Ever have a craving for something but you don’t have the necessary ingredients on hand? Like homemade tacos?
Just the other day, I had a craving for taco salad, but hadn’t made taco meat in years! And on our budget (and with our food sensitivities and life-threatening food allergies), eating out is not a viable option.
It’s frustrating to find yourself excited to cook something only to find yourself missing what you need. Sometimes you can find an easy substitute, but other times, like in the case of taco seasoning, you just need to have exactly what the recipe calls for.
So I got to work in the kitchen and tried out a few recipes and came up with one that fits the bill.
Awhile ago, I wrote a post about making your own seasoning blends. Check it out and you will see that there are several reasons why I choose to make my own blends as much as possible.
Why Make Your Own Seasoning Blends?
- you have control over the ingredients (no icky MSG type stuff or allergenic ingredients. For those of you with milk allergies, did you know that many taco seasonings have lactose, milk sugar, in them?)
- save money (individual seasonings are cheaper than blends)
- save more money (use up individual seasonings faster so you can buy in bulk)
- save even MORE money (have you seen the prices of those packaged “Taco Seasoning” mixes at the grocery store? Ugh!
- save money and time (no last minute trips to the store to get something that you can easily make yourself)
- making seasoning blends is an easy way to involve your kids in the kitchen
Convinced? I thought so. So now on to the recipe:
Homemade Taco Seasoning
2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (Aleppo peppers would add a wonderful depth of flavor but red chilis are fine.)
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp cumin
2 1/2 tsp salt (I recommend Real Salt.)
2 tsp pepper
1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
2. Mix well.
3. Store in a tightly closed container.
- For a seasoning with a bit more “heft” to it, add about 1 t flour or starch of choice to the mix. Of course, if you use a whole grain flour, you will want to store the resulting mixture in the refrigerator ’cause whole grains will spoil at room temp.
- Use approximately 2 Tbsp taco seasoning mix for each pound of ground meat (or to taste, of course. Some people may prefer 1 Tbsp, others up to 4 Tbsp).
- As with other taco seasonings, either use the mixture as is, or add approx. 3/4 cup water to the beef and seasoning mixture to make a more “saucy” beef.
- You can also flavor beans, like lentils, with this mixture. About 2 cups of cooked beans will be the equivalent of one pound of ground beef.
- And as I said in my “Saving Time in the Kitchen by Baking in Bulk” post, I recommend making more of this in advance so that you have it on hand when you need it. Cook once, use
two three four times or more :-)!
- We use this even as a standby seasoning on our table. It tastes great on veggies and loads of dishes!
- For my spice shopping, I really like Frontier Brand and Mountain Rose Herbs. I’ve done taste tests and the Frontier Brands have won out every time and boy, are they reasonable! Mountain Rose Herbs has a great selection of nicely priced organic products in smaller quantities. Bulk but not HUGH bulk amounts :-).
Looking for more ways to save money and have control over ingredients? How about:
- Homemade Coconut Milk
- Homemade Protein Bars
- Powdered Sugar (or powdered sugar alternative)
- Homemade Sugar-Free Lemonade (a healthy version :-)!)
Or more Homemade Seasonings like:
How about you? Do you have a favorite seasoning blend that you would like a recipe for?
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/crd/4632316985/