Place the tomatoes in a large pot and squash them with your hands. Add the beans, onion, banana chile pepper, sugar, garlic powder and chili powder and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a separate large skillet over medium high heat, saute the ground beef for 5 to 10 minutes, or until browned and crumbly. Drain the fat and add the beef to the simmering pot. Stir in the cheese, if desired. Allow to simmer for 1 more hour.