Three and a half reasons to cook from scratch.

A couple of questions I get often are “Do you make that too?” and “Why or why not?”.  This has gotten me thinking a little bit about what my “criteria” is for scratch cooking/baking an item rather than buying it pre-made from the store.

Most often in comes down to these 3  and a half factors:

  • ingredient list-if there is something in the purchased product that I wouldn’t use in my home kitchen, I’ll find a way to make it.  These ingredients are often additives, artificial flavours/colours, preservatives etc…ingredients you can’t pronounce or don’t know what they are.
  • flavour- if I can make it taste WAY better at home with a scratch recipe–why wouldn’t I?  Do you think Mexican’s use “Old El Paso”  to make tacos???
  • time-on a rare exception, something may take even longer to make than I’m willing to invest, and doesn’t result in a better product. (…like making plain, additive free yogurt–Local Dairy-available at Central Fresh Market -makes a beautiful product and it’s only $1.99/litre–seriously, why would I bother?)
  • ingredients- (I know this is the 2nd time on the list–but that’s because it is the most important).  I will always compare ingredient labels on similar products at the store–sometimes you’ll find one that is totally free of the “unmentionables”–choose that one! (…like perogies, Naan bread, crackers).  Read people, Read!

Do you have criteria?  Do you even consider making rather than buying?
Tell me–I wanna know!

~This recipe was a game changer for me-one of the first items I really had an “aha” at the store about…as mentioned above, it has something to do with Mexicans…

Homemade Tacos--even better than Old El Paso–and SO much better for you!1lb ground beef or turkey or shredded/cooked chicken or a can of chick peas
1 chopped onion
2 cloves garlic minced
1/3 finely minced red pepper
1 finely minced tomato
1-2 tbsp ground cumin powder   
1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne or crushed chilies(optional depending on how hot you like them)
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup water

Brown ground meat or heat shredded chicken and then add onion and cook until transluccent.  (if you’re using chick peas–cook the onions first and then add the chickpeas) Add garlic, red pepper, tomato and all seasoning.  Correct seasoning if necessary.  Simmer gently for 5-10 minutes adding a little more water to ensure the mixture doesn’t dry out.

Serve with fresh tortillas and the usual taco fixin’s.

Old el paso taco mixP.S.  Just in case you’d like to compare….here is the ingedient list for Old El Paso Taco Mix…



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