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Broccoli and Red Pepper Frittata

When I was younger, and more of a hipster, I couldn’t understand the obsession with brunch. Women in their late-twenties and early-thirties raved about this institution of sisterhood. Characters on TV spoke about brunch as if it were a sacred part of the weekend, not unlike observing the Sabbath. And when I was fifteen, home schooled and only working fifteen hours a week, I didn’t understand why a mid-day omelette held so much power.

Well, now I’m 22, working part-time, attending school, engaged, caring for a pet, and trying to stay fit.

I get it now.

Brunch is a whole lot more than a mid-day omelette. Brunch means sleeping in until ten, rolling out of bed, and downing a cinnamon roll before noon with zero guilt. It means remaining in my pajamas for as long as I humanly can. It means gabbing with my mom about travel and weddings without any appointments to cut off our good time.

This is probably why I chose to host a brunch for my mom’s birthday last week, rather than a formal dinner party. After the craziness of the holidays, most people don’t even want to look at another heavy, potato-based meal and a crazy-rich dessert table. Brunch gave us a nice opportunity to shake things up a bit, throwing in some lighter options alongside the drinks.

Not counting the birthday cake, this frittata recipe stole the show. It’s cheesy, it’s loaded with veggies, and it has the salty Italian sausage thrown in for an added punch of flavor. Leftovers are easy to store and microwave later, and it comes together in about half an hour.

Here’s how you make it.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil or Butter

1 Red Bell Pepper, Diced

1 Cup Broccoli Florets, Chopped

2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic

Salt, To Taste

Pepper, To Taste

4-6 Oz. Italian Sausage Links (About 1-2 Medium Sausages)

8 Eggs

1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese

1/2 Cup Mexican Blend Cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In an oven-safe skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat. Add chopped bell peppers and broccoli, cook until softened. Add garlic and mix in, then add salt and pepper to taste (you will salt and pepper the eggs later, so don’t get too liberal here). Mix until garlic browns, adding more oil if necessary.

To cook the sausage, you can either use a separate pan with a bit of oil in it or one side of the skillet where the veggies are cooking, making sure to keep the veggies and meat separate. Brown the sausage slices on each side, then mix in with veggies. When meat is longer pink at all, remove from heat.

In a medium-sized mixing bowls, whisk eggs until mixture is consistently yellow and thick. Mix in cheese, then salt and pepper to taste again. Use another tablespoon or two of oil to grease the bottom and sides of oven-safe skillet. Add eggs to skillet, stir in with ingredients. Cook in center rack of oven for ten to fifteen minutes, or until center no longer has any bounce to it (taller frittatas take more time to cook through).

If your frittata is browning too fast on top and the center still has some bounce to it, just add some tin foil to the top and continue cooking. It can be a little runny in the middle and still be safe, but you don’t want it to be severely undercooked.

And just like that, you have a warm, savory dish to serve to your brunch guests.

What I like about this recipe is that you can mix and match it to fit different palettes. I used the base recipe to make a vegetarian mushroom and spinach version of the same dish, and that was also a hit. It’s already low-carb and gluten-free, and it can be made with fake cheese and no meat to cover everyone’s diet restrictions without compromising flavor. It’s hard to find a dish that versatile these days.

Even without guests, though, I served myself this same recipe the day after the party. I sat at my kitchen table with a bowl of strawberries and a cup of tea, watching the snow fall slowly outside. The winter depression seems to have lifted significantly within the last two weeks, and I am loving it. I’m taking long walks again and staying cozy. We only have about five more weeks of true winter left, and apparently the light at the end of the tunnel does a lot to lift my spirits.

I hope that wherever you are, you’re also staying cozy and happy.

Until next time, grab that second cup of coffee and treat yourself to brunch.



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