Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Taco or Chili Seasoning Mix

This is a handy spice blend to have in your cupboard for making all sorts of Mexican or Southwestern (US) inspired dishes. Of course, you COULD buy the ready made packets in the store, but they have a few disadvantages 1) they can contain allergens (many contain wheat, corn, whey or soy) 2) they're pricey 3) they might have more or less heat than you like 4) they have added fillers - which not only drive up the price, but also might change the texture of your dish in a way you don't like 5) some have added chemicals, "natural flavorings" or other unpleasant stuff. So, I like to make my own.
I reuse an old, big spice jar. It's perfect for my cupboard, and it has both a sprinkling and scooping side for convenience. I just dump everything in the jar, close, and shake. Like my other mix  recipes, I list the ingredients on the outside of the jar for super-easy refills.
Before you start, make sure you have enough of all the ingredients on hand (ask me how many times I've failed to take that advice!) If, for some horrible reason you get halfway through and discover, say, that you're out of oregano - take an extra piece of tape and put it across the lid with a notation: "Add 4 teaspoons of Oregano before using" - then keep going and put everything else in the jar. That way you won't forget or add too much of another ingredient because you stopped in the middle of the jar and forgot where you were when you resumed the job. (Not that I would ever make a silly mistake like that ; )
Here's the recipe.
Taco & Chili Seasoning
1/4 cup Chili Powder  (a spice blend)*
1/2 cup Onion Powder **
4 teaspoons Garlic Powder **
2 1/2 Tablespoons Salt
2 1/2 Tablespoons Paprika
4 teaspoons Cumin
4 teaspoons Oregano
***Cayenne Pepper to taste. I do not add any because I cook for a small child, but you could start with about a teaspoon and work your way up if you like heat in your tacos & chili.
My recipes will tell how much of this to use, but if you wish to use it in other recipes that call for 1 packet of Taco seasoning, use 2 Tablespoons of this mix.
* For International cooks: Chili Powder is a very widely available blend of spices here in the US. In other parts of the world Chili Powder means powdered Chilies. Not here! If you need to make your own, follow this link or simply do a search for "Chili Powder Recipes"
**These are Garlic and Onion Powder - which are salt-free, not to be confused with Garlic Salt and Onion Salt.  

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