Adventures of a former overseas missionary, pilot's wife, and mom of 4 girls

Favorite Recipes – Monterey Beans and Cheese March 23, 2011

Filed under: Favorite recipes — junglewife @ 7:13 pm

This is one of my favorite economical tasty recipes. A nice twist on the classic red-beans-and-rice, it has a wonderful flavor for not much money.  Sorry, no pictures today, but I am not sure how appetizing pictures of this dish would be in any case!

This recipe comes from my much-loved More With Less cookbook. It should tell you something that my cookbook opens automatically to the page this recipe is on, and has food stains all over the page! (It doesn’t hurt, either, that one of my other favorite recipes, Caribbean Rice and Beans, is on the other side of the spiral from this recipe!)

My mom used to make this recipe quite often when I was growing up, and so I am sure that part of my love of it stems from nostalgic value. But I must say that Dan never complains when I make it, and Claire usually gobbles up her share, too (Natalie’s a little more picky, unfortunately!)  And it was a staple in our poor-Moody-student days as well!

So without further ado, here is the recipe:

Monterey Beans and Cheese

2 slices bacon – fry, remove from skillet (keep the bacon grease in the skillet), break into pieces, and set aside

Saute in bacon fat until tender: 1/2 medium onion, diced and 1/2 green pepper, diced (I usually leave out the green pepper as it’s not readily available here)

Add to onion and green pepper:

bacon bits

2 cups cooked kidney beans (canned are fine, I am not sure exactly how many cans this would be, somewhere between one and two I am guessing, although if you put in two whole cans the recipe will still turn out fine!)

3/4 cup tomato sauce (if you have a lot of tomatoes laying around, you can substitute chopped tomatoes for the tomato sauce, but I prefer the taste and texture of the dish made with tomato sauce)

1/4 cup beef bouillon or tomato juice (I usually just add more tomato sauce)

1 t. chili powder

1/2 t. salt

dash of pepper

1/4 to 1/2 lb shredded cheddar cheese (this is 1-2 cups of cheese. I usually add less rather than more because cheese is EXPENSIVE here – like $10/pound expensive – but if you want to add more that is fine, too.)

Cook slowly, stirring constantly, until ingredients are blended and cheese is smooth- about 5 minutes. Serve with rice.

Serve to your family and enjoy! 🙂 The leftovers are great, too!

(And just a plug for the cookbook – if you are looking for good, simple, healthy cooking, the More with Less cookbook is really great. No fancy ingredients. Usually simple, always tasty recipes.  It also has an emphasis on, well, eating more with less. That is, according to the front of the cookbook “eating better and consuming less of the world’s limited food resources.” I especially enjoy it because, as a missionary in a fairly remote area, usually all I can get here are basic, simple ingredients – perfect for the recipes in this cookbook! No, I don’t know anyone who wrote the cookbook. 🙂 But I did grow up enjoying a lot of the recipes that my mom made with this book, and now make a lot of them myself!)


9 Responses to “Favorite Recipes – Monterey Beans and Cheese”

  1. Gracia M. Says:

    I have that cookbook, and have never tried that recipe because hubby doesn’t do well with beans or rice (for different reasons.) Now I’m cooking for my mom too though, and that’s something she could eat, so I’ll have to look it up. Thanks.

  2. Ellie Says:

    I grew up with that cookbook around, but we rarely used it. My mom could have written her own book like it, I guess, so I just grew up cooking with her.

    I wonder for things like green peppers and other veggies if you (or someone else who can get them) can dry them and send them in. We used to dry veggies during veggie season so we could have them during the hot summers when no veggies were available. All you have to do is wash and cut them and spread them in the hot sun on a cloth with perhaps a netting cloth over them to keep away flies.

    To cook with them, just soak them in water and then add them to any recipe like this one and they work fine. Dried veggies are also lighter for flying in. It might work.

    • junglewife Says:


      We actually can get green peppers here sometime, but they are very expensive, so usually I don’t use them where a recipe just requires a little bit, because I figure that I am not missing anything if I just leave it out! I usually use them where I can really enjoy them, like in salads, etc. We really can get quite a bit of veggies here. One thing we can’t get but that my neighbor has successfully grown in her garden is broccoli. So maybe I will have to try planting my own, too!

  3. Carol Ringenberg Says:

    I’ve had that wonderful cookbook since the seventies and love it. However, I’ve never tried that recipe, so I’ll have to give it a try. I started giving the book as awedding gift. It should be in every home.

  4. Carmen Says:

    This recipe sounds great!

  5. Anne-Marie Chapple Says:

    I have this cookbook and I love using it. I love that I can always find something to make and I’m not searching the market for unusual and strange ingredients. I love cooking economically! I’ll have to try this one.

  6. Amy Says:

    This is my absolute favorite cookbook and I’m blogging about it today. I couldn’t resist linking to your post as well since you featured one of my favorite recipes from the book.

  7. Kacie Says:

    funny, I just googled this recipe so that I could send it to a friend, and I got you! It’s one of my favorites too.

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