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Friday, March 18, 2011

Cowboy Pie

The past two weeks have been crazy.  Just in general as well as in the kitchen.  I decided to do huge batches of dishes to freeze for after our baby's arrival and spent many, many hours slaving over a hot stove, literally barefoot and pregnant.  While I didn't spend all that much for what should amount to over a month's worth of dinners, I did realize halfway through my cooking that I didn't spend--and therefore buy--anything for the coming week.  But rather than panic and run back to the supermarket (and throw my husband into convulsions as he already thinks I spend too much on groceries, which is not true, and a subject for another day), I decided to go with what I had.  And that was scraps of leftovers from my giant batch cooking.

A couple of the recipes called for ground hamburger, so I bought the "holy crap, Batman" sized pack, leaving a good two pounds of meat free.  I also made a chili I adore with dried beans, which I never use.  Wow, that's a nice way to save money and get lots of meals.  I had oodles of leftover pinto beans.  So night one of "creative kitchen cooking": Cowboy Pie.

Cowboy Pie

1 lb ground beef
2 cups pinto beans
1/2 cup medium onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup canned or frozen corn
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes in puree
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 cup grated cheddar
1 package instant corn bread mix, prepared according to instructions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onion and cook until tender and translucent.
2.  Add hamburger and cook until no longer pink, then add beans, corn, tomatoes, chili powder, and cumin.
3.  In a bowl, prepare cornbread mix as directed on package.  Set aside.
4.  Grease a 9-inch pie plate.
5.  Spoon bean and meat mixture into the pie plate and top with "blobs" of corn bread.  Carefully spread to cover.  Top with cheddar cheese.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until corn bread is golden brown. 

The Verdict:  This is a fun meal.  If you like chili and corn bread, you'll like this.

You can obviously use canned beans and buy a pound of hamburger to make this, but it was pretty economical and easy to have all the ingredients ready in the fridge.  As I'd said, we used the beans and meat for chili, shepard's pie and meatloaves, but there are about 8 zillion other recipes you could find that you could batch cook with hamburger and beans.

You can probably tell from the picture, but I forgot to sprinkle the cheese on the pie before it went in the oven.  Boo!  Is there anything better than hot, gooey cheese?  Not really. 

Probably even more delicious is if you make your own corn bread.  In these final weeks (and now days) of pregnancy, I don't have the time or energy for that kind of cooking.  A good ol' package of Betty Crocker or Jiffy will do just fine if you don't want to get too fancy in the kitchen. 

This meal works well for my son.  He loves meat and beans and will often eat corn with no complaints.  He also loves cornbread, but was suspicious of it on top of his food.  We make it quite often in our bread machine and I guess that's his favorite.

Not in a rush, but would definitely make this again.

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