Saturday, July 19, 2008

Taco Seasoning: Getting away from pre-made mixes.

Whew. It's been a long week. My son's All-Star team played 5 games and had 2 practices in the last 8 days. They played hard and did a great job, but ended up losing the district championship game today. The boys were very disappointed and had their moment of sadness and tears - my son cried in the car and his friend (who came over for a sleepover tonight) confessed to crying in the bathtub, but guess where those two are right now as I type? Yep. Outside playing baseball. It's hard to see them lose, but they've been playing since February and football starts in 2 weeks, so it's not necessarily such a bad thing either. And now maybe my stomach won't be in knots every other day! Anyway, they may still have energy, but I'm wiped out, so I'll be keeping this one simple.

Taco Seasoning

Taco seasoning. This is one thing I've been very lazy about - simply out of habit and pure laziness, I repeatedly reach for the pre-made taco seasoning at the store. I've been trying to get away from unwanted added ingredients, so I when I reached for it the other day, I forced myself to turn the package over and look at the ingredient list. Yep, there they were - stuff like MSG and partially hydrogenated soybean oil. Blech. So I put the seasoning back on the shelf. Surely it couldn't be THAT hard to make my own!

I did a little surfing and found this recipe over at AllRecipes. With over 900 reviews and a 5-star rating, I figured it was a pretty safe bet. And it was. Flavorful and with just the right amount of heat for us. This recipe ended up making about 3 tablespoons of seasoning which, for us, seasoned 1 pound of ground beef.

Next time I'll make up extra and keep it in the freezer. Very easy to throw together, but still that familiar taco flavoring we know and love. Our tacos were definitely a bit elevated that night.....we made our own seasoning and used grass-fed ground beef from a local farmer. Now if I had made my own taco shells............


  1. Taco mix is one of those things you don't normally think to make yourself, so I'm glad you did a post about it! I don't know why I was surprised to see a lot of added unhealthy stuff, but you've opened my eyes! Do you have some favorite marinades? There's lots of junk in the store bought ones, too.

  2. Sandy - Hi there. I do have 3 marinades posted here and they are 3 of my favorite. Also, the marinade for the chicken and steak fajitas is very good too and so was this one. Another suggestion - sometimes I look at the organic section for dressings and marinades. Organic products tend to use little or no extra junk and can be quite tasty. Hmmm...looks like I should do a post on this. :)

  3. Anonymous9:50 PM

    I don't think I've ever made tacos at home but I do like them. And, love that I can control what I put into them (the meat, fat, spices etc).

    Do you just brown the meat, and then add the seasoning mix and cook down a bit? Do you add water? Tomato sauce or something. I can't remember what those envelopes say and I've never made the real thing at home.

    Thanks. Love the blog. Sorry to hear sons loss, but great to read he's out playing with his friend.

  4. I just found your blog while looking for a particular Martha Stewart recipe that you had posted from the 2005 Holiday cookies magazine. I've always loved making the recipes in that magazine, but have unfortunately lost my copy. If you still have yours, would you post or send me the recipe for cakey chocolate chip cookies? It was my absolute favourite but I can't seem to find it! Thanks
    you could post it on my blog or email it if you don't mind

  5. We've been in a similar rut with fajita seasoning. I hate buying products with so many preservatives!
    At this point, I've found a brand that I really love -- and now I'm out to figure out how to make it myself.

    Will have to try that taco seasonsing at some point...

  6. Anonymous - I browned the beef and then added the seasoning with a bit of water to help distribute it evenly. That's it. No tomato sauce.

    Sabrina - I will try to send you an email later this week with that recipe.

    Lo - I like Penzeys for blends that don't have added crud, but I found that I wasn't crazy about their taco seasoning for some reason. Seemed like no matter how much I added, it just didn't seem flavorful enough.

  7. This is a really good photo, Alysha! I've been using the mix packets for my taco seasoning - I'm definitely trying this next time, instead.

  8. Elisabeth - Thanks. I'm surprised the photo came out because I was standing near my patio door holding the plate in one hand and snapping the photo with the other! I'm all for shortcuts in the kitchen, but I think I'll be skipping the packet seasoning from now on. :)

  9. I started making my own taco seasoning last year for the same reason. Actually, it wasn't on sale one day and I flipped over the packet. I also add a little bit of Goya Adobo Powder with Cumin and cut the salt and cumin slightly.

    I also add a tsp of flour to mine to thicken the taco meat when I add water.

  10. G - I've not tried the Adobo Powder...may have to give that a try. Thanks for stopping by. :)