Most of us only have a limited time to cook from scratch so it makes good sense to make it count. This often means that I double up on a recipe, like these delightful Bariatric Egg Bites, on the basis that I can eat or serve one batch now and put the other in the freezer for a day when I can’t cook, or don’t want to slave over the stove. I also often make a bariatric-friendly recipe then divide it and flavor it or change it so that it is seemingly quite different.
So, for example, I might make a large ragoût, divide and have one-third as a ragoût sauce with spiralized vegetables, another third has chili beans added for a Tex-Mex meal, and the final third might well be layered with pasta or vegetables for a lasagne. It’s a bit like early stage re-purposing.
Bariatric Batch Cooking
However, one of my most favorite ways to get ahead is to make a batch of what I call Bariatric Egg Bites, but you might call oven-baked frittatas or crustless quiches (they are all pretty much the same give or take a bit of culinary license).
These tasty little morsels give just the right size portion load for most bariatrics (with 2-3 bites in each one) and can be made infinitely variable so that you have a whole repertoire of delights to eat as a main meal, in your lunch box, for breakfast, or a hearty snack. A quiche cut into smaller squares, or Bariatric Egg Bites baked in cocktail size muffin pans make fabulous party appetizers, too.
Moreover, Bariatric Egg Bites are easy to prepare, use up leftovers if you feel so inclined and dislike waste, freeze beautifully, are great for protein (and low in carbs), and generally suit most post-ops. I tend to make Bariatric Egg Bites for individual portions but you can make a large round crustless quiche or frittata and slice into wedges, thick or thin, as liked and requested.
Variations on a Theme
The basic bariatric recipe is below (but see further on for additional variations). You’ll need a 20-cm/8-inch quiche, flan or pie type dish or a cake/bun or shallow muffin tray with 12 holes. The mixture makes about 400 ml/1¾ cups to fill either of these (but check with water beforehand if you’re unsure of your chosen receptacle capacity). You can adjust the quantities – each egg needs about 2 tbsp milk or cottage cheese. This is before any fillings are added and the mixture will rise during cooking so don’t overfill (or you’ll get a spill over).
This protein-packed bariatric recipe gives the option of using milk or cottage cheese. If using cottage cheese then mix in a blender or food processor until smooth – it will give a firmer result than using milk and is ideal for fillings that are moisture-laden like courgettes/zucchini. You can also use flavored cottage cheese like that with chives to ring the changes. I also think it works better in the Instant Pot variation but both are good. The Parmesan is optional but just this small amount gives a good cheesy flavor without too much added fat or extra calories.
I often use (and have for the pic) a bun tray with silicone cases for making removal after cooking easy. They’re not essential and you can use waxed paper cases instead or not at all, a non-stick coating works just as well. I have some dinky antique ones in my cupboard (that have loose bottoms) that I often use which make release really easy but I am unsure how widely available they are these days.
Bariatric Egg Bites, Basic Quiche Recipe
200 ml/¾ cup semi-skimmed or reduced-fat milk or low-fat cottage cheese
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 190 C/375 F/gas 5.
2. Beat the eggs with the milk or blend with the cottage cheese until smooth if using. Add the Parmesan if liked and season to taste.
3. Pour into either a 20-cm/8-inch shallow quiche, flan or pie dish or divide between a 12-hole bun tray (see the intro above for advice on size and quantities).
4. Add any fillings and evenly distribute. Bake in the oven – 30+ minutes for the whole quiche version or about 15-20 minutes for the smaller bite-sized ones. Timings will vary not just between oven types but also fillings chosen and the temperature of your ingredients prior to cooking. Always err on the side of safety since you want a creamy and fluffy result rather than one that is too firm and rubbery, but judge according to your tastes and tolerability.
5. Allow to cool in the dish or tray for 5 minutes before serving warm, or cool and then chill to save for serving later. Most fillings will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
TO FREEZE: Open freeze until solid then wrap in foil or place in a freezer box for storage. Store for up to 3-4 months. Defrost to serve and warm again in the oven if liked.
