Eat for Eight Bucks: Mexican Eggs

Mexican eggs. [Photograph: Robin Bellinger]

Shopping List

7 eggs (pro-rated): $1.40
5 tortillas (pro-rated): $0.90
Cilantro (pro-rated): $0.50
1 small onion: $0.25
3 ounces Monterey jack: $0.75
1 cup instant refried beans: $0.25
1 pound potatoes: $1.00

Pantry items: Oil, salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, salsa (optional).

Total cost (for 4 portions): $5.05

For years I called this dish chilaquiles, migas, and then huevos rancheros before throwing my hands up and settling on Mexican eggs. It's a favorite last minute dinner for us, combining as it does ease and speed of preparation with delicious tortillas and cheese. We ate it no fewer than four nights in busy December.

If you have tortilla chips on hand, you needn't fry your own. Take two cups of crushed tortilla chips (about 4 ounces); scramble half of them into the eggs before cooking and stir the rest in with the final addition of cheese. Of course, you can also bake corn tortilla strips brushed with a little oil in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes, a healthier and only slightly less yummy alternative.

On the night pictured I served the eggs with aggressively roasted potatoes and instant refried beans, an experimental purchase from my favorite natural grocery store. I can't say I'd buy the beans again for eating straight up, but mixed into the eggs they weren't half bad.

Mexican Eggs

About the author: Robin Bellinger is a freelance editor and shameless cookie addict. She lives in San Francisco and blogs about what she feeds her husband and her daughter at home*economics.

Eat for Eight Bucks: Mexican Eggs

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About This Recipe

Yield:4

Ingredients

  • Olive or vegetable oil
  • 5 corn tortillas, sliced into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 7 large eggs
  • 1 cup (about 3 ounces) coarsely grated Monterey jack cheese
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup salsa (optional, preferably a thin, unchunky variety)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Procedures

  1. 1

    Pour into a 12-inch skillet, non-stick or cast-iron, enough oil to coat the bottom generously. Heat the oil over a fairly high flame until it is very hot but not smoking. Test its temperature by dropping in a small piece of tortilla: if it starts to sizzle right away, proceed, but if it just sits there, let the oil get hotter.

  2. 2

  3. 3

    While the tortillas cook, beat together the eggs, half of the cheese, the cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and the optional salsa if you are using it. When the tortilla strips are quite crispy, push them up against the edges of the skillet, leaving a bare spot in the middle. If it looks very dry, add another spoonful of oil. Then pour the eggs into the skillet, reduce the heat to low, and let them sit for a minute. Scramble the eggs in the middle of the skillet, drawing in bits of crispy tortilla as necessary; by the end, everything should be mixed together. About a minute before the eggs are done to your liking, sprinkle the rest of the cheese all over and give them a stir.

  4. 4

    Toss in the cilantro and serve right away with more salsa, if you have it, on the side, as well as roasted potatoes and refried beans.

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