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.

Watermelon Pizza

BM #117 : Week 3, Day 1
Theme : Colorful Foods

I made this watermelon pizza towards the end of summer just before the weather started getting cold. It’s a combination of all my son’s favorite food items. Watermelon, yogurt and Kiwis rank among the very top of my son’s favorite food list. He loves flavored yogurt and that’s his go to snack. We stock upon a couple of boxes from Costco all the time. There is added sugar in it, but since it’s a lot more healthier than the alternatives, I don’t bother too much about the sugar.

This is an easy to do “recipe” where you just cut and arrange the watermelon slices. Then you top with whatever fruits you have in your fridge. Like I mentioned my son loves kiwi and so we are always stocked up on that too. I had berries, so used that as toppings too. I went for vanilla yogurt as the “cheese” here. You can add a spoon of yogurt to your slice just before eating it. Weird as the combination sounds, it’s actually works well together!

Ingredients:

  • Watermelon slices
  • vanilla yogurt
  • Fruits of your choice for toppings

Method:

  1. Cut the watermelon into pizza like triangle slices.
  2. On a serving tray, arrange it into a circle. Top with fruits of your choice.
  3. Keep the vanilla yogurt in the center. Serve.

Linking it to Kids Delight hosted by Vaishali this month.

Lemonade Stand

BM #116 : Week 5, Day 4
Theme : Lemonade Stand/Drinks platter

For the last post of this month’s mega marathon, I am here with a mix and match lemonade stand/bar. I wanted to do a drink platter and this seemed to be a good idea where you have a single base recipe (plain lemonade) and then you have options to add your own flavors to it.

There are many ways to implement this idea, but I decided to go with the easiest one. Ever since I made this strawberry mocktail, I have been hooked into Mojito styled drinks. The basic idea is to muddle/crush the fruit of your choice along with a couple of wedges of lemon, few mint leaves and sugar and then top it with water and ice. Here, I have topped it with lemonade and then decided to skip adding sugar since the lemonade already had it. You can always add more according to your preference.

You can also do this by making fruit flavored simple syrups and then keeping it in bottles alongside the lemonade. People can pour the flavor syrup(s) they want and then top it with lemonade or even water and sugar. Or yet another way is to keep fruit purées and just mix it into the lemonade.

This is the last post for the thali series and a farewell summer post is also the perfect way to say farewell to this month long blogging mega marathon!

Read on for the recipes and more pictures.

The lemonade bar has

  1. Lemonade
  2. Blackberries
  3. Blueberries
  4. Raspberries
  5. Melon rounds
  6. Watermelon puree
  7. Pomegranate seeds
  8. Mint leaves
  9. Lemon wedges
  10. Sugar/Agave (not in the picture)
  11. Mortar and pestle; glasses to serve

Pick fruit of your choice, few mint leaves and a couple of lemon wedges. Add to the mortar and crush with the pestle. Just 6-8 crushes would do. Not too much to make a purée.

Add this to a glass and top with lemonade. Check sweetness, add more agave for sweetness. It would be easier to dissolve.

The glasses have flavored drinks with

  1. Blackberry
  2. Watermelon
  3. Melon ball
  4. Blueberry
  5. Raspberry

I used a melon baller to take out balls from a watermelon and honeydew melon. I also saved the juice coming out of the fruit. The juice is really sweet and makes a good addition to the lemonade.

You can also add aerated drinks for additional flavors, but I personally don’t like it.

For watermelon flavored lemonade, I made a watermelon purée and then added some crushed mint leaves and topped with lemonade.

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

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