Stuck in Juarez

For a number of years my parents lived in Las Cruces, New Mexico, which is about an hour north of El Paso, Texas. Our typical visit would last 5-7 days and after the first couple of days, I had to get my (then) young boys out to do some things. Driving around on my Dad’s golf cart was fun, but got old.

We would occasionally find an activity in Las Cruces (Renaissance Faire) but often found that we would explore beyond the city limits. One trip, The Ranting Wife and I decided it would be good to take the boys into Mexico. It was early December of 2000 and the drug violence was just starting to escalate.

I had fond memories of visiting Mexico. When I lived in Southern California, a day trip to Tijjuana was a welcome adventure. An overnight to Ensenada? Even better. My wife and I went to Mazatlan for our honeymoon and on our first cruise one of the stops was Cozumel.

Right across the border from El Paso is Cuidad Juarez. It was starting to get a reputation for violence, but it was still thought that tourists being there during the daytime were pretty safe. We drove down with my mother and parked on the US side of the border. We purchased tickets to go on a tourist bus over the border which would take us to a shopping area and boarded the bus.

Our day in Juarez was a fun one. The boys each got  little wood guitars and played with them endlessly (for about two days that is). After a good lunch and lots of walking, we boarded the bus for the return home.

I was used to the border crossing at Tijuana where it is quick to get into Mexico, but the line to come back into the US was sometimes hours long). This crossing was much faster and we only waited about 20 minutes to get to the border crossing. As this was pre-9/11, passports were not required for the crossing. The bus pulled up and a border agent boarded. We had been prepped to have our IDs ready in case he wanted to look at it and to answer any questions quickly, completely and honestly.

The agent quickly scanned the bus and said loudly “Welcome back to the United States. I only have one question and then the bus can come through. We recently held a presidential election. Who was elected the next president?”

The bus went silent. The Florida recount (remember the “hanging chads”?) was still underway and the US Supreme Court had not yet ruled on the election. The agent then smiled broadly and said “I’m kidding you, welcome back” and left the bus.

Smoked Chicken-Egg Bake

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Lucky for me, I don’t have to go across the border to get this dish.

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In place of smoked chicken, I went easy and used canned chicken.

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Make the white sauce.

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Cook the shrooms.

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Cook the egg.

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Put it all together in a baking dish.

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Out of the oven.

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A hearty, delicious dish.

Smoked Chicken-Egg Bake

prep 30 minutes ∙ cook 15 mins ∙ source


  • 1-1/4 cups fat-free milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel), cubed
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1-1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms, such as morel, shiitake, or crimini
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped, smoked cooked chicken
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 2-1/2 cups refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper


1. For sauce, in a screw-top jar combine milk and flour. Cover and shake well. Pour into a saucepan; cook and stir over medium heat until bubbly. Add cream cheese; cook and stir until melted. Remove from heat; stir in chives.

2. Lightly coat a large skillet with cooking spray. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onion. Cook and stir about 3 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the mushroom mixture to sauce. Stir in chicken; set aside.

3. In the same skillet melt butter over medium heat. Add egg product, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat, without stirring, until egg mixture begins to set on the bottom and around edge. Using a spatula or a large spoon, lift and fold the partially cooked egg mixture so that the uncooked portion flows underneath. Continue cooking over medium heat until egg mixture is cooked through but is still glossy and moist. Transfer egg mixture to a 2-quart casserole; spoon the sauce over top.

4. Bake in a 400 degree F oven about 15 minutes or until heated through. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.

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Categories: Baking3, Breakfast, Cheese3, Chicken2, Eggs, Low Carb, Lunch3, Main Dish 3, Recipes, Vegetable4

Author:The Ranting Chef

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