Pantry Improvs

Holiday Leftover Eggs by Journey Monkeys
Holiday Leftover Eggs

Thanksgiving has come and almost gone here in the United States. We, like many people, have been spending a bit of time in the kitchen making tasty morsels for dinner and desserts for the main meal. And while I have the fixings for many different types of breakfasts that would please even the pickiest of eaters, I like to sometimes fly by the seat of my pants and throw something together from a new recipe I’ve found.

This year, my mother-in-law presented me with a new cookbook for my holiday collection: Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cooking from the Heart, Volume 12. As I thumbed through the cookbook, I found several intriguing recipes. The recipes for Roasted Pear and Clementine Salad was a winner since I was just about to cobble together a salad and this recipe gave me the chance to use some of the newly ripened clementines from my backyard tree! But I digress.

When I gazed into my overflowing fridge on Black Friday morn, I knew I wanted to make eggs, but didn’t have a plan. I pulled a carton out and placed it on the counter and thumbed through my new cookbook. The recipe for Spanish Eggs resonated with me because I had some chili peppers and tomatoes fresh from the garden, but I was still missing some key ingredients.

I made a few substitutions and came up with my own tasty version of Holiday Leftover Eggs. My pantry improv was well-received and scarfed down. It took me about 45 minutes and served 4.


Holiday Leftovers Eggs
Recipe Type: Easy
Cuisine: Breakfast
Author: Louellen Coker
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6
This is a simple recipe that can easily be adjusted based on what you have in your panty or how many people you need to feed. My family never realized I was using up excess ingredients and made short work of these eggs.  They were happy for the break in traditional fare and asked me to remember the recipe. I’m pretty sure yours will, too.
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 small fresh Anaheim chile, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (I used a big heaping spoon from my jar of minced garlic)
  • 4 thick-cut slices of Applewood bacon, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 2 T fresh cilantro (don’t be afraid to add more!)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 eggs
  • Crumbled queso fresco (optional)
  • Avocado (optional)
  • Corn tortillas (optional)
  • Your favorite hot sauce (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro (optional)
  1. In a large skillet, cook the bacon to your desired consistency. Remove from bacon and set aside. Discard all but about 1 Tablespoon of the bacon grease.
  2. In the hot bacon grease, cook potatoes, onions, garlic, and chiles over medium heat. When the onions start to turn translucent (about 4-5 minutes), add the mushrooms and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, fresh cilantro, salt, and pepper. Cook another 5 minutes or until tomatoes release their liquid and the mushrooms and potatoes are tender.
  3. Add the cooked bacon and stir well. Spread the vegetable mixture in an even layer across the skillet.
  4. Make 4 wells in the vegetable mixture. Break 1 egg into a measuring cup and slide the egg into one of the wells. Repeat the process with the remaining wells and eggs. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes or until egg whites are completely set and yolks are to your preferred doneness. (I like them to be a little runny).
  5. Serve them with your favorite fixings. I put the fixings on the side so everyone can customize their own.


Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas with Hatch Chile Sauce
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas made with Hatch Chile sauce. Can we say SPICY (and delicious)?!?!

Ah… August! It’s Hatch Chile Pepper time! And it’s the perfect time to literally spice up your favorite Southwest (or as we like to say in Texas, Tex-mex) dishes. After putting out a call for great recipes among my friends on Facebook, Coach Denise, a nutritionist and triathlon coach with Triple Threat Tough delivered with this awesome recipe. One note of caution, though. If you use Hatch chiles for this recipe, be sure to sample each chile for spiciness as you go or you’ll end up with something that is over the moon spicy!

If you’re eating a vegetarian or gluten-free diet, you’ll love it. And even if you’re a carnivore or a lover of the flour tortilla, the richness and creamy goodness of the sweet potatoes will more than satisfy your appetite. Toss in a side of steamed broccoli and follow up with some fresh strawberries and end up with a satisfying meal that doesn’t leave you with what I like to call the “Tex-Mex food baby” in your tummy.

Coach Denise originally found this recipe at Karina’s Kitchen: Recipes from a Gluten-free Goddess. Here’s what Karina has to say about one of her most popular vegetarian, gluten-free recipes:

These wrapped little gems are soft and creamy and a little bit spicy. Serve with crisp greens. Photo shown is family style, rolled in a baking dish. For company, I prefer to nestle these babies into individual gratin dishes. It makes for a prettier presentation.


Quickie Green Chile Sauce

1 cup light gluten-free vegetable broth
1 tablespoon arrowroot starch dissolved in a little cold water
1 generous cup chopped roasted green chiles, hot or mild
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin or chili powder, hot or mild, to taste

Enchilada Filling

1 (15-ounce) can organic black beans, rinsed, drained
4 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh lime juice from 1 big juicy lime
2 heaping cups cooked diced sweet potatoes
1/2 cup chopped roasted mild green chiles
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder mild or spicy
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (I LOVE cilantro, so I doubled this amount.)


2 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, as needed
8 white or yellow corn tortillas
4 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese


Preheat your oven to 350°F. Choose a baking dish that would hold 8 rolled enchiladas. Make your Quickie Green Chile Sauce by combining the broth, dissolved arrowroot, green chiles, garlic and spices in a sauce pan and heating over medium-high heat. Bring to a high simmer. Simmer until thickened. Taste test and adjust seasonings. Set aside.

In the meantime, for the Enchilada Filling, using a mixing bowl, combine the drained black beans with minced garlic and lime juice. Toss to coat the beans and set aside. In a separate bowl combine the cooked sweet potatoes with the chopped green chiles; add the spices. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Pour about 1/4 cup of the Quickie Green Chile Sauce into the bottom of the baking dish.

To assemble the enchiladas, grab a skillet and heat a dash of oil. Lightly cook the corn tortillas to soften them, one at a time, as you stuff each one.

Lay the first hot tortilla in the sauced baking dish; wet it with the sauce. Spoon 1/8 of the sweet potato mixture down the center. Top with 1/8 of the black beans. Wrap and roll the tortilla to the end of the baking dish. Repeat for the remaining tortillas. Top with the rest of the sauce. Top with a sprinkle of shredded Monterey Jack cheese.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the enchiladas are piping hot and the sauce is bubbling around the edges.


Serves 4. Per serving: 500 calories (190 from fat), 21g total fat, 7g saturated fat, 25mg cholesterol, 980mg sodium, 64g total carbohydrate (11g dietary fiber, 11g sugar), 18g protein

Family Favorite cookies
Family Favorites

It’s the holiday season. Themed parties abound, and one of my favorites is the cookie swap party one of my friends has every year or so. The hardest aspect of getting ready for the party is deciding which cookie to take. If I’m not making my usual chocolate chip and M&M cookies or chocolate chip and mini Reese’s peanut butter cup cookies, I’m at loss. And rather than scouring the obvious sites such as  epicurious.com, marthastewart.com, or foodnetwork.com, I decided to ask some of my friends for their favorite easy cookie recipe. And I got not one, but two scrumptious recipes.