Over time I’ve come to realize that Mexican is my favourite go-to food choice. There’s just something about it that is so comforting, filling and delicious. (We’ll ignore the part about it usually being covered in melty cheeeese).
I collect up recipes for enchiladas and burritos but honestly I love a regular ol’ taco! The hard shelled kind. I’ll eat a soft shell in a pinch but to me that’s more of a sad handheld enchilada. I like to take my warm, crispy shells and pile them high with seasoned meat, fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, salsa and my favourite, sour cream. I suspect this is not very traditional in the Mexican community but it’s traditional from my childhood meal perspective.
Of course, my childhood meals were always made from those lovely yellow spice packets and shell boxes from the supermarket. Now that I’m reading labels and trying to avoid things like excess sodium and MSG I thought it would be best to just make my own taco seasoning. I’ve been using this one for a few years now and it works perfectly.
Homemade Mexican Spice Mix
Yields just a little less than one cup. Keeps very well in a sealed container.
- 1/3 cup chili powder
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp dried or ground oregano
- 1/2 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp salt
- Mix all spices together and store in a sealed container.
- To use: Add 2 tbsp of seasoning mix per 450 grams of ground meat. While browning the meat, add the seasoning. If using lean meat you may add a few tablespoons of water or broth to help the seasoning absorb.
Lately I’ve been making Turkey Taco Salads. I get more veggies this way and it’s fun to stir it all together and make a big mess before stuffing my face.
This way still seems fun and comforting (and totally deeeelish) without the added calories of yellow corn shells, heaps of cheese, or greasy ground beef. Lean ground turkey breast, a lighter hand on the cheese, and multigrain tortilla chips are the way to go. Add extra veggies by sautéing grated carrot, celery and onion into the turkey and piling cucumbers and yellow bells peppers into the salad with the lettuce and tomatoes. No dressing needed! That’s what the salsa and light sour cream are for. :)
Other fun additions to the mix:
- Corn and black beans (add to the meat mixture)
- Chickpeas and red onion (hot with the meat, or cool in the salad)
- Avocado chunks
- Fresh cilantro
- Fresh or pickled jalapeño pepper
- Squeeeeeeze of fresh lime
- Or make a creamy dressing of Greek yogurt or light sour cream with pureed avocado, lime juice, cumin and salt. Drizzle away!