Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hoe to Make Taco Seasoning - Cheap, Easy Recipe

My family is obsessed with Tex-Mex food. It is the cheese with the spiciness... we just can't get enough. I personally have a salsa obsession, which I will write about at a later time. Salsa on my eggs, salsa on my hamburger, salsa on my tongue; it is so yummy.

Taco seasoning is another obsession, but not so much on my tongue, more on my meat. I've been looking for a good taco seasoning to replace those little packets, not just because of the cost, but because of the mystery ingredients. Whenever it says "spices" on the ingredients list, it means "something we don't want you to know." So the best price I had found on the packets was $0.35 at Save-a-Lot, so this is definitely a savings.

I liked this recipe because it was for one pound of ground beef, not a bulk mix that I would be stuck with if I didn't like. I can also cut it down and make a smaller serving of taco beef for a snack. It is perfect. It tastes just like the packets, which I love.

1 tablespoon chopped onion - $0.03
2 teaspoons of chili powder -$0.08
1 teaspoon of garlic -$0.04
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or hot paprika -$0.03

I used cayenne because I like it spicy and my paprika is not that hot. I use fresh onion and garlic, because because that's what I have on hand, and I usually throw more onions into any taco dish anyway. The recipe calls for cumin, but when I ran out, I omitted it and still thought it tasted amazing. If you want to try it with cumin, add one teaspoon; it will only raise the cost by a few more pennies. You can mix the ingredients separately, or just dump them on your browning beef on at a time, like I did. It makes for a fabulous taco.

**ADSENSE UPDATE: Yesterday I got paid by Adsense for what I had earned through October. I'm not sure that they'll pay me what I had earned since then since it didn't reach $100. I'm real thankful that I got some of what I earned, but I won't pursue business with AdSense in the future. I have another advertiser lined up that should appear on the blog by the end of the week.


mommyboots said...

My family loves Tex-Mex food also. A funny story...I have been making my own mix forever and now just toss in the ingredients as I go instead of measuing. One evening we were in a bit more of a hurry then usual, doing several things at once, I grabbed what I thought was the chilli spice... after I had shook it in I realized that I had grabbed the cinnamon instead... (I have my spices in clear containers and those spices are kinda the same colour)...made for an unusual taco night but I would not recommend it. :D
my basic recipe...(minus the cinnamon!)
1/2 c water
1/2 c chopped onion
2 Tbsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp salt

my husbands job is done in about 2 weeks. your blog has given me many things to ponder as I have been making ready the household for this time. Thank you, Emily!

Anonymous said...

Here is an authentic Mexican salsa recipe. My grandmother has made this since the beginning of time. It is less expensive than the salsa you buy in a jar and tastes waaaaay better. It lasts for about two weeks in the fridge. Enjoy!

4 or 5 tomatoes (medium to large)
3 jalapenos (more if you like it spicy)
2 cloves of garlic
1 large onion
cilantro (optional)
salt to taste (NO PEPPER)

Cut the tops off the tomatoes, where the stems grow. Place the tomatoes in boiling water until the skins start to crack and peel. This will take about 5 minutes. Place the tomatoes in ice water and peel the remaining skins. The tomatoes should NOT be stewed. They should still be a bit hard as they were pre-boiling.

Peel the onion and chop it into 4 or 5 large chunks. I usually cut it in half and then cut the halves in half.

Cut the tops of the jalepenos. If you would like a mild salsa, chop the jalepenos in half and de seed them using a spoon.

Place one tomato (chopped), a portion of onion, one jalepeno (or one half), and a clove of garlic into a blender or food processor. Drain any excess liquid and place in a bowl. Repeat this process until all of the ingredients are used up. Add salt (NO PEPPER) to taste and as an option, chop cilantro and sprinkle over the top. Also, squeeze a bit of fresh lime juice into the salsa to give it an extra layer of flavor. Enjoy!

*You can used canned stewed whole tomatoes and jarred pickled jalepenos, but using fresh ingredients tastes much better.

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Thanks for this post! I will use this recipe. I love the taco flavored meat but don't always have the 'packets' now I don't have too!


Anonymous said...

Sam's Club sells big (23 oz.) bottles of Tone's taco seasoning for $3.88. It's tasty and so much cheaper than buying the little packets...not sure how it compares to homemade, though. Your recipe sounds good :)

Anonymous said...

