FARGO, N.D. - Here are a few hints about a food that could stretch your budget. Do you know what it is?
· This protein food contains natural chemicals that are good for your eyes because of their lutein content. This natural colorant may reduce our risk for age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.
Okay, the first tidbit isn't well known yet. Here are a few more hints.
· This protein source is considered one of the gold standards in nutrition because of its digestibility.
· This food costs less than 20 cents an ounce.
· This food sometimes receives bad press because of its cholesterol content. However, studies have shown that most healthy people can eat one of these items every day without affecting their blood cholesterol level. Follow the advice of a health-care provider if you are on a special diet, though.
· This food requires refrigeration at 40 F or below. The best place to store this food is not in the built-in spots in a refrigerator door. Instead, containers of these should go in the main area of the refrigerator. Usually this food retains its quality for three to five weeks beyond the sell-by date.
That was easy, right? By now, you should be thinking about eggs. Eggs can serve as a nutritious meal with a few added ingredients. Here's how to create your own omelet in seven easy steps.
1. Crack two eggs in a small bowl. Mix well with a wire whisk or fork.
2. Add water (or milk) and mix. Season with salt, pepper and herbs (if desired). Add 1 Tbsp. water or milk and, if desired, 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives or parsley. Or, sprinkle with dried herbs of choice.
3. Heat nonstick skillet over high or medium-high heat. Add about 2 tsp. of butter or margarine and allow to melt, rotating the pan to coat the bottom with melted butter. Alternate directions: To reduce fat, omit the butter and spray the bottom of the pan with nonstick cooking spray.
4. Add egg mixture and tilt pan to evenly coat bottom of pan with egg mixture.
5. Pull cooked egg from edge of pan with spatula and let the uncooked egg mixture flow under the cooked portion.
6. When the eggs are mostly set, add fillings of choice on top of half of the cooked egg mixture. Continue to heat until the cheese begins to melt. For example, add 2 to 3 Tbsp. grated cheese such as cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack, Swiss, American, etc. or 3 to 4 Tbsp. lean protein such as canned black beans (drained and rinsed), diced ham, cooked chicken, crisp bacon or 3 to 4 Tbsp. vegetables, such as chopped onion, mushrooms, green pepper, tomatoes, salsa, spinach, green chili peppers.
7. Fold omelet in half and slide onto plate.
Omelets allow for great creativity. Try making a vegetarian omelet with pepper jack cheese, green peppers, onions, tomatoes and mushrooms. How about a southwest omelet with black beans, cheddar cheese, green onions and salsa? Consider an Italian omelet with mozzarella cheese, spinach, chopped tomatoes and basil.
Here is a baked version of an omelet courtesy of the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service. For more information about food and nutrition, see http://www.ndsu.edu/eatsmart or check out the Prairie Fare blog at http://www.prairiefare.areavoices.
Baked Eggs and Cheese
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 c. nonfat milk
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese (reduced fat)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put oil in a medium-sized baking dish, set a timer and heat in the oven for three minutes. In a bowl, beat eggs. Mix in remaining ingredients. Pour into hot pan. Bake 20 minutes or until eggs are firm. Serve immediately.
Note: in place of 6 eggs, 4 eggs and 4 egg whites may be used. Using this modification, each serving (1/4 of the recipe) has 160 calories, 9 grams (g) of fat, 3 g of carbohydrate, 15 g of protein, 0 g of dietary fiber and 15 percent of the daily value for calcium.