Considering that the sponsor herself at thursday night smackdown was unable to keep her deadline (for good reasons) I am hoping that my tardiness will not eliminate me from participation. And since I am relying on her good nature (HAHAHA) I am going to confess that not only did I not make this on Tuesday for Hobo Tuesday; I did not even make it for dinner! It was my lunch, today, Thursday.

Whew, I feel better now that I’ve gotten that off of my chest.

Actually, I don’t know if I would let myself participate, because I didn’t even follow the theme. I don’t do spicy, but I do do things that could be spicy if you wanted them to be. Take this:

Heuvos Rancheros en Cocotte

You got your Mexican in my French! No you got your French in my Mexican!

In a fit of literalness I have decided to call this exactly what it is:

Huevos Rancheros en cocotte from my own demented little mind

Hardware: a cute oven safe ramekin and an oven.

1/3 C doctored up canned black beans
2 eggs
2 T milk
2 big pinches of shredded cheddar cheese
1/8 C salsa (I use Pace, so sue me)

My beans were left over from burritos a few days ago, I start with a can of black beans and add a bunch of garlic, cumin, oregano and Liazano Salsa until they taste good; hence doctored up. Take your cutsey little ramekin and lube it up with butter (hey, this dish is 1/2 French – gotta work butter in somewhere) and pre-heat the oven to 375 or so.

Put the beans into the ramekin and make two beds for your eggs by pushing things around with a spoon and then carefully crack the eggs into their little troughs. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on them and then drizzle the 2 T of milk over top. Put in oven for about 8 minutes (or until things start to bubble and the whites look opaque) and then pull out and sprinkle the cheese around the bubbling edges and slide it back into the oven for a few more minutes. Take the eggs out when they still look underdone and let it rest for a couple of minutes. Spoon salsa over top and you are done.

Talk about a protein bomb! I guess you could work in some veggies with the beans if you are so inclined – but I thought it was great as is. Now, there are several locations where one could make this spicy. Jalapenos in the beans would be an obvious choice, but more sneaky would be sprinkling some cayenne over the eggs so that it looks like paprika. The hotter the salsa, the hotter the entire dish. I am a wuss, so mild all the way baby!

The Damage:
1/3 can black beans = .30
2 eggs = .42
Milk = .05
Cheese = .15

Everything else is pantry. I feel comfortable including Salsa as a pantry item considering it outstripped Ketchup as the most purchased condiment in the US.

The total comes to .92. I only cooked for one, but my hubby would have loved this had he been here – doubling the cost comes to $1.84 to serve 2 people, actually, to fill my husband we probably would have had to use more beans so lets call it an even $2.00.


For the last year or so my toddler has eaten French Toast every morning for breakfast, his Daddy makes it for him. One egg makes 2 pieces of French Toast, so Daddy eats a piece with the E-man, and this has lead to the evolution of a ridiculously cute ritual. The slices are put on two separate plates and both are cut up in bite-sized pieces. Both get butter and syrup, one gets a big boy fork and the other a plastic toddler fork. Daddy sits down at the table and places the plate with the plastic fork in front of the E-man and the other in front of himself. The E-man evaluates the situation and reaches over to snatch the plate with the big boy fork. He proceeds to eat all but the edge pieces of the Toast and then switches the plates back so he can have a go at the middle pieces of his Daddy’s piece. Daddy ends up eating all of the edges and whatever is leftover from the second piece.

I don’t think I need to go into how happy it makes me to peek into the kitchen and see my boys, the big one eating with a plastic fork that barely protrudes from his hand and the small one with a fork as long as the diameter of his head. Of course things have changed, the Daddy has had to take work out of state and I am now in charge of breakfast. In charge of everything in fact.

I have been wanting to change up the E-man’s breakfast with different foods, but have been reluctant to disrupt the ritual. Now, all bets are off, and frankly I have been trying to lose weight. French Toast with maple syrup every morning is not going to assist in that endeavor. Also on the agenda is to get more veggies into the E-man. So I started poking around for a Pumpkin pancake recipe.

I couldn’t find one that made me particularly happy so I ended up making up my own. One of the primary requirements was that I wanted to be able to make the batter up last night so that all I had to do this morning was cook the durn things. They came out pretty well:

Magical floaty pancakes

Magical floaty pancakes

Pumpkin Pancakes

The Hardware:

Non-stick skillett or griddle, spatula, lidded mixing bowl.

The Software:

1 C AP Flour
1/4 t Salt (kosher)
1 T Baking Powder (can be cut back to 2 t to reduce saltiness)
1 T Brown Sugar
1/2 t Cinnamon
Pinch Allspice

1/2 C Milk
1/2 C Pumpkin (canned)
1 Egg
2 T Veg. Oil
1t Vanilla Extract

Butter & Syrup

1) Look through your pantry and realize that the can of Pumpkin that you thought you had in there has magically turned into Butternut Squash. Decide there really isn’t much of a difference and proceed.

2) Combine Team A in a seal-able bowl that you can put in the ‘fridge.  I used a whisk to get some good faux-sifting done.

3) Combine Team B in something else. I used a liquid measure because it makes it easy to, well, measure. To stir I used the same whisk as used previously, because I don’t like to wash dishes.

4) Add Team B to Team A and stir gently to combine, just until you have made sure the flour is worked in. Do not over-stir and do not worry about lumps. The overnight thing will take care of them. Cover and put in ‘fridge overnight.

5) Place skillet/griddle over medium heat and allow to get hot. Once hot, reduce flame (or fancy pants electricity) to low. Take a stick of butter and run the square face of it around the pan, just to get a light coating of butter. Add pancake batter to make 2 – 3 inch diameter pancakes. Don’t poke them. Let them sit there until you start to see bubbles coming up through the batter and the surface starts to get a kinda “skin”. Scoot your spatula under and see if it looks done. If so, flip gently. The second side will not take as long as the first side. Peek with your spatula to make sure it doesn’t burn. Repeat until all batter is used up. I got 9 small pancakes.

6) Serve with butter and REAL Maple Syrup. Yes, I am a snob.


I have 3 pancakes in the ‘fridge and 4 in the freezer as we speak (the E-Man ate one and one had to be for quality control so no, my math doesn’t suck) (well, actually my math does suck the vast majority of the time, but not in this particular instance). I will keep the internet posted as to how the different cooling approaches work out. I think they will be fine. The plan is to warm up a Pancake each morning, this way I have to cook once a week as opposed to every morning. YAY lazy!

I am pretty sure you could double the recipe with very little problems and of course you could use pumpkin if you were so inclined. I also think it would be tasty with sweet potatoes, mmmm.

Update 2/12/11!

We have been using this recipe now for, WOW, almost a year and a half. It has performed admirably. My son is bigger now and he has matching appetite. We now double the recipe (with the reduced Baking powder) and make more pancakes to get us through the week. I lay them out on a cookie cooling rack and then put them in the freezer flat on a cutting board. Once frozen we pack into an airtight container.

Reheating usually involves a short stint in the microwave @ 50% power and then a quick jaunt through the toaster to crisp them up. Served with maple syrup they are quite tasty. The most common flavor we use is pumpkin, but when pumpkin is not available sometimes pureed sweet potatoes pinch hit.

On occasion, when I am feeling especially virtuous, I substitute white whole wheat flour for half of the flour and it works fine.