Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Are you aware that what you eat is believed to bring you good luck in the New Year?

Foxie’s New Year’s Black-Eyed Peas

This is a southern tradition. In this case, it comes from southern Illinois. Mother always put on a pot of Black-eyed peas before going to a New Year’s Eve party. They would be piping hot and smelling delicious on New Year’s morning. Serve them with cornbread and good luck will definitely come this year!

Serves 8-10


1-pound bag (about 2 cups) of Black-eyed Peas
8-cups water
1 large onion, chopped
1-pound bacon, cut into pieces
1-tablespoon chopped garlic
1-teaspoon salt
¼- teaspoon pepper

Rinse beans. Put beans and 8 cups water in the crock-pot to soak all day on December 31st.

In the evening, drain the beans and rinse again. Combine all ingredients except salt and pepper together in the crock-pot. Add 8 cups water and cook all night (10-12 hours) on low setting.

If you add the salt too soon the black-eyed peas could be tough.

On New Year's morning, add the salt and pepper and leave on low until you're ready to eat.

The bacon will come to the top when the black-eyed peas are ready to eat. I skim it off with a slotted spoon and throw it away.

Serve black-eyed peas with Nancy’s cornbread on New Year’s Day.

Nancy was my college roommate and a partner in many escapades.
Her life was too short but her legacy was long.

She loved my children as if they were her own. On the children’s summer trips to her farm, their country experiences were expanded from the desert to the Kansas hay fields.

She was a country girl with a big heart and a powerful intellect. She wanted to be the first woman president of the United States.

In high school Nancy received many honors and awards, one of which was being invited to Washington, D.C. to be honored by the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation. That experience fed her political ambition. In college, she won every office she pursued.

She earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas and went to work for NASA in Houston.

After a few years of living the life of a successful career woman, she chose to go back to the Kansas farm of her roots.

She seemed to have her priorities all sorted out.

Here’s her cornbread recipe.

Nancy’s Cornbread

Heat oven to 375.

1-cup cornmeal
1-cup flour (½ white and ½ whole wheat)
¼-cup sugar + a little bit more
2-shakes salt
4-teaspoons baking powder

1-cup milk
¼-cup oil
1 egg

Mix together the first five ingredients in a bowl.
In another bowl, mix together the next three ingredients.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to mix well.

Don’t over stir!

Grease pan. I always used a cast iron skillet or cast iron muffin pan for this. A square 8X8 or 9X9 pan works just as well.

If you double the recipe, use a 9X 13 pan.

Bake about 30 minutes or until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Friday, December 23, 2011




I’m sitting at the kitchen table and taking a much deserved coffee break.

My eye wanders over to the fully loaded Christmas tree…loaded in many ways. It is dramatic in the corner of the living room by the piano. This is the tallest point in the room and the tree almost hits the ceiling. It has some new decorations, some antique ones and some handmade ones made at school as gifts for Santa and me. It has so many more lights of all colors this year. Under the tree and overflowing out into the living room are more colorfully wrapped presents of various sizes than we’ve ever had…such suspense.

The shadow box nativity is on the music cabinet by the front door. The figures are made from cornhusks. It is a reminder of what Christmas is. As they grow up and have families of their own, I hope the children will always remember and honor the true meaning of Christmas. We don’t go to church as much as we used to.

The colorful Mexican folk art ornaments made from yarn are hanging on the spent yucca stalks that I placed in empty pots in the floor planter by the sliding doors that separate the living room and the dining room.

There is fake greenery with multi-colored lights wound around all of the beams that stretch across the living room ceiling.

All of the art in the house has a tiny piece of holly stuck in the top. Just in case anyone should doubt that all surfaces have been decorated.

There is only one thing wrong with this picture. We really must replace the orange carpet in the living room. It clashes with the pink and burgundy Mexican tile in the dining room. Some day.

This will be the best Christmas ever. The tree has never been more beautiful.

I think I’ll put a fire in the fireplace. The smell of Mesquite burning outside will welcome anyone coming up our driveway. The children will smell it and know that the house will be warm and cozy when they come in to rest and eat a Christmas snack.

The smells of the food cooking mixed with the smell of a Mesquite fire could soften the heart of any Scrooge.

The beans are smashed and simmering, the tamales are steaming and the red chile is ready in the crock-pot.

