Love in the Kitchen

Author: Rita Catlett

My son, J. Shawn Davenport, passed away two years ago from acute myeloid leukemia while actively serving in the Army National Guard. In his memory on his birthday in June, I make Shawn-Style Enchiladas and share them with my family.      

Shawn and I liked our enchiladas with everything: black and green olives, onions, green peppers, jalapenos, banana peppers, hot sauce, and anything else we had on hand. Shawn and I were not strict followers of recipes; we added or subtracted according to available ingredients and what our tastes were that day. His wife and children were much more selective in their choice of ingredients. So when Shawn made enchiladas, he would insert a toothpick to separate ours from theirs. Ours were large and spicy, just the way we liked them.

That’s the way my son lived his life, too: large and spicy. He had a lot of living and loving to do in the 38 years he had on this earth, and he did it!

Enchiladas and picture of ShawnPhoto courtesy of Andrea Madge


Shawn-Style Enchiladas

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes


1 pound ground beef

1 Tablespoon butter

1 small onion, chopped

1/4 cup green pepper, chopped

1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup jalapeno pepper, chopped

1 (8-ounce) can  sliced black olives (or half black olives and half green olives)

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped 

1 package taco seasoning

1 (15-ounce) jar Old El Paso enchilada sauce, divided

4 large (or 6 small) flour tortillas

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brown beef until almost done; drain. Add taco seasoning and finish cooking. Set aside.
  2. Saute onions, green and red peppers, black olives, jalapenos, and cilantro in butter until tender.
  3. Spray 8 x 11 baking dish with cooking spray. Place tortillas in dish and fill with meat, onion mixture, half of cheese, and half of enchilada sauce. Fold tortillas. Cover enchiladas with remaining enchilada sauce. 
  4. Bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Return to oven and heat until cheese browns.


From the pen of...

Rita Catlett, a surviving mother and retired state government employee, lives in Frankfort, Kentucky. She enjoys spending time with her three grandchildren, two of whom are the surviving children of her son, Shawn, and riding her three-wheeled Harley motorcycle to commune with nature and connect with Shawn.


TAPS Editor's Note:

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