Crock pot Macaroni and Cheese, I like being able to occasionally feed my corpsmen at the hospital and my husband's enlisted Marines and fellow pilots at their squadron. We're blessed to be able to live off base and have a full, clean kitchen rather than in the barracks with a community and mostly non-functioning kitchen, as is particularly the case for the enlisted folks. I remember having those types of accommodations during my freshman year of college and finding it very frustrating and made everything seem... dismal.
For my readers who may not be familiar... the Marine Corps Birthday is November 10th. Each year, most units will hold a formal Birthday Ball where they celebrate their branch of service. It comes with a lot of pride, some decent food, and usually lots of alcohol and cigars. The tickets can get pricey sometimes, so some units will hold fundraisers throughout the year to help ease some ticket costs for the younger Marines who don't make as much in salary as those higher ranking. My husband's squadron holds cookouts every week to help accomplish this with a secondary goal: to feed everyone with non-mess hall food and home made side dishes donated by the wives.
This "caviar" was perfect for one such cookout. Hearty, filling and different from the usual potato salad-- it was just delicious! Not to mention completely easy to put together since it involves NO COOKING whatsoever! Sometimes in the last month or so of summer, I am very grateful for dishes like these that pack in the flavor without steaming up the whole house!
This recipe makes enough to fill a disposable 9x12x3 casserole tin. Travis loved it so much he convinced me to save him a tupperware of this caviar for him to eat for dinner when I was at work on night shift. Simple man, simple pleasures, I suppose! In my opinion, the cilantro is the flavor that rounds out the whole dish. For those of you who don't like cilantro, you have my sympathies. Fun fact! Did y'all know that the like or dislike of cilantro has been linked to a genetic quirk? They say that people either love or hate cilantro, and before cilantro lovers judge the haters-- just know that the Kitchen Queen herself, Julia Child hated cilantro with a passion. Just sayin'.... to each their own!
Cowboy CaviarAdapted from All Recipes
serves a crowd
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can black eyed peas, drained
1 (15 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
2 (15 ounce) cans corn, drained
1large white onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 peppers, variety of your choosing, seeded and diced
heavy pinch black pepper
1 bottle (16 ounce) Italian Dressing (I used Kraft brand Zesty Italian Dressing)
1 large handful cilantro, minced
Drain black beans and pinto beans in a colander. Rinse with cold water. Add the black eyed peas, corn and tomatoes in the colander and drain well. Let them sit in the colander while you dice up the rest of the veggies. Toss all ingredients together and chill for 30 minutes before serving with chips. Fritos scoops and Tostitos scoops are great with this caviar!
Will keep for about 3 days in the fridge before things start to get mushy.