V suitable for Vegetarians
Suitable for Freezing
MAKES: 1 x 20-cm/8-inch quiche or 12 mini egg bites
WLS PORTION: 1/8th wedge from large quiche or 1 mini egg bite
CALORIES PER PORTION (BASIC RECIPE/WITH MILK/WITH COTTAGE CHEESE): WEDGE: 72.2/79.6 EGG BITE:48.1/53
PROTEIN: WEDGE WITH MILK: 6.1g WEDGE WITH COTTAGE CHEESE: 8.6g MINI BITE WITH MILK: 4.1g MINI BITE WITH COTTAGE CHEESE: 5.7g
CARBOHYDRATE: WEDGE WITH MILK: 1.6g WEDGE WITH COTTAGE CHEESE: 1.1g MINI BITE WITH MILK: 1g MINI BITE WITH COTTAGE CHEESE: 0.8g
FAT: WEDGE WITH MILK: 4.6g WEDGE WITH COTTAGE CHEESE 4.5g MINI BITE WITH MILK: 3.1g MINI BITE WITH COTTAGE CHEESE 3g
My original recipe has just eggs, milk (or cottage cheese) and some optional Parmesan cheese for the simplest of versions, but you can jazz things up by adding a whole host of different cheeses, vegetables, fish, meat, herbs and other seasonings to ring the changes.
I like to do this with small cupcake sized egg bites – adding a little of something different to each one. That way I rarely tire of their inclusion in my lunchbox and I can also use up those small fiddly leftovers that are way too good to throw away but are great re-purposed this way.
My favorite combos are listed below but feel free to mix and match your own:
- roasted veggies with a few cubes of mozzarella and spoonful of pesto
- broccoli with cooked bacon or ham
- asparagus and ham or other deli meat
- sausage and mushroom
- spinach and red pepper/capsicum or blue cheese
- courgette/zucchini, goat’s cheese and tomato
- pancetta or bacon and thyme
- tuna, lemon and sweetcorn
- leek and Gruyère cheese
- brie and tenderstem broccoli
- corned beef and softened cabbage (or sauerkraut)
- smoked salmon and dill
- roasted vegetables with cooked mixed beans or chick peas
- tomato and sliced chorizo
- ricotta and spinach
You may have dispensed with the traditional rich pastry case but there’s no harm in making a tasty coating or surround for your small cupcake sized egg bite, frittata or crustless quiche.
Spray the moulds with low-fat cooking spray or mist and then coat with grated Parmesan cheese mixed with a little ground paprika before adding the egg mixture – this gives a golden coating to the finished egg bite when un-moulded. Add the egg mixture very carefully so as not to dislodge as much of the coating as possible.
Or line the outside of the tin or mould with a slice of bacon or sliced salami, pressing firmly into place before adding the egg mixture. It cooks alongside the soft egg mixture to produce a meaty case for the egg bite.
There’s little need to embellish these egg bites but sometimes a small spoonful or dusting of something of adds color and interest. Consider:
- Topping with a spoonful of low-fat soured cream and a sprinkling of snipped fresh chives
- Adding a sprig of fresh herbs or dusting of paprika or Parmesan cheese
- Adding a small blob of a complimentary salsa or slice of pickle
Cooking in the Instant Pot
Making a whole quiche or individual batch of Bariatric Egg Bites couldn’t be easier in the Instant Pot, and the cooking method does seem to prevent over cooking to a rubbery texture. They come out a bit like the sous vide bites that have been made popular with Starbucks – fluffy and light.
Most modern digital ones Instant Pots come with a rack that fits in the bottom of the cooker and this needs to be put in the bottom of the appliance. Add 250 ml/1 cup water to the bottom (but do follow your manufacturer’s instructions they may request more). Add either the prepared whole filled round quiche type dish (or Instant Pot Springform Pan) or an egg-bite mould tray, each hollow about half-filled with egg mixture. Cover the dish or mould with foil, add the lid (close the valve if not self-sealing), and cook for the following times:
WHOLE QUICHE: Set pressure cook HIGH for 30 minutes. Once the timer goes off, perform a quick release. Allow to sit in the cooker for 5-10 minutes, make sure the steam valve has dropped, then unlock the lid. Lift out to serve.
BARIATRIC EGG BITES: Set to STEAM and cook for 9 minutes and then release any remaining pressure. Allow to sit in cooker for about 5 minutes, then unlock the lid, and lift out to serve.
Return to Slender by Eating Right with Every Bite,
© Recipe and images copyright of Bariatric Cookery (UK) Ltd