Tacos Fresco –Sans the Box


Who doesn’t love tacos. If you tell me you don’t I already know you’re lying. And we don’t want to start this relationship based on lies do we? So, I’ll just move forward with the assumption that you’re as big a taco lover as I am.

For most of a life, my tacos came out of an Orega or El Paso box—there was a Taco Bell branded kit period, but I don’t think it lasted. Of course, the actual tacos didn’t come out of the box, but the magical sauces and powders to make them did. Brown the beef (or chicken), add some water, powder and cook it up. The first taco shack I went to in Philly was truly a college student’s dream. Cheap, with raw walls and tables made of old Pac-Man games (still playable for a quarter!). These tacos were magic. Sadly it closed a few months before I left Philly. I think it was in mourning that I was leaving. I’ve encountered many imposters and replicas ever since, some okay, some outstanding. But my boxed taco mix could never match any of these tacos and I never really thought about why that was.

It was only once I started becoming more in tune with my food choices that I understood the difference. I started paying attention to ingredients, where they were from and why were they necessary. (I still haven’t figured out why almost all hamburger buns need high fructose corn syrup). The boxed taco kits I was buying where packed with fillers, high levels of sodium and plenty of ingredients with unpronounceable names.

A few years ago I started making my own taco seasoning and never went back. I scanned numerous recipes both print and online (thank you internet) and came up with the perfect blend. What’s great is how easy the seasoning really is. Make it in bulk (we’ve been known to eat tacos once a week). Spend 5 minutes measuring and tossing a few ingredients together, then the next time you make tacos, add a scoop or two, as you would any other spice for perfect (real) tacos.

The difference between regular and perfect tacos

The difference between regular and perfect tacos

Homemade Taco Seasoning (Makes about 2 cups)

  • 1/2 c chili powder
  • 1/2 c onion powder
  • 1/4 c cornstarch
  • 1/4 c dried oregano
  • 1/4 c dried basil
  • 1/4 c cumin
  • 1/4 c garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp paprika

Mix all ingredients well and store in an airtight container.

TO USE: Brown 1 pound of ground beef (or shred chicken, pork or any other protein). Drain fat. Return beef to pan with 1/4 cup water and 1-2 tablespoons taco seasoning. Mix well to evenly coat beef. Cook over medium heat until water has evaporated. Spoon onto warm corn tortillas and sprinkle with desired toppings—lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream and ESPECIALLY guacamole!


11 thoughts on “Tacos Fresco –Sans the Box

    • Yes, I would agree 🙂 I should post the recipe my sister in law put in her book. Have a great night!

    • Haha, thanks! Yeah, I could live with daily tacos. I pretty much only make them with ground beef or if I’m feeling crazy shredded chicken, but love eating all types when out. I need to experiment more in the kitchen.

    • Thank you! My husband tops it with this crazy hot sauce. Trinidadian Scorpion I think? Apparently ghost peppers are too tame. I stick to my guac, sans hot sauce.

  1. I’m so glad to see this recipe. I’ve wanted to make my own tacos but haven’t actually gotten around to finding a recipe to do so 😉 I’m going to pin this and totally use it. Thanks!!

    • No prob–thanks for stopping by! I’m a bit of a whimp when it comes to heat so feel free to kick it up a bit with some extra cayenne or chipotle chili powder!

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