Kids Cook for Themselves: Bean Tavy

by | Oct 15, 2015 | Kids Cook for Themselves, Recipes | 9 comments

Gus has been very anxious to be included in the Kids Cook for Themselves series, and prove that HE, too, can cook dinner for the family all on his own. But . . . he’s seven. And while charm and confidence will get you quite far in life, they don’t necessarily help much in the kitchen. So, usually he gets stuck microwaving leftovers. But we do have one recipe in our normal rotation that he CAN do, (almost) all on his own . . . Bean Tavy.*

The nice thing about this recipe is that it ends up a tasty all-natural meal, but the ingredients are non-perishables. I always keep the fixin’s for this in the pantry in case of unexpected guests or for those days I realize that it’s 5:15pm and I don’t know what we’re having for dinner. It really couldn’t be easier, but I think it turns out pretty great.

Gus is very excited to share it with you. Here goes . . . 

Today I’m telling you how to make Bean Tavy which is kind of like soup, or a little like chili with no meat. But I guess you could put meat in it if you want. It’s a free country.

You need this stuff:

It’s cans of beans and hominy, which is like exploded corn, and tomatoes. We use the big cans because there are a lot of us. But small cans work too. And you need a crock pot or a pot on the stove to heat it up. And a can opener.

Open the cans of beans and hominy and dump them into the colander (in the sink otherwise it makes a BIG mess).

Rinse them in water. If you don’t it tastes very, very salty.

Then dump them in the pot.

Same with the tomatoes, but don’t drain those. Just open them and put them in the pot.

Then add the spices.

Note from Mom: you can use a taco seasoning packet, or substitute 2 Tbsp of bulk chili powder instead. When I use the big cans (like we did this time), I double that amount. Same with the dressing. I use either a ranch dressing packet or substitute about 1/4 cup of regular ranch dressing, doubled if I’m using the big cans.

I also like to add 2-4 tsp fresh garlic and 1-2 Tbsp fresh chopped herbs if I’ve got them, but it’s not necessary.

Mix it all up. Then, add enough water to cover the beans. (1-2 cups)

Set the crockpot to warm it up, it takes about an hour. Or heat it on the stove, that’s faster.

Cook noodles or rice, and serve it over a scoop of that.

You can put grated cheese and hot sauce on top if you want.

We have to have salad, too.

That’s it. Hope you like it!

*I first saw this recipe in one of those parish fundraiser cookbooks at my grandmother’s house in Memphis. I think they called it “Six Can Soup.” But ever since we saw this photo from the 1996 Army Navy Football Game, we’ve been calling it: Bean Tavy.

Go Tavy! Bean Army! ;0)

For more Kids Cook for Themselves, check out . . .



Top Secret Ten Minute Ice Cream Cake: Kids Cook for Themselves

Kids Cook for Themselves: Friday Frittata 

Kids Cook for Themselves: Crock Pot Pulled Chicken Burritos


  1. Bethany Sonnier

    I love "open cans" type recipes that end up being so good. My family has one that this reminds me of, but it's got ground beef too. Brown a pound of ground beef, and spice to taste (I use salt, pepper, and garlic) and drain excess fat leaving enough to keep the meat moist. Add two cans each of stewed tomatoes, ranch style beans, and corn. We use one can cream corn and one whole kernel; drain the whole kernel can(s). Heat through and add shredded cheese to taste; serve with Fritos or other corn chips.

  2. Pamela

    Lol!! Bean Tavy….. Like the previous reader, I make a similar dish in the crockpot, taco soup. However, when I feed it to a crowd I call it Santa Fe soup and add little tortilla crisps on top. The are all like " oh I need your recipe for Santa Fe soup" hehehe

  3. LKLimberg

    This is getting added to my meal plan immediately! My almost 9-year old and almost 7-year old daughters have been wanting to make dinner again and I've been looking for a new recipe for them to try. Found it! Thanks!

  4. AnneMarie

    That looks really delicious, and would be a great Friday meal to add into our routine, especially because I cook with beans all the time! Thanks for sharing this!

  5. The Southern Peach-Girls

    A great job Gus!! I have a seven year old Jonah who would LOVE to make dinner. I think this is the very thing. Very happy that tomorrow is shopping day so I can get what we need to make this. Definitely in need of easy recipes!!


  6. Elizabeth

    Kendra, you slay me. "Fresh herbs" again! Which ones?! 🙂 It looks like oregano, maybe?

    • Kendra

      Sorry! I just use whatever happens to be growing. This was oregano and sage.

  7. acrispi

    I have to chuckle that "Bean Tavy" is now a thing! My husband is the "Y" in that photo! And even though it made for a good laugh in '96 (and still is), it also was an Army WIN that year! We just might try this recipe on Saturday, and maybe it will bring another win for Army!

    • Kendra

      Hah! That's so awesome! HE was in the right place anyway. 🙂

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

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