Thursday, January 05, 2012


When I was madly hustling to move the office and convert it to a guest room last month I longed for some down time to just be lazy. Careful what you wish for, right? With a tickle cough and frequent need for tissue to blow my nose it is all too easy to rue the hours I'm spending in bed. I do get to read a lot (when I'm not sleeping...this cold seems to require a lot of sleeping) but even that gets boring. Even oceans of hot tea is not a comfort. At lunchtime I decided it was time for true comfort food that was also quick and easy...a great combination.

A while back one of the favored party dishes was call Seven Layer Dip, a quasi-Mexican plateful of layers of refried beans, cheese, guacamole, olives, tomatoes, sour cream and tortilla chips. This is my variation on that dish, scaled down to a personal portion. If you have the ingredients, a microwave and about 10 minutes, you have a warm, gooey, savory, salty, crispy, tangy plate of deliciousness before you know it.

Start with a microwave safe plate. Add about 1/2 cup refried beans, spread out in the middle of the plate. I use non-fat traditional but there are lots of varieties to choose from. ( I happened to have in the fridge some ground turkey which had been cooked with some chopped onion, so I heated that up and added it, but usually I just go with the beans.) Top the plate with some waxed paper and microwave on half power about a minute to heat the beans.

While the beans are heating, cut an avocado in half and peel the part without the pit, then roughly dice it. The second half can be stored for another use and keeping the pit in helps it keep from going bad.

Once the beans are hot, remove the waxed paper and sprinkle on a handful of grated sharp cheddar cheese. Replace the waxed paper and microwave until the cheese is just melted, about 1 minute at half power.

While the cheese is melting, remove the stem end from a small to medium tomato and dice roughly, then add to the avocado, tossing gently to combine. If you have it you can sprinkle this topping with some lime juice.

Once the cheese has melted, remove the waxed paper and discard it. Top the beans and cheese with the avocado/tomato topping.

Spoon dabs of yogurt (I like Greek style) or sour cream around the dish and sprinkle on a bit of cayenne pepper...a lot if you like spicy heat, a dash if you are more timid like me.

That's it! Scoop up the warm/cool mixture with crunchy salty corn tortilla chips and enjoy your easy, comforting snack or lunch. That's what I did. I don't think I can credit this dish - it's probably helped by the nap I just woke up from - but I'm feeling better.


  1. I do hope you feel better soon.

    This dish proves it ... two peas in the pod ... I do this lots!

  2. Years and years ago, there was a branch of El Torito's restaurant that made something called Cheese, Chips & Chili that was a lot like this - and boy, was that good. It's even better when you make it yourself.

    Hope it cures that tickle and cough!

  3. Tanna, It is least for me.

    Tanita, The refried beans are somehow mellower than chili, but I can see that Cheese Chips & Chili would be delicious.