There are stacks of fresh tortillas, salsa, chips, candy, cookies, peppermint ice cream, and even a chocolate cake…and, of course, real eggnog.

I am comforted by the fact that this is enough food for any number of people who might drop by.

Santa usually brings people home from the “club” and family may stop by to wish us a Merry Christmas. It makes my heart joyful that everyone feels comfortable coming to our home without a formal invitation.

On Christmas Eve, Santa has a special party for the employees. After closing the club to the public, he provides food and drink to those who don’t have any place to go for Christmas. He is very generous to the people who help make our lives a little easier.

Because this party goes on until the “wee” hours, I think this is why we don’t attend Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve anymore.

I am content. I am thankful for my healthy, beautiful children and my perfect home.                      

Showdown and Boo are napping on the warm sand outside under the carport, keeping one ear and one eye fixed on what the children are doing. They have to be alert to do their job of protecting the little ones. Sweet puppy Miel is running around with the children thinking she is part of their game.

We do get coyotes and javelinas coming up to the carport where we leave dry dog food in a bowl. The dogs are an intimidating force to the wild animals. I feel that the children are safe outside with the dogs around.

Robbie is down by the tack room grooming her horse.

Rica and HD are playing outside with the neighbors.

Lots of chatter and laughter.

It’s a beautiful winter day in the desert.  As I gaze out the east windows, the sun’s shadows are long across the landscape and create a surreal picture of the Rincon Mountains. They are very colorful just now when they are usually a pale gray. The various saguaros, in all their stages of growth…some gigantic with lots of arms…some small and just beginning to get an arm…provide a big clue as to where we live. The Sonoran Desert. There is not another sign of civilization between our home and the mountains. Just beautiful desert to enjoy.

It’s supposed to snow again this week. There is nothing more beautiful or fitting than to have snow on the mountains towering over the warm, sunny desert for Christmas.

One of the miracles in our life is to have found this adobe home away from the city. It has a spirit and a soul. It feels safe here. The children have freedom to explore and be in touch with the earth. It is a refuge from the demands of our business.

Robbie has been so good helping me with the Santa Claus preparations. She is a smart and beautiful young lady…almost a teenager. We picked up toys for the little ones and hid them under beds and in her closet. She's been my helpful and creative secret elf.

I’ve been sneaking around trying to find things for her for Christmas from Santa and hiding her stocking stuffers.

It has been fun staying up late every night the past couple of weeks to wrap presents, write Christmas cards, make lists, decorate, and cook.

Our house isn’t that big. I hope I can find everything tonight and still surprise Robbie, Robbie.

Santa won’t be home to help me.

Rica and HD are my precious little angels. They are happy, bright-eyed and enthusiastic. It is such a special picture of them taken with Santa this year. They were all dressed up and being very brave in the arms of a big overdressed stranger. Mother and Dad are thrilled with it. I wish they lived closer.

I have been buying out the Hallmark store grabbing every wonderful stocking stuffer I could find.

Stockings will be supplemented with the usual oranges, apples, popcorn balls, and candy canes. They take up lots of room.

The children know not to be greedy and to ask Santa for only one thing. Those things will magically appear this year.

I ask Santa for only one thing as well…OK…two things. Peace On Earth was one. The other is to have the pile of debris in the corral disposed of. Months of cleaning up the property and piling everything in a pile in the corral had created a mountain of yucky stuff full of stickers, cactus, branches and who knows what else.

Let’s see if I get my presents.

Gotta go feed some hungry cute kids.


I was awakened by a raucous noise this morning. It sounded like a fire burning. I looked at the clock. It was 4:30 AM.

What could be burning…the children…get everyone out. Where’s Santa?

As I went into the living room from the bedroom I realized that our house wasn’t on fire. Everyone and everything within our walls was safe.

What was that strange orange glow coming from outside?

A fire!! A big fire!! And there was Santa, monitoring the fire. The flames were rising to the sky and there were frightening crackling sounds. Was he burning down the tack shed?

I got what I asked for.

Not Peace On Earth. Maybe I’ll get that next year.

My present request was granted. The debris pile was being burned. I thought maybe a few trips to the dump in the pick-up would take care of it.

Santa is very dramatic.


