I had fun using several of my kitchen gadgets to make my healthier version of taco bowls. First, I “fried” the taco shells in my new Power Air Fryer oven. I cooked my chicken breast in my Instant Pot Duo Mini 3-quart, shredded it using my Cuisinart, and heated my cheese sauce in my microwave oven. The payoff was a delicious and filling meal that counts only 3 Weight Watchers SmartPoints.
HASTY TASTY TACO BOWLS
- OLE tortillas
- ½ pound chicken breasts (Fresh or frozen)
- 1 can Ro*Tel (you pick heat level)
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can corn kernels, rinsed and drained
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 jar Tostitos Queso con Salsa (or similar brand)
- Fresh cilantro (optional)
- Form each tortilla into a bowl using a mold or oven-proof bowl.
- Air-fry at 370°F for 12 minutes.
- Place chicken breasts and contents of a can of Ro*Tel into the pot of a pressure cooker. Cook under pressure 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow pressure to drop on its own.
- While chicken cooks, prep beans, corn, onions, and cilantro and combine.
- Carefully open pressure cooker and remove the chicken (replace lid to trap in the heat). Shred chicken and return to cooker.
- Stir in beans, corn, onions, and cilantro mixture with the shredded chicken. Cover and allow residual heat to warm the beans and corn.
- Pour Queso con Salsa into a heatproof measuring pitcher and heat 2-3 minutes in the microwave oven, stirring occasionally.
- Place taco bowl shell on a plate, fill with 1/4 of the mixture, and then drizzle with 2 Tbsp. of the queso con salsa. Serve immediately.
Happy New Year!
Do you know the difference between brown rice and white? White rice is refined. It’s had the brown coating removed. So brown rice is actually rice. White rice is refined rice, like whole wheat flour and refined flour. Because I try to keep my carbs complex, I prefer brown rice to white. It also has more taste. But it takes a lot longer to cook than regular rice.
There are a number of recipes available for cooking brown rice. There are a number of recipes available for cooking brown rice in the pressure cooker. I’ve tried most of them. But it annoys me that my new Instant Pot comes with a rice setting that works only for white (refined) rice. The Power Pressure Cooker XL and a few other models have settings for brown rice, but many don’t. Here’s my work around:
Take 1 cup brown rice and rinse. Cover with 1 1/4 cups water and soak for one hour. Set a timer. Do other stuff. Check Facebook. Whatever. After an hour, add salt or other flavorings, seal the Instant Pot (or other brand multi-cooker you use), and select Rice. (Soaking brown rice also shortens cooking time in a stovetop pressure cooker, too. ) At the end of the cooking time, hit cancel and allow pressure to drop on its own 10 minutes. Release any remaining pressure. Carefully open the pot and fluff rice with a fork. You have 4 servings of perfectly cooked brown rice.
This has worked every time for me. If it’s too much trouble to soak ahead of time, just cook the rice for 22 minutes followed by the 10 minute pressure release. But I really like using the special rice cooking setting because it’s convenient.
Add more whole grains to your diet as you begin the new year. You’ll be healthier for it!
We don’t eat much red meat, but when we do, I splurge. I buy only meat from grass-fed livestock that has no added hormones or antibiotics. We enjoy pot roast, but a traditional recipe cooks hours. I’m about “hasty” meals, so here’s my version. I promise it’s just as yummy as the slow-cooker version. Using a packet of soup mix saves time with your spices. It’s all there, including salt and pepper. You need only an hour total for this Hasty Tasty Meal.
Easy Weeknight Pot Roast
I use a pressure cooker to reduce cooking time. Since so many of you have asked for Instant Pot meals, I used my 6-quart Instant Pot. However, the recipe works in any pressure cooker, electric or stovetop.
- 1 – 2 pound beef roast, any cut
- cooking spray (I prefer Pam®)
- 1 packet dehydrated (low-sodium if available) onion soup mix
- 2 medium russet potatoes, quartered (or 6 whole baby Yukon golds if you prefer). Peel if you want, but after cooking, the skins slide off easily.
- 2 yellow onions, quartered or roughly chopped
- 2 sweet peppers, sliced (optional)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp. Tomato paste
- 1 cup chicken broth (Yes, chicken broth* not beef broth) or water
- ½ pound carrots (I prefer Bunny Luv Organic)
- Slurry of 1 Tbsp. corn starch mixed in 2 ounces cold water
- Preheat the pot using the sauté setting. When the display reads Hot, spray generously with cooking spray and add onions.
- Using the dehydrated onion soup mix, dry-rub the meat thoroughly.
- Slice meat into 1½ to 2 inch pieces. Add meat to the pot to brown.
- After a couple of minutes, turn off the Instant Pot. Add garlic and tomato paste. Stir.
- Pour in the broth. Using a wooden spoon, deglaze the pot, incorporating the flavors into the broth. Add sweet peppers if using.
- Place the potatoes on top the meat.
- Seal the Instant Pot and program (using either the meat or manual buttons) for 30 minutes. If your model has two pressure settings, select high (which is the default).
- While meat cooks, prepare the slurry, and slice carrots into 1″ pieces.
- After 30 minutes, hit Cancel and allow pressure to drop on its own for 10 minutes. Then release remaining pressure and carefully open the pot.
- Add the carrots, replace seal, and return the Instant Pot to pressure for 0 minutes. Allow pressure to drop on its own completely before opening the pot.
- Using a large spatula, lift the meat, potatoes, and carrots onto a platter. Tent with foil to keep warm.
- Using the sauté button (Never cover the pot with the lid while using the sauté function), bring cooking liquid to a boil and whisk in the cornstarch slurry. As soon as the liquid begins to thicken, turn off the pot, remove it (careful! Use your silicone mittens for this) to a heatsafe trivet or folded towel, and gently pour it into a measuring cup or gravy boat to serve.
- Serve platter with a drizzle of the gravy and a dinner roll.
Why use chicken broth instead of beef? Unfortunately, I’ve yet to find a store-bought beef broth that tasted good. There’s an artificial, almost “tinny” taste to it. Yet chicken broth or stock is mild and actually brings out the umami flavor of the meat. If you have neither, use water. It’s only a cup and it’s better to go plain than bad-tasting for your cooking liquid.
I’ve tried quinoa and steel cut oats. They’re okay but my new grain passion is farro. It’s akin to brown rice yet twice as nutritious. I like the nutty flavor and chewy texture. It also cooks more quickly than brown rice. Stovetop it cooks in about twenty-five minutes, but I cook mine in my pressure cooker. Pearled* farro cooks in five minutes with a natural pressure release. I cook up a double batch of plain farro and refrigerate it for later use in salads, heated for a breakfast cereal, or added to a recipe designed for rice, risotto, or orzo. I don’t flavor mine when I cook it, although you could. Give farro a try in any dish you’d typically use rice or risotto.
Hasty Tasty Farro
Makes 4 half-cup servings
- 1 cup Organic Farro (I use Italian Pearled)
- 2 cups filtered water (you can go a little shy of 2 cups in a pressure cooker because there’s no evaporation)
- 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
- Add all ingredients to the pressure cooker pot. Seal lid and bring to pressure.
- Cook under pressure 5 minutes. Remove from heat (hit cancel) and allow pressure to drop on its own.
- Carefully open pressure cooker and stir. Season as desired.
*Pearling removes the outer husks