Yesterday was my birthday (as those of you who know me on Facebook are aware); I'm now 58. That may be a post of its own, but this isn't it. This is a food post, which I should save for Tuesday, but I have time today, so. . .
One of the downsides of having my birthday at the end of February is that most years my birthday falls in Lent. And although people assure me that it's OK to dispense myself from whatever Lenten discipline involving food I've chosen, that feels like a cop-out. This year, however, I gave up cookies, candy, and any sweet treat I make myself. So I was/am able to enjoy the flourless chocolate cake that Katie whipped up (topped with strawberries and almonds -- yum!!) But yesterday was still a Friday.
My birthday dinner of choice is beef pot-roast with carrots, potatoes and onions. Actually, we're having that tonight. ( ;-D ) But yesterday had to be meatless. And I didn't think it was outside the spirit of abstinence to pick a recipe that I like. So in case you need something for the next few Fridays, here it is:
Monterey Beans and Cheese
Fry, drain, and crumble 2 slices bacon*. Saute in bacon fat until tender one medium onion, chopped**. Add one 15oz can beans***, drained, rinsed, and mashed; 1 cup tomato sauce ****, 1 t. chili powder*****, 1/2 t. salt, and a dash of pepper. Stir until smooth and hot. Add 1/4 to 1/2 pound cheddar cheese******, shredded, and bacon bits. Stir until cheese is melted. Serve over cooked rice. Serves six.
* If you are going totally meatless, start with 2T oil and omit bacon. We eat this dish year-round.
** The original recipe called for half onion, half green pepper. Green pepper doesn't fly in this house.
***I use red beans. The original recipe called for kidney beans. The original recipe also did not mash the beans, but most of my family won't eat beans they can see. Mashed and/or refried are OK. Go figure!
**** An alternate, especially if you are using unmashed beans, is 2 medium tomatoes, diced, plus 1/4 c. (reconstituted) beef bouillon or tomato juice. I sometimes throw in about 1/2 t. powdered bouillon with the tomato sauce.
*****Even with the medium-hot chili powder I use, this is a relatively mild dish. Heat lovers can add more to taste.
****** I use the full 1/2 # of extra-sharp cheddar. Monterey jack or pepper jack would probably work, too. I always shred my own cheese; the pre-shredded tastes "floury" to me.
An additional advantage to this recipe is that it's quick. If all the ingredients are on hand, you can whip up the whole thing in the 20 minutes it takes the rice to cook. If you're serving a big crowd, it doubles nicely, but you need a big pan.
Have a lovely weekend (what's left of it), and I promise another post early next week.