Written by Cathy Collins

Aside from being a mother, cook, survivalist, food pantry recipient and aspiring writer, I am also a caregiver and companion for the elderly and disabled.  What a rewarding job.  I spend my day taking care of people, helping keep them in their own homes, cooking for them and cleaning for them.  I have learned so much from all of the people I care for.

This recipe was inspired by a man who was not only a client, but became a dear friend, a true buddy.  We had all kinds of adventures together.  He was a willing test subject for many of my food pantry recipes.  I must give credit where credit is due.  It was at his suggestion that I make this.

I admit, I was a bit skeptical at first when he suggested using refried beans, Velveeta cheese and Pizza Crumbles together.  The other things were added as we taste tested our creation. Our conversation as I rattled around his kitchen cooking went a little be like this:

C’mere Buddy, what do you think?  I think its ok, but it could use a little something.

I would suggest this or that and he would find it in the cupboard or refrigerator.

He would say, “hey, why don’t you add a bit of this” and I would.

More tasting, more simmering, more rummaging and Buddy’s Beans and Crumbles Dip was the result.

This really was a combined effort and as much as I protest that I am sure a person should never eat anything that remotely resembles plumbing caulk, this was pretty darn good!  And we used up another bit of the Pizza Crumbles he had. (Good. There were lots and lots at the pantries there for a while.)

This is perfect for WWE night (which was what my Buddy did that night) or anytime you need a quick dish for gatherings.

Use it with corn chips as a dip. Spread it on a tortilla and add some salsa and rice for quick burrito style snack. Serve it as a side dish with tacos. Put it in enchiladas. Make Nachos!  Corn chips, shredded cheese, sour cream, diced tomato, green onions, olives, jalapenos or what have you.  Go ahead load them up!

Thanks Buddy!


Buddy’s Beans and Crumbles Dip


1 can refried beans

4 oz Velveeta Cheese

1/2 lb “Crumbles” (meat-flavored textured vegetable protein given as part of State and local government food supplements)… you can use any other ground meat.

1 can diced tomatoes (w/chilies, w/onions and garlic, plain, whatever is on hand) DO NOT drain!

1/4 C salsa

2T taco sauce

1 T Cajun spice mix

1 T chili powder

1 t onion powder

1/4-1/2 C water as necessary to get a spreadable/dip-able consistency

Add all ingredients to a large skillet.  Heat until warm and cheese is melted.  Add water as necessary, unless you like the super thick, super sticky caulk type dips… careful, it WILL shatter your corn chips if you leave it that thick but would be GREAT on a tortilla with a bit of extra salsa, rice and maybe some sour cream.

Another (slightly healthier and more natural) version:


2 C cooked pinto beans

4 oz. shredded cheese (cheddar, co-jack, queso all work well)

1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes (do not drain)

1 sm. Can green chilies (do not drain)

1 T cumin powder

1 t chopped garlic

1 t onion powder

1 t. paprika

¼-1/2 t. cayenne pepper flakes (or to taste)

1 t. salt (optional)

¼-1/2 c. water

½ ground meat or textured vegetable protein

2 T bacon grease or other oil


Cook ground meat.  Drain and set aside.


Warm bacon grease or other oil.

Add cooked pinto beans, tomatoes, chilies, cumin, garlic, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, and salt to pan.

Cook until warm, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat.  Cool slightly.

Pour mixture into food processor and blend until thoroughly mixed.  Add water as necessary to get desired consistency.

Return mixture to pan.

Add meat or textured vegetable protein and cheese.  Warm until cheese is melted and meat is warmed.


Serve warm.

Refrigerate unused portions.