Breakfast in a Mug: The Quick Way to Cook Eggs

Hungry Girl's It's All Greek to Me Egg Mug
Courtesy of Hungry-Girl.com

Did you know it's possible to whip up low-fat egg scrambles using only your microwave? They're called egg mugs, and they're the convenient way to start your morning. Here's everything you need to know to make your very own.

Tools

Large microwave-safe mug: When you prepare eggs in the microwave, they puff up as they cook, so you'll need a sizable mug to avoid any spillage. I recommend a 16-oz. mug that's both tall and wide.

If you don't have any mugs this large, you can use a microwave-safe bowl. (But you can still call your breakfast an egg mug. Egg bowl doesn't have quite the same ring to it.)

Nonstick spray: This is key. Spritz your mug with nonstick cooking spray to avoid the otherwise inevitable stuck-on egg bits. And here's a related piece of advice: Soak your mug with soapy water immediately after enjoying your breakfast. It's much more difficult to clean once any remaining egg hardens.

Microwave: Kind of a given — I use a standard 1,100-watt microwave. You may need to adjust the cook time depending on what you have.

Ingredients

Fat-free liquid egg substitute or egg whites: I'm a big fan of fat-free liquid egg substitute, like the kind by Egg Beaters. It's essentially egg whites with added nutrients. Using this instead of whole eggs will save you fat and cholesterol. Two large eggs have around 150 calories and 10g fat, plus well over 100 percent of the daily value for cholesterol.

The equivalent amount of fat-free liquid egg substitute — half a cup — has about 60 calories, 0g fat, and no cholesterol. If you prefer to use standard egg whites, that's fine too — those have virtually the same nutrition as the egg substitute.

Light cheeses: You can't have an egg scramble without cheese.

My absolute favorite cheese for an egg mug is a wedge of The Laughing Cow Light cheese. It adds creaminess and awesome cheesy flavor. The Light Creamy Swiss variety is classic, but try them all. Each wedge has only 35 calories and 1.5-2g fat. The runner-up? Shredded reduced-fat cheese, either Mexican-blend or cheddar. A 1/4-cup serving has around 80 calories and 5.5g fat, but two to three tablespoons is all it takes to get major flavor. And for a Greek-inspired mug, try reduced-fat feta crumbles. An entire 1/4-cup serving has about 70 calories and 5g fat — you'll only need a couple of tablespoons.

Fresh vegetables: There are no wrong choices here. I love spinach, onions, and mushrooms, but go with whichever veggies are your favorites. Just make sure they're chopped to a similar size, so that they all soften up in the same amount of time. To save yourself some prep, you can use frozen precut vegetables. Bonus if they're already mixed.

Extras: Pump up the protein with chopped low-fat breakfast sausage, ground-beef-style soy crumbles, shredded or chopped chicken breast, crumbled center-cut or turkey bacon, or fat-free refried beans.

Spices and herbs: Garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cumin — all excellent ways to add flavor without any calories. For a shortcut, try a little taco seasoning, fajita seasoning, or Italian seasoning. I also like salt-free seasoning blends like the kinds by Mrs. Dash. As for herbs, basil and cilantro are at the top of my list.

Condiments: I love salsa on my eggs. If you're watching your sodium, stick with fresh salsa or pico de gallo, which are generally lower in salt than jarred salsa. Other options? Ketchup, hot sauce (Frank's RedHot is my top pick, although Sriracha is also great), and light sour cream (fantastic with Mexican-style mugs).

How-to

Spray your mug, and add any veggies. Microwave until softened, and blot dry. Then add the egg substitute or egg whites — 3/4 cup is a good amount — and spices. Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in cheese, extras, and herbs, and microwave until egg is set and extras are hot, about 1 more minute. Top with condiments, and enjoy!

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