Shirlene Disantis’ Eggs Ole’

March 12, 2011 at 9:27 am | Posted in Breakfast | 33 Comments
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Eggs Ole'; a cheesy Mexican egg casserole with a side of sliced avocados and oranges sprinkled with chili powder.

Bob and I are avid bird watchers. 

Wikipedia says:  Birdwatching, or birding, is the observation and study of birds with the naked eye or through a visual enhancement device like binoculars. Birding often involves a significant auditory component, as many bird species are more readily detected and identified by ear than by eye.

Well…accurate, but also birds are detected and identified by habitat, behavior, location, elevation, weather systems, food supply and even by patterns of flight.

That’s what makes it so interesting and never boring. Always something to learn. Did you know that around 1,000 different species of birds can be seen north of the Mexico border?

Birdwatching has taken us to remote Alaskan Islands, to swamps in Florida, prairie pot holes on the Great Plains, pelagic trips in Monterey Bay,  and dense forests in the Northeast.  It’s not all glamorous, did I mention a sewer pond or two…or three? All in all, I’ve visited more State and National Parks that I never knew existed, seen parts of our country that I never would have seen, met some diverse species of humans that I would have never met…all due to bird watching.

One of our favorite destinations is Southeast Arizona.

A sought after birding destination and one the most biological rich areas in the United States, Southeast Arizona hosts a unique variety of birds, mammals, reptiles and butterflies. These habitats draw flocks of migrating birdwatchers from all over the world to scour the Huachuca, Santa Rita and Chiricahua Mountains for species that can found no other place in the United States. The canyons that share habitat with bordering Mexico welcome birds that cross the border so that we can add them to our list of  birds seen in the United States. Did I mention that fourteen species of hummingbirds can be seen here? 

One of our favorite spots is Ramsey Canyon in the Huachuca Mountains.  Here, the Sierra Madre of Mexico, the Rocky Mountains, and the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts all come together. The abrupt rise of mountains from the surrounding arid grasslands creates “sky islands” harboring rare species and communities of plants and animals. 

Nestled in the floor of the tall canyon walls and near the pond where the unique leopard frog whistles underwater, javalinas wallow and coati roam,  hummingbirds buzz, Spotted Owls hoot, and Elegant Trogons tease us with their elusive flight and calls, and at the mouth of one of the most famous birdwatching trails sits a charming bed and breakfast, The Ramsey Canyon Inn. 

It’s a perfect place to fill up on a hearty breakfast before you set out on the long arduous hike up the canyon on the Hamburg Trail. It also welcomes you home in the evening to a counter full of fresh-baked homemade pies.  There’s nothing like relaxing on the patio overlooking the gardens and the hummingbird feeders while listening to the spring-fed creek and recounting with fellow birders the exciting finds of the day. 

On one of our visits to the Inn, I brought back this recipe for Eggs Ole’.  Shirlene Disantis was the owner of the Inn at the time, served this up for breakfast and was kind enough to pass along the recipe.  Let’s take a look:

Just line a baking dish with corn chips.  Next time I’ll use soft corn tortilla shells like the recipe calls for  to make more of a crust.

Sprinkle on some cooked and crumbled chorizo.

Add some grated Monterey Jack and Cheddar.

Pour in your egg, cheese and salsa mixture. Bake, then drizzle with a velveeta and tomato sauce and top with some sliced black olives and ole’…You’ve got a tasty breakfast treat.

Shirlene DeSantis Eggs Ole’

1 dozen corn tortillas
3 Tbs oil
1 lb chorizo
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup Monterey jack cheese
16 eggs
12 oz salsa
1 cup sour cream
For the sauce:
12 oz Velveeta
8 oz salsa
Heat together until melted

1. Heat oil in large skillet. Place tortilla in skillet and turn quickly just to soften. Line bottom of large Pyrex dish with tortillas. Cook chorizo and drain; spread over tortillas. Spread cheeses over chorizo. Mix eggs, sour cream and salsa together; pour over cheese and bake at 350 for 30 – 45 minutes or until set. Serve with sauce and black olives.

Servings: 12

Eggs Ole’…It’s What’s For Breakfast!

All non-food photos are courtesy of Ramsey Canyon Inn Website.



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  1. Great memories of Ramsey Canyon Lodge and SE Arizona. That was an amazing trip! I think we saw 10 hummingbird species. My lifelist bloomed 🙂 And the dish looks great!

    Signed, one of your diverse human species

    • Wasn’t that just the best trip ever? So many good memories. I remember you me and Kathy running full blast through the dessert chasing a fleeing Varied Bunting. The Timothy Leary house and that drive to Douglas…the Neal Meal at Madera…LOVED that trip.

      • And I got that Varied Bunting! Of course we had a great guide :). I remember the skunk at the back door at the Leary house. And the quest for the Spotted Owls. CHECK!! Do you believe that was 13 years ago? We had the best time.

  2. Good gawd that sounds and looks good! I mean, chorizo, eggs, salsa and cheese? Heck yeah!

  3. This looks just delicious. What a great hobby being outdoors and appreciating the splendor of nature. How’s that new camera? I’m doing ok with mine but I won’t be quitting my day job anytime soon.

