So, you know how I mentioned that last week I said goodbye to my 20’s and I was…a little bummed about it?  On my actual birthday things didn’t really improve.  I worked as usual, picked the kids up from school and then on our way home, we were stuck in an unimaginable traffic jam that brought our commute to a total of two hours door to door.  Two.hours.  As a result, I missed my hot yoga class, and well, after two hours in the car with tired, hungry kids (and tired, hungry me), it just wasn’t the greatest day.  It’s okay though.  It got better.

The next evening, Ben arranged a dinner with my brothers, their better halves, and a few close friends.  He packed the kids up and drove them over to the babysitter’s house while I had about 40 glorious minutes in the house to myself – such a rarity.  I did glamorous things like sort mail, clean up the playroom, and take out the recycling.  Ben finally returned and said he had picked up one more birthday present for me on the way home.  Into my kitchen walked my amazing friend Courtney.  All the way from Richmond, VA.  I was floored.  I am supremely difficult to surprise but somehow everyone involved pulled it off and it was amazing.  All sorts of unintelligible shrieks and squeals poured out of my mouth as I jumped up and down.

So, we had a wonderful night out that evening with my family and friends.  We stayed up super late talking while we baked my birthday cake.  The next morning we woke up and did what we always do together – decided to cook something awesome.  Though normally indecisive, it didn’t take long for us to settle on this heck of a breakfast dish.  Eggs in a ranchero sauce with black beans, topped with lots of melted cheese, freshly baked tortilla strips and a mouth-watering lime crema.  Yowza.  Basically, my perfect breakfast, made even more perfect by Courtney’s company.

My already phenomenal weekend was made even more perfect when another of my BFFs hosted a rockin’ birthday party for me the next evening.  She thought of every little detail (hello, margaritas in mason jars!) and added so, so many sweet personal touches.  My other great friend and the best art director in the world Ryan covered a massive chalkboard wall in semi-snarky, tongue-in-cheek graffiti – oh, how he knows me.  (Also, like that center design?  Good, because it’s about to be a t-shirt you all can wear – minus the 30, obvs.  Details soon…)  Tons of my friends came to celebrate and they all contributed dishes made from this very site.  My sweet friend Shanon made the trip all the way from Milwaukee.  The sweet and inspiring Alex and Sonja were there too.  It was truly amazing to have so many people I love all in one place.  So yeah, I’m feeling just fine about 30 now, in case you were wondering.


For the sauce: 
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cups (1 28 oz. can) whole tomatoes, fire-roasted preferred
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1½ cups (1 15 oz. can) black beans, drained and rinsed

For the tortilla strips: 
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
4 small (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into ½-inch wide strips
Coarse salt, to taste

12 large eggs
1¼ cups coarsely shredded pepper jack cheese*
1 cup greek yogurt or sour cream (low fat is fine)
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro


  • 01

    Preheat the oven to 450˚ F.  To make the ranchero sauce, combine the jalapeño, tomatoes, onion and garlic to a blender or food processor.  Process until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Pour the sauce into a 12-inch ovenproof skillet.  Stir in the black beans.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Lower the heat but maintain at a simmer and let cook about 10 minutes.

  • 02

    Meanwhile, brush a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the oil.  Spread the tortilla strips in a single layer on the baking sheet and brush the tops with the remaining tablespoon of oil.  Sprinkle with coarse salt.  Bake about 6 minutes, tossing once or twice, until lightly browned and crisp.  Set aside.  Do your very best to not devour them all before the eggs are finished cooking.  It’s not easy.

  • 03

    When the sauce has thickened slightly, remove the pan from the heat.  Carefully crack the eggs over the surface of the sauce placing them as evenly as possible.  Return the pan to the heat, cover, and let simmer gently in the sauce about 10-12 minutes, until the whites are partially but not completely opaque.

  • 04

    Heat the broiler.  Sprinkle the cheese over the top over the eggs, place underneath the broiler, and cook until the cheese is browned and bubbling and the eggs are cooked to your liking, just a few minutes.  In a small bowl, whisk together the greek yogurt and lime juice.  Remove the pan from the oven, top with dollops of the lime crema, sprinkle with crumbled tortilla strips and the cilantro.  Serve immediately.

