Monday, June 9, 2014

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Update 6/10/14: I put a wrong amount on the recipe!  It's been updated.  :)  Sorry for that!

I thought I'd start sharing a few of the made-from-scratch recipes I use for cooking and cleaning around the house.  Today, I'm sharing my oldest recipe -- Homemade Taco Seasoning!  

Years ago, we'd have tacos every week.  We loved them!  Back then, I used the Ortega sauce mix, which you could buy in a small packet.  Then one day I noticed that it wasn't on the shelf anymore.  It soon turned out I couldn't find it anywhere.  We tried the other mixes, but no one like them.  

So, off to the internet!  I found this great Taco Seasoning recipe on the AllRecipes website.  What did I have to lose?  We gave it a try.  And, initially, we didn't really like it.  At that point, I simply gave up and we didn't have tacos for quite a long time.  One day, I ran across the little jar of mix I'd made, thought "huh, why not", and tried again.

We've been using it ever since.  I'm not sure if time made us forgetful of the original deliciousness of Ortega, or if I did something different.  At any rate, I've been using this same recipe since that time.

Now, I made a few changes to the original recipe from AllRecipes.  I increased the amount of cayenne pepper because my family wanted some "kick" in the flavor.  I also quadrupled the recipe so that it made enough to nearly fill a quart-sized canning jar.  That way, I don't have to mix it so often.  And finally, I actually add more seasoning per pound of meat than what the original recipe recommends.  These were tweaks that make the recipe taste good to us. 

So, first off, gather all your spices.  I buy mine in the monstrous containers from our local Sam's Club. I'm sure they can be found in other places as well.  Since I started making so many things from scratch, these large spice boxes have come in quite handy.

Now, for pretty sake, I poured the spices in little piles on a piece of wax paper just to take a picture.  From top left, going clockwise, I have chili powder, onion powder, cornstarch, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and cumin in the middle.  Cumin is great for Mexican-style dishes too, so we use quite a lot.  I have a fantastic black bean soup recipe I'll have to share one day.  :D

Anyways, toss all that lovely goodness into a bowl and mix it up.  I use a little whisk, but a spoon is good too.  For some odd reason my paprika had lumps, so I pinched them up after whisking.  I use paprika a lot on chicken and fish, so probably just too much moisture on my part. 

After it's good and mixed, I add it to my mason jar.  Now, if you have a large enough jar, you could probably just pour it in, hand it to a child, and say "shake it", and you'd be good to go.  I am not confident there's enough room in the mason jar to mix it well, so I mess up a bowl first. :)  

Once the jar is full, place it on the shelf and admire its pretty color, hehe.  We really do enjoy this mix.  I hope you enjoy it too!

What I love most about this particular recipe is that there are no strange, unpronounceable ingredients in the mix.  These strange ingredients from another planet is a large part of why I've been working hard to eliminate the boxed mixes (albeit quite slowly!).  So, it's a small thing, but it feels good to know that every ingredient is something I can both spell and pronounce. :) 

Side Note: Now, as a first time taste test, it might be most prudent to simply try the linked original recipe as it makes far less than my modified recipe.  That way, you don't make a monstrous investment in spices just to be disappointed. 

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix
Printable Recipe 

8 tablespoons chili powder 
7 tablespoons paprika
6 tablespoons cumin 
3 tablespoons onion powder 
3 tablespoons garlic powder 
2 tablespoons cornstarch 
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, then transfer to a glass jar.  This amount of mix will fit inside a quart-sized canning jar.  Shake or stir before each use. 

To Use:
Brown meat in a large skillet.  Add 8 teaspoons (or 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons) of mix for each pound of meat cooked.  Then add approximately 1/2 to 3/4 cup water per pound of meat.  Bring to a boil, cover, then allow meat to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.  In last 5 or so minutes, remove lid to encourage liquid to cook away; you may need to raise the temperature in order to quicken this process.

Serve with favorite taco additions.

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