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One Pan Southwestern Ground Beef & Dirty Rice Casserole

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Well THIS sure was a nice surprise that I wasn’t expecting! Though the idea I had in my head I knew hoped!! would taste good enough for a quickie weeknight thing, I just didn’t expect that it would be such a keeper!! But my One Pan Southwestern Ground Beef & Dirty Rice Casserole was a huge hit with both of us! And it was all made in ONE, non-stick, frying pan!!


What’s not love about that, right?!!




This started as a simple clean-out-the-cupboard kind of supper, that I wanted to just throw together quickly and easily with no fuss. And it got it’s start and inspiration from a simple packet of Knorr Dirty Rice!


It’s an instant mix of seasonings, pasta, and rice that cooks in just 7 minutes! So you can already see that, even with a little extra cooking and goodies, this dish moves right along and gets to the table quickly!

I almost used this dirty rice mix as a side dish, but I was so tired that day, that in the last minute, I decided to just whip up an all-in-one-pan supper instead. Best decision I could’ve made.



I had originally thought to use some kind of sausage, or maybe a spicy chorizo, but I happened to already have a package of extra lean ground beef in the fridge that I thought would work perfectly and not clash with the seasonings already in the packaged mix, since I had never tried this brand before.



I used extra lean ground beef for this, because it’s so super low in fat, that by the time it’s cooked, there’s nothing to drain! I highly recommend using it for this dish, because we’re going to add butter to help sauté the rice and pasta.

If you drain the fat away, you’ll also be draining away the butter that’s needed. So please, for this one at least, do pay a little extra for super lean. Otherwise you’ll burn and scorch the pasta and rice.




Along with the beef and a little butter, I also added in a nice little variety of fresh vegetables. I used some of my sweet red cubanelles from this summer’s garden, but if you can’t find red ones, you can use any color of bell pepper.




I also added the usual suspects being onion, celery, and a tall can of (drained corn!



Since I was adding a lot of extra goodies to this mix, I thought I probably better add a few more spices or it might end up being bland.

So glad that I did, because it turned out nice and flavorful! Not too spicy for sensitive palates, but with just a little kick in the back.




Once the meat, veggies, seasonings, pasta & rice are sautéed, I added in the water and a can of tomato sauce.

Then, I simply brought it to a boil, covered it, and let it simmer and do it’s thing for 7 minutes!



Once cooked, I gave it a stir, added in that can of corn, and let it rest for 5 minutes, (covered).



I topped it with a few nice big handfuls of cheese, plopped the lid back on, and just let it rest while I chopped up the very last of my fresh tomatoes from my garden!

Of all the toppings you could possibly add, do make sure you sprinkle the top with some tomatoes! M hubby said they “made the dish perfect”. Love that man.

I also snipped some of my homegrown green onions over the top, too.

You could add green onions or even fresh chives, or just finely chop some fresh red onion if you’d prefer, and already happen to have it on hand.



Other toppings that would be fun are chopped avocado, sliced black olives, my “Jalapeño Cowboy Candy” or jarred pickled jalapeños, finely shredded lettuce, hot sauce, and small spoonfuls of sour cream on each serving!

No matter how you decide to dress it up, this one is sure to be a family favorite go-to that will happily join your regular rotation each month! Hearty, meaty, with lots of fresh veggies and cheese!

I hope you all enjoy as much as we did! Have a wonderful day!



One Pan Southwestern Ground Beef & Dirty Rice Casserole
Yield: 8 servings

One Pan Southwestern Ground Beef & Dirty Rice Casserole


  • 1 lb. extra lean ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbl. butter (1/2 a stick)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large rib celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 sweet red cubanelle pepper, chopped (seeds and membranes removed)
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cajun seasoning such as Slap Ya Mama
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (5.7 oz.) packet Knorr Dirty Rice mix
  • 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp. more coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 (15.25 oz.) can corn, well drained (can sub frozen peas if preferred)
  • 4 oz. (1 cup) shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • chopped tomatoes
  • snipped green onions


  • In large deep frying pan (that has a lid), sauté broken up hamburger over medium-low heat with pepper, butter, veggies, and seasonings, until meat is done, breaking up meat more as you cook. Do not drain, you need the butter. (*Make sure you use extra lean ground beef and there won't be any hamburger grease to worry about.) Add Dirty Rice mix during last 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add water, sauce and more pepper, bring to boil, cover, reduce heat to low, simmer 7 minutes.
  • When done, stir in drained corn, remove from heat, re-cover, and let mixture stand for 5 minutes. Stir, add cheese, cover and let melt. About 5 more minutes.
  • Serve topped with chopped tomatoes and snipped green onion.
  • Can also serve with hot sauce on the side for those who would a little extra heat if desired. Enjoy!


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