Saturday, December 17, 2011

Pride comes before.. a broken oven- Baked Frito Pie & Blender Beans

I have quite a track record for good intentions gone horribly wrong. Mixed with a chronic lack of patience and my tendency to assume I don't need to follow anyone elses' instructions (can you say pride?), the results can be catastrophic. 

The most recent example of this- while trying to clean the cooked-on gunk out of the bottom of my mom's oven the other day so she could cook her famous oven-roasted candied pecans without filling the house with the smell of burnt grease and goodness-knows what else, I somehow managed to destroy both the top and bottom cooking chambers completely.. just in time for Christmas. Epic fail.  

Turns out I don't know everything. Sorry Scarlet O'Mamma.. and thank you for loving me in spite of myself. You're the best :)

But prior to its demise this old oven had a few shining moments, the latest being an Oven-Baked Frito Pie. I found the recipe here, and adapted it a bit to fit my kitchen (my adaptions are in italics).

I grew up on the traditional chili-and-cheese-smothered-mass-of-corn-chips version of Frito Pie with no complaints, but after tasting the more sophisticated version (if you can actually say that about a recipe that's main ingredient is manufactured by Frito-Lay), I'm definitely not going back. It's super creamy and oh-so-easy.. if you have a functioning oven, that is.

Oven-Baked Frito Pie


1 lb. ground beef
1 can (16 oz) chili beans
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I eyeballed this amount and probably used a bit more than a cup)
3 1/2 cups corn chips (also eyeballed and used more than 3 1/2 cups to adequately cover the chili mixture)
1 1/4 cup sour cream (I needed the full 16oz. but the amount used depends on how creamy you'd like it)

First brown and drain the ground beef in a large pan. I used a 85% lean mixture, but next time I'd pick an even leaner variety, because too much of the meat's bulk was cooked off.

While the beef is browning I covered the base of a 9x13in. pan with Fritos (be sure to use the Originals, not the "Scoops").


Next stir the chili beans, tomato sauce, taco seasoning mix and 1/4 c. of cheese into the pan with the browned and drained beef.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Now remove from the oven and spread enough sour cream, Fritos, and cheese over the top of the casserole dish to cover it. I had to use more of both ingredients than the recipe called for in order to do this.

Return to the oven and cook for 5 more minutes, and it's ready to serve!

Now eat up, and don't stop until this is all that remains:

So good!

(Recipe from Sweet Treats and More)

1 lb. ground beef
1 can (16 oz) chili beans
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 1/2 cups corn chips (Frito's)
1 1/4 cup sour cream


Cook ground beef until meat is browned; drain. Stir in beans, tomato sauce, taco seasoning mix and 1/4 c. of cheese. Sprinkle 1 cup corn chips in bottom of 8x8 baking dish or 9x13 dish. Cover with chili. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Spread sour cream over chili. Top with remaining corn chips and cheese. Bake 4-5 minutes longer.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

I guess this technically could have been a meal all in it's own, but that morning I'd thrown some pinto beans in the crock pot as an experiment and decided to get really crafty with them at this point. I roughly followed the directions here, where Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen tested whether soaking the beans before putting them in the crock pot really made that much of a difference (spoiler alert- it doesn't). And since we've already determined patience isn't my strong suit, the non-soaking method worked perfectly. I should have pre-seasoned the beans and water they in before they cooked because seasoning them post-crock pot didn't quite suffice.

To begin,I placed  two cups of dried pintos in the crock pot with enough water to cover all of the beans and cooked on high for about 8 hours. When the beans were done, I drained them, reserving the liquid, and placed about half a cup at a time in the blender pulsing them on the "mash" setting, adding the reserved water as needed to keep them from sticking to the blades. Periodically I'd add dashes of salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste, but again, I feel like the flavor would have been much better if the seasoning had been done prior to cooking the beans.

The ingredients

After the mashing was over, I added some cheese and stuck them in the oven for about 5 minutes. Looking good!

This process yielded ultra-smooth and rich "refried" beans, but it wasn't without a little extra work. It was a hassle to do them only one half-cup at a time, and it was tricky to guess the perfect ratio of beans and water. Plus, transferring the beans from the crock pot to the blender, then to a serving dish added more mess to clean up. But if you're more concerned with the appearance of the finished product than the ease of preparation, this is a great way to ensure restaurant-style beans without the sore arms that come from mashing the beans by hand.

Like I said earlier, I really deal with some pride issues. I hate asking for help or admitting I'm wrong, to God or to anyone else. Whether it's asking for driving directions or help with statistics homework, I'd much rather spend two extra hours figuring it out on my own than take two minutes to get some much-needed assistance. Not a biblical approach to life by a long shot. Proverbs, and the whole Bible for that matter, is chock full of warnings to those who refuse to accept correction, advice, and counsel. I mean, Proverbs 15:10 says that those who hate correction will die. Whoa.. that's a scary one 

So why is it so hard to do? Probably because it's absolutely necessary in order to live a full life in Christ, and those things take sacrifice. Jesus Christ Himself took direction and advice from His Father, so what makes me think I'm immune?

But yet, I still refuse to read directions and end up breaking ovens. It's insane.

So when I look at the things I've done, both big and small, out of an "I-know-better-than-you-Lord" attitude, my heart aches.. badly. Pride really does come before destruction & disgrace (Proverbs 16:18 and 11:2) , and it shows me truly how far I am from where I want and need to be. If I want to be used by God to do the things He has for me to do, I can't refuse to do follow His lead. It doesn't work that way.

And I can't fix this one on my own

It's at this point that I start to see how much I don't have figured out, and how much I need my Jesus' direction. The pride begins to melt away and I can't pretend I've got all the answers any more. The song "Busted Heart" by For King and Country says exactly what my heart is feeling right now in it's beginning lines-
"Winter has come back again
Feels like the season won't end
My faith is dying tonight
And I won't try to pretend
I've got it all figured out

I don't have any doubts
I've got a busted heart
I need You now"

But in the midst of the shame and confusion, this truth emerges, with all the hope I need in order to continue pressing on-
 "Hold on to me until it comes to an end
Soon this season will end
I'll surrender tonight
You meet me right where I am"

He meets me right where I am, and He'll take me to the places I'm not yet. And this, my friends, is a beautiful, beautiful thing.


  1. What about the diced tomatoes, your recipe calls for them but they aren't mentioned?

  2. When do you add the diced tomatoes. Do you drain them?

  3. I'm sure she meant to tell everyone to add the diced tomatoes when adding tomato sauce. They should never be drained.