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Many people forget how important it is to start your day with a fueling breakfast. We often forget to include this meal due to lack of time and planning around hectic schedules. One versatile breakfast item that my family and I enjoy is a veggie egg muffin. This simple dish has fresh ingredients, is easy to make with only a few ingredients, and is packed with protein from the eggs and fiber from its veggies. One large egg has 6 grams of protein, including essential amino acids and only 70 calories. Eggs also provide a rich source of vitamin D, phosphorus, riboflavin and selenium. Additionally, eggs are very economical to make; one egg has an average cost of approximately 8.5 cents in today’s market.    .

Vegetable Egg Muffin on a Plate

Veggie Egg Muffins

I like to make many versions of this recipe, depending on what I have available in my refrigerator. I always start with 10-12 eggs, and add milk and various veggies on hand. I also add additional spices to enhance the flavor. Spices include fresh garlic (or garlic powder), onion powder, parsley flakes, and sometimes fresh or dried basil.

Here is an egg muffin recipe that I would to share to get started. This can be modified based on your veggie preferences and items you have on hand.

Veggie Egg Breakfast Muffins
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 12 large eggs
  • ¼ cup nonfat milkEggs in a bowl. Peppers, onion, spinach, broccoli, and mushrooms on cutting board
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
  • ½ cup shredded cheese
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • 3 medium-size mushrooms
  • ½ cup broccoli
  • 2 peppers, diced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Cooking Spray

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, nonfat milk and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir in the spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, diced peppers and onions. After vegetables are mixed together, add your cheese to the bowl.Egg mixture with veggies in a bowl

Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 muffin pan cups and bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the egg is fully cooked. Remove the muffins from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes in the pan then use a knife to loosen the muffins from the cups.
*Adapted from Just a Taste

These healthy egg muffins taste good by themselves, but I often will make it into an egg sandwich to add more fiber. I start with a whole grain sandwich thin, and then add guacamole, taco sauce, 1 slice of cheese, and sometimes a thin slice of deli turkey. After I’ve assembled my sandwich, I warm it up in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds. This is a great sandwich to start the day. They can be made the night before and put in a sandwich bag for a quick grab-and-go breakfast or afternoon snack. My husband likes to have it as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up snack.

If they will not be used in 5 days, plan to put them in the freezer for a later date.

Why not give it a try this week, and leave a reply in the comment box below to share other ideas for a healthy breakfast egg muffin.

Resources:
http://www.eggnutritioncenter.org/egg-nutrition-basics/

http://www.aeb.org/news-trends/incredible-breakfast-trends/new-consumer/millennial-evolution

https://www.justataste.com/healthy-breakfast-egg-muffins-recipe/

 

Written by:  Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu and Shannon Smith, RD, LD, Program Coordinator IGNITE Grant, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, smith.11604@osu.edu

Reviewed by:   Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension,   remley.4@osu.edu

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Are you starting to see these markets opening up in your area?  Farmers’ markets are a great place to get locally-grown vegetables, fruits, and other foods for you and your family.

As more and more locations open each year, it is important to follow basic food safety guidelines to ensure that the fresh food you are buying is safe.  Many markets have their own food safety rules, and vendors must comply with them, as well as any applicable government regulations.  However, it is a good idea to remember to use the guidelines.

Buying and preparing produce:

  • Select produce that is not damaged, bruised, or molded
  • Make sure fresh fruits and vegetables are bagged separately from your meat, poultry, and seafood products
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after handling fresh produce
  • Wash produce thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting, or cooking
  • If you plan to peel the produce, you should still wash it first
  • Refrigerate any cut or peeled produce within 2 hours of preparation

Eggs

  • Make sure that eggs are properly chilled. The FDA requires that untreated shell eggs must be stored and displayed at 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Before buying them, open the carton and make sure they are clean and not cracked

Meat and Poultry

  • Check to make sure the meat is kept in closed coolers or refrigerated to maintain cool temperatures
  • Keep meat and poultry separate from your other purchases so the raw juices do not come in contact with your other foods
  • Bring a cooler with ice or an insulated bag to keep your meat and poultry cool until you get home

Following these simple steps will help you keep your food and your family safe while supporting local growers in your area.

Sources:

Ohio State University Extension, http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/HYG-5353

United States Department of Agriculture, http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/basics-for-handling-food-safely/ct_index

U. S. Food and Drug Administration,

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/basics-for-handling-food-safely/ct_index

Writer: Tammy Jones, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County, jones.5640@osu.edu

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

 

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easter egg huntNothing welcomes spring more than the annual egg hunt. Whether it’s a community, neighborhood or family hunt, food safety is of utmost importance. Follow these food safety guidelines to ensure your egg hunt is fun AND food safe.

Before the hunt . . .

• Wash your hands thoroughly before handling eggs at every step of preparation, including cooking, dyeing and hiding.
• Only use eggs that have been refrigerated and discard eggs that are cracked or dirty.
• When cooking, place a single layer of eggs in a saucepan. Add water to at least one inch above the eggs. Cover the pan, bring the water to a boil, and carefully remove the pan from the heat. Let the eggs stand (18 minutes for extra-large eggs, 15 for large, 12 for medium.) Immediately run cold water over the eggs. When the eggs are cool enough to handle, place them in an uncovered container in the refrigerator where they can air-dry.
• When decorating, be sure to use food grade dyes. Be careful not to crack the eggs, as bacteria can enter through those cracks into the egg itself.
• Keep hard-cooked Easter eggs refrigerated until just before the hunt. Keep them on a shelf inside the refrigerator, not in the refrigerator door.
• Consider buying one set of eggs for decorating and another set just for eating.