    • So far I’m pleased with my simple photos. Haven’t learned anything fancy yet, nor taken any photos of food. Like you, the dogs have been targets, along with the fireplace that I can see from the couch. 🙂 I’m getting ready for my 2nd lesson this afternoon. I am going through the book page by page.

  4. That part of AZ is where I want to retire. Looks like heaven to me.

  5. We like to feed and watch our birds, but have never used them as a reason to travel – you guys are so clever. As for the breakfast I’m can imagine it is delicious, especially if the chips remain crunchy. “Eggs Ole’…It’s What’s For Breakfast!” cheers to this.

    • Larry, the chips did NOT remain crispy. I’d like to make it again and figure out a different method. The soft corn tortillas might stay chewy…maybe those crispy tostada shells would work better? Not sure. This is the first time I’ve made it and it’s been years since it was served to me at the Inn, so don’t exactly remember it.

  6. This sounds yummy – and you could really feed a crowd with it. I love AZ – my favorite state and the SE part is gorgeous. We got married in Tombstone 🙂

    • I wouldn’t mind retiring down there either….as long as they get rid of all the tarantulas and scorpions. 🙂

    • I’ll have to look and see where Tombstone is… by Tucson? It is gorgeous. Writing this post made me want to go back…soon.

  7. Lovely pictures and gorgeous dish!

  8. I remember vividly the very first hummingbird I have ever seen in my life on my first visit to the US. It was in 1993 driving through New Mexico. We stopped at a wonderful restaurant and I was wondering what all the funny looking water filled feeders were for. Well, I fell in love with those little hummers on the spot. After moving to the US I have been known to have my feeders out every year. I am already looking forward to my little birds to return. Great picture, Lea Ann! What a wonderful hobby you have.

    • Aren’t they wonderful little creatures?!?! They say April 15 is when they start migrating through, but I think it’s later than that by a week or so. Thanks Kirsten.

  9. This looks simple and filling and so you…I love knowing where to come for some tex mex flavors!

    First…did I read new camera? We’re going to be doing some more photo stuff…excited for you!

    I’ve never been to AZ but the inn looks like Sante Fe to me too…I need to travel more!

    I’ve always had a thing about watching birds but it’s never been quite the same here as it was in North Carolina…just an amazing array of beautiful birds. Chickdees are cute enough but after a while…I want to see one like that gorgeous hummingbird. Wow!

  10. What a great hobby Lea Ann. Looks like it takes you to some fascinating places. That little blue fellow with the long red beak is a handsome guy. Great photo; framing worthy actually. We like bird watching too, but don’t take it as seriously as you do. We just have a couple of books so we can identify some of the unusual ones that may fly our way. We used to put out orange halves in the islands for the little bananaquits. They would drink those oranges dry.

    I would have thought the chips would have remained a little crunchy. I see in your comment to Larry that you would recommend soft tortillas. This sounds like a fun breakfast for house guests – something a little unusual to start the day off right.

    • How fun to have bannaquits eating oranges. If you do that here you’ll get Orioles. You should try it. Sam, those chips were very thin delicate chips. Maybe some thicker would work better…or like I said, tostada shells or soft corn tortillas would bring us different results.

  11. What a fun hobby! You get a little bit of exercise from all the hiking and walking, and get to see some of nature’s most beautiful creatures. And, apparently, get to eat delicious food! What a great way to fuel up before going out on a bird-watching trek!

    • Thanks Joanne. You have some very famous Hawks that nest on an apartment building in Central Park. You should go see them.

  12. What a beautiful (and warm) memory! It’s incredible how much you guys know about birds – I struggle to keep up with our locals. That casserole sounds so darned good and what a great thing to make when you have a house full of guests. I’m actually starting a file with breakfasts for a crowd and this is a perfect entry! Those oranges sprinkled with chile powder sound like such a great side, too. Yum!! Looks like your photography is going well. That first shot has gorgeous lighting. 🙂

    • I like your idea of “breakfast for a crowd” folder. Starting one too. Vickie, you’re much better than you think, those hummingbirds can be very difficult to identify, especially those little Caliope’s and it seems you know exactly what’s coming to your feeder.

  13. I am making this! Looks amazing!!

    • Thanks Stephanie, I thought this might be right up your alley. 🙂

  14. This sounds so good. I think I’ll be trying this soon…for our next brunch. And I didn’t know you were a bird watcher. What a fun hobby/past-time! Such beautiful photos…the bird and the mountains!

    • Thanks Heather. I didn’t take the mountain/bird photo, I gave credit to the RC Inn for those. I think you’ll like that breakfast casserole.

  15. What a beautiful place! It looks so peaceful. This looks incredibly good – I could eat it anytime! The sauce takes it over the top.

    • Thanks Reeni. 🙂

  16. The Ramsey Canyon Inn looks lovely and peaceful, Lea Ann, the ideal place for birdwatching.
    And that egg dish! Oh my. That would get me going in the morning for sure. So nice of her to share the recipe!

    • I agree Barbara, and as always thanks for stopping by.

  17. The story and pictures are beautiful. What a great hobby you have…besides cooking:) I am planning to make the dish this coming weekend, and I think it is something my son can make for his housemates…who only know how to microwave tv dinners. Thank you for sharing the recipe and the story.

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