Eggs, available year-round, are an excellent source of protein and other essential nutrients. They're inexpensive, versatile and make for a fantastic meal when you're short of time.

One egg is equal to approximately 68 calories and provides a little over 13% of the daily value for protein. They are also a great source of choline, a very important nutrient for maintaining optimal brain health.

Although eggs offer many nutritional benefits, they also contain significant levels of cholesterol. It is important to limit the number of egg yolks consumed on a weekly basis to four or less.

The Mayo Clinic—in Rochester, MN—states that, "...eating four egg yolks or fewer on a weekly basis hasn't been found to increase your risk of heart disease."*

Mayo also advises using a cholesterol-free egg substitute or removing the yolks from the whites; if you are concerned about your cholesterol intake.

Aside from being a healthy and convenient choice, eggs are also quite unique in that there are so many ways to prepare them.   I can't think of any other ingredient that can be cooked in over 100 different ways--taste completely different--and still be recognized as their original form.

This recipe uses eggs as a base for a frittata. A frittata is similar to both a quiche and an omelet. They are typically cooked in a pan on the stove-top briefly, and then finished in the oven. They are loaded with vegetables, herbs and meats; and are an excellent dinner option.

For such a healthy and simple meal, the frittata looks gourmet and takes hardly any time to prepare.

Ham, Mushroom And Arugula Frittata

You could really add anything you wanted to the frittata, it's definitely nothing fancy.  I used some left-over ham that I chopped up, a carton of mushrooms, arugula, some herbs I had laying around and goat cheese.

Ingredients:

1 tsp. olive oil

ÂĽ c. chopped ham

8 oz. Mushrooms- chopped into small pieces

handful of arugula

2 tsp. herbs (rosemary, thyme and parsley work great!)

3 oz. Goat cheese

6 eggs (may substitute 2 eggs and 4 whites)

salt and pepper, to taste

chives, to garnish (optional)

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to it's highest "broil" setting.

In a large bowl, beat 6 eggs together until they are an even color. Add any herbs, cheese salt and cracked black pepper. Whisk well and set aside.

Using a large oven-safe pan, saute the ham, mushrooms and arugula in a little olive oil over medium-high heat until the mushrooms are slightly cooked and the arugula begins to wilt.

Once the vegetables are tender, but still crisp add the eggs into the pan.

Reduce the heat to medium and cook the eggs until they just begin to set.

Once the eggs begin to set, transfer the pan into the oven and cook on the "broil" setting for about 5 minutes—or until the eggs are completely set and begin to brown slightly.

Remove from the oven and turn out onto a serving plate. Garnish with fresh chives. Cut into 8 slices (like a pizza) and serve.

Notes:

Making the frittata using a non-stick pan is ideal. This will help ensure that your eggs do not stick to the bottom; making removal of the frittata quite easy!

Because frittatas are a relatively low-calorie meal option, you may wish to serve whole-wheat toast with honey, a baked sweet potato, or a lovely salad on the side.

*source: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cholesterol/HQ00608

About the author: Shari enjoys learning about food, making food, and eating food. She especially has an affinity for unique ingredients and Indian recipes. You can read her blog over at MyFancyPantry.com

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