By Liz Krieger
There are some dishes that seem to scream unhealthy. You can almost hear those ubiquitous sausage-egg-and-cheese sandwiches shouting, “Stay away! Don’t take one bite!” And yet, they’re so, so good— something I know my husband adores and has a hard time resisting. But now that he’s determined to get his good (HDL) cholesterol up and his bad (LDL) cholesterol down, he’s pretty much sworn off such treats. To convince him that he could have his cheesy, meaty muffin and eat it too, I decided to make one with healthier stuff, and see if he’d ask for more.
I toasted whole-grain English muffins, and gave each side a quick smear with Smart Balance® Light Buttery Spread with Flax Oil. Then I heated a protein-rich (15 g!) veggie burger in a non-stick pan. I considered using egg whites, but I wanted to have the yellow color of a traditional egg along with a bit of that yolky flavor. So I opted for an egg substitute that has zero grams of cholesterol. Finally, I topped the whole thing with a slice of reduced-fat cheese. Salt and pepper, too.
Because it was breakfast, I just served it up with some fruit and juice, but honestly, we do eat ‘breakfast for dinner’ a lot—pancakes, waffles, omelets—and so this would be great with some oven-baked fries or even a baked potato, plus a salad.
My husband’s reaction was positive but rather muted, and I know exactly why. My biggest mistakes were not in preparation and execution, since everything was well cooked and attractively presented. The trouble, alas, was flavor. As in: There was very little.
My choice of “meat” wasn’t quite punchy enough and I did little to help it—I added no spices or spunky condiments. Barring that, I could have used a meat substitute with a bit more kick (perhaps a black bean-flavored veggie burger), or I could have simply opted for a small amount of flavorful, lean ground beef.
I might have added a few crumbles of a pungent, full-fat cheese (feta or blue) to accompany the virtuous, and very mild, slice of cheddar. A slice of fresh tomato would have contrasted nicely with the other textures. Even a few sprigs of spinach could have added appeal.
And perhaps a dash of red pepper or paprika or something would have resulted in the finished product being more…memorable.
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