Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Chuck Wagon Casserole

A hardy casserole of ground beef, seasoned with onion and bell pepper, some beans and corn, a little mixture of chili seasonings and topped off with rustic, cornmeal dusted biscuits.

Chuckwagon Casserole

It's no secret that I love casseroles - and yes, I love them any time of the year because they generally take little prep work and then go into the oven freeing up your time to do other things. They are an easy way to get a filling and tasty meal on the table with not a lot of effort too.

I know a lot of people want to switch over to no-cook meals, main dish salads, sandwiches, and cooking outside when the summer heat kicks in, but my husband still likes a meal, no matter the season, and cooking outside is pretty rough on me with the heat. Thank goodness for the modern convenience of air conditioning is all I can say!

This is called a Chuck Wagon casserole because it's sort of an all in one meal and one reminiscent of what might have been prepared on the wagon trail, in a Dutch oven over a campfire. Ground beef, seasoned with garlic, onion and bell pepper, beans and corn, a mixture of chili seasonings and for mine, topped off with biscuits dusted with a rustic touch of cornmeal. I would really have liked to have had the dozen biscuits, but I made do with what I had, which was a 10-count roll.

By the way... please don't use the larger, gourmet, jumbo biscuits on a casserole. You want the smaller, regular (in other words cheap-o) biscuits to ensure that they will cook through, so save the jumbo tins for breakfast, or you won't be happy!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. We start with a simple saute of onion, bell pepper and garlic. To that add 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of ground beef and cook until lightly browned. Drain off the oil if needed.

To the beef, add the beans, corn, tomato soup, milk, cheese, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce and Cajun seasoning. Stir over medium heat until well blended. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Transfer to a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish and bake uncovered at 375 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until filling is hot. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and set aside to cool. Remove the casserole from the oven.

Immediately dip the biscuits in the butter and scatter on the top of the hot casserole dish, leaving space in between each biscuit. The biscuits must go directly on the hot casserole to begin cooking on the bottom. Sprinkle the tops of all of the biscuits with cornmeal.

Return to the oven immediately and bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees F, for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until biscuits are cooked through and golden brown. All ovens vary, so you may need additional time for the biscuits to be completely cooked through. Check the center biscuits on the bottom and return to the oven if needed. Serve immediately with a green vegetable or a side salad.

Recipe: Chuckwagon Casserole

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 35 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings


  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup of chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of ground beef
  • 2 cans of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans of whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 cans of condensed tomato soup
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1-1/2 cups of shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning or cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 12 regular sized canned refrigerated biscuits (not large/jumbo)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of cornmeal

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and saute the onion and bell pepper until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the ground beef and cook until browned; drain if needed. To the beef, add the beans, corn, tomato soup, milk, cheese, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce and Cajun seasoning. Stir over medium heat until well blended. Taste; add salt and pepper, as needed.

Transfer to a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until hot. Meanwhile, melt the butter and set aside to cool. Remove the casserole, dip the biscuits in the butter and scatter on the top of the casserole dish. Sprinkle the tops of all of the biscuits with cornmeal. Return to the oven and bake uncovered, at 375 degrees F, for an additional 20 to 25 minutes OR until biscuits are cooked through and golden brown. Check bottoms of center biscuits and return to oven if not cooked through. Serve immediately with a green vegetable or a side salad.

Cook's Notes: Do not allow casserole to cool before adding the biscuits. Add biscuits to hot casserole and return to the oven immediately. Use regular biscuits; do not use jumbo biscuits as they may not cook through well. Please also note all ovens vary, so you may need more time for the biscuits to cook through and brown. Check the center bottoms to see if they need more time. Okay to substitute fresh, homemade or frozen biscuits, but let them thaw before adding them to the casserole. May also halve for a 9 x 9 casserole.

Variation: May also top with a cornbread batter - simply pour on top and bake. Substitute a can of chili beans in sauce for the kidney beans, or use 3/4 cup of barbecue sauce for the tomato soup.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on June 1, 2011

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  1. looks delish! we do a similar casserole called Chuck Wagon Mac with alot of the same ingredients plus a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese. I'm gonna give yours a try real soon for my hearty eaters!

