Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Taco Salad in a Baked Tortilla Bowl

A perfect dish for dinner; this BAKED Tortilla bowl is filled with some yummy ingredients! Super easy to customize and delicious; this recipe is definitely a winner!

Love Vegetarian recipes? Join this group Herbivore Cucina: Delicious Vegetarian Recipes and check out recipes from bloggers and food lovers! 

Taco salad or bowl; a tortilla bowl filled with various kinds of ingredients like rice, beans, fajita and protein is commonly found dish on many Mexican restaurant menus. It is a highly customizable dish; and can be easily made vegetarian, full of meat, vegan or perfect for kids! 

I have ordered this at so many places and loved it most of the time! The make or break for this dish is DEFINITELY the shell. If that is soggy, oily or limp; the dish loses for sure. The BEST taco shell salad I have had is the one from Qdoba. They do not have an outlet anywhere in the Bay Area. I wish I could have it more often around me.

When I talk of restaurants; YES I eat out quite a bit. Sometimes to try a new place, sometimes because we have an outing with friends and sometimes because I crave something somewhere. I do like to review the places I visit (genuine and unpaid, of course) and if you like reading reviews, head to my YELP profile here!

Coming back to home cooked food, I make a lot of restaurant style dishes at home. They start off with what we try at restaurants but it has EVERYTHING we enjoy in a meal. Sometimes I change some ingredients, bake instead of fry or add some protein like tofu or paneer to the dishes. 

BAKED Tortilla Bowl?

A lot of focus in this dish is on the shell. If the shell is not right, the dish will not turn out great. I have tried various techniques to make the bowl, but enjoy the BAKED version the most.

The fried version is generally a little oily in the corners and obviously needs a large pan to fry and a lot of oil. The baked version needs just a teaspoon of oil and yields a super crunchy shell without any special pan! 

All you need to make the baked shell is a baking pan about 9 inches in diameter, some aluminum foil and some non-stick spray! A few things to consider before starting off are here:
  • Choose the LARGEST size of tortilla if you are making a main course or mini tortillas to make appetizer portions
  • If the tortilla is frozen or super cold, let it rest outside the refrigerator for a while. This will make it pliable and not tear while shaping
  • Choosing a thinner version compared to a super thick kind helps bake the bowl evenly and crisp
  • Do not use a tortilla with any holes. The filling will fall out for sure! 

The Fillings

Once the shell is made, the filling is a breeze. Plan it well and have everything you like, or just add in the ones you have in the refrigerator! If you like SOFRITAS, make this recipe and add to the bowl. 

The protein comes from tofu, meat or beans. Mix and match the protein with your favorite salad or greens. Here I used shredded lettuce and purple cabbage. Mixed greens work great too.

Along with that I added some Fajita and fajita seasoned rice. It helped make the bowl filling with the rice and get a flavorful addition of charred onion and pepper. Quinoa makes a great addition to the recipe too.

I also added some corn and beans. These can be substituted with creamed corn, pinto beans or even refried beans. 

For the sauces I added some sour cream and store bought salsa. Guacamole, Mole sauce, Picante sauce or Salsa Verde all work great here. Pick the sauce you like and complete the bowl! 

I have even set all this up as a station at a party. Each guest gets to pick and choose what they want in their bowl and it is great to see the combinations people make! Spicy, sweet, tangy or a balanced mix of all! 


For the Bowl
Unsalted butter/Cooking Spray as required

For the other toppings
Fajita 1 cup
Iceberg Lettuce and Red Cabbage 1 cup shredded
Corn 1/2 cup fresh or frozen
Kidney Beans 1/2 cup, soaked overnight
Sour Cream 1/4 cup
Rice 1 cup
Onion and Tomato chopped 1 cup
Cilantro 2 tbsp
Avocado 1 sliced
Salt and Pepper as required
Lemon Juice as required


To make the Bowl

Preheat oven to 425 F/ 220 C. Spray non stick cooking oil or spread butter on the tortilla.

Place the tortilla in a 9 inch baking pan and fold the sides up to align with the edges. 

Place a ball made by crumpling aluminum foil in the middle such that it almost touches the tortilla. Alternatively, place a 6 inch pan. 

Bake for 10-12 minutes; till the shell is crisp and golden brown. Remove and set aside. I made four of these to serve for dinner.

To make the other toppings

Steam the corn kernels and kidney using a pressure cooker or in the Instant Pot. Drain the water and season them with Fajita Seasoning.

Mix together the chopped onion and tomatoes with some salt, pepper and lime juice. Add some cilantro and mix well.

Cook the rice in the pressure cooker. Season with salt, pepper and fajita seasoning. Add some lime juice and set aside. 

When ready to serve; divide the ingredients in four tortilla bowls. Sprinkle some salt, pepper and lime juice. Enjoy! 


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The BEST way to buy the INSTANT POT

This post lists out the options to buy the Instant Pot and accessories. The post contains affiliate links; which means I earn a small commission for purchases made through the site. There is no extra cost to the buyers. 
Happy Thanksgiving!!

Today through Monday is the BEST time to buy the Instant Pot! If you are looking at buying one; these options will work really well for you; I promise! 

The prices are subject to change so please make an informed decision. The price does not include taxes and/or delivery charges. 

Step 1: Make an Account on EBATES. For signing up using this referral link and making a purchase via Ebates; you get $10 cash back for making your first purchase: Referral Link.

