[Note from Serene: Please welcome our new contributor, Kombucha! She has graciously agreed to tell us about her own Dad Food, and I'm happily anticipating hearing more from her.]
Our family ate dinner every night together while I was growing up, and my mom cooked 99.9 percent of those meals. This percentage is probably not entirely mathematically accurate. I can count on my fingers the number of times my dad cooked for us as kids. He had one meal that he could make, and we had to help him out lest he forget one of the ingredients.
My mom worked full time in addition to raising my brother and me, and what was so comforting to me about those few instances that my dad cooked was not just the meal that he made — an easy layered nacho recipe that can also be turned into a great burrito filling and be adapted for vegetarians (just leave out the meat) — but knowing that she was going to be able to relax a little when she got home. My parents worked extremely hard to provide a good life for us, and eating fresh healthy good food was always part of that. I always felt guilty that my mom had to cook a meal after working a full day at her demanding retail job.
This is not a healthful recipe, but it is easy, quick, and a crowd-pleaser. I’ve made it for many friends over the years who have raved about it. I always think of my dad when I do.
In the photos, you can see this version I made with spinach and pecans cooked with onions and green chiles. I am a vegetarian now, so I try to find creative ways to recreate the recipes I used to like with meat!
- ½ pound ground turkey or ground beef
- ½ onion, diced
- 1 can refried beans
- 1 small can diced green chiles
- 1 cup shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, cheddar, pepper Jack, or Mexican blend, or any combination totaling 1 cup)
- Sour cream
- Guacamole, optional
- Tortilla chips, taco shells, or flour tortillas
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Sauté meat and onion with salt and pepper until the meat is completely cooked.
- In an 8"-by-8" square baking dish, layer the beans, meat, chiles, and cheese.
- Bake 25 minutes.
- Serve with tortillas for dipping, or use taco shells or flour tortillas to create warm tacos or burritos. Serve with salsa and sour cream. Add guacamole if you have fresh avocados.
- Side dishes: Rice or salad.