Sunday, August 13, 2006

Mary Vaughn’s Creamed Taco: Adding a little spice to a Texas favorite

The Ruston Daily Leader featured Mary Lou Cheatham, author of Flavored with Love,as guest chef in “North Louisiana Cuisine” in the Lifestyles section Sunday, August 13, 2006. Creamed Taco, a recipe from Flavored with Love, was the featured recipe.

Though Mary Lou Cheatham has had a passion for cooking all of her life, it was only four years ago that she decided to put her own recipes and those of her family along with life stories into a cookbook called Flavored with Love, which can be purchased at Potluck Gifts in Ruston.

“About four years ago I was at my family reunion, and there was so much good food and I decided I wanted to collect those recipes,” Cheatham, a resident of Ruston for 30 years, said. “In the meantime everybody was just telling these wonderful stories, all the stories about my family -- funny stories and sad stories. I decided maybe I could put these together, and I came up with the idea of making a story cookbook.”

Family members and friends gave recipes and real-life stories to go along with them. After Hurricane Katrina, her readers expressed a desire for more south Louisiana recipes and stories, so she obliged them with a third edition, which was released in February of this year.

“I did the third edition because so many people were asking me about recipes from south Louisiana, so I added recipes about south Louisiana and some things from south Louisiana heritage.”

According to the book, “The Southern cooking in a down-home Louisiana and Mississippi style ranges from foolproof sugar cookies to make with children at Christmas to authentic Italian lasagna to simple desserts like the three-step fresh fruit salad.

Today’s “Mary V’s Creamed Taco” recipe comes straight from Texas with a little added Louisiana spice.

“My cousin (Mary Vaughn) gave me that one, and she has lived in Texas,” Cheatham said. “So this recipe has a Texas and south Louisiana influence.”

Though the recipe in the book calls for ground beef to be added to the tomatoes, beans, chili, Cheatham said she prefers to use crawfish tails to add a unique Louisiana influence.

With football games and other outdoor activities to go to, she also said this quick and easy recipe would be perfect for the upcoming tailgating season.

“This recipe would be excellent for tailgaiting because it’s easy to make in the crockpot, and it just has to stay warm,” Cheatham said. “People can serve it in a bowl and pour over Fritos and add jalapenos if they want to.”

Cheatham said its creamy texture also makes it the perfect comfort food.

“It’s a creamy comfort food but with spice,” she said. “And it’s very, very easy to make.”

Cheatham recommends serving this soul food dish with guacamole dip.

Cheatham’s recipe book contains more than 300 recipes for down-home dishes and nostalgia thrown in with stories from friends and family members.

As the book says, with those recipes you can imagine serving an authentic Louisiana meal that you prepared without difficulty filling your house with the distinctive odors of Creole and Cajun food.

Cheatham’s book is filled with recipes from southern Mississippi and Louisiana.

How’s that for a little Southern pride?

(The recipe is in a separate blog entry.)

To read more about Flavored with Love, visit and

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Get This Amazing Southern Cookbook, Flavored with Love, Now!

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