Doesn’t everyone need more tacos in our lives? I sure do. I’m not at all offended if you skip right over this and continue to buy taco seasoning. I see both sides. The major benefits to making your own is to use however much you want/need at a time- without the constraints of a packet and b) to get the flavor without so much sodium or preservatives.
In our house, we will make tacos for 2 so we don’t need a whole packet of seasoning. Then I’ll save the rest and use it maybe 2 more times. The 3rd use of the packet might mean not-quite-enough seasoning. I also seem to have quite the stash of dried spices, sooooo I didn’t have to buy any to make this. You decide.
Ingredients: (about 3 servings, roughly 2x a packet)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Measure the spices out.
Mix it up.
Taste it and adjust to your preferences. It stores well for 6 months in an air-tight container.
I go low-spice, which is also why I chop the even small amount of red pepper flakes. You can totally adjust as you like, or triple the recipe and be all set for the year!
After having peaches in a little raw-topping for a pork tenderloin I made last week, I was obsessed with peach in a quesadilla. Ob-sessed.
Lots of cheese: colby jack, cheddar, and pepper jack + some ripe peaches/nectarines + chicken. Yes, please! This is the perfect catch-all if you have lots of small amounts of cheese around, or to use some leftover grilled chicken.
Ingredients: (for 1 large quesadilla, serves 2)
2 “burrito-sized” tortillas (or 4 fajita-sized tortillas)
2 chicken tenders, marinated and grilled (or pan-sautéed until cooked through)
1 peach/nectarine, diced
8 oz cheese: 1/2 colby jack; 1/2 sharp cheddar
2 oz pepper jack cheese (1-2 slices, or 1/2 cup shredded or sliced)
1 slice red onion, diced
salsa on the side
Pre-cook or grill the chicken.
In a large skillet (big enough to fit the tortillas) or on a griddle pan, spray with non-stick spray and bring to medium heat.
Lay a tortilla down and top with colby jack cheese, sharp cheddar, shredded chicken, nectarine, and onion.
Top with pepper jack cheese, and 2nd tortilla.
Cook for 2-5 minutes until bottom tortilla is crisping and solid. Spray the top quesadilla with non-stick spray and very carefully/swiftly/in one motion, flip the quesadilla over.
Cook for another 2-5 minutes until crisp and gently browned.
Cut in half, serve with a side of salsa. Enjoy!
This was so good with the juicy chicken, all the cheeses, and sweet nectarines. I looved the little bit of crunchy red onion in there for some balance. I don’t tend to go very spicy but you could totally up the pepper jack cheese quantity in there!
This was such a quick dinner and I loved that it wasn’t a run of the mill quesadilla. Thanks to the peach.
I road tested this pasta salad out and turned it into a meal by making it a vehicle for taco salads. It features flavors of a margarita, lime, with a touch of salt. I heard a tip of tossing the pasta in vinegar while it cools so I wanted to try it out. I think it works a bit, I don’t know that is changes the pasta salad to out of this world, but it totally has more flavor than many run-of-the-mill pasta salads.
1/2 pound rotini pasta
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup margarita mix
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tomato chopped
1 cup roasted corn
Green onions, chopped
fresh lime squeezed & zested (optional)
Boil the pasta and drain then toss with the apple cider vinegar. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before dressing it.
Whisk together the mayo, sour cream, margarita mix, chili powder, and salt.
If the pasta hasn’t completely chilled, then cover the dressing and mix later. If the pasta has already been chilled, then toss in the dressing.
Add in the veggies and herbs.
I think this would be great at a BBQ. I think it could have had more lime-ness. Next time I’ll juice a lime and zest it up. We topped them with taco-salad toppings like taco meat, avocado, and salsa. It was great for a bit of change from the usual taco salad. I used up some taco meat from the freezer and it involved very minimal cooking…many birds, one stone!
I looove pork tacos. I decided to sweeten the filling whilst on my never-ending quest to find my favorite salsa. I might need to be making my own. Hmm. Different story for a different day. I added some fresh pineapple and some pomegranate molasses. I love that stuff on brussels sprouts. Ahhh: stay. on. topic.
pulled pork shoulder (a great use for leftovers)
2-3 slices of fresh pineapple, chopped
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
shredded white cheddar
salsa/pico de gallo
Saute the pork with pineapple and molasses over medium heat. The goal is to warm the pork through and soften the pineapple a bit…about 5 minutes.
Taste, and add more pomegranate molasses, if necessary.
Fill the tacos with the pork/pineapple, lettuce, cheese, white beans, and salsa.
Top with guac, and enjoy!
