I have never cooked breakfast regularly. I like cereal, and that is what I fed the children. Lev never ate breakfast. Eggs, with sides of lean meat and vegetables (!!!), are a big challenge. And while I never minded the monotony of cereal, I get bored with eggs in a hurry. Here are eight high-protein, low-carb recipes. I have learned that toast and other breads are not an essential accompaniment, that water is healthier than orange juice with all its sugar and that a little butter and cheese go a very long way. The practical goal is to dirty as few pots and pans as possible. I assume that you already know how to cook eggs, so my instructions are brief. If I need to clarify, please let me know.
Day 1: Deconstructed Eggs Benedict
Pre-heat a non-stick griddle; oil lightly with Pam. Brown a slice of Canadian bacon and a thick slice of tomato for 2-3 minutes; add a large handful of spinach and toss with a spatula to wilt without browning; then break an egg* on to the griddle. Turn the bacon and tomato. When the egg is done, stack the bacon, tomato, spinach and egg. Salt and pepper to taste.
Day 2: Omelet
Beat 2 eggs with s&p to taste. Add a dash of Tabasco if desired. Chop 1 cup vegetables such as onion, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, along with 1 slice Canadian bacon. Preheat a small skillet; spray with Pam; add ham and vegetables; cover to steam, stirring often, until onions are transparent. You may remove the vegetable mixture and keep warm while you cook the eggs, but I always use a dedicated omelet pan for my omelets to ensure that the omelet slides in the pan and doesn’t stick. Heat 1 teaspoon butter over medium-high heat. When butter is foamy and begins to brown, pour in egg mix, carefully tilting the pan to spread the eggs equally. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons grated cheese over the egg mix. When the cheese has melted and the egg begins to set, add the vegetable mix. Loosen the edges of the omelet with a rubber spatula, then slide onto your plate, folding the egg in half. Egg should be lightly browned. Serve with salsa if desired.
Day 3: English Breakfast
Following the same cooking method for Eggs Benedict, brown 2 strips of lean bacon or sausage links (turkey is healthiest but not my choice) on griddle. Grill sliced tomato and mushrooms. Cook the egg*. Optional: Heat ½ cup black beans or pork ’n’ beans in the microwave.
Day 4: Italian Egg White Frittata
Following the same cooking method for omelet, add ½ cup egg whites to heated omelet pan. Preheat broiler unit of your toaster oven. When egg whites begin to set, add: chopped fresh basil; 2 tablespoons grated mozzarella cheese; 2 tablespoon browned sausage, prosciutto or pepperoni; finally ½ cup sliced cherry tomatoes and mushrooms. “Dust” with grated Parmeson, then place under broiler just long enough to warm the vegetables. Watch carefully. Serve open-faced. Egg whites are more delicate that whole eggs, more likely to tear when removing from the pan. You may have to carefully slide a spatula underneath to loosen the egg. I like them as an alternative occasionally, because they taste less “egg-y.”
Day 5: Scrambled Eggs with Stuffed Baked Tomato
Cut the top off and hollow out a large tomato. Place in a small ramekin or custard cup, stuff with cooked sausage crumbles and microwave for a minute or so to cook. Check often to avoid the egg splitting and splattering. Beat 2 eggs with ¼ cup milk, s&p to taste. Add 1 tablespoon minced parsley or chives and a dash of Tabasco if desired. Melt 1 teaspoon butter over medium-low heat in a small skillet, then add eggs. Stir often to cook to a lumpy custard consistency. (While some people cook scrambled eggs and omelets alike, they traditionally have different cooking methods and textures.)
Day 6: Low-Carb Taquito
Using either the omelet or frittata method, above, add 2 tablespoons of grated skim-milk cheddar when the eggs begin to set, then add 2 tablespoons browned sausage or bacon crumbles and 1/4 cup of pico de gallo or picante sauce. When removing from the pan, try to fold in thirds, rather than half, to resemble a taquito. Top with additional picante if desired.
Day 7: Savory Breakfast Custard
Day 8: Breakfast Stew
Typical grocery list: dozen eggs; small carton egg whites; containers of chopped onion, bell peppers and pico de gallo; parsley; basil; cherry and large tomatoes; brown mushrooms; baby spinach; reduced-fat premium pork sausage; Canadian bacon; quart of skim milk; grated Mozzarella, cheddar and Parmesan cheese—skim-milk when available; picante sauce; and canned black beans and diced tomatoes. Ideally, I grocery shop on Saturday morning for a week’s worth of breakfasts and wash the vegetables, brown the sausage and prepare the custard and stew when I get home. The custard is my favorite Sunday breakfast since there are no dirty dishes.
Do you have questions? A recipe to share?
*These can hardly be considered “fried” eggs since virtually no fat is involved. I like my eggs sunny side up with a soft yolk, so adjust the cooking time if you want your eggs over-easy. Poached eggs are authentic but also involve another pan.