~ A fun, easy way to shake up Taco Night! This Mexican Rice Skillet Dinner is so simple (with mostly hands-off cooking time), plus we’ve got make-ahead strategies, too! Loaded with yummy Tex-Mex flavors, it’s a quick, one-pot dinner recipe your whole family will love! ~
This Recipe Is: • Ready in 30 Minutes or Less • Make Ahead •
Happy Cinco de Mayo, friends!
You know I’ve been dragging out my party bins to find all our festive decorations …
Tchotchke ponchos, Mariachi vests, and cactus-shaped stir sticks? Check, check, and double-check!
Psssst … while we’re making checklists … check out our little video that shows how EASY this recipe is to throw together, in just one pan!
Like I’ve said before … “everything we need to make Cinco de Mayo memorable … even on a school night!”
But wait … what do I NOT have on a school night in early May?!?!
You know what I mean. Once you become a parent of school-age kiddos, May is high season for the scheduling crazies! We’ve got lacrosse (both kids!), track, soccer, student government, writing club, plus plenty of awards ceremonies, get-ready-for-next-year meetings, and final concerts. And, of course, it all happens more or less exactly at the dinner hour … and often at conflicting times on opposite ends of town.
So how do you still manage to have a family meal, with balance and nutrition and even a little time together to connect and talk?
You work fast, you prep ahead … and you keep recipes like this on hand at all times!
Because while this Mexican Rice Skillet is the perfect way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo tonight … you’ll love how quick and easy it is, and your whole family will love how delicious it is … so you’ll no doubt want to keep this recipe in your back pocket year-round!
It’s got all the yummy flavors of taco night, in one easy skillet dinner that’s ready in just over 30 minutes (with mostly hands-off cooking time)! And with a few nutritional upgrades and simple tips, you can make this even faster, even easier, and healthy, too!
Extra-Lean Meat – Be sure to choose extra-lean ground meat for this recipe. We typically use ground beef, but you can substitute ground turkey if you prefer. For ground beef, at a minimum, we suggest selecting 90% lean, but we almost always use 93% or even 96% when we can find them (our local stores sometimes vary in exactly what they carry). Don’t automatically assume that choosing ground turkey will make this recipe lower in fat. Depending on the exact blend, ground turkey can actually be higher in total fat than very lean ground beef. Just check the nutrition labels to be sure.
Brown Rice – Brown rice, which still has the fiber and germ intact, has more vitamins, minerals and fiber than white rice. It’s an easy, healthy upgrade, especially now that brands such as Minute Rice offer quick-cooking versions. It’s also a great starting point if you’re just easing your family into eating more whole grains, since they probably won’t notice any flavor difference at all in recipes like this Mexican Skillet. (Precisely the same strategy we use in our super-popular Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls.)
Veggies, Veggies and More Veggies! – Not only is there a lot of nutrient-rich produce cooked right into the Mexican Rice itself – onions and corn, plus a little garlic and all the lycopene-rich tomatoes in the salsa – but the big nutritional hit comes with all the fresh veggies you can pile on top. From green onions and chopped fresh tomatoes, to avocado and minced cilantro – make sure to offer plenty of fresh, healthy choices for toppings!
Make-Ahead Options and Time-Saving Tips
This is one of those recipes that’s very flexible and forgiving. There’s not a whole lot of work involved, and you can time the prep and cooking to fit into your schedule!
First, most of the veggies and toppings can be chopped and prepared ahead, then kept in the fridge until dinner. This skillet meal also reheats just beautifully! You can cook the meat, garlic and onion in advance, and then finish the final cooking step at mealtime. Or, you can go a bit further and cook this all the way through in the morning or even the day before – just reheat it at dinnertime, adding your fresh toppings at the table.
So easy, right?!?
Dinner is totally do-able, even on the busiest of evenings!
And, no matter how crazy your May evenings are … with this quick Mexican Rice Skillet Dinner, you can still manage a little Cinco de Mayo festiveness, too! Sombreros and maracas are optional … but highly encouraged, of course! 😀
Psssst … need even more festive Cinco de Mayo ideas? Maybe you’re planning a really big party and need lots of different dishes to share ? (How fun!) Level-up your taco game with this showcase of seriously unexpected, ultra-unique tacos! Pick one to serve alongside this taco skillet for more great buffet options!
Happy Cinco de Mayo, friends!
One-Pot Mexican Rice Skillet Dinner
This easy Mexican Rice Skillet Dinner is loaded with yummy Tex-Mex flavor – it's a quick, one-pot dinner recipe your whole family will love!