Sunday, December 18, 2011


There are easy-to-make tacos and there are the world’s best tacos. There are also lots of tacos in between that deserve some attention but would not be considered to be the tastiest or most popular.

The most popular taco is a beef taco. That will be “the star of this show”.

Most everyone knows how to eat a taco; hold the taco straight up and turn your head to the side to bite into the end. This way the filling doesn’t fall out.

Also, lots of folks can make a taco the easy way. Taco ingredients can be purchased in the store so that you can have tacos for dinner in the time it takes to brown the hamburger.

Again, those are not the subjects of this post.

These tacos are the ultimate, most sought after by those who know the difference, and apparently a well-kept secret on how to cook them


Servings: 4 (3 tacos per person) I have never made just four tacos. Usually I make about 50 if the kids and grandkids are coming. The recipe for a dozen will get you started.


·        1-doz corn tortillas; Remember to buy the least expensive ones. Maybe you will find them on the bottom shelf of the tortilla section. They have only three ingredients: corn, water, lime. These last the longest and are the best for all your recipes that call for corn tortillas. Keep them refrigerated until you’re ready to use them. If you freeze them they will become crumbly when thawed. Always bring them to room temperature before frying them.
·        1-pound ground beef (your choice regarding fat content, I prefer 80/20)
·        1-package of shredded Mexican cheese
·        1-package of lettuce shreds or a 1/3-head of iceberg lettuce
·        Taco sauce: You can make it from scratch or buy it.
·        Garlic salt
·        Pepper
·        Lard or oil

The Process:


Here’s how to get organized. You will save yourself lots of frustration and anxiety.

Ideally, these tacos should be eaten right out of the skillet. I never used to sit down at a taco "feed". I stood at the stove cooking tacos until the last person had eaten all they could.

The cook fries them, drains them on a paper towel and fills them (lettuce, taco sauce and cheese) right at the stove. The diners line up, get their filled taco, go to the bean and rice pots for a helping of each and sit down to eat. Actually, now that I think about it, sometimes they stand up and eat.

Most taco cooks I know would have a good cold Mexican beer to help them through such a strenuous ordeal. Just a thought. No personal experience, of course.         


Have prepared and ready to go:
The lettuce shreds: You can make these from a head of iceberg lettuce or buy a bag. The lettuce should be washed, drained and wrapped in paper towel. Now chop it into fine shreds and put into a bowl. Fill the bowl with water and mix in a capful of vinegar. Put this into the refrigerator until time to eat. This will make the lettuce crisp and fresh. 

Make the taco sauce now unless you are using a store-bought kind. This simple recipe is an original and always used before there were taco sauces in the store. It is mild tasting so it won’t offend anyone and it is cheap (costs $1.00 at the most). You may buy your favorite green or red taco sauce in a can or bottle. Bullet likes El Pato. I always have a can of that handy.

Sonoran Mexican food is not hot. It is a huge misconception that any Mexican food is hot.

 New Mexican food…that’s a different story. Try getting anything to eat in New Mexico that doesn’t have in it, or on it, the hottest green chile your tongue has ever touched.

This taco sauce is mild. Great for kids too.

If someone wants to spice up their tacos, they can reach for the bottle of hot sauce or grab a jalapeƱo or two.

“You can tell how long a couple has been married by whether they are on their first, second, or third bottle of Tabasco.”
 ~ Bruce Bye

Taco sauce recipe:

1-7-ounce can tomato sauce
1-teaspoon garlic salt
1/3-teapsoon oregano
1 capful of vinegar

Mix together and put in a bowl. Set it aside until dinnertime. Don’t put it in the refrigerator unless it will be hours before you eat. It should be at room temperature when you are serving the tacos.

Get out a 10-inch heavy skillet and set it on the burner you will be using.

Next to the stove set the following items:

A bowl for the cheese. Yes, put the cheese in it now.

2 small plates to set the tortillas on. Dessert plates are usually the exact size of a corn tortilla.

Metal tongs

If you’re going to be cooking lots of tacos and not going to be dishing them out one-at-a-time, you will need a “keeping” pan:
This is a glass or aluminum-baking pan lined with paper towel to put the tacos in after they are cooked. This pan should sit on the stove or near it so that you can whisk the cooked tacos out of the skillet the minute they’re ready. Put this pan full of tacos, loosely covered with a foil tent in a warm oven (about 250 degrees) until it’s time to serve them.

