Monday, May 11, 2009

Mmm...Monday: Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix

This recipe was the cause of one of the few fights Steve and I have had. Don't couples often fight about the silliest things?

We had only been married a few months, and I was still VERY inept and uncertain in the kitchen. I wasn't into meal planning; I never ventured a tiny bit away from the recipe; I only had a few simple meals really mastered. Tacos were something I viewed as an easy dinner. Brown some ground beef, open a packet of taco seasoning from the store, and voila! Dinner.

Well, one Sunday afternoon we came home from church and decided to make tacos for lunch--but Steve confessed that he wasn't a big fan of the pre-packaged seasoning. He wanted to try to find a recipe. I was beyond irritated, for several reasons. I felt like he was taking something that was really easy for me and making it unnecessarily complicated. I knew we wouldn't even have half the spices for the recipe, meaning we'd have to go to the grocery and get them, and they'd probably be expensive. And, I was hungry NOW.

Some of my rationale was valid, but the intensity level of my reaction to Steve was completely out of proportion. And you know what? He was right. The homemade mix does taste better. Not only that, but a) you know exactly what's in it--no unpronounceable chemicals, and b) it's just as easy as opening a packet of seasoning when you mix up several batches at a time.

I'm thankful that our fights are few and far between. I'm thankful that we can laugh about them once they're past. I'm thankful for God's grace in bringing me a LONG way over the last four years when it comes to cooking. And I'm thankful for tacos, which look very different from when we first married, but are still one of my favorite "easy dinners" (especially because we brown 5-6 lbs. of meat at a time and freeze it, a pound per bag, already cooked).

Here's the recipe for one batch of taco seasoning. I used to mix up 2-3 batches at once and keep the extras in ziploc baggies. Now I usually multiply it by six and keep the big batch in a jar. Then I don't have to mix it very often, and it's easy to measure out 1 T + 2 1/2 tsp for taco meat, or however much you need for chicken tortilla soup or taco soup.

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix

2 t. minced dried onion
1 t. salt
1 t. chili powder
1/2 t. cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1/2 t. crushed red peppers
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. oregano

Mix together and add to 1 lb ground beef or turkey (browned and drained). Add 1/3 c water and mix well/heat through. We like to eat it with rice, black beans, corn, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, salsa, taco sauce (for me), hot sauce (for Steve), and tortillas.

Big Batch (times 6):
4 T minced dried onion
2 T salt
2 T chili powder
1 T cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1 T crushed red pepper
1 T garlic powder
1 T ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp oregano


Zoanna said... I don't know why I hadn't thought of making my own. DUH. I can't tell you how many times I've said, "This is probably WAY cheaper and better if I made it myself!" But then dinnertime comes and I'm glad for the "rip and make" method. I will definitely whip up a can of this. And I like your idea to declare Mexican recipe month. I would love to see a smattering of recipes for appetizers, entrees, low-cal desserts, and maybe even a Margarita concoction.

Amy said...

oh, don't get too excited--all I've really got are soups and this and a dip or two. I have no low-cal desserts, no 'rita concoctions or anything else particularly creative! but maybe someone else does and can post a link in the comments :)

Anonymous said...

I'll have to try this!

Anonymous said...

I found one that worked pretty well for us, too (it could be this very combination; I haven't compared), but we still revert back to packets sometimes for convenience, *even though* it's not as good for us with all those extra things tossed in like "natural flavors" and various preservatives. This would work great for Food on Fridays! Who says it has to be posted on Friday? It just has to LINK on Fridays! Let me know if you want it included...

Sharinskishe said...

Awesome post. Yes homemade IS better and you DO know what goes in it. I can understand your plight of easy turned into complicated, that is now easy again. But if you did not have that experience, you might not enjoy the goodness of your new found freedom in making food better for your family- the knowing what is in it.

Hoosier Homemade said...

That's a great recipe! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing! I tried this recipe for a taco party my roommate and I threw last night and it was delicious! I used onion salt rather than dried onion, because that's what I had on hand, but otherwise I followed your recipe to a T. It's nice knowing there were no mystery ingredients in the mix.

Ashley said...

This has become a staple at our house, my husband and I love it! Thank you so much for sharing!