The Internet has made so many changes in our lives.  One thing that’s kind of unique, as far as I’m concerned, is the fact I can say something like:  “My friend, John Bohnert, said ………….”   when, in fact,  I have never met John Bohnert, who lives in Grass Valley, California, and I live in the Arkansas Ozarks.  True, I saw his posts on the Internet list for mystery fans called DorothyL for several years, learned he is a retired Navy man, and, (very important) that he loves to cook and probably has notebooks full of unique and tasty recipes.  He often mentions these by name on DorothyL, along with his book reviews and related comments, and, when someone asks, is willing to share a recipe via email.

In 2011 I decided John Bohnert would make a terrific character in my upcoming novel.  Why? My main female character, Carrie McCrite, is a reluctant cook.  (Her husband, Henry King, is more comfortable in a kitchen than she is.)  AND, in this novel-in-progress, Carrie was going to have to create a quick luncheon for a surprise guest, then Henry would have to cook for a guarding sheriff’s deputy and Carrie’s mysterious cousin during a later emergency in the story.  Enter, Chef John Bohnert, “much acclaimed chef and owner of The Grass Valley Bistro, author of the companion GRASS VALLEY BISTRO COOKBOOK.”  Henry meets Chef John on line during a discussion of the heirloom tomatoes Henry grows.

Since all my novels include a few recipes used during the progress of the plot,  several Chef John recipes appeared naturally in  A FAIR TO DIE FOR.  (They are printed at the end of the book.)

John Bohnert has continued to mention recipes on DorothyL, and I recently asked for his recipe for BEEF BURRITOS.  It has been tested in the Nehring kitchen, as well as, of course, by John Bohnert, and is a winner.  I thought you might like to try it too!


2 lbs lean ground beef

1 jar chunky salsa, MED.  (24 oz jar)

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (15 oz. can)

3 cans diced green chiles, (4 oz cans) HOT.  (I cheated since the Nehrings aren’t up to HOT.  How about MILD for us?)

1 cup chopped onions and 1 cup chopped green bell pepper

2 cans diced tomatoes (15 oz cans)

2 cups shredded Cheddar

2 pkg. 8 count flour tortillas, burrito size

1 pkg. shredded lettuce

2 tsp cumin, 2 tsp Mexican Blend, 1 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper.

(Note:  I couldn’t find Mexican Blend here in Arkansas and learned from John it contains cumin, garlic powder, paprika, white pepper, thyme, and onion powder, so I improvised with those ingredients.)

Saute onions and bell pepper in very large skillet.  Heat until tender. Remove to 6 quart saucepot.

Brown ground beef in the large skillet. Drain off any fat.  Add to saucepot. Add remaining ingredients except for cheese and lettuce. Stir and heat on MEDIUM LOW.

Remove saucepot from heat, spoon some of mixture into tortillas.  Top with Cheddar cheese and shredded lettuce.  Fold up ends and roll tortilla.


More recipes at


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