The Famous Taco Mix

Here it is folks, the much-requested “Walker Brand Can Of Scratch” Taco Seasoning Mix recipe.  This is probably the thing that I’m asked about the most out of everything I make, and I hope you guys love it as much as we do!

Taco Loco

Taco Loco

Now, I *love* tacos, any kind– tangy fish tacos with creamy sauce; spicy steak ones on soft tortillas; I’ll even go to town on some simple bean and cheese ones, I know no taco prejudice.  They have been in my top-five favorite foods since childhood.  I noticed a few years back that certain tacos were giving me severe heartburn, but others weren’t– and it had no rhyme or reason, it didn’t seem to have anything to do with spiciness or even a specific protein.  Tacos from Chuy’s and Salsaritas were fine, but Taco Bell and any made at home with an envelope mix promised imminent pain.

And it seems messed up anytime food that I prepare at home hurts me, because in general I make a real effort to cut out the packaged foods and use really good ingredients.  (Kraft mac is special occasion food around here, its filled with so much junk.)  Anyway, I hated that the tacos I was making at home were tearing me up as bad as the Taco Bell ones.  After all, if that’s going to happen, we might as well just go to TB and me not go through all of the work of making them from expensive raw groceries and then cleaning up the mess.  We don’t want that do we– for Taco Bell to win?!

One day while making tacos at home, I flipped over that little one-dollar pack of seasonings I’d been selecting from the spice aisle.   I read the ingredients.  Wow.  Not a lot of what’s listed sounds as if it comes from Grandma’s pantry.  Salty.  And the MSG.  Man, that was high up there on the list.  I decided that I would look around on the internet and make a few formulas and figure out what tasted best to us.  We’d know for sure that it didn’t have anything akin to chemicals in it, and we’d see if that cut out the taco-hurt at home.  After trying several online recipes, we changed out some things here and there and came up with a recipe that we really like, and guess what– no heartburn.  I’ve made all kinds of tacos with this seasoning– ground beef with beer; mixed summer veggies with great salsa;  pulled rotisserie chicken tossed with lime juice– and all have been delish and pain-free.  I am positive that the pre-made mix is precisely what was giving me issue before.

A Giftie Jar Of Taco Seasoning

A Giftie Jar Of Taco Seasoning

I make this recipe up in a mason jar, and I write “taco mix” on the lid, and when I need it, I use a few tablespoons.  The jar makes enough for quite a few batches of tacos, depending on how spicy you prefer your filling to be.  I have no idea how long this lasts– at least 18 months if kept tightly capped– we always use it up before it seems to lose potency.

TACO SEASONING

2 TBSP chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 TBSP cumin
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp black pepper

*Mix thoroughly.

*Use 2-3 TBSP of seasoning per ‘batch’ (ie: pound of ground beef, etc.);  This blend is *spicy* so start small (even at 1 TBSP and add more salt/ pepper if you’re feeding small children or lightweights) and add more after tasting.

*It breaks down like this–
you have your ‘main thing’:  ground beef, chicken, cooked/ canned beans, portabellos, mixed veg;
you need a little liquid (I just pour, but I’d say between 1/4 and 1/2 cup of liquid):  water, broth, beer, tomato juice, all kinds of options here;
a couple of tablespoons of seasoning mix;
any savories you want to mix in:  fresh garlic, onions, minced jalapenos, red and orange sweet peppers, additional veggies or beans, again, options galore;
tortillas, tortilla chips (for nachos) or taco shells;
toppings of choice:  lettuce, tomato, green onion, cheese, sour cream, salsa, guac, black olive, mole, etc.

You cook your main thing until its almost done, add the seasoning blend and liquid, and simmer for a few minutes to cook the bulk of the liquid off.  Serve atop your carb of choice, slathered with all of the goodness you can imagine.  Everyone tops as they pleases, and we have a completely gluten-free (if made as below), msg-free, sugar-free, low sodium (and potentially low fat, depending on your preparation), essentially healthy dinner that we ALL love.  And this meal never sends me angry hate mail filled with Mexican regret, no I can eat tacos like a crazy person and feel fine later!  Good, even!

So.  The taco shown in the top photo is browned ground beef that has been drained, and in the last few minutes I added in orange pepper, and yellow onion.  The liquid I chose was cheap beer (honestly, I keep a 40 of Lite in the door of the fridge for sloshing a little bit in tacos and chili), with 2 1/2 TBSP seasoning, and I also added in 1/2 a can of refried beans.  (This sneaks in the bean nutrients *and* acts as a great binder– kids never even know they’re there!)  The taco shells are fresh corn tortillas:  I preheat the oven to 400 degrees and wrap 6 or so in a damp paper towel, then nuke them for 30 seconds or so.  Spray each one with a spritz of veg oil spray and drape over two rungs of the oven rack, bake for 8-10 minutes, keeping an eye on them.  Then I lined them up in a casserole dish, filled them, topped them with cheese, and popped them into the oven for a couple more minutes to melt the cheese.  These are topped with cheddar, then sour cream, avocado, cilantro, and cholula, and lordy-have-mercy, is that picture making me drool and crave them!

(There is a really excellent blog post at www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/11/how-to-make-hard-taco-shells-in-your-ovenplus-a-recipe-for-baked-tacos.html that does a great job– with photos– of showing the crunchy-taco-shell process.  Yes, I know she has a blog post on taco seasoning, and no, I haven’t read or tried it!)

Taco Seasoning In Bulk

Taco Seasoning In Bulk

We’ve been making this recipe for years and years.  My husband even loves it sprinkled over buttered popcorn!  A couple of Christmases ago we decided, “Hey, we love this taco mix, why don’t we make up a huge batch and give it all to friends as their holiday gift?”  Great idea, but now we have twenty plus friends and family absolutely hooked on homemade taco seasoning, and I cannot keep up.  I  literally have friends that are grumpy with me when they run out and are forced to buy the grocery packs.  I’m still making it and giving it out (in fact– If I have promised you some in the last two weeks, don’t make this recipe yet, I have like fifty shakers of it ready to go!), but I truly think that delicious, healthy tacos should be available *whenever* you want tacos, and not be contingent on your slowpoke friend getting the seasoning to you in a timely manner!  So I think posting my (secret) recipe is only fair.

Oh, and ya’ll don’t expect for us to switch to something like Italian dressing mix or whatever for our Christmas gifts just because you can make this yourself!  I don’t know that I can do a much-loved recipe TWICE!

Remember, its spicy, and let us know what you put in YOUR tacos!

*** Edit*** As of Spring 2015, a second and third recipe using this taco seasoning mix–
www.lovenestdesign.com/southwestern-spiced-summer-squash/

www.lovenestdesign.com/amburritos-cheap-and-easy-steak-burritos/

 

 


Jul 30, 2013 | Category: Just A Thought, Recipe, Tutorial | Comments: none | Tags: , ,

 


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