Friday, January 9, 2009

Low-cal bread pudding features ham, spinach and Gruyere cheese

After we catch our breath from the holiday hoopla, we plan to give a brunch party, inviting some neighbors and friends who we didn’t get to see last month. And knowing that people are watching their calories, we’re on the lookout for recipes that won’t strain the waistline, but are still full of flavor.

Today’s recipe is at the top of our list. No reason not to keep on feasting, even when trying to trim calories. And believe it or not, today’s dish, rich as it looks, has only 276 calories per serving. Yay!

Excerpted from The EatingWell Diet book, this pudding features whole grain bread and egg whites along with whole eggs, thus cutting down on the number of high-cholesterol yolks. The diet gurus suggest using a high-quality ham, which “infuses the pudding with a smoky flavor.” The aroma is divine, enhanced with Dijon mustard and fresh rosemary along with roasted red peppers. The Gruyere is used as a topping.

I bet the brunch crowd won’t believe this dish is a bread pudding!


4 large egg whites
4 large eggs
1 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
4 cups whole-grain bread, crusts removed if desired, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1/2 pound, 4-6 slices)
5 cups chopped spinach, wilted (see tip)
1 cup diced ham steak (5 ounces)
1/2 cup chopped, jarred roasted red peppers
3/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat 11x7-inch glass baking dish or 2-quart casserole with cooking spray.
2. Whisk egg whites, eggs and milk in medium bowl. Add mustard, rosemary and pepper; whisk to combine.
3. Toss bread, spinach, ham and peppers in large bowl. Add egg mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to prepared baking dish and push down to compact. Cover with foil.
4. Bake until custard has set, 40 to 45 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and continue baking until pudding is puffed and golden on top, 15 to 20 minutes more. Transfer to wire rack and cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.
To make ahead: Prepare pudding through step 3; refrigerate overnight. Let stand at room temp; while oven preheats. Bake as directed.
Tip for wilting greens: Rinse greens thoroughly. Transfer to large microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and punch several holes in it. Microwave on High until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Squeeze out any excess moisture from greens before adding to recipe.
(Per serving: 276 calories; 10 g fat (4 g sat, 3 g mono); 169 mg cholesterol; 25 g carbohydrate; 21 g protein; 3 g fiber; 746 mg sodium; 422 mg potassium)
(Recipes from The EatingWell Diet, © 2007 by Eating Well, Inc. Countryman Press
. Order the book from Countryman Press, or call 1-800-245-4151.)

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