Meal Planning + Recipe: One-Skillet Sweet Potato Burrito Bowl (Vegetarian Friendly!)


One thing I used to be really good about was planning and cooking dinner.

Then I got pregnant. 

I don't think Jordan nor I anticipated the almost immediate feeling that hit me where I basically stopped caring about making or planning any meals.

During my absence, Jordan has had to step up his game. I don't want to make him sound bad here, but let's just say when I am gone for the weekend, he eats Ramen or instant white rice with a can of black-eyed peas.

So, lately I've been trying to teach him some easy meals that even he could make without much effort or complicated instructions. But I won't lie: it's been a struggle for us these past five months. March was kind of the last straw. It was bad, you guys. We never had any idea what we were eating from day to day, and we either ended up at the grocery store every other day buying 3 things we needed to complete just one meal or we made a run to Chick-fil-A. For the first time in my adult life, I'd become that person who gets fast food on a semi-regular basis. Not okay for our health or our budgets. Or our marriage. Just telling it like it is.

This month, I tried legitimate meal planning for the first time. Sarah wrote a great series of posts on how she and her husband meal plan for the entire month. It sounded insane to me at first, but after our epic food failure in March, I figured we had nothing to lose.

It hasn't gone completely smoothly, and there have been a few days when we've moved stuff around, but for the most part (and I don't mean to be dramatic here), I think meal planning saved our marriage. It's amazing! I strongly suggest you hop over to Sarah's blog and check out her tips for meal planning.

That said, I've been trying out some new Pinterest recipes this month! At this point in my life, I am not interested in anything complicated. I want easy, delicious, and preferably using few pots and pans.

The one-skillet sweet potato burrito bowl was a recipe I scheduled a few weeks ago, and other than my salt lick of a husband's complaint that "it needs more salt," we both declared it a definite win. (For the record, I'm trying to wean Jordan off his obsession with excessively salting things [aka early death by sodium], so he currently thinks everything needs more salt.)

I made this, but next time I have all confidence that Jordan definitely could! It's super easy and really does only involve one skillet! A modern chef's dream. Let me know if you try it out and if you like it!

One-Skillet Sweet Potato Burrito Bowls


  • 1 pound (heaping 2 cups) sweet potatoes (I used 3-4 medium sweet potatoes)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, separated into 2T + 1T
  • 1 cup chopped sweet bell peppers (I used the assorted bag of small sweet colored peppers)
  • 1 cup white rice (Not sure if you're supposed to use instant or regular, but I used instant!)
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) petite diced tomatoes (**not drained)
  • 1 can (15.25 ounces) black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup frozen corn (optional; I forgot this once, and it's still good!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth (vegetable makes a vegetarian meal)
  • Juice from 1/2 a lime
  • 1-1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • Sour cream, for topping
  • Optional: chopped cilantro, chopped avocado or guacamole, 1 small roma tomato
  1. Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into small pieces (about 1/2 inch).
  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, combine two tablespoons olive oil with all of the sweet potatoes. Saute the sweet potatoes for 8-10 minutes or until fork tender. Add in remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the rice.
  3. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes at medium heat.
  4. Add in the peppers, undrained diced tomatoes, drained & rinsed black beans, frozen corn, minced garlic, chili powder, cumin, and vegetable or chicken broth. Give everything a good stir, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a little bit above low, but not quite to medium heat.
  5. Cover the skillet with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes or until all the liquid is drained and the rice is cooked through.
  6. Remove the lid and stir in the lime juice. Optional: top with the shredded cheddar cheese and then cover the pot with the skillet for 1-2 minutes to allow the cheese to melt (I've forgotten to do this, and it still tastes good without the cheese!)
  7. Spoon into a bowl and top with sour cream and any other desired toppings. It's yummy with tortilla chips OR you could even wrap a spoonful in a tortilla!

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Jenn @ Optimization Actually said...

This sounds so good! I had another sweet potato recipe I wanted to try, but I have yet to see sweet potatoes at my grocery store. Are they a seasonal thing? Or maybe I'm just blind?

Sarah @ Sometimes Photojenik said...

Thanks for the (multiple) shout outs! I am so so happy that meal planning hassle such an impact for you guys and your marriage! That is SO awesome! It doesn't always go smoothly for us either... Sometimes I'll plan and shop and then just not feel like cooking so we land up at Chikfila anyway.... :/ that recipe looks soooo good and is full of things I already buy/have so I'm definitely giving it a try! Yay for meal planning and new recipes! :)

Jennifer Prod said...

relate. relate. relate. i was so sick the first trimester that i was all i could do to snuggle a loaf of bread in the bed and watch netflix. honestly, doing the dishes was hard - how was i going to make it to the market, pick out dinner, take the groceries home, AND make them? far too daunting of a task. until i got pregnant, however, jon had *never* cooked a meal for us. he changed his ways when he saw me struggling, and he started asking for tips on making us healthy meals. now that the baby is here i'm glad we got the practice in - he cooks while i'm breastfeeding (which is always!)

