Cowboy Casserole

Cornbread topping (left)
and meat-bean mix (right)

I appreciate any man who bakes using his kindergarten cookbook from Mother’s Day 1981. (I’ve shared a recipe or two from my own elementary school cookbook on this site.)

This recipe for Cowboy Casserole comes from TikTok cook Pepper Belly Pete, whose recipes and cooking style are among my favorites in any food-ideas media. I love how he reminds you that you can substitute ingredients you like more than what he prefers. We always share that same encouragement here on #FoodieScore. Food is all about your individual unique tastes, so you should always feel free to customize any time you can!

Cowboy Casserole is simply a meat-bean-veggies mixture topped with cheesy cornbread. You can make it as plain or as spicy as you like by adjusting the ingredients. However you bake yours, we guarantee it will feed and please your family for one meal, or yourself for a meal followed by several days of easy-to-reheat leftovers!

NOTE: We’ve included alternatives or options for several recipe ingredients below.

Cowboy Casserole

What You Need:

2 pounds ground beef (or other preferred meat)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 can diced tomatoes and chiles

1 teaspoon minced garlic or garlic powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 packet taco seasoning

1 can ranch-style beans

2 packages cornbread mix (we used one yellow and one Mexican-style)

1 can cream-style corn

8 ounces shredded cheese (any kind you like)

What You Do:

1. Brown ground beef, drain and sit aside.

2. Saute chopped onion.

3. Add Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes and chiles, and garlic to onions in pan, followed by drained ground beef. Mix well.

4. Add black pepper, taco seasoning and beans. Mix well.

5. In a mixing bowl, combine two packages of cornbread mix with ingredients needed in package directions. (Some cornbread mixes use eggs, while others use only milk or water. Follow your directions.)

6. Add creamed corn and cheese to cornbread. Mix well.

7. Grease baking dish. You can use a disposable pan, a 13-by-9 pan (which we did) or another dish. Stick with a dish that’s not too small and deep so the cornbread will cook at a good pace.

8. Add meat-bean mixture to baking dish. Top with cornbread mix, and spread cornbread batter as evenly as possible over meat-bean mix.

9. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. TikTok’s PepperBellyPete cooked his casserole for one hour, but our casserole was browned and cooked well in 25-30 minutes, so you may need to adjust for your oven.

10. Cool a few minutes. You can spoon out servings and top with anything you like. Toppings we suggest include sour cream (to cool it down), more cheese and hot sauce (if you really like a big kick in the tastebuds).


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