Taco Seasoning Mix and Lime Salted Chips

Lately I’ve been interested in saving money by trying to learn how to make my own dry mixes at home. I used to think that the packaged mixes sold at the store were the creations of genius master chefs, hidden away in secret locations on the other side of the world, with access to exotic ingredients, and expensive equipment that aren’t available to us ordinary home cooks. But I’m learning that there are some wonderfully talented folks on the internet that are unlocking the “secrets” of these mysterious little packages. I appreciate all the work of the YouTubers and Bloggers that are sharing these secrets and I’m anxious to start passing long all their ingenious recipes.

Today I’ll be sharing a taco seasoning dry mix recipe that was recently released on Katzcradul YouTube channel. Here’s her recipe:

KATZCRADUL HOMEMADE TACO SEASONING MIX
1/4 cup ground cumin
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or slightly less ground red pepper
Optional:
1 teaspoon ground coriander or cilantro flakes
2 teaspoons flour

I didn’t have quite a full 1/4 cup of chili powder, so I just added what was in my container. I didn’t have any coriander or cilantro flakes, so I couldn’t add those either. But I did add 2 tablespoons of my homemade tomato powder because I had it and I though it would make a nice addition to the mix.

I mixed all the ingredients in a large bowl and then used a funnel to put them into a recycled spice container. There was a little extra mix that wouldn’t fit into this container, so I put the remainder into another smaller recycled plastic spice jar. I like to share what I make with my friends, so I’ll be giving the smaller container to a friend who’s coming to dinner next weekend. (I must admit here that sometimes my husband thinks I’m a nut when I save these little containers.  But then, when I actually use them he gets that “ah ha” look. LOL!) 

Tacos were on my menu for dinner, so it was the perfect time to test out the new taco seasoning mix. First, I thawed out a package of frozen ground beef because we’ve found that we don’t particularly like the pressure canned ground beef for tacos, it’s just a little to soft for us. Then as the beef was cooking, I chopped up some onion and added that to the pan along with two tablespoons of the taco seasoning mix. I let it all cook together and then took a taste…. and…. YUMMO!!!! It had all the flavor of the store-bought package… as a matter of fact, I think it had a much better flavor. I smiled and couldn’t wait to serve this up to my hubby for dinner.

I ended up making nachos instead of tacos, because hubby brought home ingredients to make Pico de Gallo and guacamole. (Oh yes, I’ll have to share those recipes with you too, by sending you over to The Pioneer Woman Pico de Gallo and Guacamole recipes on FoodNetwork.)

For nachos, I make my own tortilla chips at home. I’ve been doing this for years, and they are always a hit. They are easy to make and the next time I make them, I’ll take pictures so I can show you exactly how I do it. Normally I just sprinkle salt on them. But I wanted to try to see if I could recreate the lime ones from the Chipotle burrito place. Well… I think I got it, but I wasn’t completely satisfied with the results. 

To make the lime salt, I took a bowl of salt (table salt) and mixed it with lime juice. At first I put a little salt in the bowl and then asked hubby to squeeze the two lime halves over the salt… aaah… that didn’t work out so well… there was way too much juice and not enough lime. I kept adding more and more salt until I had only a slightly “wet” salt and not a salty slurry… LOL! It was still really hard to “sprinkle” the salt over the chips. I ended up with globs of limey salt. I tried to toss the chips with my hands hoping that would break up the salt. It did, but not much. But they tasted good, so we ate them.

The remaining wet lime salt went into yet another recycled spice container and I stashed it in the fridge. I’m sure I’ll figure out another way to use it, like maybe sprinkling over avocado. But since I wasn’t completely satisfied with that first attempt, I’m going to do some more research and experiment using different combinations of sea salt, kosher salt, lime juice and lime zest. I’m thinking the best result might be to squeeze the lime juice over the chips and then sprinkle with a salt & lime zest combination. I’ll let you know what I come up with… and hopefully there will be pictures too.

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For God so loved the world
that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him
should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 (NKJV)

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Dehydrating Failures… Sort Of…

I’ve been doing quite a bit of vegetable dehydrating lately. But I have to tell you that not all of my attempts have been successful.

The first “sort of” failure was celery (sorry, I can’t seem to locate my celery dehydrating pics). I think I cut the celery too thick, or maybe I needed to blanch it first. I’ll have to do some more research on dehydrating celery. The reason I know it’s a failure is because when hubby tried to rehydrate it at work for his Ramen soup, he didn’t like it. He said they were chewy and not soft. I tried to rehydrate some at home and came to the same conclusion. I didn’t want to throw them away… so I made celery powder out of them 🙂 and I’ll be using it as an ingredient for the green onion dip mix I’m trying to create.

