My spice cabinet runneth over. Knowing that they will one day expire without having used them all up gives me a bit of anxious culinary guilt. But ever since I started making my own spice blends, I’ve been able to tone down my once-overflowing spice cabinet to something I think might be what a sane person’s pantry looks like.
For the more unique and eccentric meals, I’ve made curry powder blends and masala blends. For ribs and slow roasts, nice salty rubs. But for the every day, I like to keep a mixture of taco seasoning handy. The prepackaged taco seasoning sold in stores falls into the same genre as condensed soups and frozen peas- You certainly don’t want to eat them all the time, but they’re handy to keep around, and can even save a family dinner from near-miss to perfect ace. It’s always good to have a few recipes up your sleeves, and throwing together a taco salad is one of my most failsafe.
Real tacos, the kind that are served South of our borders, are often marinated, grilled chunks of meat- chicken breasts or skirt stakes, tongue or tripe. The meats and their delivery methods become a little more American palate-friendly once crossing nation lines, and we’ve adopted our own versions with Tex-Mex, Baja Californian varieties of the taco- ground meat flavored with spices, served in hard taco shells, topped with cheese, sour cream, et cetera.
With taco seasoning handy in the pantry, all you have to do was open, mix, and serve. This recipe for seasoning can also be used atop chicken breasts or skirt steak, even fish or shrimp, or even vegetables. The meat can be served in a classic soft corn tortilla, served atop chips, or in a doughy flour wrap. For a dinner for one, I like to heat up a single-sized serving of taco meat and pile it atop shredded lettuce, cheese, and salsa for a satisfying taco salad.
In fact I’ve been making so many taco salads lately that my spice cabinet is looking- for the first time- almost bare.
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- Mix spices together in a bowl. Store in an airtight container.
- To use, saute one onion until soft. Mix 2 Tbsp spice mix with every 1 lb. ground meat. Add meat into onions and stir until cooked.