When I was a kid, McDonald’s never fazed me. I could take or leave a Happy Meal, no big deal. What I really craved was tacos. Point me in the direction of a Taco Bell and I was the happiest of campers. Looking back on it, I don’t really understand it. No one in my immediate family has ever been a big fan of Mexican food, and kids can be tremendously picky (I, for one, was notorious for never eating a morsel of anything green and clung to my peanut butter and jelly like there was no tomorrow). So where I picked up this love for tacos is beyond me. But if I found myself at the mall with my mom and the food court presented itself, I marched straight to Taco Bell. If I was given the opportunity to choose what my mom cooked for dinner on any given night, you guessed it. Tacos.
Needless to say, back in the day taco kits were certainly the way to go for homemade tacos – shells, seasoning mix and sometimes sauce all in one box. Easy peasy. Heck, even up until a few years ago I wouldn’t have thought to make tacos any other way. But then I entered into the world of food obsession, and have become infinitely more aware of the things that I eat and where they come from. Prepackaged seasoning mixes are full of salt and preservatives, artificial flavors and colors. For example, look at this ingredient list from a popular brand of taco seasoning:
Um, no thank you. Making my own seasoning and knowing exactly what’s in it makes me feel much better. Whipping up your own taco seasoning mix takes less than 5 minutes and you can keep it in your pantry for anytime a Mexican craving creeps up on you.
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
One year ago: Coffee-and-Espresso Layered Cheesecake[/donotprint]
DIY: Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix
Yield: About ½ cup (Enough to season approximately 8 pounds of meat)
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
An easy taco seasoning mix to make from scratch at home - no preservatives!
¼ cup + 3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon ground paprika
1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1¾ teaspoon garlic powder
1¾ teaspoon onion powder
1¾ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. Stir together all of the ingredients in an airtight container or glass jar. Store at room temperature.
To Use with Taco Meat: Brown the meat (ground beef or chicken) over medium heat until cooked through. Drain. Return to the stove over medium-high heat and add ⅔ cup of water and 2 tablespoons of the taco seasoning mix. Simmer, stirring frequently, until all of the liquid has evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes.
[Recipe and photos updated September 2014]