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Don't Say Diet: Slimmer Eggs in a Nest cracks up

By Kathy Manweiler McClatchy Newspapers Paula Deen's followers know that she serves up plenty of mouth-watering recipes. Her Eggs in a Nest recently was one of the Top Ten dishes on the Food Network's Web site. But the calorie count and fat conte...

By Kathy Manweiler

McClatchy Newspapers

Paula Deen's followers know that she serves up plenty of mouth-watering recipes. Her Eggs in a Nest recently was one of the Top Ten dishes on the Food Network's Web site.

But the calorie count and fat content in her breakfast creation won't win many fans.

One serving of Deen's Eggs in a Nest contains 590 calories and 49.5 grams of fat. Eating a Double Croissan'wich with ham, eggs and cheese from Burger King instead would save you 170 calories and 26.5 fat grams.

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So, this recipe needed some serious slenderizing for people who want a healthy breakfast.

Butter was the first ingredient I downsized. Deen's version calls for 10 tablespoons of butter, which adds more than 1,000 calories to the dish. She uses most of that butter in her phyllo dough shells, so I experimented with some healthier crusts. In the end, I chose reduced-fat croissant roll dough because it's tasty and convenient. My crust saves 178 calories and 23.5 fat grams per serving.

Deen's recipe uses muffin cups, but I found that croissant roll dough puffs up too much in muffin cups and doesn't leave enough room for the filling. Nonstick tartlet pans work much better for my recipe, and you can find these 10-centimeter (4-inch) pans at several stores that sell housewares.

I still scramble the egg mixture in some butter to keep the flavor Deen's fans love, but I lighten things up by using egg substitute, a little less ham and reduced-fat cheese. Those changes cut an additional 207 calories and about 19 fat grams from each serving.

My slimmed-down version of Eggs in a Nest slashes the calories by 57 percent and the fat by 73 percent.

You can have a serving of my breakfast dish for 254 calories and 13.3 grams of fat.

Kathy's Eggs

in a Nest

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1 can of refrigerated reduced-fat croissant roll dough (such as Pillsbury's Crescents)

2 cups egg substitute (such as EggBeaters)

2 tablespoons butter

¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese made with 2 percent milk

¾ cup diced ham

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll the can of croissant roll dough out flat on the counter. Cut the sheet of dough into six equal portions and transfer the dough into six 10-centimeter (4-inch) nonstick tartlet pans. Bake the tartlet crusts at 375 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes or until the dough is golden brown.

Cool the crusts on a wire rack, then remove the crusts from the pans.

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Melt the butter in a skillet and add egg substitute. Sprinkle ham over eggs and scramble eggs to desired doneness. Sprinkle in cheese and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper, and spoon the egg mixture into the crusts.

Yield: Serves 6.

Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 254 calories, 13.3 grams fat, 719 milligrams sodium, no fiber, 27 milligrams cholesterol, 18 grams carbohydrates, 17 grams protein.

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