Here's a nice gift for the cooks in your life – Taco Seasoning. Who doesn't love tacos?
The original recipe is from the book From Freezer to Cooker: Delicious Whole-Foods Meals for the Slow Cooker, Pressure Cooker, and Instant Pot by Polly Conner and Rachel Teimeyer, the creators of the web site Thriving Home.
This book has loads of delicious recipes with instructions to make and freeze and cook later in your slow cooker, pressure cooker, or Instant Pot (try the Balsamic Shredded Beef and the Vegetarian Tortilla Soup; you won't be disappointed). The authors also include recipes for making salad dressings and some pantry staples, including this Taco Seasoning.
Their recipe makes about ¼ cup – a nice amount, about two recipes worth. But what if you want to make more – a whole lot more – to give as gifts?
Scaling up recipes can be a challenge – like just how many 1 ½ tablespoons will I need if I want to make eight times the recipe? Google to the rescue. For this conversion, type "1 ½ tablespoons times 8," and google answers with "12 tablespoons." That's great. Who wants to measure that many tablespoons? So now ask Google to do the conversion for you by typing "12 tablespoons to cups." The answer is ¾ cup.
Simply do that for each ingredient in the recipe. Don't forget to write the answers down!
The next step is to locate cost-effective spices. You want fresh spices with lots of flavors. If your local grocery has a bulk section, you may be able to get your spices there. We've noticed Acme grocery stores has their own brand in large plastic containers. These are a reasonable price for the common spices this Taco Seasoning recipe needs. We first bought the chili powder for a taste test since that's by far the bulk of this mix. It was tasty, so we picked up all the other spices as well. (Bonus - we now have a nearly-lifetime supply of onion powder!) You might have a spice brand you like already. If so, search for large quantities at a warehouse store or even on Amazon.
Next, you will need the containers. You can use any food-safe container, like small food storage tubs or even used jelly jars. But for this project, since the goal is to make a nice gift of them, you may want to purchase a set of all the same jars. You want something cute and not too big. We found the ones for this project on Amazon. They hold 4 ounces, or about ½ cup, and have a quilted pattern and screw-on lids.
Next, make an appointment with the library’s TechZone to use the laser engraver. The staff there can help you label each jar with Taco Seasoning. If your jars are larger or smooth, you can engrave more on each jar than we were able to.
Now, get a big bowl, measure out your spices and stir together gently. Use a spoon to carefully fill each jar and screw on the lid. You can make a sticker or tie on a label with the ingredients. Make an appointment with the library’s TechZone to use the vinyl printer to make the stickers or the Silhouette Curio machine to cut out a cute label.
That's it – you now have some holiday gifts ready to go.
Adapted from From Freezer to Cooker: Delicious Whole-Foods Meals for the Slow Cooker, Pressure Cooker, and Instant Pot (makes about 2 cups).
By Monique Mason, Division Manager
Business, Government & Science