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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, February 22, 2006

TASTE
Turkey bacon and cream cheese lighten breakfast panini

 •  Oats overflowing with benefits

By Elaine Magee

Breakfast on a bun: Eggs, spinach, cheese and bacon on a roll with a roasted red pepper spread.

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Q. I like buying this breakfast sandwich at a nearby deli eggs, bacon, Swiss cheese and spinach on ciabatta bread with roasted red pepper mayonnaise. Can you figure out a way to make it at home? And by how much can you trim the calories and fat?

A. I know it makes sense to have a mayo-based roasted red pepper spread for sandwiches, but I whipped up a spread with light cream cheese instead. So you can use the remaining spread as a dip for veggies (it tastes really good). We are also using half real (higher omega-3) eggs and half egg substitute in making the panini filling. I'm beefing up the spinach leaves used in the sandwich (because it's a pretty green and good for us). I'm also using turkey bacon strips, cooked until crisp and broken into bits. You can use center-cut bacon if you prefer but turkey bacon is higher in protein and lower in fat.

If you are extra motivated, you can use whole-grain or whole-wheat rolls or slices instead of ciabatta. The original comes on a ciabatta roll then is grilled to fall in line with the "panini" part of the sandwich title. But truthfully, this sandwich tastes great even on toasted whole-wheat bread. And using the whole-wheat bread adds about 5 grams of fiber to the sandwich total.

The original sandwich may have had 575 calories, 32 grams of fat, 11.5 grams of saturated fat, 468 mg of cholesterol and 3 grams of fiber per serving.

BREAKFAST PANINI WITH ROASTED RED PEPPER SPREAD

For the spread:

  • 1/2 cup light cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup roasted red peppers from jar, drained and packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic (add more to taste if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch cayenne pepper

    For the sandwich:

  • 2 ciabatta bread rolls (or similar) or 4 slices whole-wheat bread
  • 2 large eggs (higher omega-3 eggs if available)
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute
  • 1 tablespoon water, low-fat milk or fat-free half and half
  • Canola cooking spray
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, loosely packed and rinsed with water
  • Pinch or two of Mrs. Dash seasoning blend (optional)
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese (or 1/4 cup of regular Swiss)
  • 2 to 3 strips turkey bacon, cooked until crisp and broken into bits

    Add roasted red pepper spread ingredients to small food processor and pulse until completely blended. If you only have a large food processor, you can double the recipe for the spread so it will work well. Spread the bottom part of each roll or the bottom slice of each sandwich with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the roasted red pepper spread. (The recipe for the spread makes about 1 cup, so you'll have plenty left over.)

    Add eggs, egg substitute and water or milk to mixing bowl and beat or whisk until nicely blended. Start heating a large, nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add a generous spritz of canola cooking spray and add the spinach leaves. Cook, stirring often, for about a minute, to let the leaves soften nicely. Add a pinch or two of Mrs. Dash seasoning blend (whichever one you prefer) if desired.

    Pour in the egg mixture and gently continue to cook and stir until eggs are just cooked throughout. Turn off the heat, sprinkle the cheese over the top of the egg mixture, and cover with a lid. Let sit for a minute.

    Sprinkle the turkey bacon bits over the top of the egg mixture. Remove half of the egg mixture and position on top of the spread on your roll or bread. Top with the remaining bread halves or slices and serve.

    The remaining spread can be kept in the refrigerator in a covered dish and used as a dip for veggies or as a spread for other sandwiches.

    Makes 2 sandwiches.

  • Per serving (one sandwich): 400 calories, 29 g protein, 39 g carbohydrate, 15 g fat, 5.5 g saturated fat, 5 g monounsaturated fat, 2 g polyunsaturated fat, 239 mg cholesterol, 6 g fiber, 896 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 32 percent. Omega-3 fatty acids, 0.2 g; omega-6, 1.8 g. Weight Watchers points, 8.

    Visit www.recipedoctor.com to find out about Elaine Magee's newest cookbook, "Comfort Food Makeovers," and the free Recipe Doctor Club.