Saturday, January 26, 2013

Veggie-Packed Crustless Quiche

Bacon and Chard Crustless Quiche
My husband is still going strong on his low-carb diet. (He's lost 30 pounds in 2 months!) I have a few more tricks up my sleeve to post about.

One of the hardest things about the diet is what to eat for breakfast. Cereal is out, so are most fruit smoothies (although I do sometimes make a smoothie with low-carb yogurt, almond milk, and a bit of blueberries). That leaves things that generally take some prep work, like eggs and bacon, which won't do for us on work/school days. I've been making different varieties of veggie-packed crustless quiches each weekend, which we can reheat for breakfast each morning. This recipe was inspired by Glutenless Goddess' delicious (and indulgent) Egg Bake recipe, with some modifications to make it healthier.

Unlike a traditional quiche, this recipe substitutes cottage cheese for cream, which gives it more protein, makes it lighter, and more flavorful. And don't worry, once cooked, you can't tell there's cottage cheese in there. The curds melt and add a subtle cheesy, creamy flavor. I've made a ton of variations. The recipe is very flexible, and is a great way to use up random veggies and cheese you have hanging out in your fridge. This recipe is definitely not just for low-carbers, and is nice enough for company. And of course, quiches are not just for breakfast! Serve alongside a salad for a classy and healthy lunch or dinner.

Crustless Quiche (Basic Recipe)
16 oz container Egg Beaters plus 2 eggs (Why do I use Egg Beaters? I wanted to reduce the cholesterol to some extent. Bonus: it's a lot quicker to pour a bunch of Egg Beaters than it is to crack a ton of eggs. The reason I add in a few eggs as well is that the Egg Beaters containers are an awkward size. They have the equivalent of 8 eggs, and I need about 10. You can do whatever you want here: use 10 real eggs instead, maybe remove some of the yolks, buy extra Egg Beaters, or do a combination like I do.)
approximately one pound of veggies (I like to saute kale, spinach, chard, zucchini, or a couple of bell peppers and an onion)
1/3 cup real bacon bits (Bacon bits are made from real lean bacon and are surprisingly low fat; they are an easy way to pack in some extra flavor. You could go to the trouble to saute some sausage or ham, or leave out the meat altogether)
1 1/2 to 2 cups lowfat cottage cheese
approximately 6 oz lowfat cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, parm, or a combination; whatever you think will compliment the veggies of your choice)
1/2 t seasoning salt (I like Tony Chacheres or Konriko Jalapeno Seasoning)
lots of black pepper


Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Grease a large (12 inch) cast iron pan and saute the veggies and meats (if using) of your choice. In a separate bowl, stir together remaining ingredients. Add the contents of the saute pan and stir quickly and thoroughly to prevent the eggs from curdling. Pour the mixture into the cast iron pan, and bake for 25-30 minutes, until center is set. Serves 8.

Here are a few variations I love:

Bacon and Kale Crustless Quiche
16 oz container Egg Beaters plus 2 eggs
1 bunch (a little less than a pound) kale or chard, tough stems removed and chopped into 1-inch strips
1/3 cup bacon bits
2 cups lowfat cottage cheese
1 cup (4 oz) shredded lowfat mozzarella
1/4 cup (1 oz) grated Parmesan
1/2 t seasoning salt (I like Tony Chacheres or Konriko Jalapeno Seasoning)
1/2 t Italian seasoning
1/4 t garlic powder
sprinkle of nutmeg (goes really well with dark greens)
lots of black pepper

Follow directions in basic recipe above.


Pepper and Onion Crustless Quiche
16 oz container Egg Beaters plus 2 eggs
1 medium onion, diced
1 lb (2 large) bell peppers, diced
1 jalapeno, minced (optional)
1/3 cup bacon bits
1 1/2 cups lowfat cottage cheese
6 oz shredded lowfat cheddar or jack cheese
1/2 t seasoning salt (I like Konriko Jalapeno Seasoning)
1/4 t Italian seasoning
1/4 t garlic powder
lots of black pepper

Follow directions in basic recipe above.


Florentine Quiche
16 oz container Egg Beaters plus 2 eggs
1 lb frozen chopped spinach
2 cups lowfat cottage cheese
1 cup (4 oz) shredded lowfat mozzarella
1/4 cup (1 oz) grated Parmesan
3/4 t seasoning salt (I like Tony Chacheres)
1/2 t Italian seasoning
1/4 t garlic powder
lots of black pepper

Follow directions in basic recipe above.


Broccoli and Cheese Crustless Quiche
16 oz container Egg Beaters plus 2 eggs
1 lb bag frozen broccoli cuts
2 cups lowfat cottage cheese
6 oz shredded lowfat cheddar cheese
3/4 t seasoning salt (I like Tony Chacheres)
1/4 t garlic powder
lots of black pepper

Follow directions in basic recipe above, except, there's no need to saute veggies. Just microwave broccoli until tender and drain any liquid.

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