Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Dairy-Free Basics: Taco Seasoning and Ranch Dressing

Food allergy side effects may include healthier eating habits, improved baking skills and an increased number of meals together at the dinner table. –Tiffany Glass Ferreira at Food Allergy Fun

Going dairy-free was not a lot of fun. Besides all the yummy things like pizza and ice cream that you have to give up, dairy is hidden in a lot of places you'd never expect to find it. Shortly after giving it up I made chicken tacos, which is a favorite at Bug Cottage. At the time, I was kind of at a loss about what to eat and when I planned my menu for that week I figured I'd be safe as long as I didn't put any cheese on mine. As I was putting the tacos together, I decided to check the ingredients and discovered that there is dairy in the seasoning packets you buy from the grocery store. I didn't know what to do. It was getting late and everyone was hungry. So I made the tacos for my family and had a bowl of cereal {with rice milk} for myself.

Later, after talking with a neighbor who has kids with lots of food sensitivities and allergies, she gave me good recipe. If you've been dairy-free for a while, this is probably old news but I thought I'd share anyway.

Taco Seasoning
½ tablespoon chili powder
⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
⅛ teaspoon onion powder
⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes {or ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper}
⅛ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon Cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon dried onion flakes
¾ teaspoon Pampered Chef Southwest Seasoning {optional}

• Combine all dry ingredients. Add seasoning and ⅓ cup water to one pound of meat. