Friday, March 2, 2012

Breakfast on the Go

Since I already had my The Wine and Food Lover's Diet book out (i really wish this guy'd write another one of these, his recipes are superb and you'd never know it was low glycemic) i figured i'd post one of my favorite breakfast-on-the-run recipes of his, along with a few others. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, next to dinner, and i usually go to bed dreaming about it so i have quite a few dishes i can share with everyone, and these are some prepare-ahead ones i like.
Shrimp and Pea Omelet Cups with Summer Herbs - serves 6

Shrimp and pea filling:
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
12 large shrimp (about 12 oz), peeled and deveined
1/2 cup baby green peas
3 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

Omelet base:
12 eggs (i always use extra large but regular large would work)
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere or Jarlsberg cheese
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (kosher salt is the big stuff)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

To make the filling: In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 1 minute. Add the shrimp and cook, turning occasionally, until bright pink and opaque, about 1 minute. Stir in the peas, basil, and mint. Let cool.

To make the omelet base: Place the eggs, cheese, pepper, and salt in a blender and process until smooth. Divide among six 1-cup nonstick jumbo muffin cups (or among 12 regular sized ones and you'll only add one shrimp to each). Add the shrimp mixture, making sure that each jumbo cup has 2 shrimp.

Bake until lightly browned and puffed, 15 to 25 minutes. The omelets will puff up like a souffle and then deflate a bit when removed from the oven. Serve hot.

I know to some people shrimp for breakfast sounds weird (and it did to me too until i tried this) but it really works well with the peas and the herbs! I've yet to try a crab breakfast dish though because that still weirds me out, but i will someday and i'll probably have to make it myself. Two of these regular cups or one jumbo one is either a good protein source with breakfast (like pair it with some fruit or yogurt) or a good snack on its own, and they are great and healthy whether or not you low carb.

You can basically make any frittata into muffin cups or you can make a traditional one and then pre slice it and put it into tupperware containers to grab-and-go. Here's a frittata that is reminiscent of pizza from George Stella's Livin' Low Carb by George Stella, called Frittata Italiana. It looks like a lot of ingredients and a lot of work but if you are like me and have red peppers in jars on hand, and have stuff like onions pre-chopped (if i use part of an onion in something i will chop the rest up and save in a tupperware container so i don't have to chop onions more than once a week) and cheese pre shredded (when i buy a block of cheese i will take the time to shred all of it at once and save in a tupperware container for later) then it's not so bad. You will need a saute pan that is oven-proof, meaning no plastic handle. You could probably transfer the frittata to a baking dish when the time comes to put it in the oven but you'll probably need a longer bake time.
Frittata Italiana - serves 8

6 oz fresh Italian sausage, crumbled out of the casing
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons diced roasted red bell peppers
2 Tablespoons sliced black olives
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Egg mixture:
10 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream (you can sub any milk you like)
1/4 cup water (if using regular milk for the cream then replace this water with milk too)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg (he suggests freshly ground)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a saute pan over medium high heat, brown the crumbled Italian sausage with the onion, tomatoes, and garlic. Drain off the excess fat using a spoon or a turkey baster.

Please all the ingredients for the egg mixture in a bowl and whisk well.

Melt the butter in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. (i usually use the same pan i sauteed the first ingredients in to save on dish washing. just remove and set aside the sausage mix first)

Pour the egg mixture into the pan. Using a rubber spatula, slowly push the cooked egg fro mone side of the pan to the other to allow all of the raw egg to reach the bottom of the pan (this creates height and keeps the bottom from burning).

When the frittata is cooked on the bottom but the top is still runny, spoon the cooked sausage mixture, the cheeses, and red pepper over the top.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. (Remove the foil for the last few minutes of cooking for a nicely browned top.) The frittata is done when firm and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.

Cut into 8 servings and serve hot, garnished with the black olives and basil.
Some other variations would be just tomato, mozzarella, and basil, or maybe a southwest kick with shredded chicken, black beans, salsa, and cheddar. The possibilities with frittatas are endless.

If you're not an egg person you are probably not my friend but i will help you out anyway. Each of these are also good as an accompaniment to the above dishes (except for the first link, unless you really REALLY like eggs for breakfast), and you prepare them ahead of time and portion them out just the same. Fyi, jam jars are pretty amazing for take-along breakfast/snack containers:

Homemade fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt parfaits (and you can bring along a baggie of nuts/granola to top it off if you're into that) (and if you don't like yogurt, a friend of mine subs cottage cheese for it and drizzles a a little honey on top)
Strawberry Nutella poptarts, for the ambitious
Blueberry buttermilk scones (or any scones, for that matter, even savory ones)
Fruit salad put into jars
Cook up bacon or sausage links and baggie them up

I could really go on and on!

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