Archive for the ‘Beef’ Category

Greetings Foodies,

We all have them. It is the default meal (or meals) that you make when you look at the fridge and go, “Eeeeehhhh, I dont know.” For some it is spaghetti. For others it is scrambled eggs and toast. For me, it is soft tacos. Luckily, my family loves soft tacos. Now, coming from California, I naively thought that tacos/burritos were a pretty standard part of most recipe arsenals. Then I met a dear Canadian friend (who shall remain nameless) who didnt know what burritos were. Toto, we are NOT in Kansas any more.

 Anyway, about three and a half years ago I did a very helpful body cleanse to deal with some allergies and discovered that I react to MSG. Now most of us know that MSG isnt great for us, but it is really hard to avoid it completely. Almost every taco and fajita seasoning packet you buy at the store has MSG in several forms in it. So what do you do when you love tacos and cant handle MSG? You make your own taco seasoning. I make up about 3 packets worth (equivalent to 3 lbs of beef) at a time and keep it in a jam jar in the pantry.

The key to any spice/seasoning mix is as-fresh-as-possible spices. Spices go stale after about 6 months. So if you have a jar of something that has been sitting in your pantry for years , throw it out! If it has been in your pantry for years, you probably dont use it much anyway. Another option (which I do, no matter how old it is) is to get a mini morter and pestle and regrind a spice right before you use it. The crushing releases the natural oils and flavors making a more pronounced flavor.

photo by nkzs

So here are two recipes that are the compilation of reviewing several dozen similar recipes. These are the flavor combos that worked for me. Try it once and if you need to, then tweak it to fit your palate better. Each recipe works through about 3 lbs of meat. I only use about a pound’s worth at a time, but then we have a small family 😉

Taco/burrito seasoning:

2 Tb chili powder

4 tsp onion powder

2 tsp each cumin, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, sugar

1 tsp salt

Mix with just under 2/3 cup of water per pound of meat and pour over ground beef that has already been cooked and drained. Cook at medium heat, stirring constantly til liquid is absorbed.

Fajita seasoning:

3 Tb cornstarch

2 Tb chili powder

1 Tb each salt, paprika, sugar

2 1/2 tsp chicken boullion*

1 1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp each cumin, cayenne

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (opt)

*you can find MSG free chicken boullion, but it is hard. If you cant find it, then when making fajitas instead of mixing seasoning with water before use, mix with chicken broth/stock.

The great thing about tacos is the potential for leftovers…assuming there are some! You can freeze the meat for later use, you can throw the meat, and all your other taco ingredients, into spaghetti sauce the next night. Ok, so maybe not the lettuce or tortillas, but you get the idea. You can use the meat in stuffed peppers. Make chilli. See, lots of potential.

I hope that helps out your meal planning this week.  Happy eating!

The Gullible Gourmet


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