... and my husband still appreciates what I accomplish at home, I have time to explore my creative side and knock "writing a blog" off my bucket list. I love trying new things, traveling, gardening, reading and clean countertops. I love baseball (watching, not playing) and concession stands. Choosing a favorite food is impossible but if I was forced to pick just one, it would be pie! I thank God that He has led me to this place. Here's to a new adventure and hopes that others will be able to use what I post to discover the benefits of family meals and living a picnic life.

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