Friday, February 17, 2012

DIY Taco Seasoning and an Easy Crock Pot Recipe

Some days I'm smarter than others.  Some days I'm lazier than others.  Some days these two coincide and brillance abounds (well that may be a bit of an exaggeration but you get the point).

Lucky for me a moment of brilliance occurred last week smack in between two night shifts.  I came home knowing a) I really wanted to sleep and b) my family needed to be fed.  I also knew there was NO WAY I was going to haul my tired self to the store.

I found some chicken in the freezer and was thinking mexican.  Perhaps tacos.  Crock pot -- definitely crock pot. But of course I didn't have any taco seasoning.  Then a light bulb went off.  I have spices in my pantry. I can make my own seasoning.  And I did just that.

In another moment of brillance I wrote the recipe down on the back of a tag then laminated it with tape.  That way I don't always have to look up the seasonings and ratios.  Today I made another batch and I quadrupled the recipe so it will last a while.  Three tablespoons of this seasoning is equivalent to that of a standard seasoning pack from the store.

Taco Seasoning: 
2 teaspoons chili powder
1.5 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of cayenne pepper
Black pepper to taste (I just ground a bit of fresh pepper over the top)

That's it.  I mixed it all in a pretty glass jar.  I'm having fantasies of a pantry such as this.  Baby steps.

Of course my family couldn't eat plain taco seasoning.  They require a bit more sustenance than that.  So I took six chicken breasts straight from the freezer and tossed them in the crock pot.  To that I added a 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (including juice) and 3 tablespoons of the taco seasoning.  I put the crock pot on high and went to sleep.

That evening my family was fed and I had delicious tacos to take to work.  Just add tortillas*.  The tacos were a hit with the whole family (including all three kids) and this recipe is a definiate yes for our permanent rotation.

* You can garnish at will -- cilantro, sour cream, shredded cheese -- whatever floats your boat.

Quick, simple, frugal and delicious -- what's not to love?


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