I am horrible when it comes to using leftovers. I admit it, we let a lot of food go to waste in our house but I am really, really trying to change that. Earlier this week I made a crockpot full of Pinto Beans, or as we call them in the South, “Soup Beans“. That night we dined on soup beans, cornbread, and fried potatoes and onions. A very Southern and frugal meal. But the problem was that now I had this “frugal” pot of beans that was going to go bad unless I found a creative way to use the leftovers. Thus, the creation of Cowboy Ranch Casserole.
I have to tell you first that I did not intend for this to be a “ranch” flavored dish. And its not “Ranch” like a Dude Ranch, although they would probably like this recipe too, but rather “Ranch” like the creamy dressing you put on salads. You see, my husband has an obsession with ranch dressing and puts it on almost everything. I actually asked him once if my cooking was so bad he had to disguise the flavors with the dressing…he denied it of course! But last night I tried his version of this dish, with the ranch dressing, and actually loved it. So here it is:
Cowboy Ranch Casserole
About 4 cups Leftover pinto beans (if you don’t have leftovers you can always use canned pinto beans)
2 pounds ground beef, browned and drained
1 onion, diced
2 cans Rotel, tomatoes and green chilies
1 cup barbecue sauce
Cornbread mixture (I make my cornbread from scratch so I just increased the amount I usually make, but if you are using a packaged mix I would recommend using two packages)
1. Brown and drain ground beef. I added the diced onion in as I was cooking the beef too.
2. After draining the grease from the meat and onion mixture, in the same skillet I added the Rotel and barbecue sauce. I let this simmer for a few minutes.
3. Next add the leftover pinto beans. If your skillet is not big enough to mix all of this together you can mix it together within the casserole dish.
4. I used a 9×13 pan but really could have used a bigger pan. It was full! I sat the 9×13 pan on a cookie sheet just in case it did overflow while cooking.
5. After mixing your cornbread mixture, pour it over the top of the bean and meat mixture.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until the cornbread is done.
Now here is the “ranch” portion of this dish. After letting it cool and serving it we drizzled ranch dressing over the top of the plated portions. It was actually very good! I’m thinking next time I may use a packet of Ranch mix, the dry kind, to mix in with the casserole before cooking. It gives it a creamy, yummy taste!