• Ready in 30 Minutes or Less • Make Ahead •
- 1 pound extra-lean ground beef or turkey
- 2 cups chopped sweet onion (about 1 medium onion)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 1/4 cups water
- 1 (16-ounce) jar of your favorite salsa
- 1 cup fresh or frozen corn (no need to thaw if frozen)
- 1 cup uncooked instant brown rice
- 7 teaspoons taco seasoning (see note)
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce (such as Tapatío)
- 1/2 cup shredded, reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
- Optional toppings: additional cheese, additional salsa or hot sauce, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, minced fresh cilantro, guacamole or chopped avocados, chopped green onions, reduced-fat sour cream
- In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook beef (or turkey), onions, and garlic, stirring to crumble, until meat is browned and onions have begun to soften (about 8-10 minutes). Drain if needed.
- Add water, salsa, corn, rice, taco seasoning, and hot sauce to skillet, stirring to combine. Cover and continue cooking over medium heat until rice is done, stirring occasionally (about 18-20 minutes).
- Remove from heat and stir in cheese.
- Serve with desired toppings.
Taco seasoning: We recommend avoiding taco seasoning mixes that contain MSG. Also, there are differences in the amounts of sodium (and other ingredients) in various brands, so it's a good idea to read the nutrition information for the brands offered at your store.
Make-ahead tips: Most of the veggies and toppings for this recipe can be chopped and prepared ahead, then kept in separate, sealed containers in the refrigerator. In addition, this Mexican Rice Skillet reheats well, so it's a good make-ahead dinner option. You can cook the meat, garlic and onion in advance, and then refrigerate that until you're ready to finish the final cooking step at mealtime. Or, you can actually cook this recipe all the way through ahead of time – in the morning or even the day before – refrigerating it until you're ready to reheat it at dinnertime, then adding your fresh toppings at the table.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 servings Serving Size: About 1 1/4 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 277Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gFiber: 4gSugar: 8g
Nutrition calculation includes extra-lean beef (not turkey), and analysis does not include optional toppings, but a final serving size will probably be around 1 1/4 - 1 3/4 cups, depending on choice of toppings. Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may additionally vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.
26 thoughts on “One-Pot Mexican Rice Skillet Dinner”
Made this recipe this week and it was yummy! The whole family enjoyed, thank you!
I’m so glad that you and your family enjoyed this, Becca! Thanks for the kind comment. 🙂
Made this this evening for dinner. Next time I’ll add black beans and a bit more meat. There’s plenty left over for dinners during the week. Great flavor and easy to prepare. I made it with my daughters gluten free taco seasoning.
Hi, Beth! I’m so happy to hear you liked this recipe. 😀 Black beans sound like a great addition here — they work really well in our Crock-Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls, which is a similar style of recipe. I love that you’re able to eat this for multiple meals, too! Be sure to check out our meal prep tips up in the recipe card — it turns out much better if you hold off on adding in the optional toppings (like lettuce and avocados) until each time you’re serving it — otherwise, stuff starts to brown and wilt. But with those small modifications, this recipe is great warmed up over and over again!
I made this today after stumbling upon it last week. It was so delicious, but I am wondering if you (or anyone) knows of the nutritional facts, ie. Calories, carbs, etc.
Hi, Samantha! First of all, I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed this recipe!! And that is a great question … with a bit of a lengthy answer.
At least thus far, we’ve opted not to include nutrition info, although we’ve actually debated about this issue since the beginning of our blog (and we address it in our FAQ at http://twohealthykitchens.com/about/).
Especially with Gretchen’s (my original business partner’s) master’s degree in nutrition, she could easily have calculated all this manually – plus there are loads of online calculators to use. However, for a variety of reasons, we have decided over and over again not to do that. One big reason is that we generally don’t specify exact brands (although on some occasions we need to), so the final nutritional profile of a recipe can vary widely, depending on the purchasing decisions our readers make. In the end, it could almost be a bit misleading to quote nutritional info, if readers make significantly different purchasing choices than we did in testing. For example, the final nutritional profile of these very simple 3-Ingredient Crock-Pot Chicken Tacos – could vary tremendously (particularly, in this case, the sodium) depending on which taco seasoning and which salsa someone purchases.
Also … having said all of this … I want you to know that we get questions like this from other readers from time to time, too. As a result, we are always re-evaluating this very good question and exploring how we may be able to offer nutrition information in a way that we can feel good about – a way that’s helpful and not potentially misleading. So stay tuned …
Thanks so much for reaching out to us! I hope this explanation helped you out at least a little!
Have a wonderful week! ~Shelley
I made this last night and my whole family loved it! Another recipe to add to me collection! I’m glad I found this.
I’m so thrilled to hear it, Natasha! Thanks bunches for taking a moment to pop back and let me know how much you and your family enjoyed this – it means a lot! I hope you’ll find other recipes here at THK that you’ll love, too! If you guys are into Mexican dishes, you might enjoy our super-popular 3-Ingredient Crock-Pot Chicken Tacos. And if you love the simplicity of one-pot skillet meals, maybe check out our Cheesy BLT Pierogi Skillet Dinner or our One-Pot Whole-Wheat Spring Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Parmesan. They’re all BIG favorites at my house – I hope your crew will love them as much as my family does! Let me know what else you try – and have a lovely week, Natasha! ~Shelley