It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’ve just returned home from my weekly run to the grocery store. I open the fridge to put away the groceries to see that I have a few sad cherry tomatoes, wilted baby spinach, some fresh basil that’s definitely seen better days, and a ever-growing collection of small hunks of assorted leftover cheeses. Even with planning my meals ahead of time, I’ve still ended up with a few leftover ingredients. My conscious gets the better of me as I vow NOT to waste this still-edible food, but what to do with less-than-fresh vegetables and a bit of cheese?
Hence, my Sunday frittata tradition. A frittata, which is similar to a crustless quiche, is the perfect budget-friendly meal solution to use up any leftover vegetables, cheese, cooked meats—and even cooked pasta—that might be floating around in the fridge by the end of the week. Here’s the basics you need to salvage those leftovers and turn them into a delicious (money-saving!) dinner.
- Ovenproof nonstick skillet
Follow this rule of thumb: Use an 8-inch skillet for 6 eggs to serve 4 people, or choose a 10-inch skillet for 8 eggs to serve 6.
- A whisk
- A heatproof spatula
1. Sauté the mix-ins.
If you’re using raw meat, like leftover sausage or ground beef, brown the meat first, and remove it from the skillet. Then sauté your vegetables in a little olive oil until tender. Returned cooked meat to skillet, if using.
Note: If you’re using already cooked vegetables and meat, skip this step and simply stir everything into the egg mixture in Step 2.
2. Make the base.
Whisk the eggs together with any seasonings, such as fresh or dried herbs and salt and pepper. This is where you want to stir in any cheese and/or cooked pasta or rice. Adjust the heat to medium, and pour the egg mixture over the mix-ins in the skillet. Cook until the eggs begin to set around the edges, using a spatula to lift the edges to allow the uncooked egg to flow underneath.
3. Bake the frittata.
Transfer the skillet to the oven, and bake at 400°F until the frittata is set in the center. The bake time will vary depending on how many eggs you used and the size of your pan.
MY FAVORITE MIX-INS
As I said, the beauty of a frittata is that you can seriously put ANYTHING in it. For those of you who like to follow a recipe, here are my favorite mix-in combinations. Start with 8 large eggs and add one of the following combinations, using the method outlined above.
- Asparagus and Tomato: 2 cups (2-inch) pieces fresh asparagus, 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup sliced green onions, 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Caramelized Onion and Orzo (from the eMeals Vegetarian Meal Plan): 1 cup sliced onion (sauté until golden brown), 5 ounces fresh baby spinach or kale, 1 cup cooked orzo or rice, 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or Asiago cheese
- Spanish Chorizo (from the eMeals Paleo Meal Plan): 12 ounces Mexican raw chorizo, 1 cup chopped onion, 1 cup chopped red bell pepper, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Green Eggs and Ham: 1 cup chopped broccoli florets, 1 cup chopped cooked ham, 1 cup shredded Swiss or Cheddar cheese
- Mushroom and Goat Cheese: 2 tablespoons chopped shallots, 1 cup chopped or slices mushrooms, 2 teaspoons fresh thyme or oregano, 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
What about you? Have a favorite flavor combination for a frittata? We’d love to hear it!