It’s spring and I can feel increasing hum of activity starting to creep into my limbs. And I’m not the only one. As the days have lengthened, my hens are producing a bumper crop of eggs. Hence the need to find some recipes for eggs.
And while some of my inspiration comes from the 4 dozen or so eggs sitting in my fridge (I kid you not!).
I love eggs because
1. They’re supernutritious (I’ll get into that below)
2. They’re quick’n'easy. Takes minutes to cook. Eggs are my savior when it comes to getting a good, protein-rich meal together for my family and me when I don’t have much time.
3. They’re flexible – you can make a million dishes with eggs (although I’ve only tried a few dozen.)
4. They’re beautiful. (I’m proud of my hens!) You can’t help but marvel at their beautiful creations when you really look at them: Seashell pink, beige and blue curved shells. And inside a yolk that’s a deep rich orange.
First of all, let’s get one thing straight. Eggs do not increase your cholesterol levels that much at all.
As the Harvard Health Newsletter pointed out in an article in 2006, only a small amount of the cholesterol you get from eggs goes into your bloodstream.
Simply enough, your body balances off cholesterol production according to how much dietary cholesterol you take in. So if you eat a cholesterol-rich food, your body adjusts cholesterol production.
Secondly, cholesterol is not the monster we make it out to be. It’s used by your body to build your brain, hormones and repair damaged tissue. You need cholesterol desperately.
“If you deprive cholesterol from the brain, then you directly affect the machinery that triggers the release of neurotransmitters,” says cholesterol researcher Yeon–Kyun Shin, a professor in the biochemistry, molecular biology and biophysics department at Iowa State University.
The only problem with cholesterol is when it becomes oxidized – then it turns into a sticky free radical itself that can cause more problems.
But your cholesterol level in itself is not something that indicates a risk for heart disease. In fact according to a groundbreaking study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2000, over 50% of people who have fatal heart attacks have healthy cholesterol levels.
So cholesterol-rich eggs are not the food demon you may think they are.
On the contrary, eggs are a power-packed nutritional wonder.
Egg yolks from free-range hens, like my flock, are a deep rich orange, glowing with carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin.
Because my hens feast on greens, kitchen scraps and bugs, they also have a good supply of omega-3′s. Eggs’ dose of lecithin feeds your brain. And their whopping concentration of protein (6 grams/egg) provides your body with the building blocks for everything from enzymes to muscles.
But most of all I love eggs because they are healthy fast food.
So here are some of my favorite recipes with eggs, recipes that you can use to get the morning going or put you to bed at night with a good full belly . . . and everything in between.
Recipe For Eggs #1: Fried egg sandwich
Okay, let’s start simple. And this is about as simple as it can get. An egg sandwich. However, look closely because this has very little resemblance to McDonald’s egg perversion the Egg McMuffin.
1 beautiful egg
1 tsp. Olive oil, butter, or healthy spread (I like Smart Balance)
2 T feta cheese or goat cheese
2 slices of your favorite whole grain bread (I love thinly-sliced 100% rye bread)
½ c of sprouts, chopped spinach, kale or other green
1. Heat skillet and add a little butter or olive oil. I also like Smart Balance for cooking. Crack an egg into the pan. Add about a ¼ c. of water and cover the pan to cook the egg.
2. While the egg is cooking, toast two pieces of your favorite whole grain bread
3. Crumble a little goat cheese or feta cheese on the toasted bread, place the egg on top and finish off with chopped fresh kale, spinach or sprouts.
4. Top off the sandwich with the 2nd piece of bread and eat.
Variations: Serve the eggs on a little brown rice or non-GMO corn-tortillas and add a dash of salsa. Yum!
Recipe For Eggs #2: Frittata
This is a standby at my house. It can double for a brunch or a nice quick dinner. And I always make extra (I make two frittatas at once) so I can have leftovers. Best of all, it’s a great way to use up whatever’s leftover in the fridge or growing in the garden.
Note: This recipe calls for some form of leftover starch – potatoes, rice or even spaghetti. If you don’t have any ready, thinly slice a few potatoes and toss them into a pot with just an inch or two of water. Put a lid on and you’ll have cooked potato slices in less than ten minutes.
6-8 beautiful eggs (I feel like the Count on Sesame Street!)
pepper, powdered garlic to taste (I don’t cook w/ much salt, but you can add it in)
2 shallots, ½ a medium red onion or scallions
3 c. chopped greens
2-3 c. leftover starch (rice, potatoes, spaghetti)
1 T olive oil
½ c chopped bacon, ham or other leftover meat (optional)
1/3 c. grated mozzarella, pecorinho, feta or chevre
1. In a small bowl, beat 6-8 eggs and add a little pepper, powdered garlic.
2. Put olive oil and meat into 10 inch cast-iron pan (or oven-proof skillet) and cook over medium heat.
3. Add onions.
4. Add greens and sauté just until wilted.
5. Add in potatoes, rice or spaghetti.
6. Pour in eggs and using the spatula mix them into the greens/starch/meat mixture allowing them to solidify a bit (1-2 minutes).
7. Turn heat down to low and even out mixture in pan. Allow to cook gently. (About 3 minutes)
8. As it cooks, sprinkle cheese you decided to use over it evenly.
9. Turn on broiler and pop pan under broiler until cheese is melted and a tad brown. And eggs are firm underneath. (About 2 minutes)
10. Remove from oven. Take a spatula and slide around the pan’s sides, pushing it well under the frittata into the middle of the pan to free frittata from pan.
11. Place a plate upside down over the skillet like a lid. Then hold it firmly as you turn skillet over, releasing the frittata onto the plate.
12. If you’re really concerned about presentation, you can flip it onto another plate so cheese is on top.
Frittata pairs nicely with a good salad or soup.
Some Other Egg Recipe Ideas:
In the summer, when we’re super busy and I don’t want to cook much, we do a big cook of meat on the grill to last for 3-4 days. Then dinners and lunches are often some grilled meat on a salad with – you guessed it – a hard-boiled egg to round it off. Filling, nutritious and delicious.
I often pop a poached egg (like the sandwhich above) on a plate of rice and beans. Eggs go well with anything from Indian dal to black bean chili to lentils and onions.
I love eggs with my homemade purple cabbage kim chi. I add just a few bits of kim chi on an egg and rice and I’ve got lunch.
I toss an egg into my emergency miso soup for an extra protein dose. It cooks as the soup simmers.
Eggs also round out a nice stirfry or pad thai.
Actually, come to think of it, eggs round off more meals than I can count.
What are your creative, delicious uses of eggs? Post them below, I’d love to hear about them.
You can also find some other great breakfast recipes (many with eggs) at Life As Mom.