Taco Seasoned Meat

Do you ever wake up, ever so slightly, at about 4am and realize you’re all the sudden quite uncomfortable? Before your mind wanders to the gutter, get a hold of yourself, this is G rated – for geriatric. I’m talking about that little tweak that doesn’t seem like it should be too big of a deal but if you’ve experienced it before (as I have, far too many times) you know the rest of the day is going to pretty much suck. That happened this morning. It hurts. To add insult to injury I also have a cold. Nothing really helps too much, not even my miracle working essential oils but I’ve been using them anyway along with heat and I’m able to get up and get things done in approximately 7 minute intervals before my neck feels like it’s balling itself into a tight fist. I finally just opened a bottle of wine – not sure why I didn’t think of that earlier. Anyway, I thought since I’m decidedly easy chair-bound, I should go ahead and post a new recipe already. I can barely get one in before February is over…
Hailey making her “taco salad on a tortilla”, pictured above.
This is my standard taco meat recipe. I make it a lot since it works well in many of our Mexican favorites. Quesadillas for Ella, burritos for Bob and Hailey, tacos for me… The girls love making their own creations these days. They are very inspired by all the kid chef competition shows on Food Network. All the spices I use are ones I think are worth having in every pantry. I use them often for chili, chili and more chili and I use them any time I make Mexican which can be up to three times a week. Therefore, if you are so inclined, I encourage you to stock them in your pantry rather than buying the packets of taco seasoning. You’ll have more control over the flavors you really want and will likely have a lot less sodium and pesky additives like MSG. If you are more organized than I am (not much of a stretch probably) you could even multiply the seasoning portion of the recipe by several times, mix it together and store it for easy use. I should do that someday. Lastly, I know the pre-made packets always call for added water and the result is a saucier taco meat. I don’t really prefer it that way but if you do, just add about a tablespoon of flour or cornstarch and about 3 tablespoons water after the meat is cooked and bring it to a simmer until you have the desired sauciness.
Ella flipping her quesadilla
The taco meat refrigerates well so you can use it throughout the week if you have leftovers as we always do.
Taco Seasoned Meat 
(should be enough for about 8 servings)
1 Tb oil (extra virgin olive, canola or corn)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 clove garlic, minced or grated

1 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano flakes (yes there is a difference but use Greek if that’s all you have :))

1 1/2 tsp cumin, ground
1/4 tsp hot chili powder
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
ground black pepper

1/8 tsp cinnamon (trust me)

Preheat oil in skillet on medium heat.

Chop about half of a large onion (I use sweet onions), pretty small.
Add onions to skillet and saute until soft.
Gather your spiced while the onion is cooking.
Add ground beef to skillet.
Grate in garlic.
Sprinkle with all the spices and salt.
Turn heat up a bit to medium-high. Stir in spices and break up meat while cooking.
Cook until all the meat is browned and thoroughly cooked.
Drain the fat with a large spoon or transfer it to a large colander/strainer and drain in the sink. If you’re using lean ground turkey you can skip this step.
Return to skillet to keep warm and use to your heart’s content!
It’s my sister Cindy’s birthday today. She’s not only one of my favorite people on the planet, I honestly don’t know how I would function without her in my life. We have a deal when it comes to family secrets and drama; if I have to know, she has to know and vise versa so that we never have to carry anything alone. Happy Birthday Sissie!