Taco Platter with Mexican Rice

BM #117 : Week 3, Day 3
Theme : Colorful Foods

I entered the world of tacos a little late, but it’s a meal that I prepare couple of times a month now. It’s so easy to put together and that’s such a selling point for me. It can be adjusted to everyone’s preferences – the toppings take care of whether it’s spicy or not, sweetish or not – so everyone is happy at the end of the meal. Add cheese and sour cream to the toppings and the kids are really happy!

I mostly stick to the same set of toppings, because its easy to stock those. Sour cream, cheese, couple of kinds of salsa, guacamole, corn salsa are regulars. I keep rotating a few of my favorite fillings. My choices are always between – cilantro lemon rice, black beans filling with salsa, Refried beans, spiced soya mince and Mexican rice. There are so many more fillings you can try, but these are what I usually make. I serve with soft tortillas and hard shell tacos, so everyone’s choice is covered.

The platter has :

  1. Taco shells
  2. Flour tortillas
  3. Refried beans
  4. Mexican rice
  5. Guacamole
  6. Shredded cheese
  7. Tomato salsa
  8. Street style corn
  9. Chopped tomatoes
  10. Sour cream
  11. Pineapple soda

Ingredients for Mexican Rice:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped optional
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika/ chili powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup tomato sauce/ purée
  • A handful of chopped cilantro
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Select sauté mode in Instant Pot and add the oil. Add the onions, jalapeños, garlic, peppers and sauté for a minute. Add the rice, salt, cumin, chili powder. Sauté for a minute.
  2. Add the water, stir it in. Now the add the tomato sauce/ purée. Don’t stir the sauce because sometimes instant pot throws up “burn” sign. So add the sauce on top and leave it there.
  3. Close the lid and change the program to Manual for 5 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. Open the lid and mix everything. Add the chopped cilantro and serve on its own or as a filling for tacos.

Linking this post to Kids Delight, event hosted by Vaishali this month.

Instant Pot Tomato Soup

BM #117 : Week 3, Day 2
Theme : Colorful Foods

During the peak corona times, I started stocking up on canned tomatoes. I always keep one or two canned tomatoes, but I had never bought a set of 12 before this. Thankfully i didn’t have to rely on those solely and once we all got adjusted to the new normal, regular grocery shopping resumed.

I had a lot of canned tomatoes with me and that’s when I started looking up soup recipes. Original recipe here uses tomatoes with a choice of substitution for canned tomatoes. I went that route to use up mine. I also looked for an instant pot/pressure cooker recipe so that I can just add everything into the pot and forget about it until it’s done. I served this with a sautéed mushroom sandwich for lunch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes (or 1 kilo fresh tomatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon of dried basil or your choice of herbs
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Set Instant Pot in Sauté mode. Add the butter (or oil) into the pot. Sauté onions and garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the carrots, tomatoes, basil or herbs of your choice, salt and sauté for another minute.
  2. Add 2 cups of water, pepper and change the mode to Manual. Cook for 8 minutes in Manual mode. Let the pressure release naturally.
  3. Using a hand blender, purée the soup. Change settings to sauté mode again and add honey and cream. Taste test and adjust seasonings if needed. Turn off when it’s all well combined. Serve hot with croutons on top.

Linking this post to Kids Delight, event hosted by Vaishali this month.

Protein rich South Indian lunch

BM #116 : Week 5, Day 3
Theme : Fruit platter

The thali here is not a planned thali. I was making lunch and was planning to cook quinoa for me. It was only when the meal was coming together that I realized it was a protein rich meal. Not every single item is protein rich, but most of it. Our usual lunches will have only one source of lentils or beans. We don’t make dal based sambar and then serve it with dry beans based Sundal. But I made an exception here since I had some leftover chickpeas and boiled eggs I wanted to finish off. Sometimes it’s the leftovers that craft the lunch at my place 😁.

We have started stocking up frozen vadas from Indian store. It’s a quick solution when you crave for a snack or when you don’t want to prepare a side dish for lunch. I thaw it in microwave and then cook for a few minutes in the dosa pan. That seems to work for me. The best part is I can serve a single vada instead of making an entire batch. So I decided to add the vada also to the thali, which my family loved.

