Chuck Wagon Skillet Dinner

Cover recipe-  Pillsbury One Dish Meals Cookbook, Chuck Wagon Skillet Dinner: Copyright 1999

The full title of this cookbook being reviewed today is Pillsbury One Dish Meals Cookbook:  More Than 300 Recipes for Casseroles, Skillet Dishes and Slow-Cooker Meals.  I’m pretty sure I got this as a Christmas present at some point in my young, married life.  It’s the sort of cookbook that home cooks who are looking for family-friendly, comfort food dishes will find useful.  The recipes call for using shortcuts like instant rice, jarred sauces, canned goods and frozen vegetables.  I’ve never really used a lot of shortcuts, so this cookbook hasn’t seen much action in my kitchen.  I did try the Easy Taco Casserole a while back, which my family liked a lot.

The cover recipe showcases the Chuck Wagon Skillet Dinner, a very simple dish utilizing taco-seasoned beef, instant rice, canned tomatoes & corn and fresh zucchini.  A sprinkle of melted cheese tops it off.

Check out my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe…

Print Print Recipe

Chuck Wagon Skillet Dinner

Yield: Serves 6 (serving size: 1 cup)

Prep Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 20 min


1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped onion
One (1.25 oz.) package taco seasoning mix
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced zucchini
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
One 14.5 ounce can stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 cups uncooked instant rice
4 ounces (1 cup) shredded cheddar cheese


1.  In large skillet, brown ground beef and onion until beef is thoroughly cooked.  Drain.  Stir in seasoning mix, water, zucchini, corn and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in rice.  Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 5 to 7 minutes or until liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally.
2.  Remove from heat.  Fluff mixture with fork; sprinkle with cheese.  Cover; let stand 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.  If desired, garnish with diced red bell pepper and jalapeño chiles.


*I tested out this recipe using ground turkey and instant brown rice.
*I didn't like the stewed tomatoes in the dish... I think petite chopped tomatoes might be better.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1 cup
Calories per serving: 390
Fat per serving: 17g
Saturated Fat per serving: 8g
Sugar per serving: 4g
Sodium per serving: ,span class="sodium">850g
Fiber per serving: 2g
Protein per serving: 21g
Cholesterol per serving: 65mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 37g

The results:

This was a very simple recipe to make.  I’d say it’s a good choice if someone is looking for a family-friendly dinner.  Kids can pick out the zucchini easily enough if they won’t eat it, but if it’s tucked under that melted cheese then perhaps they won’t notice it. I thought it was pretty good for a quick and easy meal.  My family enjoyed it with a little sour cream added on top.  For leftovers, my son suggested tucking the mixture into some corn tortillas for tacos (add lettuce, sour cream, guacamole).

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Yes.  Although it doesn’t represent my style of cooking, it’s a good example of  the types of recipes the reader will find as they explore the rest of this cookbook.  One caveat… I really hate the name that they gave this recipe.  I’m pretty sure I could have come up with something better.

Lori is the founder of She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at

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8 Responses to “Chuck Wagon Skillet Dinner”

  1. 1

    Mrs. Mordecai — January 25, 2010 @ 10:50 am

    Your notes are right on: I agree with them all! Instant rice bothers me: I prefer normal. It doesn’t take that much longer. I think your photo looks better than the cover, by the way. :)

  2. 2

    sarah — January 25, 2010 @ 8:33 pm

    when i was in elementary school we would get the lunch menu each week and I didn’t know what “chuckwagon” was. I imagined a covered wagon constructed out of vegetables–that would be impressive for cafeteria food! alas, it was awful. this looks much better!

  3. 3

    LilSis — January 25, 2010 @ 11:13 pm

    This sounds like something my son and his friends would enjoy. Nothing wrong with something quick and easy when in a hurry. And your son’s suggestion about the tortillas is perfect. We would probably serve this in tortillas to begin with.

    I agree with you about the title. If I hadn’t seen your review of the Chuck Wagon Skillet Dinner, I probably never would had looked twice at the recipe.

  4. 4

    Laura — January 26, 2010 @ 7:24 pm

    I have this cookbook, but have never made this dish. I will have to give it a try, with the diced tomatoes.

  5. 5

    Scorpio Woman — January 26, 2010 @ 7:42 pm

    This is a recipe I might try for my son, minus the zucchini. I’m sure he would see them even if it’s under the cheese. I’d use mushroom instead. Thanks Lori for posting the recipe :)

  6. 6

    marla {Family Fresh Cooking} — January 26, 2010 @ 7:52 pm

    Hi! I have not visited you over here yet. Yes, you could have come up with a much better name for this dish! This looks super simple, I like your changes.

  7. 7

    Katie @ goodLife {eats} — January 27, 2010 @ 2:53 pm

    I’d probably add some drained black beans and sauteed mushrooms too. Like you, this isn’t my style of cooking, but it seems a good basic recipe to have on hand that could please most.

  8. 8

    karen — January 22, 2012 @ 8:57 am

    I use to make this recipe all the time when my kids were young. I had the original Pillsbury magazine and my kids loved it…just this week my daughter, now in college, wanted to bring her boyfriend to dinner and asked me to make that “great Mexican casserole”. I had long lost the recipe and was so happy to find it here!!

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