I never hear complaints about what we're having for dinner when it's taco night. Simple, classic tacos are one of the few meals that all of my kids look forward to, so we have them often. Some of the kids like the soft tortilla shells to hold all the ingredients together, some prefer the hard shells. Some add hot sauce, some don't. Some pile on the sour cream, others load up on shredded cheddar. Regardless of how they dress them, they all insist that the ground beef, which is heart and soul of the taco, taste the way it's supposed to. That means using the same seasoning packet in the ground beef that I've always used. I once used a store brand seasoning packet when the name brand version happened to be sold out.
It was not a happy taco night.
After that, I made a point of buying a couple of packets whenever I grocery shopped, whether we needed them or not, and built a stash in my spice cupboard so as never to be caught without again. Happy taco nights were guaranteed, until two weeks ago. Lettuce was washed, cheese was shredded, and ground beef was frying. And there wasn't a single taco seasoning packet to be found. I felt the same kind of disbelief that I feel when we run out of toilet paper. When you buy the 30 count package at Costco, you expect it to last forever. You never think about toilet paper again, until you run out. It was the same with the taco seasoning. I didn't think I'd ever run out. I tossed my spice cupboard in a panic but there wasn't a single packet left. Then I contemplated running out to the store, but kids were hungry and the meat was close to over-cooking.
After a quick search on Pinterest, I came up with a few different DIY recipes for taco seasoning. I read through them, scribbled some notes, and came up with a combination of spices that would stand in for the taco seasoning packet. It was good, really good. It wasn't exactly the same, less salt and more heat, which was fine by me. And the kids said it was good. That was all I needed.
I am never buying taco seasoning packets again.
Homemade Taco Seasoning
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp dried minced onion
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 - 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Combine all ingredients. These quantities equal one taco seasoning packet. Brown 500 g of ground beef and drain off all but a couple tablespoons of fat. Sprinkle seasoning evenly over meat. Add 1/4 cup of water, stir and simmer for 10 minutes.
I used freshly ground Tellicherry Pepper and freshly ground Pink Himalayan Salt.
1/4 tsp onion powder can be substituted for the 1 tsp of dried minced onion.
Use the lesser amount of the crushed red pepper flakes if you can't handle a lot of heat, more if you like your food spicy!
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