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{RECIPE} Saucy Tex Mex Black Beans (and more Back Pocket Dinners)

November 05, 20213 min read

Wait, what's a Back Pocket Dinner? It's your failsafe for when life throws you a curveball. It's a meal you make from your long-lasting pantry staples. It's what saves you from ordering delivery when the chicken you were supposed to cook is still frozen ....or has expired (we've all been there!). Instead of eating cereal or ordering in, lean on your Back Pocket Dinner.

Even the most proficient meal planners need a Back Pocket Dinner for when life throws you a curveball. (Don't know your meal planner type? Take this quiz right now and save yourself soooo much heartache! And join the waitlist for my next De-Stress Dinner Challenge.)

Back Pocket Dinners also save you those nights where you’re ravenous but you have no time and nothing to eat. Honestly, when you can make dinner out of what's lying around in the kitchen cupboards, you're a certified superhero.⁠

The best "BPDs" are: ⁠

  • ready in less than 20 min⁠

  • made from canned, dry and/ or frozen food staples⁠

  • loved by the whole family⁠

  • really simple⁠

⁠When you make a BPD instead of ordering in, you save a TON of cash, eat healthier, waste less food, have dinner much faster and generally make the world a better place. ⁠ Hooray!

Here's one of my family's once-a-week favourite BPDs. (And if you'd like my other three faves, click here for a PDF of Garlic Spaghetti, Cheesy Dutch Baby and Spicy Salmon Cakes). Get it, save it, use it!⁠

{And I know what you're thinking: "Claire, that's not dinner!" Oh heck it is. Did you know there are 12 grams of protein in one portion of pasta with nothing on it?? Add some butter and cheese and you're up to 15g, which is better than the average vegetarian entree. Plus you get all five extraordinary benefits of a home-cooked meal!}

Back Pocket Dinners are simple meals that get you to that delicious dinner in less time, for less money and with way less stress.

Remember that dinner doesn’t have to be difficult to be delicious. Homemade simple is better than processed fancy every single time.

Saucy Tex-Mex Black Beans


  • 1 tbsp canola oil⁠

  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped⁠

  • ½ tsp salt⁠

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced⁠

  • 2 tbsp mild chili powder ⁠

  • 2 tsp ground cumin⁠

  • 2 540-mL cans (19 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed⁠

  • 1 cup water⁠

Cooked rice or cornbread for serving (optional)⁠

⁠Toppings (optional)⁠
Grated cheese⁠, sliced avocado, chopped fresh tomatoes ⁠or salsa⁠, sour cream⁠


  1. Heat the canola oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the chili powder and cumin and cook 30 seconds. Add the beans and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, 10 minutes or until thickened a little.⁠

  2. Purée partially with an immersion blender. (I like to leave some whole black beans intact for texture.) Serve over rice or cornbread, topped with Cheddar, avocado, tomatoes, salsa and sour cream if you like⁠.

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© 2024 Claire Tansey's Kitchen

© 2024 Claire Tansey's Kitchen