It is said necessity is the mother of invention. Never is this more true than in my kitchen. The feeling when dinner is all planned out and I suddenly make the discovery that an important ingredient is missing is devastating. Now what? Do I go to the store? Do I scrap the whole plan and start over? The answer for me is to improvise with what is in front of me. If I am lucky, my improvisation leads to a delicious discovery that then becomes the new normal. An empty taco seasoning container on Taco Tuesday led to the spice blend I am about to share.
One Taco Tuesday…
My kiddos have declared every Tuesday, Taco Tuesday. I love Mexican flavors and love any meal that everyone eats without a fuss, so Taco Tuesday is our new ritual. One fine Tuesday, while my ground chicken was cooking, I walked to the cupboard and found an empty Taco Seasoning container. Ugh! The absolute horror! I just told children we are eating in ten minutes. I quickly looked through my cupboard and found the following: chili powder, ground cumin, granulated garlic, onion powder, smoke paprika, and ranch powder. These spices seemed like the perfect combination for taco meat. So I started dumping spices into the pan in hopes of saving our beloved taco dinner.
As we sat down to dinner, I waited for the question. These people have super powered taste buds. They can taste a change in a recipe or a hidden vegetable from a mile away. After her first bite, Mariana looks over to me and asks, “Did you do something different to the meat?” I waited for the list of reasons dinner was ruined and instead heard, “This is really good. You should do it all the time.” My heart burst with pure joy. My improvisation was a success.
An Unexpected Advantage…
One of the advantages of moving to a homemade spice blend is control over the salt content. My taco seasoning actually has no salt in it at all. Quite a difference if you compare the average sodium content in a store bought seasoning packet. My family does not miss the salt at all. When random improvisation meets a healthier alternative, everyone wins. I now mix up this spice blend and keep it in a jar waiting for the next Taco Tuesday. Next time Taco Tuesday comes along, try my homemade spice blend and say good bye to tons of salt and hello to full flavor. Happy Cooking!
Here are a few more recipes you may enjoy:
- 2½ tbsp Chili Powder
- 1 tbsp Ground Cumin
- 1 tbsp Granulated Garlic
- ½ tbsp Onion Powder
- ½ tbsp Smoked Paprika substitute regular Paprika
- 1½ tbsp Ranch Dressing Powder
- Mix all spices together in a small bowl.
- Add 1½ tablespoons taco seasoning per 1 pound of ground meat.
- Save taco seasoning in air tight container for future use.