After posting about my taco night dinner plans on Facebook this week, I guess I had forgotten how much people love tacos. Of the 9 people who responded to my question, 4 of them were also having tacos that night. Is it safe to assume that an exponential number of people in the U.S. eat tacos on any given night for dinner? Are you eating tacos? OK so because I’m writing this post, I’m going to assume that you are eating tacos at some point so my bigger question should be, how are you making them?
There are of course, enough versions of tacos to come out of my ears but our most basic and favorite are the traditional American tacos grew up on…except now we use ground turkey breast instead of ground beef. (I won that battle.) Browned meat with taco seasoning (formerly from a packet), diced up fresh tomatoes, a mound of leafy green lettuce, shredded Monterrey jack and/or sharp cheddar cheese, a powerful hit of red onions, and a few dollops of cool heaven…errhmm…sour cream are what you’ll find in our house on taco night. As far as the vessel goes, we’re split – Kyle loves crunchy corn taco shells while I lean more towards high-fiber flour tortillas.
But what really makes tacos tacos is the seasoning and up until 2 or 3 years ago, we were using the packets from the spice aisle at the grocery store when I actually looked at the sodium content on the package and almost had a figurative stroke. We immediately switched over to a salt-free mix from Penzeys which was ok but it was missing something – ummm, salt – and I found that I was just adding too much to achieve the right taste. This taco seasoning recipe was conveniently attached to the creamy taco mac that we adore and it was only natural for us to use the seasoning on regular tacos since the taco mac is such a big hit around here. The recipe below yields enough for four batches of tacos (using 1lb ground meat per batch) but you can easily double or triple the amounts to save yourself some time in the future. You can find all of the ingredients in your local grocery store but I highly recommend checking out places like Penzeys or The Spice House to arm yourself with larger quantities at much lower prices than you’ll find in the grocery store.
source: adapted from Delish and Allrecipes
1/4 cup ancho chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 to 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp paprika
2 tbsp ground cumin
3 tsp sea salt
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container.
To use: Use 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons of taco seasoning in place of a packet of store-bought taco seasoning. Combine 2 tbsp cornstarch with 1 cup cold water and stir to dissolve cornstarch. In a large saute pan set over medium-high heat, brown 1lb ground beef, turkey or chicken, add seasoning and cornstarch-water mixture, and simmer over low heat until liquid has thickened.