Cheap Eats — "Hakuna Frittata"

by Katy on October 14, 2009 · 13 comments


I’ve had some rather unpalatable experiences with frittatas in the past. Dry and oniony with a texture akin to a tire rubber was not a dish I aspired to recreate. But my Scrabble friend Glenn encouraged me to give frittatas another try.

The arrival of an extra half-dozen eggs in addition to the 18-pack in the fridge identified last night as my entry to the world of baked eggs.

My first stop to look for a recipe, was the ever reliable website. A quick glance through the recipes (and helpful reviews) gave me a general idea of the general variation.

  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Veggies of choice, especially potatoes
  • Maybe meat, (sausage, bacon, etc.)

Okay. I can do that. This the kind of recipe I like making — it uses up small amounts of ingredients and can be varied to fit the needs of picky eaters. Not to mention it incorporates food that is at risk for waste into a meal.

I first peeled and chopped a couple of potatoes into small cubes and browned them in a cast iron skillet with a little olive oil. Meanwhile I finely chopped some onion and carmelized that in another cast iron skillet and then added some frozen Trader Joe’s melange a troís pepper mix until it was all nicely browned.

How I assembled my frittata:

  • Spread the potatoes over the surface of a buttered 9″ X 13″  Pyrex pan.
  • Spread the onion/pepper mixture over one-half of the pan, (picky kid issues.)
  • Sprinkled a handful of shredded mozzarella cheese over the entire pan.
  • Added a jar of chopped artichoke hearts I had on hand.
  • Whisked seven eggs with a small amount of whole milk and poured this over the entire pan. (Why seven? Why not!)
  • Sprinkled another handful of parmesan cheese over the top.
  • Placed in a preheated 350° oven until the center was set. For me, this was around 25-30 minutes.

The frittata was a big hit with three out of four family members, (Mom! Why did you add artichoke hearts? Why?!) and it will most definitely be making a regular appearance in our dinner rotation.

But most important, the frittata was moist and not at all rubbery.

I really liked that this meal can be concocted out of leftover bits of this and that. (A meal never to be repeated!) As long as I have eggs and a bit of cheese, everything else can be scrounged from the fridge. Ours was vegetarian, but very hearty.

Also, I really appreciated that a single meal could be prepared to address the tastes of both adult and child(ish) palates. Because, as much as I want to be raising kids who eat a wide variety of flavors, it’s not realistic to serve them meals I know they won’t like.

I’m already thinking about what else can be added to the next frittata — zucchini, leftover rice, beans, tomatoes, green beans. The list goes on and on.

And the only downside is that I still have that annoying Hakuna Matata song stuck in my head!

Hakuna Frittata, ain’t no passing craze. It means no worries for the rest of your days!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Cheap Eats columns from previous posts:

Black bean burgers

One hour bread


Curried lime chicken satay

Pasta salad


Tea towel salad dressing

Momeye’s coffee cake

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Ashley English October 14, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Humankind can TOTALLY live on frittata alone.


Greta October 14, 2009 at 5:58 pm

The Food Network Website also has excellent and easy recipes. You can imput your list of leftovers and it will spit out a recipe.


puppyluv October 14, 2009 at 6:40 pm

I’ve never had a frittata, but I do like eggs. It sounds good, and it’s always nice to have good cooking experiences. However, I’m with the “no artichoke hearts” statement there…


Angela October 14, 2009 at 8:36 pm

Finally tried the black bean burgers after cooking dried black beans in the crockpot a few days back. Had about half the batch left- perfect amount for 8 burgers. They were delicious, and the best part is there are 6 in the freezer for an easy lunch. A lot cheaper than prepackaged veggie burgers!

The frittata sounds great- it’s another way to use up leftovers- I tend to do scrambles but this sounds better.


Kristen@The Frugal Girl October 15, 2009 at 4:12 am

If only my husband liked eggs. Alas, he does not. Neither will he eat beans.

His tastes are not very frugal. lol

I do feed eggs and beans to the kids and myself, though.


Bellen October 15, 2009 at 5:57 am

I’ve been making frittatas for about 30 years since having them in Sicily. I’ve never used more than one skillet, emptying the potatoes & onions into a bowl. I’ve also never baked it in the oven. On top of the stove it takes me about 20-25 min start to finish. To get the cheese to melt I cover the skillet with a lid. Rubbery egg dishes usually mean it has been cooked at too high a temperature.


Alison October 15, 2009 at 6:01 am

Pasta is another great way to use up extra bits of leftover food – start with garlic, onions and add any veggies you like and/or some meat then a can of diced tomatoes. Mix in the pasta and sprinkle on some cheese. I’m betting the concept probably work with other starches too – calzone? pizza? potato medley?


Jinger October 15, 2009 at 6:06 am

I”m going to try it! We also love, love your curried lime chicken satay over rice.


Maddy October 15, 2009 at 7:31 am

Ha Ha! When I first read the title of this post…I read it as Hanukkah Fritatta! Quite a different recipe, I’m sure. ; )
Fritattas are an excellent way to be frugal. Good idea…the kind of idea that keeps me returning to your blog!
Another idea: if you lay down a pie crust before you bake your Fritatta, then you’ve got yourself a QUICHE. Fancy Shmancy! Pie crust can be made out of stuff like bread crumbs, potato, crackers…and other things you don’t want wasted.


glenn October 15, 2009 at 2:25 pm

In frittata-da-vida…

Frittatas do indeed rock. For what it’s worth, I’ve been told that my frittata recipe in Ashley’s upcoming book on raising backyard chickens for eggs is “perfect.” The book will be out this Spring, and it is already available for preorder:

The great thing about frittatas is that they really do mix with an amazing range of leftovers. A lot of people are surprised, but leftover pasta is actually a great addition to any frittata. Practically any pasta dish will work well. It’s a very handy way to get an extra meal out of a little leftover pasta.

Recently I made a really yummy frittata out of vegetarian chili and jack cheese. The possibilities are endless.

Some other favorite additions are herbs de Provence, tortillas (you would be surprised), leftover seafood, lox, capers, zucchini slices, onions, peppers, tomato slices, fresh herbs (whole basil leaves look really cool in it), smoked trout, olives, cheese (feta is great), spinach, sauteed dandelion greens, sliced potatoes, chimichurri, and pesto.

I usually cook it in the pan then top it off in the broiler to finish cooking the top so that the bottom doesn’t overcook. I then let it cool down for a minute and invert it onto a platter, then I invert it onto another platter to turn it right-side up again. I find that a pizza wheel is the easiest way to cut it into wedges.

When we have company, I usually make a couple different kinds so that there are options to please everybody’s palate.


BarbS October 16, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Yum… Frittatas… I’m considering making one for dinner 🙂

My favorite ‘use up everything in the fridge’ recipe is fried rice. I make a batch of rice early in the day, and leave it in the fridge to cool. Then at dinner time I just sauté some onions then add the rice, ginger, a bit of soy sauce, and whatever else there is… cooked meat and any kind of veggie. As an added bonus, my kids love it.


BarbS October 20, 2009 at 6:00 am

Thought you might be interested in Mark Bittman’s (from the NY Times) take on the frittata. He recommends more veggies and fewer eggs:




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