  • 05

    *For best results, always use freshly shredded cheese.  Pre-shredded cheese comes coated in things such as flour, cornstarch to prevent clumping and results in an unpleasant, gritty texture when melted.

  • Nur Ain

    Hi Anne! :) I’m one of your blog fan from Malaysia :)

    I found that most of your recipe (like cakes) calls for unsalted butter.

    Just wanna know if can substitute them with regular butter. It’s quiet hard to find unsalted butter here with reasonable price. Hope you wouldn’t mind to help me :)

  • Tasha Fontenot

    This looks amazing!!! Will be trying it out very soon.
    Embrace 30… only gets better :)
    And I love the tshirt idea. I want one!

  • Oh my goodness, I’m in TOTAL love!!

  • Aww, happy birthday! Wish I had this for breakfast today.

  • Happy belated 30th! I can’t wait for the t- shirts! I also turned thirty in December and just decided to embrace it…don’t fight it!

  • Lauren Ochoa

    Love your turning 30 story. Mine was kind of boring since I was just barely post-partum from having my second baby and I didn’t feel very good because we had all gotten swine flu but my hubby got me the latest book by my favorite author (Diana Gabaldon, yay, love her) and I got to spend the day in bed reading. I hope I can have some more fun for my 40th in 7 years, oh my Gawd, can’t believe I’m getting old!

  • Happy birthday! What a fun surprise. I’m turning 30 in August, and I’m not so thrilled about it either.

  • Susan A

    Happy belated birthday!! You do a wonderful job with your website. LOVE your recipes!! Thank you!!

  • annieseats

    Eh, it’s seven years away! Plus, you’ll be a fab 40 year old :)

  • Annie Standing

    Happy Belated Birthday! I’m always looking for fresh breakfast inspiration and this looks delicious, definitely just been added to my “to make” list :D

  • Caroline L.

    I’m so glad your birthday got turned around! Such wonderful family and friends you have! :) That chalk wall is all sorts of amazing :)

  • What an awesome way to ring in your 30th, all filled with fabulous people and fun!! Happy Belated Birthday Annie, I can’t wait to see what your birthday cake may be!

  • Sarah

    Happy belated birthday! I’m so glad that Ben pulled off such a great surprise weekend for you. My husband also surprised me on my 30th by flying in some of my best friends, and it such a fun way to ring in a new decade. May this year be your best yet!

  • Angie

    Happy Birthday! 30 isn’t so bad! I love the Roll with It on the chalkboard. I have a Roll with It print in our kitchen, but it’s not that cute! And I am so jealous of people who can make chalkboard walls look pretty! My son’s nursery has a chalkboard wall and I definitely couldn’t get the birth stats for his announcement to look that good!

  • Happy belated birthday, Annie! Sounds like you had a fabulous day. Also, I want to eat that entire skillet of eggs and cheese. NOM.

    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough

  • JanetFCTC

    Happy Birthday a bit late! Sounds like it was wonderful… and oh my gosh, so do those eggs!

  • Christiana

    Don’t you know that 30 is the new 20? :-) You look fabulous girl and you’ve accomplished quite a bit before 30. Pretty impressive!

  • Kristen Cooper

    Happy Birthday! Thank you for you wonderful blog, and thank you for your black bean and salsa soup, I think that is how I won over my husband!

  • Happy belated birthday! I`m 2 years into my 20s and I`m already dreading hitting the 30 mark. I know, it`s ridiculous, but I think ahead quite often. But your story definitely made me smile. :)

  • Sounds like a fabulous birthday! I am here to tell you that 40 and 50 aren’t bad either. Just celebrated my 50th with good food, good drink and good friends and it doesn’t get better than that! You gon be fine, as we say in the South. Huevos rancheros are one of my favorite breakfasts but I’ve never added lime crema. Certainly will now! Best wishes for coming year!

  • Katie (The Muffin Myth)

    Annie, you’ve accomplished more in your 30 years than most people do in a lifetime. I’m constantly blown away by reading your stories – having two young children, a marriage, being a resident physician, maintaining this fabulous blog, knitting… plus you’ve survived cancer and the loss of both of your parents. You are amazing. You’re going to rock your 30’s, and I promise you you won’t miss your 20’s a bit. It just get’s better. Onwards and upwards!

