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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Homemade Taco Seasoning

The love of good food runs deep in our family.  All of our kids including those marrying into the family a very accomplished home cooks with the same philosophy of cooking from scratch.  They are now teaching their love of food to the grandchildren who love to help in the kitchen.  Two of them have taken culinary courses in knife handling and one would dearly love to give up her current career in favour of becoming a chef.  She even took a part time position in a higher end restaurant that also does catering during the summer just for the experience. 

homemade taco seasoning
Cooking from scratch is not always about saving money.  That's just a pleasant bonus.  Cooking from scratch is about controlling the quality of the ingredients to get the best flavour possible while avoiding the unnecessary food additives.  The spice aisles are filled with a multitude of seasoning blends including taco seasoning.  The problem with many commercially prepared seasoning blends is they contain MSG, anti-caking agents, as well as other additives some artificial.  The best policy is to make your own seasoning blends tailored to your tastes.

Tone's taco seasoning doen't contain MSG but it does have flour, sugars, disodium inosinate (flavour enhancer), salts, and silicon dioxide (anti-caking agent).  A 23 oz containers costs about $4 at Sam's Club, considerably less expensive than the envelope packets at the grocery store.  Our daughter shared her recipe for taco seasoning that avoids the use of any additives.  I doubled the recipe.  Compared to Tone's the homemade taco seasoning is richly coloured with an amazing flavour.  I definitely will not be buying taco seasoning again!  Of note, you can easily make your own garlic, onion and cayenne powders by dehydrating then powdering much the same way I make tomato powder

Homemade Taco Seasoning
source:  Garden Gnome's Daughter

6 tsp chili powder
5 tsp paprika
4½ tsp cumin
2½ tsp garlic powder
3 tsp onion powder
¼ tsp cayenne powder

Place ingredients in a blender,  Mix then pour into a jar and seal.

taco salad made using homemade taco seasoning
I love tacos and taco salad!  Flavour is always the key so I tinker with the ingredients to get just the right blend.  This taco salad was made with extra lean ground beef seasoned with the homemade taco seasoning.  It was topped with homemade salsa (hot), organic hydroponically grown and still living Boston lettuce, black olives, organic locally grown tomatoes, onions, sour cream and a blend of shredded cheeses.  The salad was delicious with the meat seasoned to perfection!

Of note is the Boston lettuce, an herbicide/pesticide free product of Canada.  It comes in a plastic clam shell container with the roots still attached.  I watered it when I was unpacking the groceries.  It cost $1.97 for the head of lettuce which is comparable to other heads of lettuce at the moment.  The difference is it will stay fresh and green, continuing to flourish as long as it is watered.  Some fresh herbs come with the roots attached as well.  You can pot them up and with a little TLC you can enjoy fresh clippings year round from that one purchase.  Now this is the way to buy produce!   

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