Wednesday, August 29, 2012

taco seasoning

I have reached a new and happy place in my life.  One in which I no longer deeply desire to go out to eat all the time.  Jeff and I are food lovers.  We enjoy trying new places, going to favorite restaurants, and comparing dishes and dining experiences.  We have been known (in richer days) to spend obscene amounts of money each month on dining out - in the postpartum haze of a baby who simply would not be put down, sometimes near 900 or 1000 dollars.  I know.  Unreal.

I love cooking too.  Love it, love it, love it.  And look forward to it.  But my evenings are not always my own, and there are weeks like this one, where Sunday evening is Madison Community Meal, Monday is Lay Leadership Committee, Tuesday is Colin's Angels Orientation, Wednesday is church supper and children's program, Thursday is Titans game for Jeff's birthday.  Friday we are having our friends Neil and Kate over for steak sandwiches, about which I am unreasonably excited.  But nevermind.  Back to tonight.

Given all of that, it's no small thing that tonight, as I sped down Ellington Parkway (eyeing the scariest public awareness campaign of all time:  electronic billboards over the road that say "Tennessee Roadway Fatalities This Year:  681.  Don't be next" with the number ticking up every day), I thought long and hard about stopping at Calypso Cafe to get a quarter dark chicken, callaloo, black beans, and corn muffins.  I salivated a little.  And then I thought of my leftover roast chickens at home.  Two delectable birds we cooked over at Memaw's for Sunday dinner.  They were waiting to be picked cleaned and repurposed.  I decided that was actually what I wanted and drove right by Calypso.

So I took my birds out of the fridge, picked off the remaining meat, and put it in a skillet with a little bacon fat, a few cubes of frozen chicken stock, and a tablespoon or so of taco seasoning.  Have you ever looked at the ingredients on those packets of taco or fajita seasoning you get in the Mexican food aisle?  There is some fairly recognizable stuff, and then also some maltodextrosodiumglutamathione.  Or whatever.  Not good.  So I figured, How hard could it be to make my own?  And I did.  It's easy and you know just what's in it - all spices you can feel okay about.

Taco Seasoning
4 T chili powder
10 t paprika
3 T cumin
5 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
1/4 t cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container for up to a year.
*One important thing to note about this recipe is that it does not contain salt.  So, you will still need to salt your taco meat to taste.

Tonight, I took my chicken taco filling and fixed it up my favorite way.  I spread sour cream on two small flour tortillas (if you are really being good about whole grains, go with corn tortillas warmed in a dry skillet), added the chicken, sprinkled shredded cheese on top, and finished with chopped lettuce and tomato.

It was worth the wait.

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