Todd and I have been reducing our carb intake over the past couple weeks (ugh) to coax those holiday pounds off.  One good thing is that we've stumbled on the perfect low carb breakfast for busy people.  It's a variation of a recipe listed in the book for Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet.  (See "How Does the Low Carb Thing Work Anyway?").

If you know anything about frittatas, omelets or "crustless quiches", then you know that as long as you have some eggs you can pretty much toss in whatever is in your fridge or freezer and it will come out perfect, unless all you have is mustard, beer and leftover pizza. 

These savory "egg muffins" have no flour in them so they're very low in carbohydrates.  You can make them ahead of time, stick 'em in the fridge and take them with you to work or eat them on the run. 

Since I'm cooking for two I start with a  couple of teflon muffin tins that hold 6 muffins each (large muffins, not those little cupcake sized ones).    I use a combination of meat, cheese and veggies but you can use whatever you want, in any combo, as long as it doesn't have sugar or flour in it.  Avoid potatoes, corn, peas and carrots because of the starch (sugar).

Val's Favorite Cheesy Egg Muffins

24 large eggs or egg substitute equivalent

1 pkg. low fat canadian bacon (about 12 slices) diced

12 whole mushrooms, chopped

3 or 4 scallions, chopped small - slice the green part at the top and set aside for later

1/2 red pepper, diced

1 bag frozen chopped spinach or a bag of fresh

1 lg. garlic clove, chopped

6 slices of lite swiss cheese

Red chile pepper flakes (optional)

Fresh basil leaves, about 10, chopped

A small sprinkle of feta cheese for each tin

Set the oven at 350 degrees.  If your spinach is frozen, stick it in a colander and run it under water to thaw it out.  Squeeze out the excess water.  Saute the canadian bacon, scallions, mushrooms, basil, garlic and red pepper over medium heat with a little bit of olive oil or spray butter.  When warmed through, add the spinach.  Stir to mix.   If using fresh spinich, give it a minute or two to cook down.

Spoon the mixture directly into the ungreased (teflon) muffin tins, dividing it evenly.  Add chopped swiss cheese to each cup.  Crack two dozen eggs into a large, pourable glass mixing bowl or large measuring cup.  I use a clear measuring cup so I can hold it up and look at the bottom for egg shells before I pour it.   Or, I have Todd crack the eggs because he is careful and doesn't get shells in the bowl, so it works out well.

Whisk the eggs  together and carefully pour the beaten eggs over the meat & cheese mixture, filling each cup about 3/4 full.  I have used the eggs in a carton before and I'm not a big fan because they just don't have that full egg flavor, but they are a huge time saver and work fine if you want to use them. 

Sprinkle some feta cheese and a few of the left-over chopped scallion greens on the top.  Grind some fresh pepper and salt on each. 

Bake each tin separately.  Place the first tin in the oven, middle rack (or top rack moved to second or third from the top) and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.  They should puff up like muffins and come out with a beautiful light brown top.  Let them cool in the tin while the other pan is baking.  When cool, pop them out and put them in separate sandwich bags or freezer bags.  I have one for breakfast (and sometimes one for lunch if I'm in a hurry).  You can eat them cold or pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute.  I put a little hot sauce on mine and eat it like a muffin.  It's easy and so good.


Meat:  Real bacon bits, white chicken meat, turkey (not processed), turkey bacon, carne asada, left-over taco meat or fajita meat

Veggies & Spices:  Zucchini, yellow squash, red onion, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes (I buy them frozen), jalepenos, olives, parsley, italian blend, paprika, rosemary

Cheese:  Anything that melts.  I use light cheese to keep the fat down.  Often times I use the shredded cheese.  Try Jack, colby, cheddar, havarti - whatever you like.  I like to sprinkle parmasean or romano on top too.

Note:  You don't have to saute your mixture.  Sometimes I just chop everything up, throw it in the tins, add the egg and put it in the oven.  You also don't have to pay much attention to the quantities of each.  Just try it.  It's really hard to mess up.

Do you have a recipe to share?  Please do!