Not sure about the new background.
I don't think I will come back

Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

Packaged spices are such a rip-off! Good for you for doing your own and figuring out the proportions. It is hard to do sometimes, but always worth it (years and years ago, I figured out Tastefully Simple's Garlic Garlic and saved us loads of $$ over the years)

Also, the mysterious "spices" you mentioned are usually cumin and coriander -- when it comes to Mexican, "cumin es muy importante." I have a Pampered Chef Southwest seasoning that we love and am going to have to figure it out because I refuse to pay $5/bottle.

Anonymous said...

This made me laugh as I am biracial (Mexican/Native American) and currently live in AZ:) My ex is Thai so this was definitely a house of spice!

Had to cut it off when I discovered it can promote leaky gut and provoke the adrenals. I was trying to heal them! I'm happy with the results, but hope to add the spiciness back in a few years.

I have all of that on hand minus the chile. I think I'll try a modified recipe and see how that tastes! -Cris

Anonymous said...

Emily, I love the new look, so much prettier than before!

Jen said...

Actually, "spices" listed in an ingredient list usually means MSG. It's one of the many, many ways manufactures try to hide it from people who prefer to avoid it.

Emily, you should check to see if there is an ingredient list on your chili powder. I recently checked mine and was seriously shocked to find about 15 things listed, NONE of which were chili peppers, and everything which is nasty and horrible.

Anonymous said...

I think the new background looks great. And I second Jen's comment on the chili powder.


Emily said...

My chili powder has chili peppers and galic, but it has other stuff too, spices and silicone dioxide. I think when I get through with my current supply, I'll just chop up some chilis in it's place.

Jen said...

I'm happy your chili powder has at least some real food ingredients. :) Mine was a flat out mix of chemicals and dyes. Thankfully my bottle was small, since I couldn't stomach using it again. I have real chilis on hand now.

I also love the new background.

amulbunny's random thoughts said...

I always buy the bulk taco seasoning at Costco, it's cheaper than buying all the separate stuff and mixing it. Saves time. I use chili powder and dried garlic when I make my chili- I use stew beef and lots of crushed tomatoes and onions for mine.

Since we live in an area with a lot of Hispanic markets, I can go over there and get dried Ancho chiles as well as ortegas. I always put ortegas in my refried beans. Gives them some zip.

Tara Clarkson said...

That's too funny, when I read your recipe I was going to say "put cumin in!" but then saw that you have run out of it. This recipe is pretty similar to what I use in my ground beef. My husband was feeling wistful for Tex Mex, so I just put the spice recipe for my chili into our ground beef for nachos. So good! Thanks to Anonymous for the salsa recipe!

And thanks also to the other Anonymous for the silly comment about not reading the blog anymore due to the new background. Some people are quite a font of nonsensical negativity, and it serves to exercise our patience-of-Christ muscles.

Clisby said...

Since you like Tex-Mex food, when you get to a place where you can have a garden, you have to grow peppers. We put in 6 jalapeno plants in mid-March, and they are *still* flowering and (now more slowly) producing peppers. You probably couldn't grow them for as long in Maine, but we just stuck them in the ground and were overwhelmed with peppers. I still have a half-dozen big jars of jalapeno refrigerator pickles that are light-years better than the mushy ones you can buy in the store. Plus, they're a lot hotter, so you don't need as many - maybe whatever cooking/processing the store ones go through makes them milder? And since you seem to like spicy food - you can put carrot sticks in with the jalapeno pickles to get hot pickled carrots as a bonus. Back in the summer, I took pickled jalapenos to pot lucks, put jalapenos in soup and mac&cheese, ate them in sandwiches, added them to tacos and chili, and pickled what was left. Fortunately, we all like hot stuff.

Stacy said...

Thanks. I buy the packets reluctantly because I do sometimes like the flavoring. I usually just use a tiny bit, and make one packet last for about two or three meals.

If you're into replacing those packets, I'd love to figure out a replacement for the brown gravy packet. I use one when I cook a pot roast in the crock pot, but I always wish I could figure out something else. I'll check it out online.

Emily said...

Anon on the salsa, I've been making my own fermented salsa, but the directions didn't say to blend it. I blended the whole thing tonight, already fermented, and had it on our tacos and so yummy! Thanks for the tip!

Stacy, I make gravy by using the juice that comes out of the meat, (turkey, chicken, or beef) and mixing it with flour or cornstarch until it thickens. It tastes better than the packets.

Anonymous said...

I like the new background a lot more than the old one, for what it's worth :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this recipe! I have been wanting to find an alternative to the packets. They are so expensive for the little that you get. I will be trying this.

Do you have one for chili?

Love the look of your blog.


slugmama said...

