Apr 282015

Cow Girl Beef & Bean SkilletMy boys have been eating this since they were in diapers and it’s still a family favorite. We always serve it over cooked rice. Start the rice before you fry the ground beef and the rice will done about the same time as the Beef & Beans. When the boys were little, and their sisters were big, they would argue at the dinner table over whether this dish was called cowboy beans or cowgirl beans. We finally settled the argument by calling it cow-poke beans. I would always tell my kids the story of how cowboys, after riding the herd all the day, would stop and cook this dish over an open fire while they sang cowboy songs and told tall tales. Then we would try to tell our own tall tale while eating supper. Distracting children who are on the autism spectrum is an on-going task, so I was happy to hit upon this idea.

Now my girls are grown and live near their other mother’s family in the Midwest. My boys are nearly grown and still live at home. Sadly there are never arguments over the name of this dish, or calls for me to tell cowboy stories or tall tales at the dinner table any longer. Even with everyone all grown up, the guys still smile when they see this homespun meal on the table. I think it holds fond memories for them too.

By the way, I still call it Cowgirl Beans because I cook it and I’m a girl. If you’re serving boys feel free to call it cowboy beans, or if you have a mixed bunch, cow-poke beans works too.

Cowgirl Beef & Bean Skillet


  • 1 pound regular ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper OR red pepper flakes
  • 28 ounce can baked beans
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard OR yellow mustard


Get out a very large skillet or even a pot. Fry the ground meat over medium-high heat, breaking it up into smaller bits as it cooks. Drain off the fat. If desired, pour your meat into a strainer and rinse it under hot water. Drain well and return to the skillet. Add the onions, salt, black pepper and red pepper. If the skillet seems dry, then add a couple of tablespoons of water too. Fry the onions and meat for about 5-minutes, or until the onion is somewhat tender. Add the baked beans, ketchup and mustard. Swirl a little water into the baked bean can to get anything clinging to the sides of the can. Dump this into the skillet too.

Stir the beef and beans together. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes or until hot. Serve over rice. Offer corn on the cob or regular corn, and broccoli on the side. Potato salad is good with this too. Makes 6 servings.

  5 Responses to “Cowgirl Beef & Bean Skillet”

  1. Any ideas on how to make beans less..gassy? I use canned beans since they’re cheaper here for me but my husband doesn’t seem to tolerate them as well as I do. Great recipe by the way! 🙂

  2. That is a good question. In my family, my oldest son and I eat the most legumes and they do not give us any digestion problems at all. It’s just food, no problem. My youngest son and husband both eat fewer legumes and they have more flatulence when they do. We had considered it a case of heredity, that youngest son and hubby simply weren’t designed to digest beans as efficiently as oldest son and I. We figured that some folks have fewer digestion problems with lots of fiber, other’s have more. You can’t control which you are, so you just make the best of it.

    Recently, however, hubby has intentionally increased his fiber consumption, and his digestive issues have lessened as his body has become more accustomed to the extra fiber. He has less gas now than when he only ate high-fiber foods occasionally. This leads me to wonder if simply eating more fiber, more often, over time, allows our bodies to adjust so that we experience fewer digestive upsets as we become more accustomed to the higher fiber intake. The jury is still out.

    Regardless, the only real help I know of is a product called Bean-O. You put a few tasteless drops on your food. It helps your body digest beans more efficiently, so less gas. You can buy it at any supermarket or truck-stop. Reports from my hubby and other railroad men, is that it really works.

    There are lots of other solutions that may or may not help. They include soaking your beans overnight, then discarding the soak water and boiling the beans in fresh water. Some people say adding seaweed to your boiling beans reduces flatulence. I’ve heard that adding soy sauce or garlic to beans helps digestion. I’m not certain that any of these solutions really make all that much difference. If it’s a real problem, then try Bean-O. Otherwise, I think our bodies adjust over time. Sorry I couldn’t be more help.

    • Thanks so much! 🙂 You did have a good point! I’ve put soy sauce into our baked beans and we both had way less of a gas problem! Interesting though! 🙂 Thanks a bunch and I appreciate it! 🙂

  3. We’ve always called this speedy sweet and beefy beans, and I loved it as a child and still make it, but i add cans of tomatoes, corn and a spoonful of brown sugar. Makes it go further.

  4. I never thought of adding corn Kristene. Cool idea. When I use pork n beans, instead of baked beans, I do add a little sugar. Baked beans are already so sweet though, so we don’t add any extra. Thanks for sharing your tip!

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