What to Cook for the Hate-to Cook: Part One

I would have posted this blog last night, but this hate-to interior designer was painting!  Phew!  If people really hate to cook as much as I hate decorating, then you have all of my empathy today because cooking has to be done just about every single day!  Thankfully for me, painting does not!

Anyway, I’m back to my blog this morning with part one of my “What to Cook for the Hate-to Cook” series.  Today’s quick, easy, delicious, nutritious meal?  Frittatas!!

I absolutely love frittatas!  Just in case your forehead is all wrinkled up in a “What the heck is a frittata?” kind of way, let me explain.  A frittata is a bit like a crustless quiche.  You cook eggs and other ingredients it in a large frying pan on top of the stove and then finish it under the broiler or in the oven.  Then you slide it out onto a plate, cut it into pie-shaped pieces, and enjoy!

Here are a few reasons why the hate-to cook should love frittatas:

1.  They are a healthy choice!
I’m a huge fan of eggs and egg whites.  They are a go-to protein source for me since they are a complete protein.  And please don’t worry about all those cholesterol threats they try to scare you with.  Eating cholesterol does not give you high/bad cholesterol.  Processed, sugary foods will do that.  And those fats found in the egg yolk (you know, the ones that actually make the egg taste so creamy and delicious), those fats are good for you!  Again, not all saturated fat is bad for you either.  Eggs are relatively low in calories–about 75-80 per egg.  If I’m really looking for just a big source of protein and really low calories, I’ll make some egg whites.  Half a cup has about 60 calories and 12 grams of protein.

2.  You probably already have the ingredients on hand.
This is a huge victory for you, Ms. Hate-to Cook!  No shopping required!  If you’ve got some eggs in your fridge and maybe a few vegetables, meats, or leftovers, you can probably eek out a frittata with those ingredients!

3.  You don’t even have to measure the ingredients!
Come on.  Let’s be serious here.  I’m a love-to cook, and even I hate to measure things out in measuring cups.  Who has time?  I’d so much rather eyeball it.  I feel closer to Julia Child and other famous cooks and chefs when I do.  Granted, there are times when measuring is a necessity (i.e. I wouldn’t suggest eyeballing the flour for your chocolate chip cookies!), but when it comes to baking a frittata, it’s just not worth the time.


So let’s get started…
So how do you go about making a frittata?  Glad you asked!  I’m including my favorite frittata recipe below.  It’s from my Southern Living Cookbook (and is surprisingly not laden with fat and sour cream!).  It’s a great frittata to start with if you need a recipe for your first time.  However, if you’re feeling adventurous and want to whip up a frittata right now on the fly, I’ll help you with that too.

First, go through your fridge and decide what you might like to put in your frittata.  Pick out some veggies if you have them: bell peppers, onions, asparagus, and broccoli are all nice options, but anything will do.  If you have some meat, you might want to grab that, too.  I like using turkey sausage or bacon (the Hubs loves anything that includes bacon), but even deli meat could work.  Grab any miscellaneous, clean-out-the-fridge ingredients you have: even cold, leftover pasta could work, a can of beans from your pantry, or frozen/diced potatoes from your freezer.  Finally, grab some sort of dairy product.  Ideally plain greek yogurt or sour cream, but if you don’t have that, a bit of milk or cream could work, too.

Grab a large skillet (preferably a non-stick skillet) and set it on the stove to start heating up.  I use a 12-inch non-stick skillet for my frittatas, but occasionally I’ll use my 8-inch fry pan (not non-stick) too.  It depends on how big of a frittata you want and/or how many people you’re feeding.

Now, prep any ingredients that need a bit of prepping.  Chop the veggies, dice the meat into bite-size pieces (this will help them cook faster in the pan, too, if you’re starting with raw meat).

Once your pan is good and hot, throw in a little olive oil to heat up for a minute or so.  Once it slides easily over the bottom of the pan to coat it, throw in your raw meat (if using) and then your veggies.  Let the meat cook through (or nearly through) and the veggies soften a bit.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven or broiler.  My 12-inch skillet is not broiler proof, so I use my oven.  Plus, I’m not too skillful with my broiler anyway (i.e. I tend to set off the smoke alarm…).  I typically heat my oven to 350 degrees.

Grab your eggs and crack them into a big bowl.  I use 8-10 eggs generally because I like to make a big frittata.  Make it to the size of your pan, and enjoy any leftovers for breakfast or lunch for a few days.  Beat the eggs with a whisk.  Here’s where you can throw in your dairy products.  Adding a bit of greek yogurt or sour cream will help the eggs get nice and fluffy.  If you’re using milk or cream, I’d make sure to whip really well and get some air into the eggs.  Throw in some salt and pepper, taco seasoning, cumin, or whatever herb or spice you want into the eggs.  Heck, if you’ve got some fresh herbs on hand, throw those in.  (I would, but a bird flew onto my balcony and devoured my basil plant.  Does anyone have a pellet gun for sale?)

Once your meat/veggies are cooked, spread them out onto the bottom of the pan, turn down the heat to medium-low, and dump the egg mixture on top.  Let the eggs cook just like that for five minutes or so on the stove.  You want them to start to cook a bit so all you have to do is finish it in the oven.  Then, once it has cooked a bit, throw it under the broiler or in the oven to cook.  The one in my recipe below takes about 30 minutes to cook in the oven.  Yours might take less time if it is smaller or you are using the broiler.  Just keep an eye on it the first time to see how long it takes.  Once it’s puffy and the eggs are set, you’re good to go.  Top your frittata with a bit of cheese right at the end of cooking for an added punch.  Skip it if you’re watching your calories.

Now pull out your beautiful creation and slide it out onto a plate, cut it into pie-shaped pieces and save with a green salad!  You can also top it with salsa, more greek yogurt, green chili sauce, etc.  It’s okay, Ms. Hate-to Cook.  You can hate cooking while enjoying a tiny bit of creativity at the end here.  😉

Let me know how your frittata creation goes!  Best of luck, Ms. Hate-to Cook.  I know you can do it!

Avocado-and-Black Bean Frittata
(from The All-New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook)

1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 large avocados, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
10 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
Toppings: avocado slices, plum tomato slices, sour cream
Chunky salsa (optional)

Saute onion in hot oil in a 12-inch oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes or until tender.  Remove from heat; sprinkle top evenly with chopped avocados and beans.

Whisk together eggs and next 4 ingredients; pour over avocado mixture in skillet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes; sprinkle top evenly with cheese, and bake 5 more minutes.  Remove from oven, and let stand 5 minutes before serving.  Serve with desired toppings and, if desired, with salsa.  Yield: 6 servings.

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