By April Swiger, Contributing Writer.
Fluffy eggs and ricotta, with a hint of garlic, and nutrient-packed spinach. These individual ricotta and spinach omelets in a muffin tin are simple to prepare, easy on the budget, and deliciously nourishing. Eggs are “a powerhouse of nutrition” and one of the most frugal ways to get important vitamins and minerals into our diets on a budget. Depending on your choice of ingredients, this meal could be made for under $10, filling the bellies of your entire family!
I love the simplicity of this meal. It’s quick and easy to prepare, but it doesn’t have to look that way. There is something beautiful about the humble egg, and when prepared with a few other complementary ingredients, it can make any occasion feel special. In fact, when my husband and I got married we had a brunch reception with a full omelet bar! It was a unique, and very memorable detail from our day.
These individual omelets would be great for a bridal or baby shower, placed on a fancy plate, or a quick weeknight dinner for a busy family. After baking, the omelets freeze really well, providing an easy make-ahead meal for any occasion. Allow them to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and they can be reheated in minutes.
Living on one pastor’s income, I’m always eager to find creative ways to save money, and still fill up on the most nutrient dense food we can afford. It’s my goal to steward our money well, while still preparing simple and nutritious meals that will keep my family healthy and energized. These individual omelets are so versatile, and can easily bring you out of that mundane egg slump that I have personally found myself in far too often. Let your taste buds, and family preferences be your guide. The combinations are truly endless!
Notes from Kimi: What type of eggs should you buy? There are more and more options in the stores and at the farmers markets. Here’s a quick guide to buying eggs. As part of our 21 steps to a nourishing diet series, we recommend that you buy the best eggs that you can afford! Eggs are a wonderful source of nutrition, and that’s most true from chickens raised the way nature meant them to be – with plenty of greens, bugs, and lots of space. (The following guide is adapted from Eggs: A Powerhouse of Nutrition
Shopping Guide for Eggs
- Organic eggs are from chickens who have been feed organic feed, but that doesn’t mean they are free range chickens. They can be just as confined as other chickens, but are given better feed.
- Vegetarian eggs means that the chickens were feed no animal products, but it also means that they weren’t eating any grubs and insects and are also not free-range eggs.
- Cage free eggs indicates that the chickens have better living quarters and aren’t jammed into small cages, but they are usually cage free and running around in a warehouse. Once again, not necessarily a huge advantage nutritionally for their eggs.
- Even eggs labeled “free range” aren’t necessarily benefiting from abundant feeding on insects and other natural food, because they are free “ranging” in a outside yard that no longer contains anything of value for them to eat (they live off of feed instead).
- Omega-3 eggs are given feed (including flax seeds) that increase the omega 3′s in the eggs. When organic, these may be a good choice – though that’s still up to debate.
- The best source would be getting eggs from a local farmer who allows them to truly “free range” or “pastures” his chickens. These chickens will often be moved around in a portable wire cage that allows them to eat bugs (which, believe it not, is what makes these eggs so nutritionally superior). I have found that my eggs from one such egg farmer are so different than even the expensive eggs in the store. The yolk is much more orange in color, instead of a pale yellow. They even cook differently (they won’t dry out as quickly). You can try to find such farmers by visiting farmer’s markets, looking out for signs while driving through the countryside, check out Craig’s List, Local Harvest, or word of mouth. Make sure you ask your farmer questions as to how they are raised, however. Or you can raise them yourself!
- To see a visual example of the difference between commercial eggs and a true free range egg, look at this picture here!
Easy Egg Recipes to enjoy with your pastured, free-range eggs:
- Herbed Baked Eggs
- Decadent Scrambled Eggs Topped with Spinach and Feta
- Savory Bacon Zucchini Frittata
- Sweet Potato Crusted Spinach Frittata
- Simple Deviled Eggs
- Spicy Scrambled Eggs
Muffin Tin/Pan Recommendations:
Since we like muffins, and things made in muffin tins (like mini meatloaves and individual omelets), a few recommendations for muffin tins (Amazon is an affiliate to this blog). I try to avoid aluminum pans, so I personally own stainless steel muffin tins, and have really enjoyed using them. I am also so pleased to see that they have mini stainless steel muffin tins now too! I’ve also heard great things about clay muffin pans – which some feel is even safer than stainless steel. It’s more of a speciality item, so a little harder to track down, but well worth it. I have long admired Polish Pottery (which beautiful and also lead and cadmium free). If you really wanted to have a beautiful kitchen item, you can check out some lovely ones like this one. I recommend them with an envious sigh.
- 9 Eggs
- ¾ Cup ricotta cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Garlic cloves, minced
- 2-3 Handfuls of spinach
- Butter or oil to grease your pan and muffin tin
- Parmesan to sprinkle on top
- *Optional: mushrooms, peppers and onions, bacon, sausage, etc (basically anything you would put in your favorite omelet)
- Preheat your oven to 325 F, and grease your muffin tin with your choice of butter or oil.
- While the oven is heating up, mix in a large bowl the eggs, ricotta, and salt and pepper, until completely blended.
- In a pan on your stovetop, heat your choice of fat on medium, and sauté the garlic for about a minute. Make sure it doesn't brown. Add your spinach a handful at a time, and toss it until all the spinach has wilted. Add the wilted spinach to your egg and ricotta mixture.
- Spoon your egg mixture evenly into the muffin tins, and sprinkle with parmesan if desired. Fill them about ½-3/4 the way full. They will puff up in the oven!
- Bake the omelets for 15-20 minutes, or until the eggs have set in the middle.