Single serving spice packets are the demon spawn of the spice world. True story.
They are a buck or two a piece and seem like a good deal, but you use them and then you have to buy more! Plus, they are mostly salt with some cheap flavorings stirred in.
They simply will not do if you some serious flavor to your tacos and Tex-Mex foods.
I dislike them so much that I added them to my list of 10 things that I almost always make at home.
As you might know, my loving wife Betsy is a huge Tex-Mex fan and we eat a lot of tacos, burritos and such. Over the years I’ve tweaked my seasoning mixture for tacos and I think I’ve finally nailed it down.
This recipe is about as good as it gets in my opinion. You can put it on chicken, beef, or veggies. Whatever you do, make it and put it on something!
1) Toast the cumin, red pepper flakes, and peppercorns in a dry skillet over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until they are very fragrant.
2) Grind the toasted spices.
3) Stir together all the spices in a bowl. Store in an airtight bag or container for many months.
Start with 1 1/2 tablespoons of seasoning per pound of chicken, beef, or veggie for tacos. Add the seasoning as the stuff cooks. Adjust according to your liking.
The Spice Gang
This might seem like a lot of spices, but there’s nothing exotic about any of them. You can find all of these at any grocery store.
Once you have all the spices, you can make a huge batch of this stuff and it will keep for a very long time.
While could cheat a bit and use all ground spices, I really recommend getting some whole cumin seeds and black peppercorns.
Then you can toast them for a few minutes in a dry pan over medium heat which will really bring out their flavors.
A strong cumin flavor is really important to a taco seasoning. If you use the ground stuff, you might think about adding an extra 1/2 tablespoon to the mix.
Once your spices are toasted, just grind them up.
Then stir everything together and you’re all set. Start to finish, this won’t take more than ten minutes to make and it’ll change your Tex-Mex world.
Using and Storing
Once you have your spice mix made, just store it in a bag or airtight container. It’ll keep forever really, but will lose it’s potency after a few months. I’ve never had a problem with mine lasting that long.
When I’m using the seasoning, I start with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of it per pound of beef, chicken, or veggies. I always add the seasonings as the stuff cooks so the flavors really meld. You can always add more also, that’s just a starting point. Beef will probably need a bit more than that since it can hold up to more flavor.
That’s all there is to it!
A Taco Shell Dilemma
Of course, I wanted to make some actual tacos after I mixed up a batch of seasoning, but I completely spaced getting taco shells at the store, so I just tried to make some.
I tried a few different methods, none of which worked.
But then I landed on a perfect one.
It might look kind of ghetto, but this was the contraption I came up with to make homemade taco shells.
Yes. Those are just cones of aluminum foil set on some wire racks.
Then heat your corn tortillas in the microwave or oven until they are soft and then just drape them over the foil cones!
I like to heat my tortillas in the oven, but just be careful. If you overheat them they will turn into chips and you won’t be able to shape them. Just a minute or two will do the trick.
Once the tortillas are draped over the foil things, just bake the whole situation for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.
The shells will harden and crisp up as they bake. When they come out, let them cool for a minute or two so you can handle them and then just pop them off the foil things.
They turned out fantastic and were a lot more sturdy than the store-bought taco shells which have a tendency to crack and break.
I stuffed my taco shells with some cheese, seasoned beef, guacamole, chopped spinach, and salsa.
Man were they good.
The taco shell thing is just a bonus. This post is really about the seasoning. Give it a shot and get creative with it. I’ve used it as a rub for steaks and put it on all kinds of stuff that I use for Tex-Mex goods.
It’s very all-purpose and deserves a spot in your pantry!
How awesome are those taco shells?!