shutterstock_153533516bWhen people hear that my kids can’t have gluten they say, “Oh that must be so hard!” At first that was true. It was hard adjusting to the shift away from what they could no longer eat—most anything with flour in it like bread, cookies, cake, crackers, etc.

But once the initial shock wore off and we had a few months of gluten free eating under our belts, it actually became second nature! If you stay away from the prepackaged gluten free stuff and just focus on eating fresh and substituting flour items for something else like rice, quinoa or corn tortillas, gluten free eating is actually pretty easy.

I love Mexican food, and it really lends itself to gluten free eating because so much of it is based in fresh cooking. Here are a few easy and healthy gluten free Mexican dinners perfect for the whole family.

*SIMPLE GLUTEN FREE ENCHILADAS*

Corn tortillas (2-3 per person)
Olive oil
homemade or your favorite enchilada sauce
Chicken breast (about one per person)
homemade salsa, or your favorite. I like to make my own
Cheese (I love Colby jack!)

Place all the chicken breast in the crock pot and cook until done (on high only about 2 hours, or on low about 3-4 hours). Use a fork and shred the chicken completely, chopping into smaller chunks if necessary. Add back into crock pot (with the juice to keep it moist. Add the jar of salsa verde and regular salsa to the chicken.

In a skillet, add enough olive oil to coat the pan. Turn on heat to medium high so it will fry (but not burn!) each corn tortilla within a minute or two. Fry each tortilla, but only just long enough to make it soft. When cooked set on paper towel (on a plate) so the olive oil can drain off.

When chicken and tortillas are cool enough, fill each tortilla with two spoonfuls of the chicken mixture, a pinch of shredded cheese, and roll it up. Place filled tortilla seam-side down in a casserole dish. Repeat until all tortillas are used. Top with enchilada sauce and cheese. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes (until tortillas are crispy). Top with some shredded lettuce, olives, radishes, chopped onions, sour cream, lime juice, etc.

*KID FRIENDLY GLUTEN FREE TOSTADA PIZZAS*

Tostada shells (1-3 per person)
Cooked meat of choice (lean ground beef, chicken, etc.)
Cheese
Toppings: lettuce, olives, onions, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, etc.

Turn on oven to broil. On a cookie sheet, set out tostada shells. Add meat and then cheese. Place in oven for just a few minutes—watch carefully for cheese to melt completely. Pull out of oven and have your child top with his or her favorite toppings! Use a pizza cutter to cut into pizza-shaped wedges.

*FRESH GLUTEN FREE PICO*

3-4 large tomatoes
½ onion (choose a sweet onion for a milder flavor)
1 green bell pepper
1 jalapeno, seeds removed
1-2 cloves garlic
Cilantro
Lime juice
Salt, Cumin

Finely chop (a food processor makes it super easy) tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, and cilantro. Place in a bowl. Add a pinch of lime juice, plenty of salt (to taste) and a dash or two of cumin. Enjoy with tortilla chips or on top of some carne asada!

*GLUTEN FREE SPANISH RICE*

Olive oil
2 cups brown rice
½ onion
1-2 cloves garlic
1 can tomato sauce
2-3 cups low sodium chicken broth
Add ins: peas, corn, canned chopped tomatoes, chopped carrots, etc.
Salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder

In a large skillet add olive oil—heat on medium. Add chopped onion and garlic and cook a few minutes. Add rice and cook until toasted. Next, slowly stir in the chicken broth and tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer. Finally add the “add-ins” that you choose such as peas, corn, canned chopped tomatoes, chopped carrots, and also the spices.

Stir well and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for about 15 minutes or until rice is soft. Enjoy!