One of the keys to a successful fast day most definitely lies in portion control. On fast days I like to eat well, concentrating on healthy, flavoursome food but find I need to keep a vigilant eye on how much food I pile onto my plate. Today, my fast day Monday falls on the tail end of a long weekend and I’m craving a tasty eggy morsel for brunch. One thing I have learnt through this sporadic 5-2 journey is that eggs, rich in protein, do fill me up and help curb my appetite throughout the day.
Enter these delicious little savoury zucchini and bacon muffins. It is no accident that they bear more than a passing resemblance to that ubiquitous Australian Country Women’s Association stalwart – the zucchini slice. That’s exactly what they are. Little ‘zucchini slice’ muffins reinvented as a fast day meal idea. Retro? Perhaps. But in its hey day this much loved slice was a household staple in many a home cook’s recipe repertoire. Eaten hot or cold, served with salad as a main or on its own as a side, leftovers often gracing school lunch boxes.
Initially I toyed with the idea of playing around with the original recipe to produce a much lower calorie offering but to be brutally honest sacrificing the oil and reducing the quantity of cheese and flour produces an altogether different result in texture and taste. So my original family recipe stands bulked up with just a tad more grated zucchini. Big on flavour, baked as little portion control muffins they are delicate and light, puffing up like gorgeous little soufflés. Made as a slice it’s way too tempting to visit the tin and surreptitiously nibble away at little slivers so I baked mine as little muffins in a half cup capacity friand tray. Each not so guilty pleasure accounting for just 157 calories. Delicious on their own or served with a substantial serve of salad for a satisfyingly healthy fast day meal.
Savoury Zucchini And Bacon Muffins
Makes 15 muffins (157 calories per serve)
6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided (720 calories)
1 large onion, finely chopped (60 calories)
1 clove garlic (4 calories)
100g rindless short cut bacon, chopped (200 calories)
3 medium (500g) zucchini, (85 calories)
1 cup (125g) grated cheddar cheese (455 calories)
5 eggs (375 calories)
1 cup (125g) self-raising flour, sifted (455 calories)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
PREHEAT oven to 180°C. Grease 15 holes of two friand or muffin trays. I used trays with 1/2 cup capacity holes, and also lined the bases of each hole with a circle of baking paper to ensure the muffins wouldn’t stick. Alternatively line a 30 x 20cm lamington tin to bake as a slice.
GRATE unpeeled zucchini coarsely, finely chop onion and bacon.
HEAT 2 tablespoons oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the onion, garlic and bacon and cook for 5 minutes until onions are soft and translucent.
MEANWHILE beat eggs in a large bowl with a generous pinch of sea salt and grinding of pepper.
ADD the flour and beat until smooth, then add the onion, bacon and garlic mixture with the grated zucchini, cheese and remaining 4 tablespoons oil. Stir well to combine.
SPOON mixture evenly into the prepared muffin or friand tins and bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean. If baking as a slice pour mixture into the lamington tin and bake in oven for 40-45 minutes until cooked through.
COOL in the tins before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.