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Tired of eating the same old things? Then it’s time for you to get creative like us prisoners and mix up a new dish. Try my black beans and beef bowl. 

I once had a roommate with whom I had developed a sort of sisterhood. We looked out for one another, got along great, and had lots of fun as roommates. We ate lots of meals together in our small cell, taking turns cooking for one another.

On one such occasion, we had movie night and I made my famous black beans and beef bowl for us to eat as we watched the action thriller “Law Abiding Citizen,” starring Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx. Our bowls were so filling that pretty soon, the movie began to watch us! So, I turned off the television and off we each went into oblivion, sleeping like infants. 

It is times like those that make these concrete walls more breathable and a little less suffocating.

My recipe is as follows:


1 2-oz bag of nacho cheese-flavored Doritos ($0.71)
1 packet of spanish rice with cheese ($0.62)
1 8-oz bag of Brushy Creek Black Beans and Beef ($2.13)
1 packet of ranch dressing ($0.59)

(Total cost: $4.05)


First, you can either crunch up your Doritos, or leave them whole. After your spanish rice is cooked to your perfection, pour it over your Doritos. Next, add your heated black beans and beef. And last, add your ranch dressing because everything is better with ranch!

All of the above items are sold to us by our prison commissary company, Keefe Commissary Network. But I’m certain that you can find similar items in your neighborhood grocery store. So go out, find these ingredients and try my creation! And remember to put some love in it. That’s the key ingredient with which you will never go wrong. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Chanell Burnette

Chanell Burnette is a writer incarcerated in Virginia.