Taco Tuesday

Drop that seasoning packet! Nope, you’re not going to need that anymore; save your ninety-nine cents.

Tacos are a frequent favorite. We don’t eat them every week but we do eat them at least once a month, sometimes more often if we’re in the mood. I discovered a few years ago that typically when I used a seasoning packet for tacos (or any foods) my IBS would bother me, so I decided rather than living without tacos I would find an acceptable alternative. Typically, what this means for me is eliminating all of the unknowns of what I’m eating, and when it comes to seasoning packets that’s normally more than half of the ingredients lists.

So it didn’t take me long to intuitively create my own recipe for taco seasoning, and it probably costs 90% less than a seasoning packet and tastes 100% better. And the best part? I know exactly what I’m eating – that’s important if you have health issues that are directly affected by diet.

I find that lately I’ve been doing all of the prep before the stove ever goes on, unless something (like pasta) needs to be cooked ahead of time…

Here is my simple taco bar: shredded cheddar, chopped onion, cut up lettuce, and some canned tomatoes drained. Just to note here all of this stuff was leftover in the fridge. I didn’t buy any of it this week hence saving even more on my grocery budget.

I like to use ground turkey. It’s cheaper, it has less fat, and as I’ve also recently discovered beef bothers my IBS as well. I also like turkey because it has a nice texture – it’s not grisly and coarse like poor quality ground beef can be sometimes.

I’ve probably mentioned this in another post but when shopping for ground turkey, the higher fat % turkey typically has its skin ground in making it fattier. The real white stuff, like 93/7 is typically skinless, but kind of like real lean ground sirloin it can get dry when cooking and might not have as much flavor. The real cheap ground turkey, like 80/20 – check the fat per serving, sometimes it can be up to 20 grams per serving (quarter pound) in which case you’d be better off eating ground chuck.

So, brown the turkey (really brown it, cook the water out). Add the seasoning. My recipe is real simple. I use 1 T of chili powder per pound of meat. 1 tsp of ground cumin, 1 tsp oregano, and 1/2 tsp salt and pepper. Mix the seasonings into the meat well. I like to cook the seasonings into the meat a bit.

Add about 1/2 C of water and mix well to ensure all the seasonings dissolve. Bring the water to a boil before turning off the heat. Stir frequently. And that’s it, all ready.

Taste test here. If it’s a little bland try adding a small amount of salt and keep test-tasting. The trick is to not put too much salt, but to allow the salt to bring out the flavors of the chili powder and cumin, not to just taste like salty meat.

Taco shells nicely toasted in a 350 oven for about 5-10 minutes.

Stand-and-Stuff shells are great for little ones to build their own tacos. Lily loves Taco Tuesday because she gets to build her own tacos.

Let’s see if she goes for the green stuff!

So here’s another satisfying and budget friendly meal. I think with the turkey and taco shells I paid maybe 5 bucks for the whole meal, plus I saved enough turkey to make burgers later in the week.

I hope you give this recipe a shot, I think of it as my own concoction. What’s cool is it’s a good platform to customize to your own tastes. A little ground red pepper or Tabasco would add a little heat. I have some ground chipotle chili powder that would be awesome in this if it didn’t need to be kid friendly. I also keep a stash of chipotle in adobo sauce in the freezer that would be awesome mixed in.


  1. Delicious – I love tacos! I don't know why, but it never occurred to me to use ground turkey – and I love the stuff! Thanks!

  2. I really wish I were caught up on my blog reading. I made pork tacos last night and I tried to make my own taco seasoning but I didn't do very well. 🙁 I do enjoy a good CRUNCH of a taco! I'd rather use boring salt and pepper than a taco packet. Something in it is a bit "off". Thank you for sharing your delicious tacos!

    Did she go for the green or did you have to make it mandatory? Heehee!

  3. Okay so I am reading this again and caught the IBS reference this time. I have it too. Have had it for about 17 years now. It's amazing what triggers it. I do okay with beef but avoid pork as much as possible. I love chicken but it sparks issues so I am careful when I eat it. Caffeine is a trigger for me as well. And alcohol I cannot even touch. Not even a little. Nice to meet another IBS-er. Sure makes life interesting doesn't it? Lol.

  4. Ugh…so much I could go on about IBS. I think I've had it all my life, but it became acute about 6 years ago. My primary triggers are olive oil, beef, and really any kind of milk above a 2%. Even drinking skim now (once a night with a bowl of my IBS-safe Honeycombs) has made tremendous improvements from my traditional 2%.

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