Bow Tie Fiesta!

I am often asked about this recipe that I talk about so often. It’s one of the most common searches that brings people to this blog. But I realized I never actually gave it its own post so you could easily find it.

I made Bow Tie Fiesta (from the Junior League of Columbia cookbook) for two friends this week. It’s such a great meal to take to a family because it’s kid-friendly, husband-friendly, and just undeniably delicious. It is one of Todd’s favorite dishes and it is just so easy to make. It freezes well and reheats well for leftovers. Todd actually swears that it’s better the second day.

This morning, I took Bow Tie Fiesta, a spinach/strawberry/goat cheese salad, and a Butterfinger pie to two families. I like to package things in disposable containers so they don’t have to worry about returning them. I used some of my personalized labels to write the date that it was prepared and any heating or reheating instructions.

I fixed another batch for us to eat at home. Todd gets annoyed when I make yummy meals and take them to others out of the house, but fix turkey sandwiches for us. So I made some Bow Tie Fiesta for him, too. (Did I mention that my picky toddler eats it, too?)

The original recipe calls for black olives and jalapeños, but I omit both of those every time because I just don’t love either ingredient.

And, no, I have no idea how many calories are in each serving. This is one of my “free meals.”

Bow Tie Fiesta

Source: Down By The Water from the Junior League of Columbia


8 ounces bow tie pasta
1 pound ground beef
½ onion, chopped
½ green bell pepper, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
Salt to taste
1 cup sour cream
1 cup salsa
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese


Cook the pasta using package directions and cooking for 7 minutes; drain. Brown the beef in a skillet, stirring until crumbly; drain. Add the onion and green pepper and mix well. Cook until the onion is tender, stirring constantly. Stir in the tomato sauce, chili powder, and salt. Combine the pasta, ground beef mixture, sour cream, salsa, black olives, jalapenos, and tomato in a bowl and mix well. Spoon into a 9×11-inch or 9×9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with the cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Yield: 8 servings

sometimes the yummiest dishes look the least appetizing in photos

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  1. says

    YUM! I am going to make this soon. I like the name too which makes all the difference when the question, what’s for dinner, is asked! Thanks for telling me about the Olivia Garden hairbrush. I LOVE it!

  2. says

    I love your bow tie fiesta recipe! I made it a couple of weeks ago and my husband is already requesting that I make it again. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. Colleen says

    Yum! Adding this to my meal list for next week! Can you post or email me the butterfinger pie recipe? My Dad has a weakness for butterfinger and I would love to make him a special treat!

  4. Kate says

    Funny that you posted about this today. I am making it tonight and while making my grocery list yesterday was thinking about how i needed to e-mail you to say how much we love it( maybe almost as much as you!). I started following your blog 2 years ago and you were always talking about bow tie fiesta and how good it is. I’m a newlywed(5 months) and am always looking for new recipes to try since I love to cook (and now actually have the time). Bow tie fiesta was one of the first meals I cooked for us and my husband went back for seconds. That’s how I know if my husband truly likes what I’ve made, since he’s too sweet and polite to say he doesn’t like it because he knows the all the work that went into preparing the meal. I knew this recipe was a go-to to keep in our rotation when I was doing my weekly meal-planning one day and asked my husband if he had any requests and he said he wanted bow tie fiesta. I love the olives in mine though, but omit the jalepenos. And your husband is right, it is better the second time around. I know you used to do more recipe posts, and I would love if you shared some more of your delicious recipes with us!

  5. Megan says

    I looove this recipe! I made this for the first time a couple of months ago and ate it every night until it was gone ( which is rare in my house!) I always think of you when I make it too. Thanks for posting it again!

  6. says

    This is a favorite in our house too! It’s my go-to for when friends have a baby, and Nick always gets upset when I make it for someone else without making an extra batch for us! We also like it with chicken instead of ground beef!

  7. September says

    I’m going to have to try this–my kids love anything remotely mexican-inspired and this should be a hit! Just wanted to clarify…the picture shows chili seasoning (the stuff in the packet) but the recipe calls for chili powder; are they interchangeable based on preference or should I use one or the other. Also, in the original recipe do you happen to remember the quantities for the olives and jalapenos? If its for my husband and I we love them!


  8. step moMster says

    i love those labels! what a great idea…and so useful i’d imagine. would you mind sharing where you ordered them from? i’m going to try this recipe for my family tonight!

  9. says

    This sounds delish- do you happen do know if it’s freezer friendly? I’m trying to stock up on ideas for meals to freeze when our firstborn arrives!

  10. lindsey says

    Quick question: Have you (or anyone else) tried to substitute greek yogurt for the sour cream? I can’t buy sour cream where I live, but want to try this out! Also- same question as the above regarding the chili seasoning/ powder. Thanks!