Put the dozen tortillas on one of the small plates.

Put the hamburger in a bowl and sprinkle the garlic salt and pepper over the top of the meat. Using a large spoon, work the garlic salt and pepper into the meat until you think all of the meat is seasoned. I use my hands to mix it in.

Put one tortilla on the empty plate. Pick up a pinch of hamburger and spread it on about 1/2 of the tortilla to the edge. It should be thin and almost cover that one side of the tortilla.

Pick up the next tortilla and do the same thing. Put it on top of the first one, with the meat side facing the opposite direction. That way you won’t have a lop-sided stack when you’re finished putting the meat on the tortillas.

Continue doing this until you have prepared all of the tortillas for the number of tacos you are going to make. You will always have to make more than you expected.

Spoon lard into a 10-inch skillet set on medium-high heat. There should be about a ¼-inch of melted oil in the skillet before you add the first tortilla with meat. You may have to add more oil as you go.

This is where the magic takes over. As a “seasoned cook” you will have learned how to tell when the oil is hot enough but not too hot, when the meat is done just right in the taco, and when the taco shell is fried a little crispy but not too crispy.

If the shell is fried too crispy, it will break in half. If it isn’t fried crispy enough, it will be soggy with oil.

The reason these tacos are the world’s best is that cooking the hamburger on the tortilla flavors the tortilla and also adds some extra fat from the meat as it cooks.

Put a tortilla with hamburger on it into the hot oil.

You will see the tortilla start to cook.
Take the tongs and pick up the side of the tortilla that doesn’t have meat on it.

Slide it back and forth so that you get some oil going over the top of the tortilla and the meat.
If it feels a little stiff, it’s time to pull it up over the meat side. Don’t pull it all the way over. Leave a 1-inch opening at the top.
Now, turn the taco over so that the meat side is on top. Yes, the meat will fall over onto the other side. That’s ok…it is cooking.
As it fries, add another one to the skillet. Keep doing this, one at a time, until you are cooking a batch of four in the skillet at the same time.

As the first is finished, pick it up with the tongs and place it in the “keeping” pan with the paper towel that is going into the oven later.

Don’t forget to put a pinch of shredded cheese in the hot taco after you put it in the “keeping” pan.

Then take out the next as it’s cooked, then the next.
You’ll have some room in your skillet so start adding tacos to cook, staying mindful of the ones already cooking.
Keep turning them over so that they cook and brown evenly.
Now put another taco in to fry, then another, etc.
When they have all cooked and are in the “keeping” pan, loosely place a piece of foil over the pan and put it in the warm oven.

You may have to adjust the heat from medium-high to medium along the way. It totally depends on what kind of stove you have. With a gas stove the heat can be ideal all the way through. With an electric stove, the heat is constantly fluctuating and it is more of a challenge. If it’s too hot the tacos will cook too fast and break. If it’s not hot enough, the tacos won’t cook fast enough and won’t be as crispy as you want them to be. It is better to err on the side of “still a little floppy” so you can control the opening at the top as they cook. If they break, there is no recovery.

You will get the “hang” of it. It is a feeling. Sounds strange but I guess it is like making bread dough or a piecrust. (Two things I do not know how to do.) It just takes practice. Believe me, there is always someone close by who will help out by eating the mistakes.

Now what???

The tacos are cooked and waiting in the oven to be eaten.
Drain the lettuce that’s crisping in the refrigerator, wrap it well in paper towel to get rid of the water, and put it back in the bowl.
Retrieve the taco sauce.
Fill up the bowl of shredded cheese that you’ve been using to put cheese in the hot tacos.

Serving the tacos:

If everyone is sitting down at the table to eat, I like to put a small cream pitcher of El Pato on the table, the salt and pepper, a bottle of Tabasco, some extra cheese in a bowl, some salsa, chips, silverware, and napkins.

The plates will sit on a serving table (the kitchen counter usually).
The pan of tacos will be there also along with the things that go on them:

Taco sauce

Chopped green onions
Chopped tomatoes
Peas; JK (just wanted to see if you really read all of this)

You can make a lot of people happy if you learn how to make these tacos. The taco is a happy food, unlike tripe, brains, sauerkraut, etc. It is the “Mexican hamburger”. Delicious and nutritious. Your family will thank you.

