Monday, September 5, 2011

Rewarded for doing something out of love.

This weekend I baked, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. I cook and bake out of love and passion; love for the art, love for my family and friends; passion for cooking and baking, passion for making others feel good with my successes in the kitchen. Occasionally someone has the nerve to tell me I must bake cookies for, not just themselves, but for others; and I refuse. You cannot tell someone to perform in the kitchen; you must respect their love and passion.

So tomorrow, since today is Labor Day and a holiday, others will enjoy what I worked so hard on for the past two days; cookies and cupcakes. It will make me happy, not because I had to do it, but because I wanted to do it. Roy recognizes my efforts, and he decided to reward me for them; he actually cooked dinner for me last night. I don't mean he ordered take out; he didn't take something out of the freezer and just reheat it; he didn't make something from a box or can; he actually cooked and used a recipe.

He made Nachos and with the nachos, we watched a DVD on the television, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1". Now you might be thinking that nachos are more of an appetizer or snack, but if you break them down, they are a complete meal made in a skillet. Meat, beans, vegetables and cheese; sounds like four of the basic food groups right there. The recipe I had was originally given to me by my mom, but living out in the Southwest, we made a few changes to it. Instead of red kidney beans, we used whole black beans; instead of plain diced tomatoes, we used diced tomatoes with green chilies. Might not sound like a big difference, but taste and flavor wise, it was.

So here is our updated version of Nachos; enjoy it with a movie.



1 ½ lbs lean ground beef
½ cup each of diced red bell peppers and onion
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 (15 oz) can whole black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with chilies
1 (1.75 oz) package taco seasoning
1 (8 oz) package shredded Mexican blend or Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
tortilla chips
sour cream


In a large skillet, medium-high heat, brown the ground beef and drain excess grease; set aside. In same skillet, sauté peppers and onions till soft, but not browned.

Return beef to skillet; add garlic, beans, tomatoes and taco seasoning; mix and let cook for 10 minutes; stir occasionally. Reduce heat to low; spread cheese over mixture, cover and let cook an additional 5 minutes.

Serve with chips, sour cream and/or guacamole.

Makes 6 servings.

Note: mild, medium or hot is the cook’s option for both the diced tomatoes with chilies and the taco seasoning.

Mary Cokenour

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