I grew up eating delicious food that was more carb-based than fat-based. Recently I was talking about this with my mom and realized that most of the time I cook more fat-based meals than carb-based ones, which isn't exactly a routine I would like to continue! I would
Hence, this quinoa cowboy skillet was born. That night I went home determined to create a healthy skillet that focused on healthy carbs. As a Trim Healthy Mama crossover skillet, it is delicious and filled with both healthy carbs and healthy fats!
This skillet is filled with healthy and healthy carbohydrates that ring with savory flavor. The balance of quinoa, beans, and delicious spices just radiates those 'homey' flavors. Easily make this into a E-meal by using chicken as your protein instead of beef!
This page may contain affiliate links. To view my full affiliate link disclosure, click here.
What do you think of when you hear cowboy food? When I think of cowboy food, all I can think of is something hardy that will sustain over extended periods of time. I think of long trials, challenging work, and then the need for fast tasty food. Memories of old western movies with a chuck wagon that follows ranchers while herding cattle comes to mind. Hardtack, strong coffee, some beans, and big cast iron skillets all come to mind. A good cowboy skillet needs to have enough fuel to sustain a hard-working guy!
Cast iron skillets can be one of the most creative tools in your kitchen. The limits of them are contained to what you can cook in them, which is anything. Cook chicken, beef, soups, and even desserts!
I also recently discovered these cast iron holders that have been a lifesaver. Those skillets get HOT! I like my cowboy skillet nice and warm, so those holders really help keep the hands a bit more protected.
My favorite thing to cook in a skillet is a bit 'mid-western.' In my little corner of the 'mid-west, the United States loves our hot dishes. The state of Minnesota is hot dish central, but I personally don't like heating up the house with a complicated hot dish recipe. I prefer to throw ingredients in a skillet and hope it all turns out yummy.
Hotdish skillets are my favorite thing to cook in a cast-iron skillet. This cowboy skillet is simply throwing healthy ingredients into the pan and stirring it up. Easy, yummy, and simple.
Do you like the idea of more skillet meals in your kitchen repertoire? Learn more about my Healing Harvest Skillet Cookbook here!
- Uncooked quinoa
- Ground beef (or ground pork)
- Kidney beans
- Frozen seasoning blend
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Sea salt
- Nutritional yeast
Cowboy up and enjoy your delicious cowboy skillet!
As I said, this is basically a throw-the-ingredients-into-the-skillet kind of meal. All you need to do is brown the beef, cook the quinoa, throw everything else in and warm up to the desired temperature.
My personal favorite part of this skillet is its versatility of it, you can basically add anything else you would like to add even more character! Add more veggies, a different kind of beans, or some cayenne pepper to spice things up. Use your creativity!
In a pan place the quinoa on medium heat with 2 cups of water. Cook until boiling and then reduce heat and simmer with cover for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork when done and set aside.
In a skillet brown ground beef and drain excess fat.
To the skillet add onion powder, garlic powder, and cumin. Mix into the beef.
Add nutritional yeast to the skillet and mix well.
Add the kidney beans to the skillet and mix thoroughly
Add the seasoning blend to the skillet and mix thoroughly.
Add cooked quinoa and do a final mix.
Heat until warm.
There are a few different ways we have varied this recipe over the years. Here are our favorites.
- Spicy -add a can of Rotel tomatoes. It does not give it a huge spicy flavor, but just enough that you can detect it.
- Fresh - instead of adding a frozen seasoning blend, use fresh onions and peppers.
- Kid-friendly - if your kids don't appreciate the unique flavor of quinoa, we have also tried it with rice, and it's still quite delicious!
A similar version of this recipe is my skillet chili pie, which is another THM crossover but contains more dairy.
- Measuring spoons & cups
- Cast iron skillet
- Small saucepan (for quinoa)
How does this recipe fit with Trim Healthy Mama?
Are you a Trim Healthy Mama wondering how this recipe fits into the plan? Let's take a moment to go over something quickly. Repeat after me.
"Crossovers are on plan, crossovers are on plan, crossovers are on the plan."
Isn't that pretty freeing?!
This cowboy skillet is a crossover, but it is filled with healthy fats and carbs. An on-plan crossover contains both healthy fats and carbohydrates. This cowboy skillet meets that requirement head-on with beautiful beans and quinoa for our carbohydrates but also has good fatty beef and oils.
A really good crossover meal will also contain ample veggies. Truthfully, this skillet could have a few more veggies to round it out even more, but the peppers and onion do qualify! Another great crossover recipe is this macaroni and cheese recipe that has hidden veggies in it that the kids don't even notice!
What is the best type of cast iron skillet?
There are many different cast iron skillets to choose from and I truthfully have many different options in my kitchen. You can use whatever one works best for you. My only recommendation for this recipe is that you use a large one.
More about cast iron skillets can be found on this resource page.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 ½ cups water
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 can of kidney beans
- 1 16 oz frozen seasoning blend
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ⅛ tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- In a pan place the quinoa on medium heat with 2 cups of water.
- Cook until boiling and then reduce heat and simmer with cover for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork when done and set aside.
- In a skillet brown ground beef and drain excess fat.
- To the skillet add onion powder, garlic powder, and cumin. Mix into the beef.
- Add nutritional yeast to the skillet and mix well.
- Add the kidney beans to the skillet and mix thoroughly.
- Add the seasoning blend to the skillet and mix thoroughly.
- Add cooked quinoa and do a final mix.
- Cook until warm.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 451Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 18094mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 7gSugar: 0gProtein: 37g
These numbers are calculated using an automated online system. They are not meant to be 100% accurate. Use your best judgement when using the numbers.