Not only are they quick and easy to prepare, eggs are nutrient dense. They supply a significant amount of nutrients compared to the calories they contain. One large egg has 75 calories, 6g of protein, and 5g of fat. Eggs provide some of the highest quality protein you can buy and are a source of the B vitamin riboflavin, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, as well as, minerals.
The American Heart Association recommends that Americans keep dietary cholesterol levels to 300 mg or less per day. Over the years the cholesterol level of eggs has changed due to updated ways to measure cholesterol. A large egg now contains 213 to 220 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol instead of 275 mg of cholesterol. The cholesterol in the egg is found only in the yolk and supplies approximately 70 % of your daily recommendation of cholesterol. On days when you eat an egg, limit other foods that contain cholesterol. Foods from animal sources like meat, fish, poultry, butter, cheese and other dairy products made from whole milk are major sources of cholesterol in the American diet.
Eggs can spoil, so it is important to handle them carefully. At the grocery store, open the carton to make sure that eggs are clean and not cracked. Refrigerate eggs in original carton on a cold, inside shelf. Eggs are good for three to four weeks after you buy them. When cooking, wash all surfaces, utensils and hands with warm, soapy water before and after touching eggs.
1. Make hard-boiled eggs.
Place eggs in a pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add cold water to cover eggs by one inch. Heat on high just to boiling. Remove from the stove and cover. Let eggs stand in hot water – 12 minutes for medium eggs, 15 minutes for large eggs and 18 minutes for extra large eggs. Drain immediately and serve warm. Or, cool completely under cold water and refrigerate.
2. Make scrambled eggs.
Beat two whole eggs with ½ cup milk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 teaspoon butter or oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until hot. Pour in egg mixture. As eggs begin to set, gently pull them across the pan with a spatula, forming soft curds. Continue pulling, lifting and folding the eggs until thickened with no visible liquid egg. Remove from heat and serve hot.
3. Make poached eggs.
Boil 2 to 3 inches of water in a large pan or deep skillet. Lower the heat to maintain the water at a gentle simmer (not quite boiling). Break eggs, one at a time, into a small dish or cup. Holding dish close to surface, slip eggs into water. Cook until whites are set and yolks begin to thicken but are not hard – about three to five minutes. Do not stir. Lift eggs from water with a slotted spoon. Drain gently and serve hot.
4. Make French toast.
Beat four eggs, 3 tablespoons milk and a dash of nutmeg in a shallow dish until blended. Soak four slices of bread (one at a time) in egg mixture, turning once. Let the bread stand about one minute per side. Heat a lightly greased, nonstick skillet on high until hot. Add bread and reduce heat to medium. Cook until golden brown with no visible liquid – about two to three minutes per side. Serve while warm.
Sources: University of Vermont, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services
Mini Ham and Cheese Frittatas
¼ pound cubed fully cooked lean ham
1 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese
4 egg whites
3 tablespoons minced chives
2 tablespoons fat-free milk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Divide ham evenly among eight muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray. Top with cheese. In a large bowl, beat eggs and egg whites. Beat in the chives, milk, salt and pepper. Pour over cheese, filling each muffin cup ¾ full.
Bake at 375 degrees for 22 – 25 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Carefully run a knife around the edges to loosen. Remove from pan and serve warm.
Sandra R. Cain is the Bladen County Extension director. She can be reached at [email protected] or 910-862-4591.