  • Beth Whitesell

    Happy Birthday! You’re 30 & fabulous! :0)

  • Happy birthday, isn’t 30 the new 20’s? love your blog, and thank you for sharing…m

  • Emily Clark

    Congratulations on your birthday! The whole story brought a smile to my face! You deserved all the happiness that your family and friends brought to you.

    Thank you for a wonderful job with your food blog. I’m always making your spinach “Witches Brew Cheesy Spinach Soup,” (I’m making this today actually) and I can’t tell you how many times I consult your blog for recipes or good moments in commentary. Happy Birthday, and thanks again!
    BTW, I have loved my 30’s, and soon entering the realm of 40…I hope it’s just as great :)

  • ah. maz. ing. This made my mouth water!!!

  • SK

    Belated Happy Birthday, absolutely love your site…. ever since I found it almost a year ago. I was so inspired that I started my own food blog. I have you to thank. God bless.

  • SK

    Got a quick question.. saw this post and couldn’t help notice the cast iron skillet…what kind of cast iron skillet do you have, ie., what brand. I have been shopping around for one and am confused with all the options out there. Any help/tips will be appreciated. Thanks.

  • annieseats

    Please see the Annie’s equipment page in the right sidebar. It has links to a lot of the things in my kitchen, including my cast iron skillets. Hope that helps!

  • annieseats

    Aw, thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoy it. Thanks for reading!

  • annieseats

    Aw, thank you Katie! You are too sweet. I really appreciate all the kind words :)

  • annieseats

    You can use salted butter and then decrease the remaining salt in the recipe.

  • Joyce

    What a wonderful celebration and I love the chalkboard design! So glad you had a great time!

  • Marcie Roper

    Hope you had a great birthday! I’m so glad you mentioned the “this is how I roll” shirt, cause the second I saw that I wanted to scour the internet to see if such a thing existed. Too cute! Keep us updated, please.

  • annieseats

    Thanks Krystal! You know, I actually ended up doing things a little differently for my cake this year because I knew it needed to be big for all the people at the party. So, I did a small three-tiered cake (one for each decade, haha) so there would be a variety of flavors. Anyway, I didn’t get to do my usual “pick a cake that sounds amazing and spend lots of time enjoying the process and the eating”, so I think in the next few weeks I may do that anyway – just because :)

  • I’m so glad I got to help you celebrate! It was such an amazing weekend, and I wish we could have them more often. Love you, friend!

  • Well, I’m still impressed that you made a tiered cake for your friends & family! There’s always a good reason to make a cake – just because is the best reason of them all!

  • SK

    oops how did i miss the cast iron skillet. I do check it from time to time when I am in the market for kitchen equipment. Thanks so much.

  • annieseats

    No worries :)

  • gailwerner

    SOO wish I could have made it to the party Annie! Glad it was amazing!

  • Sonja / A Couple Cooks

    It was such a pleasure to celebrate with you! You are a light and inspiration to so many, and it was so wonderful to be surrounded by the people you have helped bring together. We are delighted to know you and excited to celebrate many more birthdays! You are awesome, Annie!

  • annieseats

    You are so sweet. I feel the same way about you :)

  • JensFavoriteCookies

    Wow, these eggs look fantastic! And I love pepper jack cheese. I can’t wait to try this!

  • Aubrie

    I made this this morning (and your raspberry sour cream coffee cake yesterday…apparently it’s an Annie’s Eats breakfast weekend for us!) and it was delicious. I loved the combination of flavors–everything balanced each other perfectly. It was fun to make and ended up being the perfect Sunday morning breakfast. I subbed a spoonful of minced chipotle chilis in adobo for the jalapeno since that’s what I had on hand. Thanks for all the amazing recipes! I’m an avid follower and love reading and cooking from your site!

  • Happy Birthday! Ill b celebrating the big 3-0 this year too! I love your recipes. I have no idea how you find time to cook! I’m lucky if I can get my slow Cooke meals done with one child on maternity leave! I envy your time management!

  • Heather B.

    This is an awesome recipe. I have made it twice as is which is fabulous but also just the salsa portion to serve with chips. The second time I made it, I poked the yolk with a fork a few times to speed up the cooking process.. This is a very frugal main dish too. Thanks!