Mom’s One Pot Dinner Recipe

I like to think I’m a decent cook…I like to think I’m more than decent but we won’t get into that. Even though I can whip up my meals without a problem now, things weren’t always like that! I’ve had plenty of fails in the kitchen (smoke alarms, burning honey onto a baking sheet, flat and crispy cookies, etc), and whenever I had those issues, my mom was always the one I called!

girl with man and woman all smiling
One of them taught me to cook, one of them taught me to eat…can you guess which did what?

After many phone calls from various apartments (and years in the kitchen together at home!) I learned my way to making some pretty good meals. Even now, I still learn a lot just from watching my mom make dinner after dinner without recipes. I’ve always admired this, and have come to ask lots of questions so that I can hopefully replicate it all. Lucky for me, she’s the queen of ease and simplicity and we BOTH value recipes that won’t take too much effort. That’s where today’s recipe comes in!

girl and woman at a waterfront view
the one who taught me all I know in the kitchen! (so if you guessed mom, you’re right)

My mom has made variations of this recipe soooo many times, and it’s always a hit! The one-pot meal can take on many flavor profiles, and it can be made to fit many dietary accommodations. Watching my mom make this so I could write down the recipe was a lot of figuring out how to quantify ‘some of this or some of that and you can also do this or that if you want this or that’…so it’s pretty flexible and hard to mess up! You can follow the recipe below exactly, but also feel free to make it your own if you are already comfortable in the kitchen. As always, please share if you make it!

rice and beans bowl with text overlay of mom's one pot dinner

Mom’s One-Pot Dinner

Course Main Course
Servings 4


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 package ground beef any type of ground meat works or veggie crumbles if vegetarian
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin more or less to taste
  • 1/2 tsp paprika more or less to taste
  • 1 tsp oregano more or less to taste
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro more or less to taste
  • 1 tsp salt more or less to taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper more or less to taste
  • 1 red pepper, diced any color is fine!
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes optional
  • 2 cups vegetable broth any type of broth is fine


  • warm a large, deep skillet over medium low heat on the stove
  • coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil
  • add diced onion and allow to cook and soften
  • add the rice (we used brown rice but you can use any type you'd like!)
  • add in your meat or veggie protein
  • season the meat and rice mixture with salt, pepper, garlic powder (or fresh garlic), cumin, oregano, paprika, and dried cilantro *note, you can switch up these seasonings for other flavor profiles, we went for a Tex-Mex taste
  • allow the meat to cook through and the rice to toast for a few minutes
  • add your diced vegetables to the mixture and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking
  • *optional: add a can of beans
  • *optional: add can of diced tomatoes
  • add liquid (broth of choice)
  • bring the entire pot to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 45 minutes or until rice is tender
  • add toppings of choice (I added lime juice and fresh cilantro!)


  • If you would like to make this dish with a protein other than meat, you can use vegetarian crumbles or a can of beans.  If you choose to use beans, add them in with the vegetables.
  • You can also make this dish with frozen vegetables instead of fresh and it will turn out great!  Add 2 cups of frozen mixed vegetables when the diced veggies are added.
  • another good seasoning option is an Italian blend!
  • Top with cheese if desired!, lime juice definitely recommended for the Tex-Mex version