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A favorite brunch dish for company or family, we’re finding Frittatas migrating into the evening meal slot, too. Easier than an omelet, less calorie ridden than a quiche, a frittata is a one pan meal in itself – a little fruit or small salad on the side rounds out the meal, nicely. Hash Browns, of course, would never be inappropriate as far as my kids are concerned.

Asparagus Frittata

Asparagus Frittata

This is a wonderful Frittata when the spring Asparagus out – but Frittatas are also a great way to think seasonally. This method/recipe will work with any of your favorite vegetable/cheese combinations.

Frittatas are also a great way to use up any left over veggies that might otherwise languish in your fridge – since the vegetables need to be cooked first, you’ve saved yourself a step. Of course, you’re not limited to just vegetables – bacon, ham and/or pancetta can easily step in. Pancetta/Gruyere anyone?

With careful shopping, this frittata was very inexpensive – leaving room in the budget for a simple salad. I paired it with a bit of tomato, some Romaine and a simple dressing that I also use in my Harvest Salad.

Frittatas are most impressive served right from the pan at the table

Frittatas are most impressive served right from the pan at the table

Asparagus Frittata, serves 4 to 6, cost $3.27

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 1 12-ounce bunch asparagus
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup finely diced or shredded cheese, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Chives for garnish, optional

Preheat broiler.

Melt butter in heavy broiler proof 10-inch-diameter nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for a minute or two. While that’s cooking, remove the tough ends of the asparagus and slice (on the diagonal is prettier) into 1″ pieces. Keep the tips separate from the stalks.

Add asparagus stalks to the pan, sprinkle lightly with salt, and sauté until tender, about three to five minutes, depending on the thickness. Add tips and sauté another five minutes or so. If the pan becomes too dry, add in a tablespoon or so of water.  Smooth to an even layer.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs in a medium bowl until uniformly yellow and light, then add 3/4 cup cheese, salt and pepper. Add egg mixture to skillet and fold gently to combine.

Turn the heat down to low and cook until almost set – it’s ok to gently push in the sides with a spatula until nearly done, but smooth the top as best as you can. It may not look too good at this point – don’t worry, it will come out fine.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and broil until the frittata is slightly puffed and cheese melts, about 3 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve right out of the pan or plate.

Notes:

  • The easiest way to spoil a frittata is to over cook, so be gentle!
  • For a healthier version, use olive oil instead of butter and reduce the cheese.

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
  • Follow my Strategies – You’ll see them all explained on the upper left tab of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Read below for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for buying at the best prices, saving time and managing food.

Strategies Applied:

