Monday, March 28, 2011

Got Taco Seasoning?

"This tastes different"

"Yeah, did you do something different to this recipe?"

When I get a hold of a recipe, the first time I make it, I follow the directions.   When it’s done and we taste it sometimes in my head I’ll think this recipe could use a little more of this or that to please my taste buds or the kidlets will say do you have to put this or that in this?  If I think the recipe had enough to make a next go around with the minor changes I’ll redo it and try it again. 

It’s all done in a creative spirit. 

But, this go around I didn’t try to be creative.  We all liked this recipe as it was.  I’ve made it many times since the first time without any changes.  Why bother?  Well, I did make a few minor, but I think tasty, additions to the recipe like adding garlic and onion to the browned meat, but that’s all, I promise!  Other than that I left it alone.  It was easy to throw together, satisfying, and fun to eat. It was Taco Bake. 

My kidlets were in their early teen years at that time and we all felt like it was more of a party when we ate Taco Bake because we served it up like a dip with corn chips and salad.

"No, I made like the recipe said"

"Are you sure?"

"Why do you keep changing the recipes?"

"I didn’t make any changes."

"I did it like the recipe said: refried beans, salsa, cheese, cooked ground beef with taco seasoning. . . wait. (to myself -I'm pretty sure it was Taco seasoning.)"

At that point in time I had been buying my seasonings in bulk.  I would keep the bulk of the seasoning in the freezer to help keep it fresh longer and keep a smaller portion in the cupboards.  I had bottles with the names of the seasonings for most of them but there were a few that didn’t.  Taco seasoning was one of those I kept in a nondescript plastic container as were a couple others that were easily identified as not being Taco seasoning because of their color.  But there was this one other spice that was exactly the same color as Taco seasoning.

On this particular day I for one reason or another, I can’t remember why at this later time, I just assumed that the container I picked up was the Taco Seasoning.  I didn’t check myself by smelling or tasting it, I just poured the 2 tablespoons into the browned ground beef, stirred it up and went on my merry way of preparing dinner. 

Not until all the questioning did I begin to question myself as to what I put into the mixture.  That is when I went to the cupboard pulled out the seasoning and brought the Taco Seasoning to the table to prove that I had done it correctly. 

It’s probably been a good 7 years since that has happened and the last time I’ve made Taco Bake.  I still cannot live that mistake down and I'm teased about it anytime the topic of taco seasoning or recipe changes comes up.

"The kidlets open up the container, stick their noses in it and exclaim this isn't taco seasoning it's Nutmeg!" 

My sweet Mann was pretty much silent through this whole exchange, gallantly taking bites of his portion of taco bake. 

I got that recipe way back in 2000, and it's still there, from  You can find it here.  I lied to you earlier in this post about promising you that I didn't make anymore changes to the recipe but as I look back at the original source I see I did make another change.  I didn't use Monterey Jack cheese as called for but switched it to Cheddar.  Who ever heard of Jack Cheese in Mexican food?  Your are welcome to try the recipe out yourselves as is or make your own creative changes along the way.  May I just suggest that you stay away from, don't ever, never, use nutmeg in this recipe. 


  1. I have wondered why we never have taco bake any more? I think the nutmeg is labeled now so you can't mix it up. The things we do to build memories!!

  2. I laughed when I read your post because I use the same approach to a new recipe (follow directions the first time & then feel free to modify as needed)...except when I discover partway through meal prep that I'm out of something the recipe calls for. I'm usually not willing to go to the store at that point so I end up having to improvise. There've been a few misses but most things turn out pretty well. DH is still alive after more than 38 years...

  3. At least it made a great story! And an interesting taste too, I bet..

  4. I do the same! great story, it made me laugh x visiting from BfS

  5. lol! I do the same things with recipes, but I don't think I ever confused nutmeg with Taco seasoning (not least because we don't have any of the latter!) That's not to say that I haven't ever had any culinary disasters, though. I think the most memorable was sugar instead of salt in the scrambled eggs...