Dinner, Entrees

Tacos (& Tulips)

TulipsWhat do tacos and tulips have in common? Nothing that I can think of off hand. They are both beautiful in their own right. These gorgeous tulips help to brighten up a long, cold stretch of winter temperatures. A reminder that spring will come…eventually. And tacos? I am going to argue that tacos help to brighten up the spirits on a cold winters night. A bit of comfort food, if you will.

Homemade Taco SeasoningHave you ever stopped to examine the ingredients on a package of ‘taco seasoning’ mix? I have and was unfortunately not surprised at all to see things such as maltodextrin, silicon dioxide, citric acid. Additive central! I thought it had to be easier to make your own taco mix and it is!! Most of these ingredients you likely may already have in your pantry.I improvised on this original recipe from Rachel Cooks, based on what I had around. This mixture makes enough seasoning to be used with one pound of ground meat of your choice. I used an organic, lean beef…but will also use ground turkey or maybe even some TVP in the future.

I did not have any onion powder and was out of oregano (I know!). For the onion powder I just sauteed up some onion, along with some finely diced red and green peppers prior to adding the beef in. I substituted Herbes de Provence for the oregano – it was green, tasty and I thought it could not hurt!

The outcome of this experiment was great. I felt as though the mixture was not overly spicy at all. If you are looking for a super hot and spicy mixture then go ahead and add more spice (sriracha? hot sauce?). But what I really loved was the fact that this was so easy to prepare and was the same consistency as you might find from a pre-packaged spice packet. I served these tacos with some diced avocado, chopped tomato, shredded spicy cheese and salsa for good measure. On the side were some spicy/sweet black beans: heated up with some of the onion/pepper mixture, along with a bit of chopped jalapenos, chili paste and a dab of maple syrup. And a fresh salad rounded out the meal. An easy weeknight meal!

Homemade Taco Seasoning


  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder (I added more at the end)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I added more at the end)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon herbs de provence (odd, but original recipe states oregano)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoky sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin (I added more at the end)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 Cup tomato sauce (I used some regular marinara)
  • 1/4 Cup water
  • Taco Fixings of your choice!


  1. Yields enough spice seasoning for one pound of meat.
  2. Recipe slightly adapted from Rachel Cooks
  3. Combine all of these spices together. Easy right?
  4. In a skillet over medium heat, add a bit of olive oil and saute some onions, some diced peppers and a bit of garlic until the onions turn translucent.
  5. Add the meat to this mixture and begin to cook it until no longer pink. I added the spices halfway through - mostly because I was impatient and hungry. After the meat is fully cooked, turn the heat to a simmer and add 1/4 cup of tomato sauce and 1/4 cup of water. Let this simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  6. I did not find this to be overly spicy at all even after I added a bit more chili powder and cumin at the end. If I was feeling like an extra kick a few shots of sriracha, or some hot salsa, would take this to a spicier level.
  7. Serve with your favorite taco fixings: we had avocado, spicy shredded cheese, freshly chopped tomato and salsa with ours. Enjoy!

Tulip in bloom

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