It has been a little over two years since our family grew to include an average of five chickens. Having hens means there is always something to make for dinner. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought there was nothing to eat in the house and was able to pull something delicious together thanks to our eggs. Backyard chickens really do save the day–or at least dinner.
Occasionally I will have dough for a single pie crust (either homemade or store bought) in the freezer and will make a quiche, but I most often make a frittata or tortilla española. Both of those are simply different names (Italian and Spanish, respectively) for the same thing, which is essentially a crust-less quiche. Without the crust it is a little healthier and definitely faster, easier and potentially more affordable (especially if you buy the crust or crust dough.) We also do a lot of scrambles, but a frittata or tortilla just seem a little more “dinner.”
Between baby and work I don’t always make it to the grocery store before the fridge starts looking empty. This week was no exception so I picked a few veggies and herbs from the garden and collected a few more eggs. Zucchini goes particularly well with eggs. :)
I also found a few potatoes and snap peas in the fridge. I don’t have a picture of the frittata fully completed since a little Baby bird started getting cranky, but here it is nearly done:
Never-Go-Hungry Frittata Recipe
This is more of a template than a recipe. Feel free to improvise with the ingredients and make it your own!
Step 1: Pre-cook hard vegetables like potatoes or broccoli (boil, roast, etc.) Please also clean out your fridge of any already cooked leftovers. Oven roasted veggies are awesome, as is any leftover meat. This is a great use of a little meat that would be less than a full serving if eaten alone. (My husband finds it more substantial when I use potatoes.)
Step 2: Sauté aromatics, like onion, in a healthy amount of olive oil or coconut oil (it will also be keeping the egg from sticking) on medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Add other veggies and cook until soft. (Options are endless, but try zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, bell pepper, kale and other greens…)
Step 3: Beat eggs with a fork vigorously until light and fluffy. Use at least 2-3 eggs per serving. You want to have enough eggs to cover all the filling that is in the pan. If you need to use more eggs than you will eat that night, do it. Leftover frittata is great. If you run out of eggs and need a little more volume, add in a little milk. Season with salt, pepper and spices and then pour into the pan. Turn the heat down to low.
Step 4: Finish by adding fresh herbs, tomatoes and cheese. (All I had was my truffled goat cheese. Cooking it essentially wasted the truffle salt. Adding any kind of heat takes away the flavor of truffles which is why they should be used only as a finisher. But, hey, I needed the cheese!)
Step 5: There are at least three options for cooking it all the way through:
- Cover the pan with a lid and cook on super low heat until the top appears set.
- If you have an oven proof pan (i.e. the handle is entirely metal and not covered in rubber) you can transfer it to the oven and broil a few minutes to cook the top.
- If you are daring, try the Spanish method. Once the bottom half of the tortilla is cooked, take a large plate and flip the entire tortilla onto the plate and then slide it into the pan so that the other side is now down. Finish cooking until the center is done. (This is heavy and awkward for me personally, so I use one of the first two methods.)
Serve cut into wedges. Goes great with a green salad.
If your zucchini grow a little too big, like ours often do, I recommend peeling them and cutting out the seeds at the core. The rest of the flesh will still be good.
Want to know a trick for fluffy eggs I learned in Spain? When I was an exchange student I watched the señora I lived with make tortillas like this: she tipped a bowl so that all the yolks drifted to one side. Then she beat the side with the whites with a fork vigorously until they were completely broken up. Next she incorporated one yolk at a time. Essentially, she beat the whites alone without going to the trouble of officially separating the eggs. I’ve done the same ever since.
Tips for cooking for baby:
Pediatricians recommend avoiding egg whites until baby is one year old. We have given her plenty of egg yolk since around 7 months but we still do not feed her whole eggs. I often reserve the filling just before pouring the eggs in. Potatoes, zucchini and other sauteed veggies make great homemade baby food! In our case this week I wasn’t fast enough. She was getting super tired and the only thing done was the boiled potatoes. Lucky for her she likes baby mashed potatoes….
And here it is:
Baby’s First Mashed Potatoes Recipe
Scrub organic potatoes until clean. Potatoes are a priority to buy (or grow) organic, even if you don’t normally do, since they are sponges for pesticides. Roughly chop and boil in water until they are fork tender. Drain and let cool. Pull off the skin. Mash them in a baby food mill, with a potato ricer, or with a fork. Add a good helping of breast milk until they are smooth and creamy.
Cauliflower is also yummy mashed, either alone or mixed with potatoes.