Mistakes were made
I had something written Sunday but the joys, and mistakes of thumbs and on-screen back buttons… Well, you get the idea. Today I am going to take you places both unpleasant and eye opening. Math folks. I am doing math. (((Shudder))) Please stay with me, it promises to be beneficial! Plus, I have yumminess of Homemade Taco Seasoning to share. But first, stories!
Published on December 2, 2015
Updated on February 22, 2022
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Health and Food
One reason I started to cook homemade was because my hungry-food-loving hubby asked me to start making bread again. Consequently, I have done this in the past with my fantastic bread machine, but I did not possess the patience or knowledge of cooking yet to be successful. My breads were dry and flaky and crumbly and that oh so loving hubby asked me to buy the soft fluffy store bread again.
Furthermore, I tried couponing but that lead me to honestly spend more money and to buy food we did not need. Most of it was prepackaged and processed. We were hungry, filling up on simple food loaded with processed ingredients. However, I have started a few years ago to cook more meals homemade, and that has made a world of difference! Before cooking homemade I felt yucky, gained weight, was not sleeping, and the boys were ornery and crabby. We set out to fix it all by making our own food. As a result, I now make taco seasoning, ranch seasoning, bread, bagels, donuts, granola bars, and so much more. I cannot, however, make pasta but I would love to! (Finally mastered pasta in 2021!!)
2022 Update on our Budget
Since this post was originally published in 2015, and Tyler and I went on a debt reduction journey, we have since had a lot of changes. Not only financially but also in our family. In 2016, our third son Levi was born.
Then in 2019, our daughter Elliana was born. On top of all of that, we sold a house in late 2019, while purchasing the home we are now living in. In all of that, we became credit card debt free, paid off two-to-three cars, and are now proudly debt free except for our mortgage. I couldn’t be prouder of all of the hard work Tyler had to do to financially get where we are now. Additionally, we had to make some serious changes to our weekly and monthly budget.
In the fall of 2018, we started and completed Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. This course was instrumental in helping us to become debt free. If you have any questions about how you can also do this course, check out his website for more information. Dave Ramsey has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals gain financial freedom from debt.
*Dave Ramsey is not a sponsor for this post*
Since making Homemade Taco Seasoning, I have used this mix with so many different meals. Click the links at the end of this post to check out a few of my Blogs with recipes that include this delicious Seasoning!
Busting out the Math
I plan to share my recipes, failures and fixes, and tips for better baking and cooking. But first… math! When my family of 4 goes out to eat, we like to eat. Our low average cost to eat out is $15.00 and that is the dollar menu at a drive-through. The most we spent was close to $80.00 with a tip. We try to not eat out because of the high cost, and also, we have boys ages six and three. Let’s be honest folks… my boys are loud, cranky, and messy. I like to contain our crazy at home!
Please do not get me wrong with this next part… I am not asking or telling you to stop going out to eat! Just to be more aware of where you spend your hard-earned money. Going out to eat once a week on average is let’s say $30.00 (with tip/without babysitter cost) If you have kids add on average at least $10.00 to the bill, right? For older it differs. Sure $40.00 looks small but looksee here…
$40 X 52 weeks = $2,080 a year going out to eat
$60 X 52 weeks = $3,120 (this is what our balance is left on our car!)
If you go out twice a week:
$80 X 52 weeks = $4,160
$120 X 52 weeks = $6,240 a year going out to eat
Our grocery bill for a week is $150 (this week was $135)
$150 X 52 weeks = $7,800
So… Your savings or bills would benefit in the long run. What would you do with the extra even $2,000 a year?! Consequently, during our debt reduction, we funneled any and all extra money towards paying off all our debt and not going out to eat.
Now if you are anything like my family and are trying to reduce debt, seeing this in numbers – money – might freak you out like it did to me.
