Crustless Quiche/Baked Frittata

In the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle (or to soothe the qualms of my family and doctor, depending on my mood) I’ve placed myself on a strict diet. This diet consists of about 5 to 7 meal replacements offered by the company making the nutritious meals (about 90 to 110 calories) and one complete meal. My regular meal necessitates a specific amount of (very) lean protein and about 1.5 cups of cooked vegetables; vegetable options omit carrots, corn, potatoes, peas, squash, and other starchier vegetables. One protein choice permits two cups of egg substitute or consuming three eggs – the diet recommends forgoing real eggs more than once a week. As two cups of egg substitute replaces eight eggs, methods of food preparation can challenge the strictest user of cookbooks. (Can you imagine the plate of scrambled eggs? Yikes!)

Fortunately, my mom, stepmom and step-grandma have given me hints that, put together, allow me to use these two cups of egg substitute without my facing gargantuan mounds of scrambled eggs. One, Jeanne and Vivian regularly used leftovers in quiche. Do you have some chicken and vegetables that you want to feed to three or four people — make a quiche! You don’t need a fancy recipe to follow, and most people are satiated. Or you can create a frittata, which also works in a pinch. In addition, my mom always says the crust accounts for most of the wasted calories in a pumpkin pie. Hence she makes a “pumpkin flan” — pumpkin pie filling baked in a pie pan without the crust.

Using these lessons, I developed what I usually call a baked frittata, or more appropriately a crustless quiche. (Maybe egg flan?) Because of this diet, I spray my pie pan with Pam and pour in the two cups of egg substitute. Then I add whatever handy vegetable physically present. Because I live alone I usually add previously frozen vegetables (for this situation I recommend cooking the veggies a bit and pouring out the excess water first). I also add whatever herbs I like, sometimes curry powder and turmeric which reduces the need for more salt. Then I place the quiche in the oven preheated to 350° F and bake for almost 35 minutes. I find 30 minutes usually results in a quiche that falls apart upon serving while 35 minutes results in a coalesced frittata, but lately I’ve been trying 34 and 33 minutes without any trouble.

If you don’t need to follow my diet, you may add meat, cheese, fruit, milk, vegetables, or whatever else you desire. (I wonder what would happen if you added vodka or chocolate…) My strict method amounts to 500 calories for the entire pie pan if I added 1.5 cups of broccoli. Normally I utilize the entire bag of frozen broccoli or whatever vegetable my cupboards and refrigerator offer as a sacrificial carbohydrate.

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