Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Healthy? eating

I grew up in a VERY healthy household. Jon always complains when we stay at my parents that there's nothing to eat - which isn't exactly true. There's lots to eat, just nothing that's not fat free/low fat/diet...

Typical breakfast in my house growing up was a bowl of "no sugar" cereal like grape nuts or cheerios. Lunch was a fat free yogurt, apple, and possibly a bag of pretzels. We didn't really do snacks, and desserts consisted of fruit or fat free ice cream.

However, just because something is low fat or fat free, doesn't make it healthy. The process used to remove the natural fat and retain any semblance of flavor involves the use of other non-healthy supplements and strange chemical preservatives. Take diet soda for instance, 0 calories, 0 fat. However, if you're really looking to be healthy, diet soda is a bad choice of drink because of all the sodium in it. Sodium, the leading cause of hypertension. It's also got chemical sweetners in it which have been tied to many medical issues.

The answer to eating healthy does not therefore mean only using diet/low fat/fat free products, but rather using the regular portions in moderation.

With the start of the New Year, everyone vows to eat healthier. And my cooking board is no exception. We decided to do a "healthy recipe" exchange. When I got my recipe I got really excited (2 fist pumps in the air)
1) It was from Cooking Light (which is, as you know, my cooking bible)
2) It was a fritatta! Okay. It didn't say it was a fritatta, but come on, what IS a crustless quiche if not a fritatta?

But then I looked at the ingredients. It uses all my arch nemises in cooking to acheive a "healthy" meal. Imitation Eggs (which aren't even really a food product), reduced fat cheeses (see imitation eggs), and fat free cottage cheese (again, not sure this is actually food either). However, it also called for "simply potatoes" which are loaded with sodium! So I had to make a few adjustments. Jon loved this. It was so good! Another cooking light success. I love having the zucchini in it, because I love zucchini and would never have thought to put it in an egg dish, but it works so well together. I'm also not usually a huge fan of potatoes in an egg dish, but between this and my winter fritatta I may be a convert! So whoever you are out there in recipe exchange land - thanks!Garden Vegetable Crustless Quiche
Cookling Light, September 2006

1 1/2 cups egg substitute (I used real eggs)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded reduced-fat extrasharp cheddar cheese, divided (I used real cheese, but only 1 cup)
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, divided (I used real cheese, but only 1 cup)
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (16-ounce) carton fat-free cottage cheese (I used low fat - that's as low as I'll go with cottage cheese)
Cooking spray
4 cups sliced zucchini (about 4)
2 cups diced potato with onion (such as Simply Potatoes) (I just diced some fingerling potatoes and threw them in with some diced onion)
1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper (about 1)
1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400°.

Beat egg substitute and eggs in a large bowl until fluffy. Add 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, 3/4 cup Jack cheese, milk, flour, baking powder, salt, and cottage cheese.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add zucchini and the next 3 ingredients (through mushrooms); sauté for 5 minutes or until tender. Add the zucchini mixture and parsley to egg mixture. Pour mixture into a 3-quart casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Top with the remaining 3/4 cup cheddar cheese and 3/4 cup Jack cheese. Arrange tomato slices over cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° (do not remove dish from oven), and bake for 35 minutes or until lightly browned and set.

And the true test:
Original recipe My Modifications
CALORIES 230 157.8
FAT 7.7g (sat 4.6g,mono 1.3g,poly 0.3g) 4.8 (sat 4g, mono .7g, poly .1g)
PROTEIN 23g 20g
CHOLESTEROL 84mg 151 mg
SODIUM 716mg 576.2 mg
CARBOHYDRATE 18.1g 9.6 g

NOW who's healthy?


  1. How many real eggs did you use? This looks yummy and perfect for something I'm going to make for breakfast one day soon. Like maybe Sunday.

  2. I looooove quiche but it's one of those things i haven't got round to trying to make yet. You've inspired me to give it a go sometime soon.

  3. I couldn't agree with you more about the low fat/non fat stuff. I think it is way better to have a smaller portion of the "real stuff" in most cases. This recipe looks great, although my husband doesn't eat eggs, so Ill have to try it when he works late :)

  4. this looks fantastic -- love the swaps you made and still managed to lower the calorie and fat content. excellent!

  5. I think your changes sound much better than the original recipe. Looks so good!

  6. nice job! i'm usually too afraid of changing recipes around for fear of the end result tasting like butt. i'm too rigid about following directions, i guess.