Weeknights can be killers. After working all day, fighting traffic and dealing with whatever your evening obligations are, the creative juices for cooking dinner sometimes just don’t flow. What we all need are a few emergency dishes that can be pulled off without a trip to the store and with minimal effort.
Inexpensive, easy and a fantastic repository for leftovers and fridge staples, frittatas are a working person’s weeknight godsend. They’re made from three main ingredients: eggs, a dairy product of some kind (the fatter the better) and cheese, along with whatever other fresh or leftover ingredients you care to add.
Take them in a vegetarian direction, or add your favorite protein. Complement them with cheeses that melt well. Here are a few ideas for tasty combinations:
• Italian sausage, broccoli and feta
• Wild mushrooms, fresh spinach and fontina
• Roasted Brussels sprouts, carrots and parsnips and cheddar
• Roast chicken, black beans and Monterrey Jack
• Chopped ham, sautéed leeks and Swiss
Add a salad for a well-rounded weekend dinner. Serve for breakfast the next morning with fresh fruit, or pop in your lunch box for a quick lunch you can warm in the microwave.
While simple, frittatas benefit from certain rules about the ratio of eggs-to-dairy, the right cheese and the need to cook off vegetables with a high water, like spinach and mushrooms, before you add them the egg mixture. Here’s a great primer on frittatas done right.
Chicken and black bean frittata
½ cup half and half
¾ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray or butter
1 cup grated cheddar cheese, plus 1/3 cup for top
1 cup diced roasted chicken
1 cup leftover cooked black beans, preferably seasoned and prepared with onions, garlic and peppers
1. Heat oven to 350. Whisk eggs and add half and half. Add salt, several turns black pepper and cheese. Stir gently until combined. Spray a well-seasoned, 10-inch cast iron skillet with cooking spray, or melt two tablespoons butter in the bottom of pan and turn to coat.
2. Add chicken and black beans to the bottom of pan. Pour in egg and cheese mixture on top.
3. Place skillet over medium-low heat, and cook mixture without stirring for about 5 minutes so bottom begins to set.
4. Move skillet to oven and cook for 25-30 minutes until eggs are set. Add cheese to top of frittata during last five minutes. Do not overcook. Pan will continue to cook after you remove it from the oven, so it’s OK for texture to be somewhat loose.
5. Cool slightly. Top with fresh herbs if you’d like. Serve.
Maggie Heyn Richardson is a regular 225 contributor. Reach her at hungryforlouisiana.com.