Take That McDonalds! Homemade Ham, Egg, and Cheese Sandwiches

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[Jump right to the recipe: Ham, Egg, and Cheese Sandwiches]

Breakfast on the weekends can be a challenge because part of me wants to take the time to whip up a huge meal with eggs, breakfast meat galore, pancakes or biscuits, and any other morning dish I can come up with. After all, it’s not like a big breakfast is practical on a weekday unless it’s a vacation weekday. And many weekend mornings I do splurge on the whole spread. However, more weekend mornings that not, I want to be relaxed and even a bit lazy and not put much effort into breakfast at all. Sometimes that means cereal and toast – just like on a week day morning which just doesn’t seem right. Other times it means going out for breakfast. I love my Sunday brunch, but when I resort to fast food breakfast I always know there just has to be a better alternative. Fast food breakfasts are greasy, chock full of calories, and mass produced. Even though they get the job done when I’m eating them, more often than not I’m sorry I consumed them once I’m on the other side of the paper wrapper.

When I created this recipe my goal was to come up with a weekend breakfast that takes a little longer than a week day breakfast to prepare but not as long as it would take to hop in the car and drive through the window at my local McDonalds, about 20 minutes tops. I decided it would be fun to keep with the theme of drive thru breakfast and make a breakfast sandwich – the ubiquitous offering of all fast food restaurants. Beyond limiting my prep and cook time to 20 minutes total, I also wanted a breakfast sandwich that would be:

  • Healthy. Most fast food breakfasts are anything but, however the McDonalds McMuffin isn’t a half-bad choice in the context of drive-thru breakfast and so I wanted to be sure my sandwich was in the same neighborhood nutrition wise, and better if possible.
  • More substantial. Most breakfast sandwiches are flimsy, particularly given their caloric cost, so I wanted to be sure my creation was meatier on all levels.
  • Better tasting. Many would argue that making a better tasting breakfast sandwich at home is like shooting fish in a barrel, but it was still important. If what I ended up with was only marginally better than what I can get at the drive thru, was the effort worth it?

The Plan

I needed two things to reach my goals:

  • Better ingredients. I started with a whole grain, fiber-rich English muffin from Thomas, swapped Egg Beaters for the fried/poached/nuked egg you routinely find on a McMuffin, included fresh center-cut ham for the meat, and topped the whole thing off with a good quality cheddar cheese.
  • Better cooking methods. I eliminated extra fat from the recipe by cooking the eggs and ham non-stick pans with cooking spray to grease the wheels a bit. I also toasted the English muffin under the broiler and skipped any additional fat on it (although a little Butter-Flavor PAM wouldn’t hurt).

And with that I was ready to put the sandwich together.

The Results

A quick look at the numbers shows how on of my breakfast sandwiches stack up against McDonald’s McMuffin (based on nutritional info from the McDonald’s site and the package details on my ingredients):

McMuffin My Sandwich
Weight (grams) 139 226
Calories 300 319
Fat (grams) 12 13.75
Fiber (grams) 2 8

My version has a few more calories and fat grams, but it also offers 4x the fiber and 65% more substance. 139 grams of my sandwich has 200 calories, 8 fat grams, and 5 grams of fiber – substantially less than the McMuffin. Looking back at my list of criteria, the sandwich is healthier, more substantial, and absolutely better tasting than what I can get at the drive thru and it can be made soup-to-nuts in less than 20 minutes, so it’s faster than fast food too.

Recipe: Ham, Egg, and Cheese Sandwiches

Details

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Weight Watchers™ Points: 7*

Ingredients

  • 4 Thomas Light Multi Grain English Muffins (or other ~100 calorie, high fiber English Muffins), split in half
  • 8 oz. ham, thick cut, divided into 4 2oz. portions (cut round portions to fit the English Muffin for a pretty presentation)
  • 1 ½ c. Original Egg Beaters
  • 3 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Cooking spray
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Lightly toast the English Muffins in a toaster or under the broiler; reserve warm
  2. Fry the ham in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until warm through and lightly browned; reserve warm
  3. Wipe the non-stick skillet with a paper towel and return to medium high heat. Coat with cooking spray. Season Egg Beaters with a pinch of salt and pepper. Scramble over medium-high heat until cooked to your liking. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
  4. To assemble:
    1. Place the bottom of an English Muffin on a plate.
    2. Top with a piece of ham and ¼ of the scrambled eggs.
    3. Sprinkle with ¼ of the cheddar cheese.
    4. Top with the remaining ½ of the muffin.

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*Points Details
In my recipe I use Egg Beaters to trade the calories in the eggs for the calories in the ham to help make the sandwich more substantial. I also use full-fat cheese because I really love good cheese and the extra calories are worth it to me. Even so, there are some ways to further reduce the calorie and fat counts per serving in this recipe if you’d so desire:

  • Reduce the ham from to 6 oz. and save 23 calories or to 4 oz. to save 45 calories.
  • Reduce the cheese to 2 oz. to save 28 calories.
  • Substitute 3 oz of 2% Kraft Cheese for regular cheddar and save 31 calories.
  • Reduce the egg beaters to 1 cup and save 15 calories.

This recipe is really just an approach to a breakfast sandwich that you can modify to your heart’s content. Try lean sausage instead of ham, or even some turkey bacon. Swap the cheddar for spicy jack cheese for a Southwestern flair or try an Italian version with provolone and some thin-sliced pancetta baked until crisp. Your stomach will enjoy the many permutations.

1 Comment

  1. The cheese on the eggs looks so good!

    It was nice to meet you on Monday, and nice to see your site!

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