They reheat wonderfully, making them perfect for rushed morning meals!
Happy New Year! (Well, a day or two late…) Did you spend the night celebrating? My guy and I rang in 2014 with board games like Ticket to Ride and Monopoly Empire, leftover honey baked ham and maple mashed sweet potatoes, and humongous yawns. Still fighting vicious colds, we crawled under the covers as soon as the ball dropped at midnight. We might be party poopers, but 10 hours of sleep felt really good!
Along with lots of healthy food, January 1st ushers in the season of resolutions. I usually refrain: it seems silly to focus on self-improvement on only a single day out of the year (and “resolutions” carries a somewhat negative connotation). However, I sometimes compromise and create a short list of “New Years Goals.”
Because of my big problem with indecision, I haven’t quite fleshed out all of the bullet points on that little piece of paper, but I scrawled one phrase rather prominently at the top of the page: Cook more!
Baking, photographing, and scrubbing dishes all day long for this blog wears me out, so by the time the evening rolls around, my 2 remaining brain cells barely remember how to turn on the stove, let alone devise an entire dinner plan. I toss together lots of random salads (salsa makes a great improvised dressing!), steam eclectic assortments of veggies in the microwave, or preheat the oven for a frozen pizza if I need to feed my veggie-avoiding guy too.
My recent inspiration and motivation stemmed from my dad. After I returned from Christmas in Arizona, he filled me in on his new cooking creations while consuming his latest meal, a Middle Eastern curry-spiced quinoa dish studded with raisins, asparagus, and shallots. He also described a few of his breakfast omelets and scrambles, stuffed with sautéed broccoli and juicy ham, as well as banana pancakes bursting with sweet blueberries.
Since Dad works 10-12 hours almost 6 days each week, he cuts his time in the kitchen short despite his intense passion for cooking. But if he can commit to preparing healthy flavorful meals a few nights after his long commute, then I can definitely follow suit!
I started with the first meal of the day. Although I adore my egg white omelets, it requires a fair amount of time to lovingly whisk the eggs, carefully sprinkle the cheese, and patiently wait for the whole thing to cook. Pouring a bowl of cereal or spooning out some yogurt is so much easier!
But then, the light bulb above my head flashed on… What if I mixed up the ingredients for my omelet… Poured them in muffin cups… And baked them to create… Quiches?? I could walk away while they cooked, efficiently working on vacuuming or dusting (or responding to Instagram comments), and still enjoy a nutritious meal. Perfect!
These skinny quiches actually begin with the onions, not the eggs! While caramelizing onions usually requires at least an hour with the low-and-slow method, I use a little shortcut to finish in under 20. Cook them over medium-high heat for a few minutes, then reduce the burner to medium-low (NOT all the way to low!), while stirring constantly the entire time. The second you stop stirring, the onions will burn!
We’re aiming for a beautiful golden color. The browner the onions turn, the sweeter they’ll be—just the way I like them! Many recipes also require lots of oil or sugar to help soften and sweeten the onions, but not this one. A generous spritz of cooking spray does the trick, and starting with sweet onions means you don’t need any extra sugar, which keeps the recipe low in fat and calories.
Be sure you whisk the egg whites really well! If your biceps start aching, you’re doing a perfect job. By incorporating as much air as possible, the egg whites stay light and fluffy in the oven, and they even puff up to twice their height while baking!
I opted for extra sharp cheddar for these healthy quiches to give them a bright tang. During my childhood, Dad always stocked our fridge with a big brick of it, slicing off slabs for cheese toast in the mornings or grilled cheese sandwiches at night, so it brings back cozy memories. You can easily substitute mild instead, or if cheddar isn’t your thing, try Parmesan, Asiago, or mozzarella… Any melting cheese you’d like!
My Skinny Caramelized Onion & Cheddar Quiches come together in a matter of minutes, and they barely take any time in the oven to bake. While you wait, they fill your house with the irresistible smell of gooey melting cheese. The sweet onion flavor permeates each bite of the soft egg whites, and the tangy cheddar adds the perfect comforting touch.
These little beauties fit into many different diets—including gluten-free and clean eating—and they’re packed with protein to keep you full all morning long. They reheat wonderfully in the microwave, or eat them chilled for an easy on-the-go breakfast. After enjoying them twice a day (I always need a post-workout snack!), they disappeared much too quickly, but I’m already dreaming up new mix-ins and flavor combinations to try!