Special needs and food. Tacos.

One of the challenges I face daily is balancing my diet with what my boys will eat. My sons are autistic, and anyone with any special needs child will tell you that finding food they like AND having them eat healthy can be a task. Now if you’re anything like me and you have special needs kids you read everything you can get your hands on about their gift. We try to eat as gluten free as possible (I know, no sugar, no gluten, no fun? HA) so we look for snacks they’ll eat. We found that they like Fritos and it’s something we can give them in small amounts and they seem to satisfy them. Our oldest son really likes something he can hold onto while he eats.

He likes hard shell tacos, but I forgot to pick them up while I was at the store. I use the gluten free soft tortillas. (La Tortilla Factory has my favorite) (I don’t get any endorsement for any product I name btw…). So as a family who has gone pretty green do I drive back to the store or can I get him to eat these soft shells? Let me tell you, I would be able to pick a portion of the Great Wall of China and throw it into space before I could talk him into anything. So I waste $15 in gas and drive back, right? Wrong! I tell him that I got the soft shells so he can eat his favorite snack inside the shell to add flavor. This actually got him interested. So we created our gluten free vegetarian tacos and here’s what we did:

Prep and cooking time, about 30 minutes

  • 1 bag of veggie crumbles (I use Morning Star, but use what you want. You could also just use the meat of your choice)
  • 1/2 can of drained and rinsed black beans (We actually use dried beans to cut back on sodium)
  • 1 cup of cheese  (In our case it has to be yellow cheese, sharp cheddar, and I try to buy a nice soy cheese)
  • 1 small onion
  • Taco seasoning (try to find something low sodium McCormick makes a good one)
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • A little chopped cilantro
  • 1 handful of Fritos
  • 6-8 gluten free shells
  • 1 tsp of oil (I use grape seed oil, but you can use extra virgin olive oil)
  • Sour cream

Use just a little bit of extra virgin olive oil or grape seed oil on medium heat

Finely chop the onion and add it to the oil.Cook it until it just starts to come clear.

Add your veggie crumbles and black beans. Heat this until it’s almost completely cooked.

Add your taco seasoning following the directions (usually the packet and a cup of water)

***If you decide to use meat strain it before you add the water and sauce***

While this cooks cut your red and green peppers into strips, then chop the cilantro. You can add the peppers into the mix and cook them if you wish. We like them raw.

Once the taco mixture has cooked down take it off the heat and let it cook for about 5 minutes.

Lay out your shells, fill with the taco mixture. Throw on some cheese, to taste and throw on the amount of Fritos that makes them smile. Then you can use your peppers, cilantro, (even a chopped jalapeno, I love to add them) Then you eat it. Simple enough. If you really want to punch it up and add some heat I use Secret Aardvark sauce. It’s a local product here in the Portland/Vancouver area but you can order it online. I love spicy food and sauces. This is THE BEST I have ever had. All the spice with all the flavor.

Anyway, nowthat it’s done it should look a little like this:

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions please feel free to ask…

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