With each day's fresh attempt at packing a bento lunch, I find that I am having more and more success. I'm getting better at using the small space within the bento economically as well as increasing in the nutritional efficiency of each lunch. The mess factor is even decreasing, which gives me a warm, happy feeling when I sit down to a non-gloopy afternoon meal.
Still, due to the rectangular shape of my particular bento box, it seems difficult to find foods that will fit together well inside. I wanted to pack slices of frittatas, but the usual circular frying-pan shape of the food didn't seem to jive well with bento packing. After poking around on All Recipes, I found a wonderful recipe for mini frittatas baked in muffin tins. Miniature egg muffins? What could be more perfect for a bento box? Not much, I surmised, and quickly whipped up a half batch.
Not only were these frittatas incredibly easy and fast to make, but they are incredibly healthy. I made mine with fat-free cheeses and egg substitute, reaping the calcium and protein benefits without the extra saturated fats. (For other calcium-rich dishes, check out Food Blogga's Beautiful Bones challenge.) Prepare these with whatever kind of cheese floats your boat, and feel free to experiment with different vegetables as well. Red bell peppers and onions with cheddar cheese sounds tantalizing, as does broccoli with mushrooms. Try spicy variations or Asian style frittatas -- the possibilities are truly endless for this versatile dish.
Miniature frittatas are perfect for any food occasion. Pack them up for lunch as I did, or serve them as finger foods for a light afternoon tea or snack. (For additional tea menu items, check out the Skinny Gourmet's Spring Tea Party event!) They can serve as a fast breakfast or as a side dish at dinner time. Go bananas! (Incidentally, doesn't a peanut butter and banana frittata sound intriguing?)
For some reason -- probably due at least in part to the fact that I made these somewhat late at night -- this recipe yielded seven mini frittatas. I believe that it should actually have made six slightly larger frittatas. Next, time, I will double the recipe and make twelve so I can pack four at a time in my bento, a number which seems to serve me best in terms of both nutrition and space.
Mmmmini Spinach Frittatas
3 oz. chopped spinach
2 T quark (or sour cream)
1/2 cup cheddar
1/4 cup mozzarella
1/8 cup milk
1/8 tsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp lemon juice
1 T dried cilantro
1 1/2 T salsa
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
With a fork or whisk, beat the eggs, milk, hot sauce, salsa, and spices well. Stir in the cheeses, spinach, and quark, mixing thoroughly.
Pour into six greased (I used canola oil cooking spray) regular-sized muffin cups and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until browned and slightly crispy on top. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve warm, or refrigerate for tomorrow's lunch.