One of the biggest “a-ha” moments for me was when I started reading the ingredients on my favorite spice packets. You know, taco seasoning, ranch dip, gravy packets. I had never given it much thought before, I just assumed that’s how you make taco meat, or that’s how you make ranch dip. Is there any other way?
YES, yes there is! With just the plain spices in your cupboard, you can make all of these things. It sounds like such a simple thing, but it was very liberating for me. Now, whenever a recipe calls for something I don’t have in a spice bottle (like cajun seasoning), I just find a recipe on the internet for Cajun Seasoning and mix it up myself. It always turns out great, and I don’t have to worry about whether or not I have a “packet” for that.
Let’s take a look at a couple of my old favorites.
Here’s my favorite recipe for Taco Seasoning. I double it and store it in a small glass jar. It’s enough for 4 batches (one pound of meat each).
As you can see above, this packet includes Maltodextrin (a food additive), as well as several other GMO ingredients (Corn Starch, Yellow Corn Flour, Soybean & Cottonseed Oil). The last ingredient, Ethoxyquin, is a food preservative as well as a pesticide. It has been found to be slightly toxic to fish and animals. I think I’ll just stick with my plain old spices – thank you!
I don’t know about you, but this ingredient list is actually shocking! The FIRST ingredient in the Ranch Seasoning is actually a food preservative! The second is salt, and the third one is MSG! So we are basically paying for a packet of dried onion, dried garlic, spices, and a bunch of preservatives and additives. Here is a great ranch dip/dressing recipe from 100 Days of Real Food.
Okay, who’s craving tacos and some ranch dip now?
PS – Oh, and here is my favorite cajun seasoning recipe.