Soyrizo Breakfast Skillet
Over half of the U.S. adult population, some 154 million, qualify as being overweight or obese. Another 29 million of us have Diabetes, many as a direct result of being overweight. Then there are the 23.9 million overweight children who are dutifully following the example of their XXL adult role models. Diabetes and these extra pounds cost this country billions annually in both medical and economic resources, not to mention the effect these weight-related maladies have on a person’s overall mental well-being and happiness. However, both diabetes and being overweight are very manageable, even preventable, with a few lifestyle tweaks. By maintaining a sensible diet in conjunction with some consistent exercise, no matter how minimal, we can all be in total control of our own weight. One easy way to start taking that control is to make decisions about the foods we eat based on the glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL).
Simply put, our bodies convert all foods into sugar calories that provide energy to the body via the bloodstream. The Glycemic Index assigns a score of 1 to 100 to all foods based on how speedy the body converts that food into sugar. Foods that break down slowly enable the body to assimilate these calories of energy more efficiently without overwhelming the body with more sugar than it can process. While this is especially important for people with diabetes who process sugars much slower than others, everyone can benefit from eating low glycemic scores. They also reduce appetite and encourage the metabolism to burn body fat. Conversely, a diet of foods high on the glycemic charts has been proven to actually increase appetite and impede effective fat oxidation.
A QUICKIE GLYCEMIC PRIMER:
• The glycemic index of a food compares its effect on blood sugar level to that of pure glucose, which has a score of 100. White breads, which are made of processed white flour, are at the top of this scale, scoring a “perfect” 100 on the glycemic index. For perspective, a score of 55 or below denotes a low-glycemic-index food; 70 or above is considered very high. Serving size is not a consideration in arriving at a food’s Glycemic Index number.
• The glycemic load, on the other hand, focuses on how many digestible carbohydrates (sugars) a food contains in a typical single serving, which is defined as approximately 3.5 ounces. For glycemic load, a score of 20 or more is high, while ten or less is low.
In preparing this month’s recipe by Ceci Granados (see Recipes from the Breakroom), I was reminded of a similar recipe makeover, also using Melissa's Soyrizo, which is very close to my heart, literally! The start of the NFL season this month marks this writer’s 37th season in the same fantasy football league. The league was first organized by a small group of fresh produce professionals throughout California, communicating mostly by fax – remember those? Several founding members are still participating; however, circumstances, natural attrition, and even a few funerals have replaced others with family, friends and friends-of-friends from across the country, thanks to the internet. Our single sheet of faxed rules has also morphed into a link to a document resembling the length of a congressional bill on the league’s website. We have a website! The point being that the league has had to go through many changes in 37 years to survive. So too did my Sunday kick-off breakfast menu of twenty-plus years, enjoyed only during the season, of chorizo ‘n eggs with peppers, cheese, seasonings, and hot sauce wrapped in slightly charred flour tortillas and served with a chilled Corona and slice of lime on the side. Let the games begin! That is until my blood sugar and pressure called a permanent TIME OUT to all of it.
Chorizo is a spicy, extremely flavorful Mexican sausage packed with dietary “compromises,” to put it mildly. Though this traditional sausage is very low in carbs, it is incredibly high in calories, sodium, artery-clogging fat and bad cholesterols – and it’s absolutely delicious! Alas, long-term health goals (i.e., to continue living) come with sacrifices – this breakfast burrito, dripping with unhealthy goodness, just had to go.
Melissa’s Soyrizo to the rescue! This soy product replicates the distinctive spices synonymous with chorizo without all the bad stuff. Seriously – the switch to this healthy, plant-based ingredient fooled my palate completely. The flavors I loved in the sausage are from spice additives that have been replicated perfectly. The soy also breaks down like real chorizo does in a hot pan, producing the same flavorful infusion with the rest ingredients. I keep those other ingredients few and complementary because Soyrizo is loaded with flavoring that should remain the star of the cast. Of course, tortillas' empty white-flour calories and high glycemic scores also had to go. That was pretty simple to fix as the filling from my usual serving size of two burritos fit perfectly in a small iron skillet. Play around with the condiments and support ingredients to taste. Start on the stovetop and then finish with a quick broil in the oven – topped with a moderate amount of cheese and green onions. Chorizo who?
Soyrizo Breakfast Skillet
YIELD: 1 hearty breakfast!
1 tablespoon butter
¾ cup green onion, diced – divided
½ cup green bell pepper, diced (try Hatch when in season!)
8- ounces Melissa’s Soyrizo
3 large eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, divided
Options – Hatch Pepper Seasoning or salsa, sub a hot pepper for the bell pepper
In a small oven-safe skillet, melt the butter, then add ½ cup of the onions and bell pepper. Sauté until the pepper begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add Soyrizo and cook for about 7 minutes; Soyrizo will break down, which is fine.
In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, S & P. Pour into skillet and cook until eggs begin to firm, then stir in half the shredded cheese, mix thoroughly.
Top with the remaining cheese, then pop the skillet into the oven. Broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden, about 3 minutes.
When done, timed to coincide with the first Sunday morning kick-off, top with remaining green onions and serve with a “side” of your favorite brew.