Taco Seasoning Mix

Taco seasoning

Taco seasoning mix is so easy to make, I can’t believe I didn’t try making it sooner.  I still like to have a few store-bought packets in my spice rack for one of those days when I don’t have even the 5 minutes to make my own.  Otherwise, I use this mix for my turkey tacos and for my bean burritos.

A few notes.  When I looked up the recipe online, I noticed that most recipes call for the same ingredients: chili powder, cumin powder, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper.  My kids can’t handle heat so I’ve substituted chili powder with paprika.  I leave out the garlic and onion powder and use fresh garlic and onion while cooking.  I, also, like to add salt directly to the meat while cooking to better control the salt content.

Last thing, I increased cumin so that the cumin to paprika proportion is 1:1.  I cook mostly with ground turkey and sometimes I find that ground turkey has a weird aftertaste.  I find the cumin masks the aftertaste.

Play with the proportions of the spices to suit your own individual taste.

Taco Seasoning Mix

Time: 5 mins
Serving Size:  3 to 4

Ingredients

2 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional or substitute with real garlic during cooking)
1 teaspoon onion powder (optional or substitute with real onion during cooking)

Directions

Place all the dry ingredients in an airtight container with a lid (i.e. spice jar).  Close the lid and give the mix a few shakes to thoroughly mix the ingredients.  Store in a cool and dry place for unto 6  months. Use 1 – 3 tablespoon according to taste per 1 pound of meat.

Butter ‘Spritz’ Cookies

A friend makes 2, 3 possibly 4 batches of these cookies every Christmas and gives them out.  I’m lucky enough to be on the receiving end of her bounty. Still, I wanted to learn how to make them in order to gift them myself.

I made them for several years, but took a break last year. Or has it been two years? In any case, I took enough of a break to completely forget that my friend’s recipe calls for confectionery sugar unlike a lot of the traditional spritz cookie recipes.

5 cups of flour seemed like such a waste that I actually try to sift the sugar out. This is what I mean when I say that I’m not a good baker. I make silly mistakes like this all the time.

I finally got my act together, albeit it was 2:30 AM before I finished baking and cleaning up. This could be it for baking since I really don’t want to look at any more flour, butter, sugar, baking sheets, sprinkles… I’m so done.

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to write this recipe up for years and I’m finally doing it! It only took like 5 years… hehe.

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Butter ‘Spritz’ Cookies

Prep time: 15 mins   Bake time: 12 – 16 mins

Ingredients

5 cups all purpose flour
2 cups confectionery sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 pound butter at room temperature
3 large eggs
1 oz almond extract or your choice flavor

Cookie press with assorted discs to form shapes
Assorted sprinkles, nonpareil, chocolate chips to decorate cookies

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, shift together the flour, sugar and baking powder. Cut in the soft butter into the flour mixture using the paddle attachment in stand mixer.

In a small bowl, beat 3 eggs and extract together. Add to the flour mixture and beat until the dough is smooth, but a little sticky to touch. If the dough is too sticky add a little more flour. Let the dough sit for 20 – 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350°F.

Fill cookie press with dough and press out cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Decorate with sprinkles and bake for 12 – 16 minutes or until the edges start to turn golden brown.

Remove tray and let it cool a minute before transferring the cookies to a rack to cool completely. The cookies can be stored in air tight container for up to a week or frozen for several months.

Goofy Cake with Walnuts

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Normally, I avoid baked goods with nuts. I just don’t care for nuts in desserts anymore. But, when I’m told that it is the best! thing! ever!, I had to try it. I loved it, nuts and all.

I asked for the recipe and I received a piece of paper titled “goofy cake”. I have no idea why it’s called goofy.  When I did a quick google search, I got “goofy” chocolate cake recipes or the actual Disney Goofy character cake instructions.  Finally, I saw one obscure site with a recipe similar to the one below, minus one egg and walnuts.

As I’m not experience enough to know what one egg more or less would do, I decided to follow the family friend recipe.  Of course, typical of a recipe written by people of certain generation, there was a list of ingredients and the very helpful instructions like, mix, whip, bake until done.

Okay, perhaps not quite as bad, but pretty darn close. The directions are not hard, but again, I’m not experienced enough in baking to guess or approximate.

I added a few additional sentences for those of us who are novices.  Also, a little goofy cake goes a long way.  It is very sweet and a one inch square piece is a perfect portion size.

I brought this over to Peanut’s daycare staff.  I also made D, Soso, and a few co-workers sample the cake.  I got two too sweet, two love, one okay.  I wonder if I can put less powder sugar?

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Goofy Cake

Prep time: 15 mins   Cook time: 35 mins

Ingredients

1 stick butter, softened
4 eggs
1 box Duncan Hine’s Yellow Cake Mix with Butter
3/4 box Confectioner’s Sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1.5 cups walnuts, finely chopped (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 13×9 pan.

With an electric mixer set to medium speed, mix  2 egg and butter until creamy. Add in cake mix until all liquid is absorbed.  Mixture will look like pie-crust dough.  Pour into greased pan, pressing lightly to spread the mixture.

Whip 2 eggs and cream cheese. Add in powder sugar and whip until creamy. Pour over the cake mix. Sprinkle walnuts on top. Bake 30 – 35 mins or until the outer edge starts to brown.

Cut cake into 1 – 1.25 inch squares when thoroughly cooled.