Looking at the line-up of recipes on my Pinterest page recently, I realized I was a little light in the meat department. I enjoy beef (and certainly so does Mr. Mom’s Kitchen), although we don’t eat a lot of it around here.  When we do, I’m mindful of the quality I buy, the amount I use, and the cost. Beef has a pretty significant carbon footprint, something I wrote about a while back here. It can also be high in fat, particularly the less desireable saturated kind, and pricey, especially with higher quality options.

This recipe for Cheesy Tex Mex Skillet Supper epitomizes how I like to incorporate beef into my cooking. It’s inspired by Amanda Haas’ Mexican Skillet Casserole, which you can find here on Cooking Light.

My recipe calls for eight ounces of beef, which isn’t a lot for four to five servings, particularly when you consider a steakhouse might serve that, and then some, for a single portion. But that amount is what makes it affordable for me to use grass fed, organic ground beef, which can cost multiple times what you might pay for ordinary ground round. I “beefed” up my beef by working onions, zucchini, corn, and black beans into the mix, which not only extends the meat, but brings in extra nutrients: fiber in the beans, and all the good stuff that vegetables bring to the table.

After adding the cheese to the top and letting it bubble under a broiler, set the skillet right on the table with warm corn tortillas and whatever other Tex Mex fixings you like: guacamole, sliced avocado, tomatoes, chopped lettuce, shredded cabbage, and salsa are all fair game.

Cheesy Tex Mex Skillet Supper

Yield: 4 to 5 servings

Cheesy Tex Mex Skillet Supper

Serve with warm corn tortillas, and any accompiments you like: salsa, avocado, guacamole, sour cream or chili sauce. This can serve as a stand-alone supper, but adding a plate of crunchy crudite or salad on the side makes a nice counterpoint.


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow or red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground chili powder
  • Pinch red chili flakes
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into large dice
  • 1 cup uncooked corn kernels (fresh off the cob or frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, drained (one 14 to 16 ounce box or can)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Corn tortillas for serving


  1. Set your oven to broil.
  2. Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, cumin, chili powder, and chili flakes and saute until nearly tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the ground beef and scramble until nearly cooked through (though still slightly pink). Add the zucchini and corn. Saute until just barely tender, but not soft. Remove from heat and stir in the black beans, tomato paste, lemon juice, and salt. Taste and add more salt or additional chili powder or chili flakes to taste. Remove from heat.
  3. Sprinkle the cheese over the surface of the mixture and set under a broiler until melted and bubbly.
  4. Serve immediately with warm corn tortillas.

Inspired by Mexican Skillet Casserole, Real Family Food, Amanda Haas, Oxmoor House, 2012