Unknown said...

Meal planning has been such a crap shoot so far during my pregnancy- in my first trimester we had SO much in our freezer we didn't eat since nothing sounded good to me.

Kristen @ See You In A Porridge said...

this looks really yummy... though i'm not super big on sweet potatoes. i'm really bad at meal planning now, hope i don't get worse when i get pregnant lol

Anonymous said...

This sounds delicious...Thank you!

The Lady Okie said...

Well, they are seasonal, I think mostly for fall, but usually I find them near the other potatoes. I seem to be able to find them most of the time. I made this just a few weeks ago, and it's definitely not fall :)

Ali said...

This looks really good! Although, I will admit, I'm not a big fan of sweet potatoes and black beans together. I tried a chili with those 2 as the main ingredients, and it was a total miss for me. I do have a very similar recipe to this that omits the sweet potato and uses quinoa instead. It's very good!

Meal planning has saved my sanity. I only do about 2 weeks at a time, with intermittent trips for veggies, bread, milk, etc. I was just like you when pregnant - no appetite, everything sounded gross, and I sure didn't want to be the one cooking. But once Emily was born, we started to realize that we couldn't just wing it, especially once she started eating solid foods. Once we started planning things out, I really started to enjoy cooking and we've been trying tons of new recipes. Love it!

The Lady Okie said...

I used to not like sweet potatoes very much, but now I really like them! You honestly could probably use regular potatoes with this. You would just have to chop them up into even smaller pieces so they'll cook enough. I think the draw of sweet potatoes is that they cook a little better in a skillet like this.

The Lady Okie said...

Interesting! I wonder what it is you don't like about sweet potatoes and black beans together. Maybe the texture? They seem to have similar textures. To me, at least. You could probably just not use black beans at all. I'm sure it would be just as good :)

We still do have to make trips for milk, bread, etc., but the biggest difference is that Jordan isn't always saying, "What's for dinner?" We both love that there's a calendar now! We've rearranged some days, but for the most part it's worked out really well!

Andrea H. said...

We started meal planning a couple months ago and it has made a HUGE difference for us, too. And we've also had fun making a few new dishes together :) Glad it has been helpful for you guys!!

The Girl who Loved to Write said...

This looks so good!!

Kayla MKOY said...

Ummm YUM!!! I'm saving this post right now. I love everything included. We have been kind of bad lately about not knowing what to make/grabbing something quick at a drive thru - and we always feel miserable afterwards. But I can't wait to try this!

Laura said...

Sounds delicious! We're big meal planners too. And yes, we move stuff around during the week sometimes, but it's nice to know what the options are. Have Jordan sprinkle potassium on his food instead of table salt. Much healthier but same flavor!

Allie @ Everyday Adventures said...

Yum! I don't know if meal planning has saved our marriage per se, but it does save our budget a LOT. I am awful at improvising meals, so it's helpful for me to have a plan written down. I only do a week at a time though, so the produce doesn't go bad before I can use it up. Hypothetically.

Anne said...

Wow, I'm not sure I could meal plan for a month, but then again I'm about done with the Whole30, which I also didn't think I could do for a whole month, so I might have to challenge myself to try it! I have spurts where I don't care about dinner, pregnant or not ;) Would definitely put this recipe on the list - we love any of these burrito bowl kind of things, and I especially adore sweet potatoes. Thanks for sharing!

Amy said...

this looks absolutely FABULOUS.
now to make it!

Sara Oss said...

This brings me back to one of my favorite restaurants in Maine. They make pretty much this exact recipe, minus the rice, and serve it as quesadillas.

I've done two-week meal plans before (bonus! if you're super busy just repeat it again for the next two weeks) but never a month. How did you grocery shop? Did you make one really big trip at the beginning of the month and then smaller trips for things like produce and milk? Monthly planning sounds like a great time saver, but not super cost-effective because you wouldn't get to take advantage of as many sales.

The Lady Okie said...

Yes, we did make one trip to the store at the beginning of the month and then we've taken a few smaller trips to replenish our milk & bread & produce supply, etc. I just entered all our receipts, and so far it looks like the budget will end up being the same as it usually is, so it doesn't seem to have saved or hurt the grocery budget. I was a little surprised because I actually thought it would save $ because we're buying stuff in bulk and not taking as many smaller trips to the store were we can get sidelined by random crap and thus spending more money. (Ahem, ice cream.)

However, I am not the one to ask about sales. Honestly, I don't know how people have time to keep up with food sales and coupons, and I'm not really sure how you do that anyway. It's not like the store runs a 50% off sale on meat??? Maybe I'm missing something. It's not personally something I really care about, at least at this point. I generally just try to stick to using produce that is in season (no more Brussels sprouts until fall! boo.), and that's about all I do as far as sales. Again, maybe I'm just not understanding something about how to utilize the American food system....