  11. says

    Yummy! I will have to make this for my husband!! We have some friends who just moved into their first home and this will be perfect to bring to them while they are moving! Thanks for sharing!

  12. says

    Sounds delicious! And it’s not too complicated and works great for picky husband. Think we’ll add that to our weekly menu for next week. =) Thanks for sharing!!

  13. RLR says

    Re the chili powder/seasoning question – I’m sure Erin will chime in (& I hope so, too!), but wanted to let y’all know that I’ve made it several times with chili powder (and we include the black olives and just about 2T of diced jalapeños {the jarred kind}) and it tastes great. My kids like it, too – though they do pick out the olives.

  14. says

    Hey gals! Regarding the chili powder/seasoning question: if I have chili powder on hand, I always use that. But if I have chili seasoning on hand instead, I use that and it tastes great and works just fine. I honestly can’t taste the difference.

    For those that don’t like onions and peppers, I don’t love the texture of them either. So I always chop them (into almost a liquid form) in the food processor and then sautee them with the meat for even longer so they aren’t crunchy at all.

    If you like olives and/or jalapeños then go for it! 🙂 I don’t mind the olives, but Todd doesn’t like them. And he likes jalapeños, but I don’t. So we just leave both of those things out.

    I hope this all helps!

    Also- this recipe freezes really well. Assemble it and do everything except bake it and then thaw it and bake it when you’re ready to eat it. Enjoy!

  15. Lindsay says

    Looks great! I’m always looking for something easy and delicious when taking a meal to someone. I’d also love to know where you got the cute name stickers too! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  16. says

    This recipe looks so yummy! I wanted to check and see if I needed to add a tomato as well? It isn’t listed in the ingredients but it is listed in the directions. Just wanted to check with you to make sure I make it correctly. Thanks again for sharing!!!

    • says

      Hey Kristen, Yes! I can’t believe I left that one out. Although, if you didn’t add the tomato it wouldn’t make much difference because of the tomato sauce and salsa already in the recipe. But, yes, go ahead and add a diced tomato. 🙂


  17. Wendy Hou says

    This post came at a perfect time!! I have a close friend who was in an accident and in need of some Bow Tie Fiesta!! Thanks for a great recipe!!

  18. Jessie Kennedy says

    Hi –

    I made this for dinner last night and it was great! My husband and toddler ate it and loved it! I used ground turkey as that is what I had thawed and I added black beans as I had a can open . . . Thanks for the recipe. It will placed on our recurring menu!


  19. says

    Made this last night, but added jalapenos, doubled the chili powder, and switched out the green pepper for a yellow pepper, and it.was.amazing!! Definitely had a little spicy kick and we love that. So good!! And I definitely would agree with your husband, I think it’ll be even more amazing tonight! 🙂 Thanks SO much!!

  20. Alexis says

    I did a search on your site for the Spinach Salad and could not find it. Would love for you to share it 🙂

    Can’t wait to try out the Fiesta!

  21. says

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I made it for dinner last night and everyone loved it – including the kids! It’s definitely going on the list as one of our favorite family staple meals.

    Thanks again! 🙂

  22. Melinda says

    We had this last night for dinner and loved it! Quick, easy and delicious! Please share where you got the labels! I’d love to order some!

  23. step moMster says

    i made this again for dinner last night. once again…not a leftover in sight. oh, and i got notice today that my friend’s baby arrived – 3 weeks early. i just signed up on their “meal train” to bring them this to them in 2 weeks. hopefully my labels will have arrived by then, too 🙂

  24. Melissa Loomis says

    Can’t wait to try this recipe. Going to make it for a friend who just had a baby!! I really like your labels!! Do you mind sharing with me where you got those from? ThankS!!

  25. says

    I finally made this last night for my family and it was a hit! I think everyone went back for seconds. Thanks for sharing.

  26. bella says

    I made this casserole for our end of the year Bible Study class potluck. It was a hit! I will be making it again and it was so easy to put together. Thanks for sharing this recipe which is a winner.

  27. RENAE says

    I made this recipe Friday night and it was DELISH!! I added a little extra cheese inside and it was great!! I even did a blog post about it.

  28. says

    Erin – does this make one pan or two? I want to make some freezer meals for after baby and I’m wondering if I need to double if I want enough for 2 pans.

  29. Jessica R. says

    I just wanted to share with you how much my family has enjoyed this dinner. I always do a double batch so I have one to bring to friends in need as well! THANK YOU! 🙂

  30. Kris says

    Hi…this recipe looks great and I can’t wait to try it. I noticed in the comments you said to add a diced tomato and possibly jalepenos and black olives (how much???) but I don’t see them in the recipe. Is is possible for you to add those items and quanitities to the recipe list on the blog post? I pinned this recipe and I know I won’t go back and look through the comments every time I come back to make this recipe so I will probably forget if it is not listed. I would really appreciate it 🙂 Thanks again for sharing 🙂


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