I love tacos... savory spiced meats with fresh crunchy veggies and lots of salsa, yumm! Unfortunately most taco seasoning mixes have junky ingredients in them which takes the happy out of my Taco Tuesday fun. So I decided that it was high time I create a spice mixture to replace those seasoning packets. It won't be perfect for everyone so feel free to make tweaks and changes to it as everyone prefers slightly different combinations of ingredients in their 'perfect taco meat' (which is why there are at least 10 versions of taco seasoning at the grocery store and not a one of them tastes like the others) but I've been enjoying it in my lunches recently.
Before I get into the spice mixture I want to stop over in the mix-ins area of taco meat for a moment. Depending on what you are looking for taste-wise and the amount of added veggies you want to have in your meat there are many options for veggie mix-ins to cook with your taco meat. Some are:
I personally use mushrooms and salsa (I pretty much always have these on hand and tacos can be a bit of a last minute dish for me, like pancakes! Sometimes I just get a craving and think 'why not?') as my go to. They are what I used last week but there are so many options! Try one, try them all, try mixtures of them, try new things altogether and tell me how they turn out! If you are new to adding veggies to your taco meat I would suggest that the smaller the dice the better for beginners so perhaps start with shredded and pureed veggies and then move up to a little chunkier portions later on. Personally I'm not a big fan of diced bell peppers in my taco meat due to the texture/bite so this may be something that you add later on as well if you are like me.
Another thing I do to add nutrition and flavor is use stock or broth instead of water when simmering my spices in with the meat. Something I noticed when checking out various recipes and packages of seasoning mixtures (other than the crazy amounts of additives and the fact that most have gluten) over the last 6 months or so was that bullion, or similar flavoring agents, was a common addition. It isn't necessary to use broth but it does help with that missing element from the flavor palate of the store bought packets, especially when using lower fat meats, such as poultry, that can be a bit lackluster on the flavor side and dry out easily.
The procedure I use when making my (Tex-Mex/restaurant style) tacos is simple. I understand that these are not traditional tacos and while I do love those as well I was trying to replicate the simple 'brown meat and add a spice packet and water' style of taco meat with this recipe.
Ok, seasoning time! This seasoning mixture makes about 4 dinners worth of spice mixture (depending on how much spice mixture you prefer). I typically use 2-3 Tbsp per pound of meat. Just mix it up and store it in an airtight container between uses.