If you buy the little bottles of seasonings in the store you are overpaying for spices. If it's a spice you will find yourself using a large amount of(like whatever you use in your Tex-Mex cuisine)you are better off saving up and making a bulk spice purchase. I would only do this on spices you will use a lot of, b/c fresh spices are far more potent than a bottle that's been in your pantry for 2 yrs. Do a cost comparison at any online bulk spice company and you'll see the price difference from the 1/2 oz. bottles in the stores is significant. The mark up is quite high!

Personally, I make my own spice mixes, using bulk spices. I have experimented with combinations/quantities over the years as a homemaker until I found what combos my family prefers. I have a "basic house seasoning"(sort of a substitute for table salt with some lemon/garlic/bouillion-like a Mrs. Dash's), an italian blend, a mexican blend, a southern bbq blend and an asian blend. Buying bulk spices and blending your own makes for less cost and alot less trash to throw out.

Anonymous said...

I think the new look is better than the old. I'd still really like to see color photos. The photos look grey and hard to really see. It makes the food look very unappealing. The content is interesting though.

Roxanna said...

I do have to agree with the Sam's Club seasonings it is pretty good and I am extremely picky when it comes to stuff like that :) I also LOVE Green Chili I think I could put it on everything it is really popular here in Denver.

Anita said...

Although chili powder usually contains cumin, I usually add a little extra. It gives the taco meat a good flavor.

Anita said...

Question...Do you ever visit Kimi Harris's blog, she comes up with some pretty good recipes and uses the Nourishing Traditions method. Also you should check out Sue Gregg who also is very good about healthy cooking. Plus, her cookbooks are on a PDF file on her site

Also I told my hubby about the laundry nuts. He was interested so we bought some to try out.

Emily said...

Anita, I LOVE Kimi Harris' site. She just did a $1 Menu to see how to feed a family for $1 per person per meal. That's where I got my pasta recipe. I haven't gotten into Sue Gregg as much, but I'll check her out again.

Unknown said...

I, too, make my own taco seasoning. I do not remember the recipe right off hand since it is one you make a lot of and keep in in a container. I got the recipe from the book Miserly Moms, which I LOVE! You might not need to take a look at it because you are very wise and frugal already, but I am not, and I wanted to know how to be. Anyway, if you get a chance, you could check out the website

Also, Anon, asked about chili seasoning...I use the same seasoning for chili and tacos. If you look on the little packets, there are only one or maybe two different spices. We like the chili with taco seasoning because it gives it a kick!

Anita said...

A word of encouragement for you...
You have struck a cord deary! I was taking notice of how many are following your blog and how many comments you are getting. Your blog is only a month older then mine and I don't have near the traffic or comments you do.

The idea of trying to make it on $1000 bucks or less a month without government assistance is very interesting topic to many. You keep doing what you are doing and I'll keep reading. I pray that many see your blog as a tool of encouragement that we can live on less then we think.

Patty said...

Thanks for the post...we were thinking tacos and chili this week to go with the weather. I second the comment that "spices" is a cover for MSG. I've also noticed that "natural flavors" can be a cover. Love the scratch ideas. Keep it up. Its even hard to find meat that doesn't have 'added natural flavors'. We've taken to grinding our own beef.

Sam said...

I know you don't have a Sam's Card, but if you ever get a pass again you might consider picking up some chili powder there. They have a 20 oz bottle for $4.28 and it doesn't contain MSG. It does say it's made from a blend of chilis and spices, but it specifically says it contains no MSG. I bought a bottle of chili powder at Target not too long ago that is made from 100% ancho chilis. I can't remember how much it was, but it was their Archer Farms brand if you ever feel like checking it out.

sunnymommy said...

Do you use fresh garlic as in you chop up the clove yourself? Or do you use the kind that comes already minced in a jar from the store (but is still "fresh" in that it is not dried and powdered)? I tried your recipe yesterday with the already minced kind but thought it needed more. We are garlic-heads here! Just wondered if maybe it is stronger if you mince it yourself which I could try next time...

Emily said...

sunnymommy, we do use fresh garlic, but where you love garlic, you might like it more if you just add more.

Jena Webber said...

I never buy those crazy spice packets. What a waste. When my kids were younger, they never liked taco seasoning, so we just omitted it. You CAN eat tacos with just the meat and garlic salt. But the Make a Mix book has a lot of ideas for making your own mixes.

Tree Huggin Momma said...

I have been looking for a recipe for Taco Seasoning, for the same reasoning ("spices") worries me. I can't believe its that simple. I will keep the cumin because I love the smokeyness (is that a word) that cumin imparts. So glad I found your blog.

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