Baked Tacos ~ Cooking With A Chronic Illness ~ Simple Recipes For Tired Moms
The Daily Struggle to Put a Hot Meal on The Table
Getting supper on the table is perhaps one of the hardest tasks that I face each day. It takes a vast amount of energy to plan a menu, chop vegetables, cook a meal, get it on the table and then clean up afterwards. This every day task takes extra special planning when you suffer from severe chronic illnesses.
I will be the first to admit that I do not always have a plan for dinner every day. But, for the most part I do try to have a general idea of what can be made with what is already in the fridge.
In the past I have written about how my Crockpot quite often comes to my rescue. You can read more about that here: Cooking With A Chronic Illness. I have also received more than one request to share a few of the simple meals that I have come to rely upon on a regular basis.
Sharing One of My Family’s Favorite Meals
I thought it would be fun to share one of the simple meals that is a staple in our house. It is not fancy nor is it extremely original, but it gets the job done. My family is always satisfied when this dish is on the table and that is all any mother could ask for!
Tacos are one of our very favorite meals and there are so many fun and easy variations for this one family friendly dish! One of the easiest ways to eat tacos are in a salad. You simply chop up some lettuce or if you are like me buy a box of the pre-cut stuff. Dump it in a bowl, add some crushed tortilla chips, and some browned seasoned taco meat.
Options for Those Who Have Food Allergies and Sensitivies
I like to put everyone’s favorite toppings in little dishes so that they can dress their salad any way they want. This is especially good for those who have food allergies. I try to avoid eating a lot of tomatoes since they are a night shade and I also have a sensitivity to dairy so I can easily leave the cheese out of my salad if I wish! I love how it is such a basic recipe that it can be tapered to fit any taste.
Why make your own taco seasoning?
Store bought taco seasoning is filled with nasty preservatives and often gluten. Because of this, I make my own taco seasoning and store it in a mason jar, so that I always have plenty on hand. Taco meat can be eaten on a salad, rolled up in lettuce leaves, tortillas or the traditional corn shells. The toppings are limitless and I love that this dish can easily be prepared dairy-free, gluten-free and even meat free if you wish! Rice and quinoa make excellent substitutes for the meat in most taco dishes.
I thought I would share the recipe that I use to make my taco seasoning. It is one that I have just sort of thrown together over the years, but it is mild and tastes so much better than store bought taco seasoning packets.
Taco Seasoning Recipe
Taco Seasoning Mix
This is such a simple addition to any pantry and so easy to mix up. Keep in a tightly closed glass jar for freshness. This makes a bunch!
- 1/2 Cup Chili Powder
- 1/2 Cup Onion Powder
- 2 1/2 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 2 1/2 tbsp Ground Cumin
- 2 1/2 tbsp Oregano
- 2 tbsp Sea Salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp Paprika
- 2 tsp Ground Coriander
- 1 tbsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
Place all of the ingredients in a glass mason jar and close lid. Shake to mix. Store in a dark, cool place for up to 6 months. If you like less spicy flavor, leave out the pepper flakes and cayenne pepper.
Use approximately 2 Tbsp to season 1 pound of meat.
What’s For Dinner? Baked Tacos
Baked Tacos are one of my family’s favorite ways to eat this standard dish.
This is such a fun and simple way to eat tacos. You simply fill the shells with your favorite ingredients and bake for about 20 minutes until warm! I like to set up the toppings like a taco bar and let my family fix their own.
- 1 pound ground meat (beef, chicken or turkey)
- 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes 14.5 oz
- 2 tbsp taco seasoning
- 1/2 cup salsa This can be any kind of your choosing
- 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
- 12 Taco Shells
* any toppings that you like, lettuce, sour cream, avocado, olives, shredded cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray a casserole dish with cooking spray
Brown your meat and drain.
Stir in the taco seasoning.
Add the tomatoes, salsa and black beans to the meat.
Fill the taco shells with the meat mixture and stand them side by side in a large casserole dish.
Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until heated through.
Serve with optional toppings.
I love that this recipe can be switched up to include any type of filling.
If you are eating vegetarian, then you can easily substitute the meat with rice or quinoa and it is just as good!
You can also add a cup of frozen corn or any other ingredient that you might like! There are endless ways to make this dish your own.
I do not eat a lot of dairy, but you could also top this with cheese to melt over it in the oven. The sky is the limit with this dish! Have fun with it!
Sometimes Simple is Best
If you are struggling to just eek out a life, put dinner on the table and care for your family, I can identify. Life with a chronic illness is often difficult at best.
Please know that you are not alone. There are so many nights when I just cannot handle cooking for my family. It is on those nights that I pull out a jar of peanut butter or a can of soup and declare it a do it yourself night. I eat a bowl of oatmeal and crash.
Don’t feel bad for taking care of the you in the mirror. Sometimes we just need to care for ourselves first before we can be of any help to our family. It is at these times when I am so grateful for my sweet husband and children who have learned through experience, how to be self reliant in the kitchen.
I hope these simple meal ideas are a help when it comes to answering that universal nightly question, “What’s for dinner?”
Until Next Time,
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