Hubby and I went out once, had a few drinks with our meal, and spent $85.00 on dinner. Ouch. That was a date night. Additionally, we gave the babysitter a $20. All in all, the grand total was $105 for a date night. (In 2015)
$100 date x 2 monthly = $200 X 12 months =$2,400
$100 date weekly X 52 weeks = $5,200
Please don’t kill the messenger!!
Additional ways to save
When Tyler and I sat down last year and came up with a debt reduction plan; date nights and going out to eat as much had to stop. We still go out, we still have dates, but we are smarter planning them and really enjoy them now so much more.
Plus, there are so many inexpensive and free ways to go on a date. Have a picnic at a park, go on a walk, make a meal for each other, in the summer go watch a movie at a park-a lot of Park & Recs do free movie nights… Oh there are so many!! In addition to finding inexpensive date nights, we also now plan ideas with our four kids to save money. Can we pack a snack? What days are cheaper to go?
Tip for the day: find another date-needing couple and swap nights instead of paying a babysitter. Playdates are awesome and you get a date! I am always willing to swap… hint hint… We have done this so many times. It is seriously awesome, plus you get some friends who want to hang out with you and do fun family cook outs together.
Here is the kicker… since I have begun to cook homemade meals, we cut our food cost daily from $30 to $15 on average so spending $40 on a date once or twice a month is no big deal for us anymore! Weekly, our average food bill is $125-$150. This includes lunches, dinners, snacks, breakfast, and drinks. Yumm. I also make 3 meals on Saturday, so this cost is for 7 days and 9 meals and lunches for Sam and Tyler. (Now in 2021, our food bill is $170 a week… eeek!!! But again, this is now for our family of six.)
As a result, I sat down one day and wrote down all of the meals I knew how to cook. The list was bigger than I thought because I was in my food rut of rotating the same meals over & over.
The start of a Menu Planner
Here was my list of recipes I had gathered back in 2015! I have not added to it in about 6 months, so there is a ton missing. Seriously- sit down with a pen and paper and do this yourselves- or copy mine – and reinvent your mealtimes. Tyler loves when I do this because he gives great input on what he wants to eat.
Certainly, our food and meals list has greatly increased in the past seven years. For example, I went from a hand-written list on lined paper to a full-on binder that was gifted to Tyler later that year. As a result, we now pull out the Menu Planning Binder each week to pick the meals that we plan to have through the week.
Updated Menu Planner and Grocery List
A few years ago, I set about to design and create a grocery list and meal planning sheet that can be used with ease. One one side is a weekly meal planning guide, with lines showing where to write your desired meal. Below that are a few lines where you can list the foods necessary, or ingredients.
When the sheet is flipped over, you can list the foods you need to shop for. Moreso, this list is broken down into six different sections that help to keep you organized. These sections include Grocery, Dairy, Produce, Meat, Frozen and Toiletries. Click the links below to download and print a copy of this Planning Amazingness.
Cost breakdown to make Homemade Taco Seasoning
Food! My first ever homemade item was Taco Seasoning. It is easy and delicious and does not have preservatives or those crazy 15 letter words we cannot pronounce nor understand. As a result of making this Taco Seasoning, I have made From Scratch Italian Seasoning, Ranch Seasoning, Pizza Sauce, Tomato Sauce and more. Having the ingredients on hand helps cut the costs down to make food From Scratch.
This full recipe gets me 3-5 uses below $3 in total cost and $0.17 a Tbsp- as compared to the premade seasoning packets that cost $1.00-$3.00. Consequently, remember these prices were from 2015. Currently, in 2022, food prices are much higher, and it is a better way to save on a food budget to make your own From Scratch Seasonings.
6 Tbsp dried minced onion $1.09
2 Tbsp salt $0.02
1 tsp pepper $0.01
2 Tbsp Chili powder $0.42
1 1/2 Tbsp corn starch $0.10
2 tsp red pepper flakes $0.24
1 tsp oregano $0.03
2 tsp garlic powder $0.10
2 Tbsp ground cumin $0.54
The total cost for this Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe is $2.55.