Read on for the recipes and more pictures.

The thali has

  1. Quinoa
  2. Carrot and tomato sambar
  3. Chickpeas Sundal
  4. Sautéed Okra
  5. Masala eggs
  6. Yogurt
  7. Mango pickle (readymade)
  8. Potato chips (readymade)
  9. Urad dal vada (readymade)

Chickpea Sundal

  • Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan. Add one teaspoon of mustard seeds. Once it pops, add salt as needed, a teaspoon of chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder and 1.5 cups of cooked chickpeas. Mix carefully.
  • Let it cook for 3-4 minutes until flavors mingle well and chickpeas are heated through.
  • Now add 2-3 tablespoons of shredded coconut. Start with 2 and then add the third spoon if you want to. Taste test and adjust seasonings if needed. Remove from heat and serve with rice and sambar.

Sautéed okra

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan. Add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds. Once it pops, add 3 cups of cleaned and sliced okra. Add salt as needed and 1 teaspoon of chili powder. Carefully mix.
  • Heat this on low to medium heat, stirring in between carefully a couple of times, until the okra is done. I don’t stir too many times to avoid breaking of okra. The sliminess reduces as the okra is cooked. Remove from heat and serve as a side dish.

Masala eggs:

  • Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a pan. Add salt, pepper and a pinch of turmeric powder. Add 1/4 teaspoon sambar powder to the oil. Mix well with a spatula.
  • Now slice a boiled egg into two lengthwise. Carefully keep the flat side down on the masala mix. Cook for 45 seconds and carefully flip and cook the other side too. You can cook it for a longer time too if you want it more crispier. Remove from the heat and serve with rice.

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Sandwich platter

BM #116 : Week 5, Day 1
Theme : sandwich platter

Theme for today is sandwiches. It’s my son’s one of the most favorite food to eat, so I can tell you that we had a happy happy kid the day I made this.

I use instant pot to make boiled eggs and so I always make a few extra whenever I am doing it. So prepping an egg salad sandwich is an easy thing for me. I had mushrooms I needed to use up and I decided to prepare a white sauce base to keep the sandwich together as the others had cheese in them. I am making veggie Frankie for the first time, I used readymade tortillas as the wraps.

It’s always an issue at my place what to serve the sandwich with. My son wants ketchup (the masala style ketchup from Indian store). My husband likes Trader Joe’s Green Dragon sauce or any other hot sauce and I like the flavor of green chutney. So I decided to serve all our favorites so that we can each choose what we want. The chili vinegar is a favorite with both me and my husband.

I have used cheese slices here for the pesto sandwich since I didn’t have mozzarella with me. It’s kind of a take on Caprese sandwich, but I am never stocked up in fresh basil leaves. I also prepare it with soft cheeses like goat cheese or cream cheese too, it pairs well with the pesto and tomato slices.

Read on for the recipes.

The platter has

  1. Egg salad sandwich
  2. Pesto and cheese sandwich
  3. Mushroom sandwiches
  4. Veggie Frankie
  5. Chili vinegar
  6. Tomato ketchup
  7. Dragon sauce / Chili sauce
  8. Green chutney
  9. Sliced onions

Mushroom sandwich:

  • 4 slices of bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons coriander leaves or herb of your choice
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Heat butter in a pan. Sauté the mushrooms until it releases all the liquid. Add the coriander leaves or spinach or any herb of your choice.
  2. Push the mushrooms to the side of the pan. Add the milk into the center. Now add the flour with salt and pepper per your taste. Mix so that there are no lumps, mix the mushrooms too. Add more milk if it’s too thick. Take off the heat. Add the mushrooms as filling for the bread. Toast the bread in a pan with some butter until it turns brown. Serve with ketchup or chili sauce.

Pesto tomato and cheese sandwich:

  • Bread of your choice
  • 1 slice of cheese of each sandwich or a soft cheese like cream cheese or goat cheese
  • 2 round slices of tomato
  • 1 teaspoon pesto
  • Toast the bread. Spread pesto on one side. Add the tomato slices on top. Spread the soft cheese on the other side or use a slice of cheese. Put the slices together and enjoy your sandwich.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#116

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