Taco Seasoning Recipe and Other Spices

During my first trimester I could barely walk into the kitchen without wincing. There were just so many smells everywhere. Scents from packaged foods in the pantry seemed to find a way to ooze out and seep into my nose and opening the refrigerator meant I practically had to wear a gas mask, but the worst smells came from our spice rack.

We keep our spices on a little lazy Susan/turn table thingy that resides inside a cupboard, but opening that door would send out a whiff of something awful. The problem was that the scent lingered on well after my nose regulated itself and the first trimester was well over. I started cringing every time I needed to use a spice (which is pretty often, because bland food is no bueno). I vowed, early on in the pregnancy, to someday go through all the spices, especially since I was sure some of them were pretty darn old, which may be contributing to the stench somehow.

Finally, a couple months ago, I tackled our spice rack. I knew we had some old seasonings since I brought some into the marriage and my husband already had some, but I wasn’t prepared for some of the expiration dates.

If you have amazing eyes you’ll see the expiration dates. I almost didn’t post these pics since they’re A) horrible iPhone quality and B) plain embarrassing. But I figured I’d show proof of the craziness that lived in our cabinet.

Ummmmm….we had spices lingering from as far back as 2008 (and every year up until Twenty Twelve). I may be bad at math, but I’m pretty sure hanging on five-year-old seasonings is a big no-no! It felt SO good to throw them away. I made a list of the ones I tossed and ones that were empty enough to be replaced, and bought brand new bottles the next day at the store. Talk about a relief!

I also did something I’ve been meaning to do for a reallllllly long time: I made our own taco seasoning. I use seasoned meat for tacos (obviously), nachos, burritos, quesadillas, and beef enchiladas (and the list goes on and on and on), so I decided to experiment and tweak different spices to my liking. I’ve never been a fan of how ground beef tastes on its own, and the spice packets out there are just taste gross to me. I’m excited to finally have my mix contained in one jar instead of getting it all together at the last minute.

In case you’re interested, here’s the basic formula for the seasoning. Before you make a big batch, I’d suggest trying it out first in case you want to change something! 

Taco Seasoning:
(The amount listed is for one pound of ground beef/turkey)
(Double, triple, or quadruple the recipe for a big batch!)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

To make a bigger batch just multiply everything above, mix it all together, and store in a jar or empty spice bottle. The above equation works out to around two tablespoons, so I just measure that out whenever I make my seasoned meat. (I also always add minced onions and mushrooms to our meat. I like knowing there are more veggies mixed in and it adds flavor.)

I like to make a big batch of this seasoned meat and freeze it in individual portions. You can make so many different meals with it, and freezing it makes it perfect for a quick lunch or dinner!

Speaking of freezer meals, check back on Thursday for a post about all the meals I froze before I had the baby! 

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