How to Get Dinner Ready in 30 Minutes Using Food Already in Your Fridge

I was scrolling through my facebook feed the other night and a recipe popped up for eggs baked in phyllo dough. The stuff you use when you make baklava. And I thought, what a great idea! So I set off to make my own version. Except I only had 2 of the ingredients that the recipe called for (the eggs and the phyllo dough) and I was committed to the idea of not going to the grocery store again until Thursday (and it was only Monday.) so I did what I always do when faced with the dilemma of what to make for dinner with the stuff I have on hand. I treat it like a puzzle: what do I have and how does it fit together? Currently on hand this time: scallions, half a red onion, celery, one carrot, 2 zucchini, a bag of cilantro, ginger, garlic, salsa, various sauces and dressings and one container of sour cream that is technically past its date, but has no visible mold, cheddar, feta that is probably moldy, and cotija cheese (I have a hard time throwing away food.) Based on this list, and my desire to use the cotija and the sour cream before either one goes truly, definitively, bad, I decided on the following:
Baked Egg Cups

  • 6 sheets of phyllo dough
  • 1 tbl. butter, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tbl. cotija cheese
  • 1/4 c. scallions, chopped fine
  • 1/4 c. cilantro, minced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa

Note: I baked these in 4 small, oven safe ramekins but you could adapt this recipe to a casserole pan pretty easily, I would think. Or you could use a muffin tin instead. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pull up a sheet of phyllo dough and rip it in half. Place in the ramekin so that some hangs over the side. Brush with melted butter. Add another layer of phyllo crosswise over the first. Brush with butter. Add a third layer of phyllo on top of the first two and brush with butter. Repeat the process with the remaining ramekins. 
In a mixing bowl, mix together the eggs, cotija, scallions, cilantro, salt and pepper. Go easy on the salt since the cheese is salty. Once everything is well mixed, pour the filling into the individual ramekins, then fold any overhanging dough onto the top of the filling. Place in the oven (I put mine right on the oven rack) and bake for 15-18 minutes. Once the eggs are set and the phyllo is browned remove from the oven and pop the little egg filled pdoufh cups out of the ramekins. Top with sour cream and salsa and eat.

The great thing about this recipe is it’s easy, fast and endlessly variable. You could do goat cheese and leeks. Bacon and blue cheese. Cheddar and sausage. And the best part? My son ate it and liked it.