Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Make Your Own: Taco Seasoning & Pico de Gallo


Taco Seasoning
Tacos are one of our favorite meals. You can make them with chicken, fish, shrimp, turkey, steak/beef...and the list goes on. Not to mention all of the topping possibilities (see the recipe for pico de gallo below)! But do you ever wonder what's in that little packet of taco seasoning that you buy at the store? Why not make your own? Yes, it's THAT easy.

This is Alton Brown's Taco Potion #19. And let's be honest...this man always gets it right. This blend of spices is perfect for 2 pounds of meat. If you're only using 1 pound, please use only HALF of the spice mixture (it will be way too salty/spicy!) I did make 2 small changes. I decreased the amount of salt because I like to add low-sodium beef broth to the meat/spice mixture instead of water (gives it more flavor). I also decreased the amount of cayenne pepper...if you like things EXTRA spicy, feel free to use more! I CAN promise you this...You will never go back to using store-bought taco seasoning!!


Ingredients
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (Alton's recipe calls for 2 teaspoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (Alton's recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon)
  
Directions
Put all of the ingredients in a small jar and shake to combine. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

When ready to use: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. If desired, add 1 chopped onion and 2 cloves minced garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and the onions begin to turn translucent. Add 2 pounds of ground beef and cook until all the pink is gone. Add the seasoning mix and 2/3 cup low-sodium beef broth and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and serve in taco shells with desired toppings.

Pico de Gallo
Toppings are the fun part! Some of my favorites are fresh avocado, crumbled feta cheese, sour cream and...pico de dallo! Recipe courtesy of Our Best Bites.


Ingredients
About 3 Roma tomatoes, seeded & chunked
1 smallish jalapeno pepper, seeded & finely chopped (use the seeds if you like it hot!)
1 small onion, finely diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice from 1/2 of a lime (add more if you want a distinct lime flavor!)
Kosher salt, to taste
  
Directions
Combine all of the ingredients and refrigerate 2-3 hours to blend flavors. Serve with tacos or tortilla chips.

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