Ham and Spinach Quiche (Because Eggs are Cheap)

January 12th, 2014 | Posted by Alison Spath in Breakfast

I eat eggs just about every day.  They are easy to prepare, crazy good for you and there are approximately one gagillion different ways to use them. I completely agree that eggs are one of the healthiest foods on this planet and in my opinion, represent the pinnacle of affordable nutrition.

I try to buy pastured eggs from my local co-op or farmers at the markets because free range chickens produce eggs that are nutritionally superior to conventional eggs.  When I don’t have time to get to the markets or the co-op, I do sometimes buy organic supermarket eggs, but it’s important to say that organic supermarket eggs are not the same as eggs you would get from a local farm or your own backyard.

It’s more expensive to buy pastured eggs, but even at $5 a dozen (that’s the most I’ve ever seen a farmer sell them for, $3.50 – 4/dozen is more typical) that’s $.50 an egg and is still a bargain when you consider what you’re getting for your two quarters – perfect protein, all nine essential amino acids, vitamins, choline, Omega 3′s.  There’s just no question in my mind that eggs are good for us.

So without further ado, please allow me to introduce you to the quiche I made yesterday – Ham and Spinach with Cheese and Scallions.

Ham and Spinach Quiche

Pleased to meet you.  (Pleased to eat you.)

I’m at yoga teacher training this weekend, so this means I’m gone for most of the day on both Saturday and Sunday.  I spent yesterday morning cooking so Zak would only have to worry about the kids without having to juggle meal prep into the mix as well.

I made Maryea’s Peanut Butter Granola Bars (except with sliced almonds and almond butter, everybody loved them!) a batch of my current favorite soup (Coconut Curry Chicken Stew) and this ham and veggie quiche.  I probably spent 2 hours cooking yesterday morning, but the time investment saves us money down the road if it means we are buying fewer prepared and packaged convenience foods or not going out to eat because I’m not here to cook.

Preparing as much of your own food as you can is one of the best ways to save money when it comes to healthy eating - this going to come up again and again throughout this series of posts about eating healthy on a budget.

Ham and Spinach Quiche (with cheese and scallions too)

print this recipe

1/2 tbsp butter or coconut oil
1 bunch of scallions, chopped
1 handful of spinach, chopped
4 oz of ham, chopped into small pieces
1/3 c cheese, shredded
6 eggs
1/2 c heavy cream
garlic powder, salt, pepper and thyme

1 (9 inch) pie crust (frozen, unthawed – cook according to package directions)

Saute vegetables and meat in oil or butter until soft and translucent.  Move filling to pie crust.

Vegetable and Ham Quiche Filling

If you try to eat mostly Paleo or grain/gluten free – skip the crust and make a frittata.  “Frittata” is really just a fancy word for “make a big omelet in the oven”.  I had leftover crust in the freezer from holidays (Pumpkin Pie!) so I decided to use it and make a quiche this time instead of a frittata.

Wholly Wholesome Pie Crust

(Shhh!  Don’t tell Dr. Perlmutter!)

Top vegetables with shredded cheese.  In a separate bowl, beat eggs, fold in cream with herbs and spices.

Eggs and Heavy Cream for Quiche

Slowly pour egg and cream mixture into the crust over vegetables and cheese.

Uncooked Quiche

Bake at 350 for 35 – 40 minutes, until it’s set in the middle.

Piece of Ham and Spinach Quiche

Enjoy or warm or cold, breakfast, lunch, dinner or a post-yoga teacher training snack!

Eat More Eggs

If you don’t have the time, resources or inclination to make a quiche, there are lots other great ways to enjoy eggs.

Hard boiled eggs are one of my favorite portable lunches or snacks.  I love them on salads too, like this BLAC salad or this one with hummus dressing.

I also love eggs with avocado over easy on toast or in an avocado and egg salad sandwich.  And have you ever tried breakfast quesadillas?  (So good!)

Or just make yourself an omelet – my kids love simple cheese omelets, and one recent favorite among the grown ups here was this artichoke spinach and ham omelet (with a side of self help) – or an omelet with cream cheese (holy deliciousness, batman).  If all I had to cook with was a microwave (like in a college residence hall), I would totally buy one of these guys and make omelets for any meal of the day.

Got any egg-cellent (I had to do it) recipes to share?  I think I am officially ready for breakfast.


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8 Responses

  • Julia says:

    Hi! I’m a long-time reader, first-time commenter. Actually, I commented once before with an old blog I had, but it was ages ago so I wanted to de-lurk again :P That quiche looks so yummy! I might sub the ham for turkey bacon, though- love me some turkey bacon :D

    I’m curious, though- what prompted you to ease up on the low-carbing? I’m experimenting with going on a more low-carb/less grain heavy diet, so I’m always curious to hear about other peoples’ experiences. Thanks! Love your blog :)

    • Hey Julia, I’m glad you asked – there was more carb consumption than usual for me over the holidays (just how it goes with parties, family dinners, etc.) and I came to see (again) that I feel better with more carbs. When I was going very low carb I would have days in a row of feeling really good, especially after I did some troubleshooting, but then other days I would still sometimes struggle with never feeling full/satiated and it was very frustrating. When I realized I didn’t have this feeling during the two weeks at the end of December, I found this article and it made me wonder if going very low carb was keeping my blood TOO low.