ALDI sells Taco Seasoning packets for $0.49 each
Walmart sells Taco Seasoning packets for $0.87 each
Both of the above Taco Seasoning packs are for 1-pound meat increments. Our family uses 3+ pounds at every Taco meal. As a result, Homemade Taco Seasoning from saves our family quite a bit of money.
Certainly, making your own seasonings and foods can be a way for you to help save money on your food budget. Since making food from scratch in 2015, our family has really honed-in on how to successfully make meals within a budget. Some foods that I make for meals include sauces and breads. These foods, if bought premade, can add a significant amount to your food cost total. Plus, buying ingredients in bulk can help to ease the process to making all of your sauces and meals from scratch as you will have the ingredients on hand.
*ALDI and Walmart are not sponsors for this post*
Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe
Homemade Taco Seasoning Ingredients
6 Tbsp dried minced onion
2 Tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 Tbsp flour (Or substitute with corn starch)
2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp ground cumin
Directions to make Homemade Taco Seasoning
1. Gather all of your ingredients and two measuring spoons, a teaspoon and Tablespoon. Most importantly, use an airtight container to store the Homemade Taco Seasoning in. Having a good container to keep the air out is important for maintaining the quality and flavor of your seasoning blend.
2. First, measure and add 6 Tbsp minced onion to the container.
3. Next, add 2 tsp salt to the container.
4. Measure and add 1 tsp black pepper to the container.
5. Add 2 Tbsp Chili powder to the mixture.
6. To the container, add 1-2 tsp red pepper flakes. Our kids do not like this Homemade Taco Seasoning to be too spicy, so I only add 1 tsp. Additionally, if you are looking for a spicier seasoning and flavor, you can choose to alter your recipe to add more red pepper flakes.
7. Measure and add 2 tsp garlic powder.
8. Next add 1 tsp oregano to the container.
9. Add 1 1/2 Tbsp Corn starch OR flour to the container. Corn starch can help your seasoning to be gluten free if you choose to use it instead of Flour. Corn starch, in my opinion, helps this Homemade Taco Seasoning to blend much better with the cooked ground beef. In the past, I have used flour, and while it is a good ingredient for Taco Seasoning, our family likes the taste of the corn starch more.
10. Then, add 1 Tbsp cumin to the mixture.
11. Finally, close the lid and shake your container, making sure all of the ingredients blend well together. This Homemade Taco Seasoning mix can be stored in the cupboard for many weeks.
12. Use 1-2 Tbsp spoon for every 1 pound of meat and then add 1/4-1/2 cups of water. Then bring the cooked meat, seasoning and water to a simmer for 10-15 minutes. Additionally, you will be fighting yourself to not eat it out of the pan, as I do routinely for “quality checks” haha.
If you want to leave comments, I would love to hear from you!
Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe
Homemade Taco Seasoning
- Measuring spoons
- Airtight Container
- 6 Tbsp Dried Minced Onion
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 2 Tbsp Chili Powder
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Corn Starch OR Flour
- 2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 tsp Oregano
- 2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 Tbsp Cumin
- Measure and then add 6 Tbsp minced onion to the container.
- Add 2 tsp salt to the container.
- Measure and then add 1 tsp black pepper to the container.
- Add 2 Tbsp Chili powder to the mixture.
- Add 2 tsp red pepper flakes.
- Measure and then add 2 tsp garlic powder.
- Next add 1 tsp oregano to the container.
- Add 1 1/2 Tbsp Corn starch OR flour to the container.
- Add 1 Tbsp cumin to the mixture.
- Finally, close the lid and shake your container, making sure all of the ingredients blend well together.
- This Homemade Taco Seasoning mix can be stored in the cupboard for many weeks.
- Use 1 Tablespoon Taco Seasoning for every 1 pound of meat and then add 1/4-1/2 cups of water.
- Bring the cooked meat, seasoning and water to a simmer for 10-15 minutes.
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