Homemade Taco Seasoning

With a few pantry staples, you can make your own Homemade Taco Seasoning in just a few minutes.

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All week my family — and probably yours too — is on the go. Between work, school, homework and soccer, it feels like we never quite have a moment to settle down. But Fridays? That’s when we curl up on the couch with our coziest blankets for family time — namely a movie, popcorn and a fun dinner.

The movie changes every week. Sometimes it’s a classic like Mary Poppins. Other times, it’s something new like Frozen — which we’ve seen dozens of times and still adore. But the movie (and even the food) is really secondary to spending time together and relaxing. After a busy week, it’s so nice to unwind together.

Of course, since I love to cook and we all love to eat, the food does matter a little. I mean … Fridays wouldn’t be quite as enjoyable without a fun dinner.

And one of our favorite dinners for Fridays? Tacos. My son and I love crunchy tacos, and my daughter prefers soft ones, but we all enjoy piling them high with lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, cheese, avocado and more. Something about these hand-held Mexican-inspired sandwiches just screams fun.

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While the tacos of my childhood always involved boxed kits, these days I make my own taco seasoning. It’s super easy, and the ingredients are pantry staples — which means they are always on hand and ready to use. Best of all, it only takes a mere few minutes to whip up.

Simply stir together the seasonings, sprinkle over browned ground beef, chicken or turkey, add some water and cook until the liquid evaporates. Then fill your tacos and go. For added fun, set up a taco bar with a selection of salsas, veggies, hot sauces and cheeses so everyone can personalize their taco creations.

This taco seasoning is mild, but if you like your tacos spicier use a chile powder (like ancho or chipotle powder) in place of some of the chili powder.

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Homemade Taco Seasoning
yields enough for 1 to 1 1/2 lbs ground beef, chicken or turkey

1 tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin

Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl.

To use: Brown ground beef, chicken or turkey in a large skillet. Drain excess fat. Sprinkle with seasoning and add 2/3 cup water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes, until most of the moisture is evaporated. Enjoy immediately.

Sarah Walker Caron

About Sarah Walker Caron

Sarah Walker Caron is senior features editor for the Bangor Daily News, and resident cook. She writes a cooking column, Maine Course, and is also author of "Grains as Mains: Modern Recipes Using Ancient Grains." Her recipes have appeared in the BDN, Betty Crocker publications, Glamour.com and more.