A weak pun on huevos rancheros, since at least half of the continental US lies between me and any semblance of a ranch. This concoction was dreamed up by my ex-wife a couple of years ago, on one of those mornings when you're so apathetic about food that you'll play refrigerator roulette and pick out four or so things from your food supplies that don't clash too badly and just throw them all together. I've improved on it a bit since then.


Prepare hash browns according to package directions. Beat eggs together with 1 teaspoon of water per egg and scramble them soft. Season hash browns with salt, pepper, and chile powder to taste.

Assembling: Spread 1/4 of the beans over each tortilla and place on individual plates. Microwave each on high for 45 seconds or until the beans are warm and the tortilla is soft. Spread 1/4 of the hash browns over each tortilla, followed by 1/4 of the eggs and 1/4 of the cheese. Return each plate to the microwave for 30 seconds to melt the cheese a little (this is why you didn't scramble the eggs too hard, or else they would toughen up in the microwave). Top with salsa and/or hot sauce, if desired.

1This was originally made with prairie fire bean dip leftover from Don Pablo's the night before. Plain old refritos, or the spicy bean dip of your choice, works perfectly well.

2Doesn't have to be prepackaged, but on the morning this was created, we didn't have the energy or the raw materials to make breakfast spuds from scratch.

3As listed, the ingredients will make a good-sized breakfast for four. To make two extremely hearty brunch-sized portions (the kind where you won't be inclined to eat again all day), use only 6 eggs and substitute 2 burrito-size tortillas.

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