At our recent bariatric cooking class, we tasted yummy breakfast recipes including this one, Summer Vegetables Three-Cheese Frittata and High Protein Strawberry-Banana Smoothie. Everything was well received. We loved the creative use of the turkey sausage as the crust. The original recipe comes from a very good food blog titled I Breathe I’m Hungry which is what so many of us feel at times. We love to eat don’t we? And it’s a lot of fun, I know. But when food becomes the focus of our day i.e., wondering what we’re going to eat for our next meal, grazing on empty useless calories all day, unhealthy relationships with food develop and added weight gain results. Read my blog posts about Mindful Eating here and here.
For class sampling I made these into mini pies, but today I’m using regular size muffin tins for a single size portion. The filling is a combination of low-fat cheeses, egg white substitute and 8 cups of raw spinach leaves. That’s almost 3/4 cup of spinach leaves for each cute little pie. The original recipe calls for Swiss chard, pork sausage, whole milk ricotta and whole eggs so I’ve kept the beneficial antioxidant properties by using spinach, but dramatically reduced the unhealthy fats! These are high in protein, low in carbohydrates so serve with fresh cut fruit or a whole grain muffin for a balanced breakfast meal. You have my permission to use your fingers!
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 8 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup egg substitute
- 2 cups part-skim milk ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 lb Italian-seasoned turkey sausage
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet placed over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic; saute until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for about 5 minutes until the leaves are wilted and the stems have softened. Add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, add the egg substitute in a large bowl. Add the ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Stir in the sauteed spinach. If making the large pie, you will have to roll out your sausage or press it into the pie tin uniformly. Then pour in the filling, place on a cookie sheet (to catch any dripping oil from the sausage) and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 to 35 minutes or until firm.
- If making the muffins, use your fingers to press the sausage into place, lining the cups about 1/4 inch thick. Then spoon in your filling – don’t overfill because they will puff up slightly when baking. Make sure you bake these on a cookie sheet, as the grease from the cooking sausage will overflow the cups and you will have a mess on your hands if you don’t put something underneath it to catch it!