The next “sort of” failure was Pasilla chilies. I saw fresh ones on sale at Food 4 Less a few weeks ago, so I picked up about eight or nine of them to dehydrate. I figured if I could dehydrate them myself, I might be able to save some money from buying those prepackaged ones from the Spanish markets. And I could remove the seeds and stems before dehydrating to make it easier to make the sauce for tamales.

Well, they did dehydrate, but they weren’t dark-dark red (almost black) like the pre-packaged ones. Hubby suggested roasting them before I dehydrate them. Again, I’ll have to do some more research on this. Or if you know how those pre-packaged ones are done, please tell me 🙂

The third and final “sort-of” failure was tomatoes. This week I found a fantastic deal in the 50% off cart at Fresh & Easy. I didn’t even know there was such a thing, and to my surprise I found five clam shell containers of Heirloom, Roma and yellow cherry tomatoes at the bottom of the basket for either .50 or .70 cents!!! (I will tell you that to take the best advantage of the 50% off cart, get there as soon as they open in the morning. I actually started pulling the tomatoes out of the cart before they had even been marked down… LOL! And there was tons of bread in the cart… so if you haven’t started or don’t want to bake bread at home… this might be an option for you to save money.)

Two days later, I decided to dehydrate those marked down tomatoes to see if I could make my own tomato powder. Heck, what could I lose, the tomatoes cost less than $4! So, I cut them up, put them in the dehydrator outside on my work table and………. I forgot about them….

…….. as you can see, some of them turned black and seem burnt. I think I know two other reasons why this happened. First, I didn’t clean the screens after dehydrating apples slices that I’d soaked in lemon juice. Second, I believe those black ones in the back tray were just cut way to thin. I tossed the really dark ones into the compost pile and put the rest into my little coffee grinder (which has now become my “turning-dehydrated-vegetables-to-veggie-powder” grinder).

The color was a little lighter than the Honeyville Tomato powder that I reviewed earlier, but I’m sure that’s because I had orange, red and yellow tomatoes mixed together. The powder smells really good. So maybe this really wasn’t failure after all.

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Now therefore, it is already an utter failure
for you that you go to law against one another.

Why do you not rather accept wrong?
Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?
1 Corinthians 6:7 (NKJV)

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Honeyville Tomato Powder Review

Sorry, this post is actually a day late.
I thought I had posted it yesterday, but there must have been a hiccup.
It was still in my draft folder this morning.

Pizza sauce needs tomato paste… I don’t stock my pantry with tomato paste… BUT… I do have tomato powder… AND it’s time to open it up and use it because I need to make pizza sauce.

On a trip to CA in October, I purchased a can of tomato powder from the Honeyville store in Rancho Cucamonga. The #10 can of tomato powder weighed 3.25 lbs, cost $22.39. They do need to QA their label because it has two directions for making tomato sauce with the powder. I think the directions using less water is actually meant for making tomato paste.

After opening the #10 can I wanted to put the contents into mason jars that could be vacuum sealed to give it a longer shelf life. The powder in the can filled two quart jars, one pint jar with just enough left over to put into a half-pint jar. The smaller half-pint jar I will keep on the counter for daily use. I’ll also use a white plastic cap instead of vacuum sealing it.

On the lid of the three jars that I vacuum sealed, I wrote the following information:

If you can’t read it in the picture, here is what I wrote: Honeyville, Tomato Powder Opened 01/26/12, 5 – 10 years. This is all the information I need to know about the product. I’m thinking I should also write the lot number from the bottom of the can on the lids too so I can further identify them.

If you think that’s a lot of information to write on the lid, especially if I’m going to be reusing them… I have a trick I learned from PrepperA on Katzcradul channel on how to remove permanent marker from lids. I use this trick every time I need to remove permanent marker from metal, glass, plastic, ziploc bags… I haven’t found a time when this neat little Expo pen trick didn’t work.

Back to the tomato powder… I used it last night to make pizza sauce. I used my favorite pizza sauce recipe, but instead of using canned diced tomatoes and tomato paste. I used canned tomato sauce and three tablespoons of tomato powder. It worked perfectly! The tomato powder made the sauce very nice, thick and rich. This is something I will be definitely adding to my food storage.

Now I’m off to go can the London Broil that I got on sale?? at Smart & Final yesterday. The reason I question the “sale” price is because I remember when I could get London Broil for $1.79/lb on “sale”. I haven’t seen it anywhere near that price in the past six months. I bought four packages at $2.99/lb, and that was considered a sale. I guess we all need to start changing what we consider sale prices. 😦

><>~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~<><
After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven.
And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying,
“Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”
Revelation 4:1 (NKJV)

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