“Tacos are the only food shaped like a smile.” ~Earl Hickey

Con amor,
Calamity Janet

Saturday, December 10, 2011


This is a side dish that sounds so simple to make and yet seems so difficult to get right.

Mexican rice in restaurants suffers from the cooks trying to jazz it up with various things like peas, carrots and tomatoes. In many Mexican families, these things are added and you can add them if you want. Toss a can of Veg-All into the cooked rice.

Granddaughter AJ used to love Mexican rice from my kitchen. Now, from eating in restaurants, she is reluctant to order it. When I ask her if she wants some rice now, she says emphatically, “NO PEAS!”

Good advice.


2-tablespoons oil
1-cup long grain white rice
1/2-teaspoon garlic salt                      
1/8-teapsoon pepper
Knorr “Caldo de Tomate” bouillon cube
2-cups hot water


Put bouillon cube in 2-cups hot water and let it dissolve while browning rice.

Heat the oil on medium-high heat in a medium saucepan.

Sprinkle a few drops of water in the oil to see if it’s hot enough. When it sizzles, add the rice.

 Stir the rice until it is browned (browning means not dark brown but beige to golden brown) evenly.

While browning stir in the garlic salt and pepper.

Here’s the hint:  

The rice will be very hot at this point. Be careful or it will burn. Add the water with the dissolved bouillon very quickly to the rice. It will send off a blast of hot steam.

Hurry and stir it just once to mix in the water very quickly.
If you stir it a few times you will lose the steam. Bad, bad, bad.


This scorches the rice and makes the special flavor of perfectly cooked Mexican rice.

Turn the heat down to simmer/low and set your timer for 30 minutes.

Steam will be coming out of the sides of the lid on the pan. It’s OK. Don’t lift the lid up to see what’s wrong. Nothing’s wrong. It won’t blow up. This is what it will do until the heat gets lower for it to cook more slowly and for the water to be absorbed.

Don't, under any circumstances, lift the lid until I tell you to...don't let anyone else lift the lid either. This is cooking rule #1 in my kitchen! You are in big trouble if you lift the lid on the rice. Got it??? Gr-r-r-r.

When the timer signals that the time is up, turn the burner off but don’t move the rice from that burner.

Wait ten minutes before lifting the lid.

Take off the lid and stir the rice with a wooden spoon or fork, making sure that there isn’t any stuck to the bottom. Put the lid back on and set aside until time to eat.

To reheat rice, stir in ¼-cup water and heat, covered, on medium-low for 15 minutes.

The longer the rice sits with the lid on the better it will be. This applies to reheating as well.

Your rice will always be fluffy...not too moist...not too dry.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


It seems important to talk about beans a little bit. Here are three methods to cook pinto beans:

  • Traditional way
  • Quick way
  • Canned way

Buy dried pinto beans and long grain white rice in bulk.

We buy 25-pound bags of beans.            

Beans and rice each contain certain amino acids that when combined in a meal, form a complete protein. No need for meat.

In Mexico and many areas of the United States, pinto beans are served at every meal. They can be the entire meal and are very nourishing.

Even though I’m a “Gringa,” you can trust my bean recipes. They come from 45 years of cooking and eating Mexican food and being taught by the best Mexican cooks.

References can be provided upon request.

In these times, eating in a “fast” Mexican food restaurant is common to many people who otherwise might not have had that experience into the mid-20th century. Refried beans come in many variations: bean burros, bean tostadas, bean chimichangas, bean enchiladas, bean tamales, bean tacos or a side of beans.

Also, pinto beans are cooked in many other ways without being “fried”; they are delicious in soups and stews such as Posole and Chile con Carne.

Bean rule #1: Always soak the beans, preferably overnight.

Remember the little rhyme that goes:
“Beans, beans the musical fruit,
The more you eat the more you t—t…”

Soaking takes the “music” out of eating beans.

Frijoles Refritos (Refried Beans)

2-cups dried pinto beans
1-teaspoon salt
¼-teaspoon pepper
¼-cup oil (lard, bacon grease, vegetable oil)

Optional ingredients:
1-pound bacon or a couple of ham hocks
1 chopped onion
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 Knorr chicken bouillon cubes or 4-cups chicken broth
Sour cream


Put beans in a slow cooker without the heat turned on.
Cover the beans with 10 cups water.
Put the lid on the pot and let the beans soak overnight.

