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Debra Caffrey is the Education E-newsletter Editor for FredParent. She also writes, blogs, and assists with events. She is the proud mom of 8-year-old Aidan. She is passionate about cooking, meal planning, and smart grocery shopping, and is excited to share her ‘Practical Pantry’ with you.


Practical Pantry


Did you know it’s a cinch to make your own taco bowl or “shell” using just a plain tortilla? It’s so easy to do and also so much healthier than the fried version. There’s no need to buy packaged taco bowls – all you need is a mixing bowl, a tortilla, and the oven! These homemade taco bowls are great for upgrading boring salads and they elevate a simple weekday dinner meal into something kid-friendly and fun. I like to make large ones for the adults in the house, and a “mini” taco bowl for my son. And everyone’s favorite part is eating the crunchy bowl when the fillings are gone. This can be a great selling point for your kids – when you’ve cleaned your “plate” you actually get to eat it!

We love using them for traditional taco salads or fried chicken salads, but they’re really a great vessel for anything – steak, rotisserie chicken, grilled veggies, you name it! They are also a fun way to use up leftover fixings from taco night or can be used for my personal favorite, rice bowl night. You can prep them in advance the night before or that morning and then throw everything inside when it’s dinnertime. What can be a quicker meal than that? Read on to see how easy it is!

What You Need:

  • Flour tortillas (whole wheat is fine too), any style or size will work, but largest will obviously make a bigger bowl
  • Butter or margarine
  • Glass or metal oven-safe mixing bowl slightly smaller than tortilla


Step 1:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spread about one teaspoon (just a thin coating) of butter or margarine on one side of tortilla.


Step 2:

Turn the mixing bowl over and lay on top of foiled-lined tray. Place tortilla, butter side down on top of bowl and press all sides against it, keeping your hands in place for a few moments. Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned, hardened, and crispy.


Step 3:

Remove from oven and carefully peel away from mixing bowl. Place taco bowl right-side up and bake for another few minutes, allowing the interior of the bowl to firm up a bit more. Repeat the procedure with more tortillas as desired.


Fill with your favorite salad components and enjoy! Here are our favorites:

“Leaner Taco Salad”

  • Shredded lettuce
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Sliced red onions
  • Turkey or vegetarian chili
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream

Fried Chicken Salad


  • Brown rice
  • Grilled steak or chicken (omit for a meatless dish)
  • Grilled or sautéed onions and peppers
  • Shredded pepperjack cheese
  • Avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Scallions
  • Black beans
  • Click here for my rice bowl night concept


What other things would you love to put in your homemade taco bowl? The choices are up to you! 

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Pouches' Community Corner

Adoptive parents in Fredericksburg now have a new partner on their journey to a healthy family. In 2016, Children’s Home Society was awarded a $125,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Social Services to extend their Richmond area post-adoptive services to the Fredericksburg area.


Now CHS is looking to find adoptive families in the area who need support before they hit a crisis point. “It doesn’t matter which agency they adopted from, or when that happened,” said Buckheit. “We want to offer a lifetime of support to adoptive families in the Fredericksburg area, especially those who haven’t been aware of our services in the past.”