Editor's note: This colulmn is part of a six-week series of columns focused on chicken and eggs. Visit www.vaildaily.com to read the other columns.
Eggs are protein rich and a great food for weight management. One egg has 70 calories and its high protein count helps build and preserve muscle, something especially important as we age. Starting the day off with a healthy breakfast containing eggs will help you maintain your weight, increase brain function and keep you full until lunch with good-for-you protein.
Eggs contain many vitamins and minerals. They have vitamin D, which helps the body metabolize calcium. The colorful yolks are rich in vitamin A, riboflavin, choline, folate, lutein and zeaxanthin. The whites contain niacin, magnesium and potassium. To crack open the benefits of each of these vitamins and minerals, visit colorfulcooking.com/blog and I will descramble their benefits and why they are so good for you.
Pregnant women benefit from eating whole eggs. Eggs are packed with B vitamins that are good for mom (and baby) while pregnant and breast feeding. Choline contributes to fetal brain development and helps prevent birth defects. Plus, eggs are inexpensive, so eat eggs and then you'll have an excuse to buy all those cute little outfits and rattles.
Once the baby outgrows the cute outfits, check out my chicken nugget recipe that toddlers to seniors will enjoy. It's easy and healthy, especially when served with a side of applesauce, spicy sauce or pear chutney.
1 puff pastry
2 Tablespoons butter
9 eggs, divided
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups mushrooms, chopped and cleaned
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 cup asparagus, chopped
1 cup deli ham, diced
2 tablespoons orange juice
Preheat oven to 400. Heat a skillet over medium and pour olive oil to cover bottom.
Add chopped mushrooms and onions and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain all water from mushrooms. In microwaveable bowl, place 2 tablespoons water and asparagus, cover with plastic wrap and cook on high 1 minute and 30 seconds. Drain on paper towel. Whisk 8 eggs, orange juice and cream cheese together. Cook eggs over medium low heat, stirring with heat-proof spatula. Scramble eggs 5 minutes, add mushroom mixture, asparagus, ham and salt and pepper to taste. Cook 4 minutes more or until mixed through, with eggs still soft and undercooked slightly. Refrigerate eggs until pastry is ready.
On a lightly floured, dusted surface, unfold one thawed puff pastry and roll to 10-inches-by-12-inches and transfer to parchment paper.
Trim off a triangle on each four corners of pastry, about 2-and-a-half-inches-by-1-inch.
Place egg mixture down the middle of pastry. Cut eight strips of pastry on the sides at about a 45 degree angle.
Fold top of pastry over eggs on each end and then braid the strips to cover the eggs. Beat one egg in bowl with a sprinkle of salt and brush egg wash over puff pastry.
Cook pastry on baking sheet about 25 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool 5 minutes before slicing.
This dish can be prepared the night before and stored in the refrigerator, covered tightly with Saran Wrap. Prepare the eggs and stuff the pastry, do not cook pastry until ready to eat.
4 chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup flour
2 cups Panko bread crumbs
Canola or peanut oil
Cut each breast into five to six pieces, not strips. Cutting the breast the shorter way will help it maintain its size while cooking, it will make smaller pieces that resemble store bought nuggets. Pat chicken dry with paper towel and dredge in flour, then egg, then panko. Repeat with all pieces. Heat a non stick saute pan to medium and add 1 tablespoon oil.
When oil is hot, add chicken. Do not overcrowd pan, you will have to do this in batches. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side and reserve on plate or paper towel. Add more oil and repeat with next batch of chicken. Serve nuggets with sauce.
Makes 20 pieces.
Tracy Miller adds fruits and veggies to all her meals. Visit colorfulcooking.com for more recipes. Join Tracyat Rocky Mountain Olive Oil in Edwards for a Thai-style cooking class on Oct. 18 and at Colorado Mountain College on Oct. 19 for a soup cooking class. She shares recipes Monday's on TV8's Good Morning Vail.