The bigger positive for me even if the budget is the same is the convenience of not having to run to the store for some random thing we need to make a recipe AND we both love having a calendar of all our meals right on the fridge. Maybe we just had an overly terrible time last month, but it's really been so awesome to know exactly what's happening as far as food. So much less stressful. But that is a great idea about duplicating your 2-week plan. Kind of genius.

The Lady Okie said...

Really?! Interesting! I will have to tell him about that trick. Thanks!

The Lady Okie said...

The first trimester I mostly ate smoothies and honey nut cheerios :) But it's better now that I'm not feeling nauseous. It's been SO helpful to have a calendar of our meals planned out so Jordan isn't always saying, "What's for dinner?" ha!

Caroline @ In Due Time said...

Yum! I do a similar recipe with quinoa! I LOVE the sweet potato in this! Makes it SO delish :)

Allison said...

Yum! This looks great! I highly recommend making some freezer meals to have after baby comes because just will never want to cook ever. Haha. I have to force myself, but meal planning definitely has helped me actually get back in the kitchen!!!

Rachel said...

We go to the grocery store 4 or 5 times a week here, largely because 1) mini-fridge and 2) There's only so many groceries you can carry back from walmart using arm-power. Thankfully it's only a 5 minute walk. In the USA we went about once every two weeks--if we went longer than that, we needed milk and fruit and stuff, so might as well stock up on other things too!
This recipe sounds tasty, but my tortilla-loving self would have to put it in a tortilla. I've never understood the point of burrito bowls or taco salads when tortillas exist. Like your husband, I have a huge taste for salt and salty foods, but I also try to limit that--my solution for myself has been to cook a lot of really spicy foods and use lots of cayenne and black pepper in my cooking. I like spice, and for me, I don't notice the lack of salt when I'm getting flavor from the pepper. Angel and my whole family prefer food that's high on the spicy scale too, so it works for me!

Shea Lennon said...

Okay, you had me at "one skillet" here...I LOVE one pan dishes, they're lifesavers. Also, yes to meal planning--I just do a week at a time, but even that really helps. I'm definitely going to check out Sarah's tips for planning ahead even more than that though...I can only imagine how much time that would save!!
Also, that's exactly how I was when I was pregnant. I went from cooking almost every night to cooking never. Everything just tasted off, and even if the end product sounded good the food in its raw form (looking at you chicken) did NOT appeal to me. So much takeout/fast food/ice cream was consumed.... for the first trimester + it was just survival mode around here! :)

Unknown said...

Looks and sounds good!
Planning meals is a great way to stay within budget and not feel overwhelmed, isn't it? I'm sure it must also come handy once a baby arrives. :)

Bailie @ The Hemborg Wife said...

My grandparents had a marriage where my Oma cooked all the time always and my Papa ate what she cooked so when she had a stroke and could no longer cook he was at a loss and had to get them fast food or eat toast and cereal before our family realized and started making them meals. It really hit home with me though since Fredrik really never would cook for us so I have taught him a few meals so now when I am sick or away I know he can cook himself something good.

Paige @ Reasons to Come Home said...

This looks delicious! I hear ya on the meal planning train. We were doing so well the beginning of the year but then we gutted our kitchen. We are so sick of eating fast food and ready for our kitchen to be back so we can stop eating out. I've never been one who loves to cook or gets excited over meal planning but eating out is killing our food budget!

Kerry @ Till Then Smile Often said...

I have never meal planned a month ahead but I do for the week. This looks easy and not having to do a lot of dishes after is always a good thing.

Rach said...

It looks so tasty! :)

I'm so glad that meal planning has saved your marriage! I totally do the meal planning and grocery shopping (it's something I enjoy and I'm far more particular about it than Christopher is), but when I get sick or I'm off my feet for a few days, it's hilarious what we end up eating. It's not that Christopher can't cook. Because he can. He's a really good cook, in fact. But cooking requires having groceries bought ahead of time because otherwise it's 6pm and I'm ravenous and there is no food. ;) So we end up with a lot of take out sushi & Chick fil a. ;)

Ali said...

In regards to sales - usually the store will have a flyer that lists the meat on sale. Ours even posts their flyer on line! It may not be 50% off, but there is usually a discount. I would check and see if your store does the same. My store also does "family packs", which essentially is like buying in bulk. So I buy the family pack of pork chops (or whatever), and then split them out in smaller portions & pop them in freezer bags when I get home. I think it does save us some money!

Ali said...

Hey! So just coming back to say that we really did love this dish. I'm sorry to have doubted you! I think the addition of the lime juice was a great addition too. Your version of the recipe doesn't say when to add the bell peppers though? I just put them in with the beans, tomatoes, etc. Thanks for sharing this!