Cooking One-Pan Beef Tacos *Tips and Tricks

It’s taco time! If you read my previous blog, Grocery Shopping –  Success or Fail, I shared my grocery shopping experience and picked up every ingredient without needing any help. It was an amazing feeling to be independent and I’m so proud of how I did! For this post, I am going to break down how I cooked these yummy tacos. It’s quite simple actually, it just takes a lot of endurance when 3/4 of your body is paralyzed. But I did it!

For starters, we don’t have a counter my chair can fit under so I use a tray that connects to my wheelchair. I love using this tray. It sits close to my chest, I can put it on or take it off myself, and I can use it for just about anything. The only problem with the tray is the height. It sits tall, at about 3 inches above my arm rest. The only time the height negatively affects me is when I cook, so, to manage the height, I have to lift my shoulders up and it is very exhausting to use such posture. So, this time I decided to use a cutting board placed on my lap. I just wanted to try it out and I am happy I made this decision! I was able to put more weight and strength into cutting ingredients. This took the pain off my shoulders, created better posture, and I was able to save energy prepping food!

As you read, I will share the directions and ingredients from Hello Fresh and provide my personalized cooking tips if you are a quadriplegic.


Ingredients for One-Pan Beef Taco Recipe

  • 1 unit Yellow Onion
  • 4 ounce Heirloom Grape Tomatoes (I used other cheaper, small tomatoes, but just as delicious)
  • 1 unit Lime
  • 2 unit Scallions
  • 6 tablespoon Sour Cream (ContainsMilk)
  • 1 teaspoon Southwest Spice Blend
  • 2 tablespoon Taco Spice Blend
  • ¼ cup Tomato Paste
  • 20 ounce Ground Beef
  • 1 cup Cheddar Cheese (ContainsMilk)
  • 12 unit Flour Tortillas (ContainsWheat)
  • 4 ounce Shredded Red Cabbage


Tip #1 Set up a comfortable and effective cooking area. If you notice certain positions are uncomfortable, try something new.

Tip #2 Gather your gear.

I pull out any towel, measuring instruments, utensil, pot, or pan I anticipate on needing before it becomes time sensitive. I cannot move quick like you able bodied folk, so I avoid tragedy (aka burnt food) through a gear checklist.

To prepare the ingredients, I pulled out my rocking knife, adjustable mandoline slicer,  measuring cups (rubber handles are your best friend), a can opener (I’m on the hunt for a good, easy-to-use one), a normal spoon to mix, a bowl, and plate.

I used a plate to transfer prepped ingredients to create more space on my cutting board.

A moment captured before the controlled chaos 😉

paralyzed wheelchair Tenodesis grasp cooking taco 1

Direction #1

Wash and dry all produce. Adjust rack so that it is about 8-inches from flame and preheat broiler to high. Halve, peel, and thinly slice onion. Quarter tomatoes. Cut lime into wedges. Thinly slice scallions. Trim root end from lettuce, then slice leaves into thin shreds.

Tip #3 Cut, measure, and mix ALL ingredients before cooking! This tip will save time and energy 🙂

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Direction #2 

In a small bowl, stir together sour cream, Southwest seasoning, and a squeeze or two of lime. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

I only bought a Taco blend for the meat and replaced the southwest seasoning with cilantro!

paralyzed wheelchair Tenodesis grasp cooking taco

Direction #3

Heat a drizzle of oil in a large, ovenproof pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, tossing occasionally, until softened, 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add taco spice and ¼ cup tomato paste to pan. Stir until fragrant and well combined, about 1 minute.

Tip #4 Operating the oven. Be careful with your balance and do not burn yourself. Find what works best for you. I have seen some friends use electric griddles. For now, this is how I use my stove (pictures are shown below). With balance and determination, I slide the dial between my knuckles, push in, and twist. Ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom.

Tip #5 Use low heat and cook ingredients a bit longer. Save your energy and stay patient. There’s nothing worse than burnt food so pace yourself wisely.

paralyzed wheelchair Tenodesis grasp cooking taco 5

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paralyzed wheelchair Tenodesis grasp cooking taco 8

Everything is prepped, time to cook the MEAT.

Direction #4

Add beef to pan, breaking up meat into pieces. Cook, tossing occasionally, until browned, 4-5 minutes. Season with plenty of salt and pepper. Stir in 2 TBSP water, then sprinkle cheese over top. Transfer pan to broiler and broil until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with scallions.

Tip #6 When cooking ground beef, I break up meat into pieces on my cutting board, then place it in my pan. This provides less effort and reserves energy! This tip changed the game for me! Seriously, this made it 10x easier and saves time.

Tip #7 Skip broiling. This step isn’t completely necessary to the recipe, I just cooked the cheese on top of the stove.

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Direction #5 

While everything’s broiling, wrap tortillas in a moistened paper towel. Microwave on high until warm and soft, about 30 seconds.

Direction #6

Arrange lettuce, tomatoes, lime wedges, and crema into bowls or plates for serving. Fill tortillas with beef mixture and divide between plates. Let everyone add the toppings as they like and dig in!

Tip #8 Use a Fork. I don’t use my hands to hold a taco. It can be a mess to eat so I mix it and eat a tortilla on the side! 🙂 Taste’s just like a normal taco!

paralyzed wheelchair Tenodesis grasp cooking taco 14


There you have it!! Thanks for reading! Make sure you click like and subscribe!:)

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