You know what one of my favorite cuisines to turn to is when I’m craving something delicious?
For those of you may not be familiar with Tex-Mex, it’s a fusion of Mexican and American cuisines that originated from Texas.
It’s a big contributor to the cuisine that you’ll find in the southwestern area of the United States, and it’s spread like wildfire across the rest of the country.
It’s no wonder why, when you are taking some of the best ingredients and blending them together in a variety of delicious dishes.
As someone who grew up in Colorado, I spent a lot of time going down to New Mexico for vacation, and it was there that I truly fell in love with the Tex-Mex mashup.
Honestly, Tex-Mex can be found more and more around the country, often in what some people actually refer to as “authentic” Mexican food. But there are more than a few major differences between this relatively new US cuisine, and the time-honored traditional foods enjoyed south of the border, unique to their respective regions.
To boil it down quickly, Tex-Mex cuisine usually uses a good amount of shredded cheese, meat such as beef or chicken, beans, peppers, and a variety of spices.
Think nachos, tortilla skillets, crispy tacos, chilaquiles, and the fajitas that you know and love. Usually, the type of cheese is the defining factor in the difference between Tex-Mex and Mexican food.
Other differences include ground beef, black beans, canned veggies, and wheat flour that are not typical of traditional Mexican cuisine. This is primarily because these ingredients are common on the farms and ranch lands of Texas.
There’s a lot more yellow cheese (think cheddar) used in Tex-Mex, and that’s probably why I am so obsessed with it. I mean, that’s a huge reason why I am all about this particular dish right now.
And speaking of that cheese, the combination of classic ingredients to the cuisine like beef, beans, rice, spices, cheese, and salsa are a clear winner, solely because of the flavors. However, the textures also play a big role in making every bite delightfully different.
Next, you have the fact that this skillet comes together in less than 30 minutes. That’s right, you can have dinner on the table in 25 minutes total.
I know that we are all looking for something hearty and delicious at the end of a long day, without spending a lot of time pulling it all together. In my house, 30-minutes meals are the solution.
If you are looking for a skillet dish that can be the base for a variety of dishes and served as a simple casserole that holds up as a full meal on its own as well, then this is the recipe for you.
There are so many different ways to serve up this dish in new and creative ways. I’ll go into that more at the end of this article, but as you can see here, serving a few big spoonfuls over salad-filled taco bowls is one that I prefer above all others.
Plus, when there are greens involved, you can justify a second helping! Right?Print
If you’re in a hurry for dinner, the best one-pan Tex-Mex skillet recipe is here. The textures and flavors will make it your new favorite meal.
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground Ancho chili pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 can (15 oz) black or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups frozen corn kernels
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 cup salsa
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro (optional)
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add ground beef and onion. Cook until the beef is browned and the onion is softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook for about 30-60 seconds more, until fragrant. Drain fat and return beef mixture to pan.
- Add water, cumin, chili pepper, paprika, and salt to skillet. Stir well to coat the beef. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until most of the water has evaporated.
- Stir in beans, corn, and rice. Continue cooking about 5 minutes or until everything is warmed through.
- Top mixture with salsa and sprinkle with cheese. Cover and cook another minute or two until the cheese is melted. Serve warm – over tortilla chips, or in a taco shell, or in a soft tortilla, or over a bed of greens — take your pick! Garnish with a sprinkle of cilantro.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: One-Pot Meals
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Tex-Mex
Keywords: Tex-Mex, beef, skillet, cheese, one-pot meals
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep Produce and Measure Remaining Ingredients
Peel and finely chop the onion. Not a fan of this task? Check out our tips!
Peel the garlic cloves and mince finely, or push them through your garlic press.
Drain and rinse the black or pinto beans in a colander.
Remove leaves from cilantro stems and finely chop until you have about 2 tablespoons total.
Step 2 – Cook
Place a large skillet over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add the ground beef and onion.
Cook until the beef is browned and the onion is softened. This will take about 4-5 minutes.
Add the garlic, and cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, being careful not to let it burn.
Transfer the mixture to a plate and drain the fat. Return the beef mixture to the pan.
Step 3 – Finish and Serve
Stir in the water, cumin, chili pepper, paprika, and salt, making sure to coat the beef well.
Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the water has evaporated. This will take about 3-5 minutes.
Stir in the beans, corn, and rice. Continue cooking until everything is warmed through, about 5 minutes.
Top with salsa and sprinkle cheese over the top. Cover and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until cheese is melted.
If you like, a heat-safe pan can be placed under the broiler for a slightly browned melty topping.
Serve with a sprinkling of cilantro for garnish.
So Many Ways to Serve This Skillet
As you can see, you can easily serve this dish over salad in tortilla bowls. Some other ideas are to serve this skillet over tortilla chips or you can scale it up and serve it to a crowd.
You can also simply serve it over a salad, without the tortilla bowl. Making tacos out of it with taco shells or soft tortillas are other options that are ideal for Taco Tuesday.
Have another idea? Try it out, because anything goes.
Looking for some more one-pan dinner options? Check out these recipes:
- Chicken and Shrimp Lo Mein
- Roasted Spiced Chicken with Vegetables
- Balsamic Dijon Pork Loin with Sweet Potatoes, Onions, and Carrots
- Easy Vegan Skillet Lasagna
- Easy Oven Fajitas
How will you serve this Tex Mex skillet dinner? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to come back to rate the recipe to let us know how much you liked it!
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on November 5, 2012. Last updated: March 1, 2022 at 16:57 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.