“Will you be here for breakfast?” asked my mom. I replied that I would. “Great!” she said. “I’ll make Sue’s eggs.”
Sue is a friend of my mom’s, and she is famous for her breakfast casserole. She gave my mom the recipe, and our family has since made it a staple for special occasions. Now, while I tend to associate this breakfast casserole with Christmas morning, Mom’s making it in March signaled to me that maybe my visit was a cause for celebration, too.
What she didn’t know, however, was that I almost didn’t make it to her house. Between my running amuck in South Texas, and being so utterly charmed by the town of Victoria, I was tempted to linger in that part of the state and completely omit Houston from my itinerary.
Fortunately, I made the right decision.
Besides breakfast, mom also made a simple supper of tamales, apple-walnut salad and guacamole. We washed it down with Topo Chico—bottled Mexican fizzy water that I adore but can’t find in New York City. It was all superb.
While I ate very well during my time in Texas, I have to admit that the food that Mom cooked was definitely the best eating of my whole trip. Why? Because it was made with love. There’s a lot of sadness and heartbreak in the world right now, and like so many, I feel pretty powerless to make it better. Making donations to relief organizations does its part, of course. But being grateful, giving thanks, and showing love aren’t bad practices either.
Now, about this breakfast casserole. It’s not complicated—it’s just eggs, cheese, flour and canned green chiles, though Mom has made it her own by adding fresh jalapeños instead. It’s also very rich, as there’s so much cheese in it that one slice will supply you with a week’s worth of vitamin D and calcium. This bit of decadence is probably why my family saves it only for special days.
But you know what? I’ve decided that mom had the right idea—spending precious time with loved ones is always cause for celebration. We should cherish every moment that we have. So yes, I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to visit with my mom, and share with her some delicious home-cooked food. It was the highlight of my trip to Texas. Thanks, Mom!
Jalapeño and cheese breakfast casserole
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (4 ounces)
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 jalapeños, stems and seeds removed, diced
- Salsa, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8×8 casserole dish or baking pan.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in the flour, dry mustard, baking powder and salt. Stir in the cottage cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, cheddar cheese, butter and jalapeños, and mix until incorporated.
Pour the eggs into the casserole dish, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the center is firm. Serve warm with salsa.