I loved the sweetness to these tacos! The pineapple was a nice touch of sweetness and tartness. The fruity touch was so great, and different than flavors we typically have. I added in some white beans, partly because I had them and it felt like they’d go. The little one eats beans but I’m always trying to use them before they get slimy.
I found my favorite guacamole and now I’m wanting better salsa. I want fresh salsa. It’s often too thick or too sweet. I like restaurant-style salsas. Sal-sa. I’ll have to work on that. Aren’t the taco stands so cute? I love my tacos upright.
Ok folks. You haaaave to make this. I’ve had Mexican street corn, Elotes, and wanted to try making some myself. It is normally on the cob but now that we’re out of that season, I wanted to make some as a side dish. It is such great flavor of sweet corn, salty cheese, lime juice, and a creaminess that is ohh so good. We ate this as a side dish for a fiesta dinner but it’d be fun as a dip too. Or in tacos! (or by the spoonful).
I skipped the jalapeno not wanting this to be too spicy for my crowd. I don’t know that it needs it, so do as you wish!
12 oz white & golden corn
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup cotija cheese or feta (I don’t have cotija at my grocery store so I used feta)
1/2-1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 jalapeno pepper (optional)
Cook the corn according to the package. (I used frozen corn).
Mix together the lime juice, mayo, garlic, chili powder, and some lime zest.
Add a splash of milk if it seems to thick, or mix it with the corn and then add if necessary.
Mix the dressing with the corn and cheese.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
I really loved this. So did the whole fam! It had a great flavor and texture. It was really great alongside our tacos. I admit I scooped with chips but with salsa and guacamole, I’d still keep this as a side dish. It was a winner and so quick. I’ll totally make this again…asap.
In an effort not to have the same taco-night each week, I wanted something a little bit different but still quick & easy. This fit the bill perfectly! I used queso as the sauce on some taco-spiced chicken and served it over a bed of black beans. The chicken was very hands off – just seasoned and popped into the oven. I liked the black beans as the base to make this really filling, with a slight cruch to the peppers, spiced chicken, and smooth & cheesy topping.
6 chicken thighs, boneless & skinless
3 tbs taco seasoning
1 can black beans, rinsed
1/4 of a lime, squeezed for juice
1/2 bell pepper
1/2 cup queso blanco
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
In a baking dish, sprayed with non-stick spray, lay out the chicken. Sprinkle with half the taco seasoning. Flip the chicken pieces over and sprinkle with the remaining taco seasoning.
Bake for 20-30 minutes.
In a medium sauce pan, warm the black beans over medium-low heat. Add a splash of water, squirt of lime juice, and a little lime zest.
Add the peppers to the black beans and stir well & often, cooking for about 5-10 minutes or until the peppers cook a bit.
Check that the chicken is cooked through. Then spoon queso over the top and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
Spoon the beans onto a plate.
Place a piece of chicken on top.
I loved this. It had all the flavors and textures I wanted. I have nothing against tortillas and we LOVE taco-night here but this was a really great tweak on the usual. My little one tried black beans and he approved! Have you had queso blanco? It is perfect for this.
Today is my Sis’ bday! We’re celebrating with a Mexican fiesta! Ole!
‘What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.
I was craving sweet potatoes and got it in my head that it should be the base of taco-night. I thought the sweet vs spicy seemed tasty and healthier than the average taco dinner of course with some tortilla chips & salsa on the side ;) Mine was some leftover taco chicken and Mr. J’s had ground venison.
Half the potato and fork-fluff/squish the flesh.
Top with black beans cooked with a little water, green pepper, and onion.
Add some taco-spiced chicken or ground beef.
Sprinkle with cheddar and enjoy!
Mr. J had some ground venison that had been hanging out in the freezer.
I loved this! The potato was good vehicle for this and sweet potatoes are a good way to get some additional colors & nutrients into the meal. I don’t know that Mr. J would ask for this all the time, but it was super quick (since our taco meat was already cooked) and it is always beneficial to have us eating beans and sweet potato. The little guy ate some plain sweet potato. He’s loving the pieces of food!
I sometimes forget that the crockpot is actually really ideal for summer meals since it doesn’t heat up the whole house, annnnd it means dinner can be less fuss when it is just too hot to think. I hate being hot. I love the snow and can’t imagine regular triple-digit-temperature days. Some crockpot food is really heavy and winter-ish but I want to keep looking for those that aren’t. I hadn’t ever made mole before but it was good, and something different. We had them as tacos but the poor pups had to smell chicken cooking all. day.
I saw the slow cooker chicken mole recipe in a Cooking Light magazine and loved the idea of chicken thighs cooking all day and making a different type of taco. I decreased the chipotle chile in adobo to just 1 (instead of 2) in case it was too spicy. I didn’t have smoked almonds, but used some mixed nuts and thought it was pretty good. I’d add a bit more water to the slow cooker…mine was on low for 8 hours (as instructed) but part of it got kind of burned along the edge when it got too low.