During the hunt . . .
• Hide the eggs in places that are protected from dirt, pets, and other potential sources of bacteria.
• To prevent bacterial growth, don’t let eggs sit in hiding places for more than two hours.

After the hunt . . .
• Discard any eggs that were cracked, dirty or that children didn’t find within two hours.
• Place the eggs back in the refrigerator until it’s time to eat them.

Happy Spring!

Resources/References:

Food Safety Notebook, The Ohio State University Extension.

Written by: Cynthia R. Shuster, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Reviewed by: Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Erie County, Erie Basin EERA

Reviewed by: Jennifer Lindimore, Office Associate, OSU Extension, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA

CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clients on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information: go.osu.edu/cfaesdiversity

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ImageWe have waited patiently all winter long and spring is ALMOST here!  There is anticipation for the birds returning from the south to greet us with a song, a warm breeze through the green grass, and a positive feeling is in the air.  Along with spring comes the first holiday of the season – Easter.

If we were playing Family Feud and were asked to list our top five responses to things associated with Easter, eggs would definitely be one.  There are so many things we can do with eggs at Easter time.  They can be hard boiled or the center blown out.  They can be dyed, glittered, stenciled, and stickered.  They can be used as a decoration, put in baskets, or used in an Easter egg hunt. 

 What I am most interested in is egg safety at all stages of the Easter egg process.

We are going to buy a dozen eggs to get ready for decorating and want to be sure and keep them safe. How do we ensure egg safety during the holidays?  The USDA gives the following tips that should be used when purchasing and using eggs:

  • Always buy eggs from a refrigerated case. Choose eggs with clean, uncracked shells.
  • Buy eggs before the “Sell-By” or “EXP” (expiration) date on the carton.
  • Take eggs straight home from the grocery store and refrigerate them right away. Check to be sure your refrigerator is set at 40°F or below. Don’t take eggs out of the carton to put them in the refrigerator – the carton protects them. Keep the eggs in the coldest part of the refrigerator – not on the door.
  • Raw shell eggs in the carton can stay in your refrigerator for three to five weeks from the purchase date. Although the “Sell-By” date might pass during that time, the eggs are still safe to use. (The date is not required by federal law, but some states may require it.)
  • Always wash your hands with warm water and soap before and after handling raw eggs. To avoid cross-contamination, you should also wash forks, knives, spoons and all counters and other surfaces that touch the eggs with hot water and soap.
  • Don’t keep raw or cooked eggs out of the refrigerator for more than two hours.

So now we have our eggs.  While there are a variety of ways they can be prepared before being decorated, the focus today will be on hard boiling the eggs.  Here are the steps from Alabama Cooperative Extension:

  1. Start with 6 raw eggs.  Make sure the eggs are clean and that none of them are cracked or broken.
  2. Place a single layer of eggs in the bottom of a pot.
  3. Fill the pot with water and make sure that the eggs have at least an inch of water above them.
  4. Cover the pot with a lid and place on the stove top with the heat on High.  Let it boil for four minutes and then turn off the heat.
  5. Take the pot off the stove.  With the lid still on, let the eggs sit for 15 – 17 minutes.
  6. Place the pot in the sink, take off lid, and fill with cold water.  Let the eggs sit in the cold water until completely cool.
  7. Take the eggs out of the water and dry them off.  They can now be decorated or peeled to eat.

Once all of the eggs are hardboiled, cooled, and dried, it is time for decorations.  Decorating eggs is a great time to bond with family and friends.  There are thousands of different ways to decorate eggs.  Personalize them for each person to make them feel special!

Now that the eggs are decorated, they are egg hunt ready.  If the eggs for the hunt are going to be eaten, keep the following points from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in mind:

  • Consider hiding places carefully. Avoid areas where the eggs might come into contact with pets, wild animals, birds, reptiles, insects or lawn chemicals.
  • Make sure all the hidden eggs are found and then refrigerate them. Discard cracked eggs.
  • As long as the eggs are NOT out of refrigeration over two hours, they will be safe to eat. Do not eat eggs that have been out of refrigeration more than two hours. Refrigerate hard-cooked eggs in their shells and use them within 1 week.
  • If you are planning to use colored eggs as decorations, (for centerpieces, etc.) where the eggs will be out of refrigeration for many hours or several days, discard them after they have served their decorative purpose.

Whatever you decide to do this Easter, make sure that you are using eggs safely.  If you are planning to eat the Easter eggs keep in mind that they should not be out of refrigeration for more than two hours.  Follow the above suggestions and you’ll have egg-xactly the Easter you were hoping for!

Written by:  Dana Brown, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Science, Ohio State University Extension, Morrow County, brown.4643@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Science, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

Resources:

Egg Handling and Safety Tips for Easter: http://food.unl.edu/web/safety/egg-handling-safety

Safe Eggs for Easter:  http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/E/EFNEP-0215/EFNEP-0215.pdf

USDA Gives Hard Boiled Tips for Easter and Passover Food Safety: If You Find a Hidden Easter Egg Three Days Later, Throw It Out! Leave That Egg On The Passover Seder Plate:  http://www.fsis.usda.gov/news/NR_032105_01/index.asp

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