Step 2: Sign into your account and pick your favorite retailer on Ebates. If you have gift cards from any store; use that retailer. Here are the prices: 

Kohl's 6 quart Duo 7-in-1

6 quart Duo 7-in-1
DiscountUse code: GIVETHANKS 15%
Kohl's Cash from store$15
Ebates Cash Back6%
Bonus from Ebates$10
Final Price$63.91
Total Cash Back$29
Final Cost$35.07


On Amazon; the 6 Quart Duo 7-in-1 for $69.95 and the 6 Quart 10-in 1 for $99.99. The 8 Quart 7-in-1 is for $99.9. Plus, if you have Prime, you can get 2 day free shipping.


Target is offering Instant Pot 6 Quart Duo 7-in-1 for $79.00. Find more here: Target Deals


Walmart is selling the Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 6 Quart for $49.00. And the 8 Quart version for $99.00. Buy the one that is BEST for you! More details here: Walmart Black Friday.

Step 3: Get your favorite accessories! What is an Instant Pot without the accessories to make amazing recipes with! Check this post for ALL the accessories that you need: Instant Pot MUST-HAVE Accessories.

Step 4: Get to cooking your favorite recipes. Get all of them here: Instant Pot Recipes


Instant Pot MUST-HAVE Accessories

The MUST-HAVE accessories for the Instant Pot! This list has all the ones you need to step up your Instant Pot game! 

Black Friday is here and I am sure a LOT of readers are buying the Instant Pot! It is no surprise that the Instant Pot has revolutionized the kitchen and comes in handy for a LOT of recipes. 

The Instant Pot itself comes with a few accessories, you definitely need to get a few more to make everything really easily in the Instant Pot. And what better time than Thanksgiving to stock it all up! 

Whether you get the 6 quart model or the 8 quart; most accessories work well in both. And whether it is the Instant Pot Duo or Instant Pot Ultra all the accessories are PERFECT for them. 

The MOST useful accessory in the Instant Pot is definitely the Stackable Pot-in-Pot Insert Pans. These come handy in MANY recipes where you can cook two or more things at once! 

I use these in many recipes like this one: Peanut Tofu Curry with Rice.

Making Mashed Potatoes? Then this Stainless Steel Steamer is the one you need!!! The PERFECT accessory to steam vegetables. It collapses and expands as required. 

Eggs for breakfast, corn bread bites for dinner or brownie bites for dessert. Make them ALL in this Egg Bites Silicone Mold. Great accessory for the Instant Pot for sure. Here is a recipe I used it for: Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Bread.

Another popular accessory for steaming more vegetables at once is this deep Steamer Basket


It is always a great idea to have some spare Silicone Sealing Rings for the Instant pot. Having a different one for Yogurt, sweets and spicy recipes is a good idea. This set has three color coded; making it easy to identify which one is for what! 

Making lasagna, cake or cheesecake in the Instant Pot is a great idea. For making these, you definitely need one Non-stick Springform Pan/Cheesecake Pan/Leakproof Cake Pan

The Instant Pot comes with a trivet that has short legs. Getting one with tall legs is a good idea. It helps with the Stackable Pot-in-Pot Insert Pans to make more than one dish at a time.

8 Oz. Mason Jars

One of my favorite things to make in the Instant pot is single serve Yogurt. And what better than making it in these 8 oz Mason jars! 

With all the accessories that go in the Instant Pot; there is a need to use a set of Clamp Tongs to remove them from the Instant Pot. This one works really well and is pretty handy.

Idli Mold

Making idli in the Instant Pot is a great option for breakfast or dinner. I make it so often and I must say it is great to have a idli mold that works with the Instant Pot! Get the recipe here

Immersion Blender

When making a soup in the Instant pot or curry; it helps to have an immersion blender. It saves the effort of transferring the ingredients to a blender to process. 

Greek Yogurt is a great recipe to try in the Instant Pot. If you love yours super thick; a Yogurt Strainer is a great accessory to have! 

Making popcorn? This  Glass Cover Tempered Glass Lid is a MUST-HAVE then! Not just popcorn, this lid comes handy in many other recipes too! 

The PERFECT way to make boiled eggs is in the Instant Pot. And the BEST accessory to do so is by using this Stackable Egg Rack.

Another great accessory to have handy is a set of Silicone Mitts. They help with ALL the accessories listed above! 
The list above has all the accessories that you need to get started on the Instant Pot game! Get these and cook away! If you are looking for recipes; find some here: Instant Pot Recipes.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Instant Pot Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

The BEST Vegetarian recipes made in the Instant Pot to make Thanksgiving dinner easy and yummy! 

Finally we are into Thanksgiving week! All trials complete; now let us get to making the FINAL meal! This year I made almost all the recipes in the Instant Pot and got together a pretty simple yet delish meal. From soup and appetizers to mains and sides; I made them all in the Instant Pot.

The process was rather simple and I could finish them all off pretty quickly. While some recipes need to be finished in the oven before serving, those steps are optional and the recipes can be made completely in the Instant Pot. 

I made all the recipes in my 6 quart 7-in-1 Instant Pot Duo. If you are looking to buy a new one; the Instant Pot Ultra is a great option too! Before you start; make sure you get some Instant Pot Accessories. They help in making the recipes well and PERFECT each time.

Click on the name of the recipe below to be redirected to it.

Soup and Appetizers

Yummy Sides