There’s an old 3-ring binder that I hang on to. It has papers and note cards sticking out in every direction and every other time I pick it up, half the contents fall out. I hang on to it, because it’s a collection of recipes my mom put together. She wasn’t an extravagant cook, just quick, easy, filling, and tasty. One of her favorite foods was salsa – of any kind. In fact, you’d often see her open a can of Rotel, sprinkle on a little salt, and eat most of it. I guess I got that from her.

One of my favorite salsa recipes from her is this bean salsa. It was a hit at potlucks and gatherings and just seems perfect for long summer days when you’re hungry for something, but don’t feel like heating up the kitchen. It’s super easy to make and I love to make little changes every time I make it, just to make it fit the spice or heat level I’m looking for. Use it as a side dish, or sit down with a bowl and a bag of chips. Let me know what you think and what you might add to customize it.

1 can (15oz) black beans, drained
1 can (15oz) black eye peas, drained
1 can (15oz) whole kernel corn (or hominy), drained
1 can (15oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (4oz) chopped green chilies
1 8oz bottle Italian salad dressing
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
Optional: finely chopped green onion, chives or cilantro

Mix all ingredients in a glass bowl, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight or for several hours.Stir before serving with tortilla chips or as a side dish.