Chicken Mole Tacos:
from Cooking Light
squeeze of lime
side of guacamole
It was good, maybe not my favorite taco ever, but the flavors were nice. The chicken had a light smokey flavor and the cocoa made it have a light earthy taste.
I froze the leftover chicken and corn. I’ll assemble some burritos to wrap individually and freeze for the next time we need an instant dinner. Or it’d be good as some nachos too.
I froze some blobs of tomato paste the last time I opened a can. Then for recipes like this I just pull one blob out and nuke it in the microwave since I rarely need a whole can at once…even though the cans are itty bitty.
This pizza was almost something entirely different. One of my toppings spoiled before I got to it so that pizza will just have to hit on my to-make list until I get to it next. I tossed the slimed produce and then thought: what in this fridge can become pizza? The answer: everything! I had chicken and then I spotted our favorite bean dip that got me thinking Mexican pizza! I’ve made Taco Pizza on a Tortilla Crust and Taco Pizza Topped with Salad but this one is different because it sports this unbelievable bean thing. It’s not quite a dip, not quite a salad. We eat it as a side dish or dip tortilla chips into it. So good.
1 large chicken breast (or 2 small), cut into cubes
1-2 tbs taco seasoning
1/2 ball pizza dough
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup tomato sauce
6 oz shredded mozzarella/cheddar/jack cheese
1 cup 3 Bean Fiesta dip/salad
3 green onions, chopped
1 avocado or guacamole
(make the 3 Bean Fiesta dip/salad in advance)
Cook the chicken in the taco seasoning until cooked through.
Preheat the oven and pizza stone if using one, to 400-degrees.
Roll the dough out to be a thin flat circle, or as close to that as you can get. Immediately place onto the pizza stone to cook slightly and to stop it from shrinking back to a ball. Poke a few holes into the dough.
Bake 15 minutes until lightly cooked and starting to brown. Then remove from the oven.
Top with tomato sauce & half of the salsa, cheese, chicken, and 3 bean fiesta. Then return it to the oven.
Bake 15-20 minutes until the cheese melts and the crust browns. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing. Top with green onion & remaining salsa.
Serve with avocado or guacamole & enjoy!
I liked this pizza. The tang of the 3 Bean Fiesta is really the wow factor. The sweet/acidic bite to it takes it from being just beans on a pizza to a whole different flavor. Plus, it has corn, green pepper, and onion to make it really taco-ish. I love it but 3 cans of corn, plus the other veggies, means you really need a few people eating it, or some solid plans for the leftovers. I use the leftovers on salad, on tacos/burritos/quesadillas, as a side dish, or still as dip. It is best a few hours after making it but everyone loves it and I can’t say enough good things about it.
I haven’t made enchiladas in a while but I also had some kale I was hoping to sneak into something. Enchiladas seemed perfect. To tell the truth, I’m not a fan of raw kale but it is a good veggie to tuck into other foods. I know, I feel like anyone with a food blog is supposed to loooove kale. The health benefits are amazing but I find it so tough. Chard & spinach often score higher than kale anyway and I like them better. Greens, like kale, work well to dice up and treat like an herb. I didn’t highlight it, but it has a good place here.
This was a perfect make-ahead meal. I made the filling while I was making my lunch (see my taco salad with avocado lime dressing). Basically I ate pretty similar lunch and dinners on the same day, but I’ll take Mexican meals any day.
4 chicken tenderloin pieces (or 2 breasts)
2 tbs taco seasoning
10 oz black beans (3/4 of a can)
4 cups kale, with ribs removed
6 oz shredded cheddar
8 wheat tortillas
1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce
Dice the chicken into chunks and sauté with the taco seasoning until cooked through.
While chicken is cooking, remove the ribs from the kale and chop. Steam the kale for 3-5 minutes to partially cook.
Mix together the kale, black beans, and chicken.
Assemble the enchiladas with tortillas, filling, a sprinkle of cheese. (save some cheese for the top)
Then roll them up and place with the seam-side down into a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.
Pour enchilada sauce over the top and bake for 30 minutes.
Top with cheese and bake for another 5 minutes until cheese melts. Or refrigerate until you’re ready to bake. Or freeze for future use. I made 2 pans, each with 4 enchiladas. I baked one and froze the other.
These were really good. The sauce has some zip to it and the wheat tortillas, kale, and beans, make them a bit more nutritious. The filling really could be anything. Mine was heavier on kale and beans than chicken.
If you have any leftover filling save it and add some brown rice for a lunch burrito bowl!