I confess, I am one of those mothers that take extra care with my little one’s mealtimes. I am not a gluten-free, 24/7 locavore, paleo-crazy person, but I do make an extra efforts when I can: using whole grains instead of refined flour or sugar, trying to make whole, fresh food instead of leaning on pre-packaged meals, buying organic, local and seasonal whenever possible. It’s normal-healthy, not wealthy-healthy. I even made homemade baby foods when my little Budgie was wee and tiny, taking time to batch-cook tons of fruit, veggie and grain purees.
Now, I’m no purist and I have a regular-person’s life and budget — as well as my own goals and life stuff to accomplish — so I wasn’t 100% or 24/7 about all this. But it was important to me to know just what was going into my baby’s food as much as possible.
However, one unexpected side effect of all this effort was that my own eating became slightly wonky. I was so busy trying to feed my emerging toddler that I was running out of time to make myself my own food! I know it sounds silly, but it takes so long to get Budge to eat, and by the time he’s done, I have a 10- to 15-minute window where he plays with his ‘mam-mams’ — that’s finger foods in Budge-speak — where I can attend to my own culinary affairs — before he gets restless and wants to free-range around the house again.
But 10 minutes isn’t quite enough to prepare something healthy and eat it with some degree of enjoyment — unless you toss together a salad. But salads all the time, as much as I like them = sad me. And so, beyond trying to get the toddler tyrant to try new foods, I’ve had to develop new culinary superpowers: meal-planning, smart grocery shopping and, most importantly, mastering lots of make-ahead meals I can just warm up fast and eat in that 10-minute window.
This baked omelet recipe — which is adapted from The Kitchn, one of my favorite cooking sites — has become one of my weekly go-tos when it comes to a great make-ahead meal that will last me through the week. This is great for any working parent or generally busy person who wants to make lunches and dinners ahead of time — I just heat up a piece and eat while Budge eats.
It works for breakfast, lunch or even dinner, especially when combined with a great salad and some bread. It’s pretty healthy, especially if you leave out the cheese. It’s very flexible — you can mix up the types of veggies and other ingredients — and it’s also great for using up leftover veg as well. (I’ve taken roasted or sauteed veggies from the previous night’s dinner and thrown them into this recipe…works great!) It’s not as finicky as a quiche, it doesn’t require a breaded bottom like a strata, and there’s no babysitting it over a stove like a frittata — you just toss it all together, stick it in the oven and then all systems yum. Plus, the toddler likes it, and will happily eat bits and pieces of it. Score for everyone!
Basic Baked Oven Omelet
(Adapted from The Kitchn)
10 large eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup grated cheese of your choice
1 cup of a protein like ham, sausage, etc. (you can skip this if you’re vegetarian…the eggs are pretty protein-packed as they are)
1-2 cups of your favorite veggies, diced or chopped up in small chunks or pieces (I love zucchini, mushrooms, bell peppers and spinach, as well as onions, arugula, and halved cherry tomatoes — I also find you don’t really need to saute the veggies beforehand, they work fine raw or frozen if you’re in a hurry)
1 teaspoon salt
A dash of black pepper
Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray or olive oil.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl and stir or whisk in milk. Add in cheese, protein and veggies. Season with salt and pepper, then mix it all up again for good measure. (You can cover and refrigerate the omelet at this point for up to 24 hours if you want to make this later.)
(If you’re a cheese lover, try sprinkling a little cheese on top right before baking.)
Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is slightly golden brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes, then slice it up. Leftovers will keep for about 5 days — this dish also freezes quite nicely. Best served hot, though I’ve had it at room temperature and it’s still pretty awesome.