Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Taco Night

I don't claim that my taco night is anything even remotely close to authentic Mexican food. It's straight up Americanized Mexican food, but it's soooo good. Taco night used to be all about the taco kits from the grocery store - there's something about that spice packet that is so tasty and I never thought I could possibly replicate it. Since I've started paying more attention to ingredients, I noticed that those spice packets contain msg...but surprisingly I found a recipe on allrecipes.com for a spice mixture that tastes exactly the same, with no additives. Actually, I think it tastes even better.

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch

Mix all the ingredients together. This is the perfect amount for one pound of ground meat.

Cook one pound of ground beef, turkey, or chicken in a large skillet with a little oil over medium heat. Once the meat is cooked through, drain any liquid from the skillet and return the meat to the pan. Add the spice mixture along with 1/3 cup water and mix until everything is incorporated. The cornstarch is a thickener, turning everything into a sauce so it's not just water with spices floating around.

Don't forget the taco sauce! (from recipezaar.com)

1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons minced onion
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients together and heat in a saucepan at a low simmer for 15-20 minutes.

And that's it! I found some blue corn tortilla shells at Whole Foods. The spice mixture on the meat is really flavorful and just spicy enough. You could also use it as a rub on chicken or steak if you eliminate the cornstarch, and then grill the meat and slice it up for tacos or fajitas.

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