In the morning, fry half the bacon for breakfast and save the grease. Eat the fried bacon. If it’s too much, you can have BLTs for lunch.

Drain and rinse the beans.
Put them back into the slow cooker and add more water to cover, about 6 cups.
At this point, chop the rest of the uncooked bacon, the onion and the garlic cloves and add to the beans. If you are using ham hocks, put them in now too. I don’t use ham hocks and bacon…one or the other.

Do not add salt or bouillon cubes until the beans are cooked. It will make them tough.

Cook on high for 2 hours, then on low for approximately 6-8 hours.
Taste a few in a small bowl. This is mandatory. If they taste good without salt, leave the salt out. Especially if you use ham hocks or bacon, you don't need more salt.

Drain the beans in a large strainer over a bowl that is a similar size to the strainer.
Save one cup of bean juice in a measuring cup. Discard the rest.
Melt the bacon grease or lard in a heavy metal skillet or stew pot on medium heat.
When the grease starts to sizzle, add the beans.
As they start to stew in the grease, start mashing them with a potato masher.
Now, stir in the bouillon cubes, salt and pepper.
As you are mashing them, add some of the juice they were cooked in a little at a time.
When they seem to be the right consistency, turn the heat to low and let them simmer uncovered about 10 minutes, adding a little more juice as they thicken. If you run out of bean juice and need more liquid, add some water, broth and/or milk.

Norma, my sister-in-law, was attempting to teach me to do this process in 1967. Her words still ring in my ears, “Don’t stir the beans!”

I still don’t know why but I hear her coaching me every time I think about stirring the beans. Certainly, some stirring is necessary. I guess I do stir them less than I would have otherwise. The liquid evaporates and every now and then you can stir them from the bottom, scraping off the “good stuff” and mixing it with the beans.

For serving, sprinkle some shredded cheese on top of the beans. If you serve them buffet style, put the refried beans back in the slow cooker on low with shredded cheese sprinkled on top. Cover.
When it’s time to eat, people can serve themselves.

For special occasions with lots of people, double or triple the recipe. Once beans are smashed and fried they will freeze wonderfully. Don’t add cheese before freezing, just add it when you reheat them and serve them.

Here’s a quick-cook method for cooking pinto beans on a normal day using the same ingredients. “Quick” meaning you can prepare them in one day instead of having to soak them overnight. 

Rinse the beans in a strainer.
Put the beans in a stew pot.          
Add 10 cups of hot water.
Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 2 minutes. 

Remove from heat.
Let the pot sit for 1 hour with the lid on. This is the soaking process.
Strain the beans and don’t save the liquid.
Put the beans back into the pot.
Add 6 cups of water.
Add chopped onion, chopped garlic, ham hocks or bacon, if using.
Put back on stove and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours.

At the end of the cooking time, add salt, pepper and bouillon cubes.
Let the beans simmer another hour.

Now, they should be cooked to perfection.

Eat some like this…you can’t help it. You’ve been smelling them all day. These are called Charro Beans when they haven't been smashed and fried.

Now to the "how-to" of "refried" beans that appear on all menus in Mexican restaurants:

Drain the beans, reserving one cup of bean juice, and follow the previous directions at the beginning of this post.

Give up? Buy canned (any size) “Rosarita Traditional Refried Beans” from your grocer’s shelf.


Do this instead:
Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat.
Dump in contents of can.
Add some water, broth and/or milk a little at a time and stir it in well. When the beans are the desired consistency, lower the heat to simmer, sprinkle some cheese on top and let simmer until ready to eat.
Stir occasionally.
Add more cheese as necessary.

Cheese to use for beans and all Mexican cooking:

There is the mixed, shredded kind labeled Mexican cheese, which can include Colby and Monterey Jack. Also, Longhorn, mild cheddar, and Mexican Queso Fresco are tasty.

If a stronger or more authentic cheese taste is preferred on the beans, try crumbled feta cheese or shredded sharp cheddar.
Shredded cheese freezes well because it has flour on it. If you don’t want flour on your cheese, buy fresh cheese that you can grate yourself.

"La mejor salsa del mundo es el hambre,
y como esta no falta a los pobres, siempre comen con gusto"
Miguel de Cervantes