I have bought pre-made taco seasoning for years. It is relatively inexpensive and easy. No thought or fuss involved. Until one night I forgot to buy some just as I was chopping up the veggies. So I opted to look one up online and make it myself. I was missing several dry ingredients and too salty but it turned out good enough that everyone was a happy camper. So on my next grocery store visit I made sure I got all the vitals and vouched never to buy the packaged stuff again. It is healthier and cheaper too. At a glance, this is all you need. It may look like a lot but most of these spices you likely already have on hand. I store all my dried herbs in my freezer to help keep their freshness.
“Easy Taco Night Seasoning” by loopylocks
Makes a single serving (enough for about 1-2 pounds of meat of your choice)
1 T Chili powder
1/2 T flour (or cornstarch)
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp crushed chili flakes (optional)
Mix all ingredients together and use as you normally would the store bought seasoning. I alternate between either ground beef or ground turkey (as pictured). To make your own taco night dinner: finely chop and saute a small white onion in one tablespoon of canola oil for 3 minutes over medium high heat. Add meat and brown thoroughly, about 4-5 minutes. Add taco seasoning and combine well throughout. Add 1/2 cup water, stir and reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving so sauce can thicken.
I like to use smoked paprika for added flavour but regular paprika is fine. I generally use this amount of seasoning on up to 2 pounds. You can always add up to an extra 1/4 cup of water if you find it too thick for 2 pounds. I use flour but you can opt for corn starch if you prefer. The water in the cooking of the meat helps to not only distribute the flavour and soften the meat as it simmers but it also helps the sauce to thicken.
I tell myself each time I mix this seasoning up that I am going to make a big batch and just store it in the freezer. But then I go about my business and just make up enough for that night’s dinner. Old habits die hard I guess. Plus it is kind of fun to measure the spices out like you are making magic!
One of the beauties of taco night is that each person can build their own based on likes or dislikes. Keeps complaints at bay, that’s for sure. If our eldest, currently experimenting with being a vegan, was home from university, she would eat this with black beans or brown lentils instead. Our youngest will only entertain meat, cheese and cucumbers. Either way, these two extremes are happy. And while we like the crunch of taco shells, they are a bit on the messy side so we prefer tortilla flaps and make soft tacos, with chips on the side. The visual on the dinner table is art worthy.
My all time favourite ingredient that is missing in this is avocados. Did not have any when we ate this glorious dinner. You know something, avocados are funny fruits. They are either not ripe enough, or become overripe in the course of one day. Most of mine end up in the freezer for smoothies. In their absence, nothing makes up for a missing ingredient like pepper sauce. Take your pick. I don’t like to play favourites here but if you are ever able to get your hands on some Delish Bajan Hot Pepper Sauce with Cucumber I highly recommend it. Nothing wrong with Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce either. Enjoy!