Friday, October 17, 2014

Homemade Taco Seasoning

We are huge fans of Mexican and Tex-Mex in our house — even the little one! It brings a tear to my eye when I boldly decide not to "dumb down" the spice and she still gobbles it up. Win!

I used to buy packets of taco seasoning. But then I looked at the ingredients. Here's the list for Old El Paso brand: Chili Pepper, Salt, Maltodextrin, Spice, Onion Powder, Corn Starch, Yellow Corn Flour, Contains 2% or Less of: Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Silicon Dioxide (Anticaking Agent), Sunflower and/or Cottonseed Oil, Natural Flavor, Ethoxyquin (Preservative).

It's hard to fantasize that I'm on the shores of Puerto Vallarta when I know I'm consuming things like maltodextrin, "spice" (come on, is that really specific enough for a label??), starches, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, silicon dioxide, and — my favorite — "natural flavor". Ahem.

So I upgraded to Penzey's Bold Taco Seasoning, which is super delicious and very convenient. But some time over the past year, I got a little bothered by the high salt content was listed as the first ingredient and that didn't seem right! So I decided that I would try homemade and see if the husband complained.


Another win.

I buy individual spices in bulk from Penzey's still, and it's super easy to mix together a container of this taco seasoning and leave it in the pantry for whenever the Mexi-mood strikes.

Try it. It's yummy. And it's free of things like malto-you-shouldn't-eat-this-dextrin.

Homemade Taco Seasoning
Makes about 3 tablespoons

1 tbsp. chili powder
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (or more if you like)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. kosher salt (or sea salt)
1 tsp. ground black pepper

Mix together all ingredients. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

If you are making taco meat, brown your beef and drain off fat. Add about 2 tbsp. of seasoning per 1 lb. of beef (or to taste) and about 1/3 cup water. Over medium heat, simmer until mixture thickens.

Click here for a printable recipe!
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