Eggs, a staple on almost every grocery list, are a fabulous source of protein. Plus, their serving possibilities are endless: Eggs can be scrambled, fried, poached, hard-boiled, over-easy or crafted into the ever-popular omelet.
Omelets aren't just for breakfast anymore. Paired with a salad, bread or fruit cup, an artful omelet can be a superstar at any meal.
As a general rule, plan on three eggs per omelet serving. If you're serving it as a dinner meal with side dishes, two eggs per omelet usually will suffice. Have your fillings prepared and ready to cook; leftovers make great surprise omelet components.
Is an omelet a frittata?
No! The difference boils down to folding vs. mixing. In an omelet, the egg mixture is cooked and folded around a filling; in a frittata, ingredients are all mixed up and cooked in a combination all at once.
A classic dish
According to some historians, the word omelet comes from the Roman epicure Apicius, who called his dish "overmele" -- eggs made with honey and pepper. French cooking has refined and, according to many, perfected omelet preparation and recipes.
Plan the pan
Choose a nonstick pan with at least a five-inch base and sides sloping outward to seven inches. The surface of the pan must be smooth and unmarred; otherwise, your omelet will stick. Fancy omelet pans are available that fold in the center to help form the classic omelet shape. In any case, don't forget cooking spray!
And now ... some eggs-ellent omelet recipes: Aromatic Omelet
1. Lightly beat eggs with salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon water. Combine herbs and stir into eggs.
2. Heat butter and oil in skillet over medium heat, pour in egg mixture and cook until set on underside and soft on top.
3. Slide omelet on to warm serving dish. Serve.
2 servings. Per serving: 1g carbs; 0g fiber; 17g protein; 31g fat; 12g saturated fat: 411mg sodium; 588mg cholesterol; 355 calories; 278 calories from fat.
3 zucchini, cut into thin batons
1. Put zucchini into nonstick skillet over high heat for a few minutes so that they dry a little. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside in warm place.
2. Lightly beat eggs with salt and pepper, and stir in parsley.
3. Heat oil and butter in skillet, pour in eggs and cook until set on underside and soft on top.
4. Spoon zucchini onto half of omelet, fold over and leave on heat for 1 minute. Slide omelet onto warm serving dish.
2 servings. Per serving: 11g carbs; 3g fiber; 20g protein; 32g fat; 12g saturated fat; 441mg sodium; 589mg cholesterol; 401 calories; 283 calories from fat.
Omelet in a Bag
1 tablespoon chopped ham or bacon bits (we suggest you swap for fat-free or low-calorie meats)
1. Put out bowls of chopped meats, cheese and veggies.
2. Each person puts 2 eggs and a spoonful (or as much as they want) of fillings in a freezer bag. Put name on bag with pen. Squish ingredients.
Place in pan of boiling water 12-15 minutes, until omelet is done. To check, take bag out of water and press on bottom. If it is still soft and runny, put back in water until firm.
3. When done, open bag and omelet will roll out. Season to taste.
Serves 1. Per serving, 1 tablespoon of each filling per omelet: 6g carbs; 1g fiber; 19g protein; 16g fat; 7g saturated fat; 1065mg sodium; 400mg cholesterol; 252 calories; 147 calories from fat.
*Ingredient amounts added in for nutritional analysis.
Healthy Nevada-Style Western Omelet
Ingredients: 2 teaspoons olive oil
1. In nonstick skillet, heat oil.
2. Beat egg whites and egg in bowl and stir in remaining ingredients, except salsa.
3. Pour egg mixture into skillet. When omelet begins to set, gently lift with spatula and turn over. Cook until eggs are firm. Serve hot with salsa.
1 serving. Per serving: 3g carbs; 0g fiber; 23g protein; 74g fat; 8g saturated fat; 408mg sodium; 109mg cholesterol; 182 calories; 74 calories from fat.
Simple Family Omelet
6 large eggs
1. In medium bowl, whisk eggs until just blended. Whisk in salt and pepper to taste.
2. Place butter, bacon and potatoes in 12-inch nonstick omelet pan and heat over medium-high heat until bacon and potatoes are sizzling and butter is foaming. Continue to cook until bacon and potatoes begin to turn golden brown at edges, 3 to 4 minutes. If bacon gives off a great deal of fat, drain off all but 2 tablespoons.
3. Add eggs to pan and stir once. As eggs begin to set, working all around pan at least twice. Bring cooked edges of eggs toward center so uncooked egg runs to edges; meanwhile, gently spread out bacon and potatoes.
4. Mince chives. Crumble goat cheese over omelet. Sprinkle all but 1 tablespoon of chives over omelet.
5. When omelet is mostly set, invert large plate on top of pan and turn pan over so omelet falls onto plate. Garnish with remaining chives and serve immediately.
4 servings. Per serving: 13g carbs; 1g fiber; 19g protein; 31g fat; 14g saturated fat; 377mg sodium; 365mg cholesterol; 408 calories; 278 calories from fat.