  • Eggs: Stock up on eggs when they’re inexpensive, normally during Holiday weeks. Low prices in my area range from free (often with other purchases) to anywhere from 50 to 88 cents. They last for weeks in the fridge – The date on the container is a ‘buy’ date, and you can expect them to last a good six weeks past that date. If you pick up two or three packages when they’re at their low, you’ll rarely need to pay full price.
  • Refrigerate right away and never store in the door; eggs keep best in a colder part of the refrigerator, in their own box. (Then put your partially used vegetables in the door where you’ll see them and remember they need to be used ASAP – the half a bell pepper or onion, etc.)  In doubt about an egg? If it floats in water, discard, just to be on the safe side. Cost for 8 at 88 cents a dozen? About 60 cents.
  • Butter:  A bit of a splurge, cost and calorie wise – but for taste and health, I’d rather use real butter than trans fat laden margarine or oils. Yes – they do have trans fat, even if the label says they don’t. Harvard, for instance, says unequivocally: The key to a healthy diet is to substitute good fats for bad fats and to avoid trans fat.” While butter isn’t a healthy fat, many feel that trans fat is worse than saturated.
  • Buy on deep specials, often around the holidays with store coupons. I shoot for $2.50 a pound and freeze, where it stays fine for months. Cost for this recipe, about 8 cents – you could use olive oil, instead for a healthier option.
  • Asparagus:  On sale often in our area for $1.99 a bunch, in the spring we’ll see it rarely for $1.49 a pound. I love asparagus and try to think of ways to use it when it’s in season and the prices are low. This is a vegetable I can’t deal with frozen. You’ll want to be aware of the size of the bunch – some stores portion it in 12 ounces and some 16 ounces. I paid $1.99 for 12 ounces.
  • 001To remove tough ends, slide one out of the rubber band, and snap it, holding it at the ends – It will break in just the right place. Line that stalk up with the rest of the asparagus that is still banded cut through them all at once. The stalks take longer to cook than the ends, so sliding a band up to keep the tips together saves you a bit of time. I don’t waste the ends – they go in my morning smoothie, after being sliced a few more times.
  • Onions: They keep well, so try to buy on sale. Aldi’s is a good place to find reasonably priced onions. Always less expensive in the fall/winter months, the pricing in my area runs from 33 to 66 cents a pound. Store them in a dark, cool place but not near potatoes. If you’ve bought too many onions, don’t let them go bad.
  • Slice or dice them, saute and portion into ziplocs labeled “onions” and freeze. You’ve just saved yourself a step for next time you make a dish. If you have enough, consider making French Onion Soup. If you use half an onion, consider if you can sauté the rest and put it in a Ziploc in the freezer. If not store in the door where you’ll see it when you’re cooking next. Cost about 10 cents.
  • Cheese:  Watch sales and coupons – I used basic store cheese here but you can go as high end as you’d like. Fontina would probably be my first choice here if price were no object. I look for a price of about a buck for 8 ounces, which is about 2 cups grated. This recipes calls for a cup, the cost is $50.

Left Overs:

  • Consider wrapping left over Frittata in a bit of parchment for a breakfast on the go - eat as is or warm in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Believe me, even reheated it will beat any drive through fast food breakfast out there.
  • I’ve even frozen the odd piece of Frittata, and while the texture suffers a bit, it’s still much better than the frozen drive through eggs.
Frittata is sturdy enough to wrap in parchment for  a breakfast on the go.

Frittata is sturdy enough to wrap in parchment for a breakfast on the go.

Nutrition: 

Servings, 4 Cal 300, cal fr fat 175, tot fat 20g; sat fat 8g; chol 401mg; sod 1100mg; tot carb 6.31g; fib 1.43g; sug 1/45g; prot 24.3g

Put your Own Spin on It:

Make the Frittata Your Way:  Open up your fridge and see what you have for inspiration!

  • Leftover green beans?  Think French – use a little tarragon and maybe goat cheese.  Leftover greens or spinach?  Add in with delicate scraping of nutmeg or go full on Italian with basil or oregano.  Pinto beans?  Think Mexican.  White beans?  Italian.  Leeks are wonderful as is onion or chive. Mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini and Broccoli are all good bets.  Even potatoes are sometimes folded in.  You’ll need about two cups of vegetables.
  • Use any kind of cheese you’d like – it’s hard to go wrong – about ½ to a cup is a good amount.  A few cheeses that come to mind:  Parmesan, Romano, Fontina, goat cheese, ricotta, Gruyere and any of the block varieties…from Swiss to Cheddar or even Pepper Jack.
  • Make your Frittata a little bit healthier by using more egg white than yolks, cutting back on the amount of eggs, and using the smaller amount or no cheese. Substitute olive oil for butter.
  • Want to indulge?  Add in various sausages or meats – Italian Sausage, ham, salami, proscuitto, etc.

My Pay Off:

An easy, simple, but elegant dish that no one will even guess comes in on a budget!

Asparagus Frittata Priced February 2014

As the Frittata begins to cook, gently push the cooked portions to the center, then smooth the top before adding cheese and broiling.

As the Frittata begins to cook, gently push the cooked portions to the center, then smooth the top before adding cheese and broiling.

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