  2. mom used to make something similar. Using pork n beans in the ground beef, omit the corn, and topped the biscuits w/cheddar, bake until all bubbly and cheese is gooey melted. IDK if we had a name for it, lol. Good comfort food Mary. Gotta try this myself.

  3. This would be delicious to eat while camping...yum!

  4. Looks good Mary & I'd eat it any time of the year - I'd just use my grill or smoker as the summertime oven.

  5. Mary, this is a heavier dish than I would normally serve at this time of year. However, we are not having typical weather and this sounds perfect for tonight's supper on this cold wet day.
    It's a perfect family meal. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  6. MMMMMM...this sounds good even though it's hot out! (Can ya tell I like to eat??) :o)

  7. I love casseroles too Mary, especially if they are topped with biscuits. I haven't seen this one before, so it's bookmarked for cooler temps. We do eat a bit lighter in the hot summer months, but there will be a cool rainy day soon to try this, I hope.

  8. Oh Lynda, it's been so darned hot here the past few days - I can't remember heat like this EVER! Anyway, you see this post was almost a week ago, so I've been eating pasta salads and regular salads with cucumbers & tomatoes and "cooler" foods myself! Oh I wish this heat wave would pass.

  9. Hi Mary, I made this just the other night with cornbread topping, yummy!

  10. Just the other day, my husband said, "You never make casseroles, do you? Do you know how?" Well, I'm gonna try this one!

  11. My husband loves this one - enjoy Corrina!

  12. I made this tonight and it is one of my new favorites! It's so easy and very good.

  13. I found your recipe earlier today and since I had everything I made it - I made homemade biscuits to top it, and used leftover chili from sundays supper - and it is very good1 I will have lots of it left to go in the freezer and I can only guess it will be excellent reheated! Thanks!

    1. You're very welcome Lorri - so glad that you enjoyed it!

  14. Hello there! Yesterday, I really just wanted to grab some fast food for the family~but the budget was saying NO! So I made this recipe and it was a hit!! Made it exactly as written and everyone loved it. So I thank you and my budget thanks you!

  15. Yesterday, I just wasn't in the mood to cook but my budget was telling me otherwise. So I made this recipe exactly as written and it was a hit! So I thank you and my budget thanks you! I know we'll enjoy this recipe for years to come.

    1. Thank you so much Marla for coming back by to let me know! I'm so glad the family enjoyed it.

  16. Hi! Is it possible for me to make the casserole without baking it? I don't have an oven or a crock pot so stove top is the way to go. And how long do I have to cook it on top of the stove? Thanks!

    1. Hi Margarita! I'm so sorry, but I just don't know how to translate a casserole like this to the top of the stove. You might be able to cook it very low for a long amount of time, but I just can't give you a tried and true method for that. The problem with the stovetop is that the heat is all concentrated on the bottom and while a cast iron pot might help, you're not getting the circulation of heat that you are with the oven. Let us know if you experiment though!

    2. You can make the stew part hispanics do it in skilet n cover till all is marinated and flavers have married
      but perhaps the pasta would work better than the biscutes you can always eat with them on the side
      or puches a lovly corn bread

  17. This is amazing!!!! Thank you so much for sharing!

  18. Hey this is fantastic! I Googled for a recipe using hamburger that didn't sound like meatloaf, hamburgers, or spaghetti... shared it on Facebook and a friend is going to make it tonight as well with a gluten free topping of millet.

    Our oven is shot, so we will be making this in the crock pot. And will be using homemade biscuits to top it.

  19. This is funny because I made something just like this ( nixing the corn and beans ). I was just throwing in what I thought looked good. Only thing is, I dont see a reason to bake the casserole before adding the biscuits since everything is already hot and cooked through anyways. I just cooked everything in the skillet together, slopped into the casserole dish and baked for 25 minutes until the biscuits were cooked through. I also added cheese to mine.

    1. The purpose is to keep the ingredients in the casserole very hot so that the biscuits start cooking from the bottom up as well as the top down but if you're fast enough about getting the biscuits open, dipped, onto the hot dish, sprinkled and into the oven, it will work out skipping that step too.

  20. I am going to try this.with the cornbread do you put on at the start of cooking in the oven?


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