I’m taking a mini-break from the Herb of the Month to share with you a seasoning mix recipe and a giveaway with TWO prizes!
We eat a lot (and I do mean a lot) of taco seasoning around here. Up until recently I’ve been buying the large container of pre-packaged seasoning. But then I read the label and……YUCK!!! Do you have any idea what is in that stuff? Take a look for yourself:
Do we really need partially hydrogenated soybean oil, silicon dioxide or maltodextrin in our spice mixes? They last pretty well on their own if you know how to store them properly, without adding in preservatives! In fact, I don’t even want corn starch, yellow corn flour or oils in my mix. I’ll add any oil to the cooking that I decide it needs, thank you very much! And I certainly don’t trust that these corn products aren’t GMO!
I decided to do some research to see what is normally in taco seasoning, since the label here was pretty vague as to the “spices”. Here is what I came up with after looking at several recipes.
1/2 c. chili powder
2 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 1/4 tsp. onion powder
2 1/4 tsp. crushed red chili pepper flakes
2 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbs. plus 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 c. ground cumin
3 Tbs. sea salt
3 Tbs. black pepper, ground
Mix all ingredients together and store in an air-tight container. Use 2 tablespoons per pound of ground beef or chicken (or whatever you’re using it in). Adjust to your taste preferences, of course. This recipe makes just over 3 1/2 cups of seasoning mix, since we use this a lot.
Next I had to decide on where I wanted my spices to come from so I contacted my favorite organic source: Mountain Rose Herbs! I got in touch with Kori and she very sweetly agreed to send me all the spices needed for this recipe so I can share them with you! THANKS, KORI!!!!
The first thing I noticed was how wonderful all the organic spices smell compared to the ones I would normally buy at the grocery store. And the colors and freshness …… there really is no comparison! Just wow!
I received all nine spices that I needed in full-size bags: 4 ounces of each spice and 8 ounces of Seasoning Salt (which was incorrectly sent, so Kori then sent me sea salt in addition). The sea salt I received was 1 pound of fine grade and 1 pound of coarse grade. I was not paid for this spice review and was sent the ingredients free of charge for review purposes.
In fact, I received quite a wonderful little package from Mountain Rose Herbs: a hand-written note with each shipment from Kori, a total of 4 of their adorable stickers, some product brochures, a autumn/winter catalog, and a product guide.
Not to mention their customer service is amazing! I really have loved ordering from Mountain Rose Herbs for a couple of years now actually! With every order I’ve received superior products and everything is organic.
I like to use canning jars for storing my spices, even the ones I buy in the shaker jars get transferred over. Have you noticed how it’s almost impossible to get the larger measuring spoons into those tiny jars the spices come in?
Normally I just label my canning jars with freezer tape. But for this project I got in touch with Pantry Paratus! If any of you don’t know Chaya, she’s super sweet and you should contact her just to say “hi” if nothing else! But you owe it to yourself to check out all the wonderful products offered at Pantry Paratus! Chaya graciously agreed to sent me a set of Shrink Sleeve Home Canning Labels to show off to you. Now my new spices are sitting pretty on my shelf!
Other than the fact that these are just super cool, if you’re a canner they are really handy because of what’s on the back of them. Check this out:
You can mark them with the month/year when you canned them, then note the date you opened it for use. How cool is that? I’ve been shrink wrap labeling jars like crazy since I got these!
The Spice Mix Comparison
I wanted to actually compare my new homemade mix to that of what is sold in stores. So, I did a side-by-side comparison…
Can you see the difference here? The store-bought brand really doesn’t look like it has much variety of spices in it, in my opinion. And what are they including when they say “Spices” on their ingredient list. I mean, I get that they might have some trade secrets out there, but sheesh ~ it’s just taco seasoning. Inquiring minds want to know!
Oh…sorry to yell! teehee
Of course, we just had to take a nibble of the seasoned ground beef right out of the skillet. (Am I the only one who can’t resist eating ground beef out of the skillet as it’s being cooked? Seasoned or not I have to taste test every time!) We were blown away at the depth of flavor. From the moment you put it in your mouth until way after you swallow the bite, you can taste almost every spice individually. The after taste is a bit peppery (as in black pepper), but not really overwhelming in my opinion. Although my honey says we need to add less black pepper in the next batch. I’ll cut the amount in half next time to compare and see how we like it.
Honestly, we will NEVER by pre-packaged taco seasoning again. Or any spice mix, for that matter! Hrmm….what to mix up next….?
The first night we made tacos.
For our tacos we don’t buy the hard taco shells, we buy packages of corn tortillas and fry them ourselves. I simply add a small amount of real butter to a griddle pan and lightly fry the tortillas. We like a combination of corn and flour tortillas for ours, as you can see above. The flour ones we toast slightly in a dry skillet, so they are still flexible.
Very soon I’m going to get adventurous and make my own tortillas (flour and corn) from scratch.
Cook ground beef in skillet until browned, add seasoning and about 1/4 cup or less of hot water. Simmer for a bit to allow it to synergize and thicken up just a tad. Layer on top of the tortillas with your choice of toppings. We like lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, lemon juice and sour cream.
Next we had chicken quesadillas with spicy rice on the side!
It was my honey’s turn to cook dinner. He cut up some boneless, skinless chicken breasts into bite sized pieces, then sautéed them up and added the taco seasoning just as we had in the ground beef (about 2 tablespoons per pound, adjust to your liking). When cooking the rice he added some of the seasoning in when he added the rice to the boiling water. He failed to remember how much he added, but I’d say just play around with it until it’s just how you like it. No hard and fast rules in measuring for most recipes in our house. LOL!
When the chicken is done cooking, he added a layer of it on a tortilla then covered it in shredded cheese. Top with another tortilla and toast on a skillet, flipping it until both sides of the tortilla is toasted and the cheese is melted inside. I like to top mine with sour cream! Honey drizzles lemon juice on his plate to let his soak in.
Both meals were DE-LISH!!! The best damn tacos and quesadillas I’ve ever had ~ no joke!
Now that I’ve shared with you how to make your very own Taco Seasoning Mix that is so much healthier for you (I didn’t even go into all the health benefits of the individual herbs/spices themselves, that’s for another post), I want to give YOU something!
One lucky reader of my blog will get ALL nine (9) of the spices needed to make this Taco Seasoning Mix PLUS…….a set of 36 labels from Pantry Paratus!!
The catch? There is none, it’s just because we like you! All you have to do to enter is go to the link below, which will take you to a Rafflecopter widget embedded in a tab on my Facebook page.
Mobile friendly link: http://bit.ly/10RJgfI
Fill out as many of the 14 entries as you’d like. Only three are mandatory ~ like us all on Facebook: TheHippyGardener, Mountain Rose Herbs and Pantry Paratus! The more entries you sign up for the more chances you have to win!
I will use Rafflecopter, powered by random.org to choose the winner, who will be announced on this blog post, on my Facebook page and will receive an email from me. The giveaway is open to continental U.S. and Canada residents only. This giveaway begins on Monday, September 23, 2013 and ends at 12:00 am on Tuesday, October 1, 2013. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, October 1st and will have 48 hours to respond.
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I was not paid to write this review and my opinions are my own. When reviewing a product I will let you know if I purchased the item or was provided a sample from the company for review purposes. My opinion of the products I review is for information purposes only. Giveaways done via my blog are sponsored by the product company and not by TheHippyGardener unless stated otherwise. All personal information (name, shipping address, email, phone number) that may be given to me for the purpose of shipping a giveaway item will only be distributed to the company or representative shipping the item. TheHippyGardener will not retain any of your personal information.