      This is the part of the article that hit home for me:

      “The acetylcholine drive to stop eating is delayed by a half hour, so they eat more for a longer period of time. If you have ever restricted your calories, carbohydrate, or both for most of a day and at the end can’t seem to stop eating (a lot per hour and for many hours), then you know exactly what these mice are going through.”

      He suggests eating more slow digesting carbohydrates at the beginning of meals, and when I started to incorporate a little more fruit, sweet potato or sometimes oats or Ezekiel bread in my meals – I didn’t have this “delayed response to stop eating” (it was really driving me nuts!)

      So with that, I’m trying to follow a more intuitive eating approach (i.e., eating exactly what I want) while still keeping my total carb consumption in mind. I’m still eating LESS carbs (especially compared to the Standard American Diet) and am absolutely more mindful of my carb intake than before I started tinkering with low carb and very low carb. I’m working on a future post to make a case for trying a variety of eating styles to find your perfect middle ground, because that’s pretty much where I have landed… a nice middle ground. I do think it’s important to keep our carb intake relatively low, (I was trying to stay below 100 as recommended by Dr. Shanahan and Dr. Perlmutter, but 100 – 150 seems to be my “sweet spot”…) and I do try to make sure the carbs I eat are high in fiber to keep the glycemic index low so I don’t spike my blood sugar (and subsequently release a lot of insulin, the main points in many of the Paleo-ish books I’ve read over the last year and a half.) I’m still eating hardly any refined sugar at all, my grain consumption is still limited, but not completely grain/gluten free.

      The crust on this quiche was definitely not something we eat regularly, but making occasional exceptions like this is helping me feeling a little less rigid, and that’s something I’m aiming for this year.

      Sorry this is so long. I am all for experimenting with low carb/less grains, whether you cut carbs forever or just for a while, it’s very eye opening and forces you pay closer attention to your diet and how foods and macronutrient ratios makes us feel… I think there’s a lot of value in that.

      • Julia says:

        Awesome, thanks for the response! I’m a huge fan of the idea of intuitive eating…actually executing it is a bit of a challenge sometimes, but I think that’s the best “diet” anyone can follow…just eating what makes you feel good and healthy when you’re hungry for it, and stopping when you’re full :) And sugar is definitely a trickster…I’ll think I can just have one cookie, and BOOM, I’ve eaten three and have to stop myself from eating any more. But it sounds like you found what works well for you, and I hope I can achieve that same balance myself some day :)

        As a side note, I’d love to hear more about how your yoga teacher training is going! It’s one of those things that’s always sounded so awesome to me, and I feel like the mindfulness of yoga goes hand in hand with intuitive eating.

        • Intuitive eating is definitely something to master, I read Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch a couple of years ago and then for a second time this summer because I felt like I needed a little refresher. I’ve been working to apply their principles to my approach to eating and am finding that it works well for me, especially when applied to a diet full of whole foods already. I really like the Paleo approach to eating, but if I want a cookie, then I’m going to have a cookie! Or if I want quinoa or quiche or whatever – I’m finding I feel much more sane to just go ahead and eat these things when I’m in the mood for them instead of thinking “I can’t that, it’s too high carbs/it’s not Paleo/it’s got gluten”… it’s not the end of the world, eat and move on! Giving myself permission to eat whatever I want without guilt has been very freeing. (One of the 10 Principles in the book.)

          I will definitely write more about yoga teacher training soon! I can say without a doubt that’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. I too thought it always sounded awesome but it seemed too “big” to do. Reading about personal experiences with teacher training (in blogs, mostly) was a part of what helped me decide to go for it, I’m looking forward to sharing my experience with it too. :)

  • Lisa says:

    Hi Alison! This looks amazing… and I’m craving ham like nobody’s business right now! I totally agree—I believe that eggs are the best superfood on the planet because of the nutrient/cost combination… I’m hoping all the eggs I’m eating while pregnant are building a good baby brain. Here the egg cost ranges from $2.50 a dozen to over $7 a dozen (and I think $7 is still pretty cheap for a whole dozen eggs!). There’s one place at the market where I can get eggs whose chickens were fed sprouts–they have creamy yolks. I splurge on those once in a while but usually stick with the $5 ones. Anyway… I don’t know if I have any good unique egg recipes, but I love them over easy on coconut flour flatbread with avo and salsa (and cheese!)

  • jen says:

    Loving this, I was also surprised at the crust! I make fritattas all the time, but lately if I’m serving up something I don’t want to eat, I just make a couple scrambled eggs. I love eggs, but the chart on one of those sites you linked, about how the chickens are treated, just makes me sad. Usually I buy cheap store eggs for the kids/ cooking and keep the $5 local farmer market ones for my own eating but maybe I’ll just stick with the farm ones from now on, yikes.

  • B. Gomicchio says:

    Breakfast Burrito. Left over meat (e.g., Fajitas!!) + veggies + cheese + wrap. Ka-Pow!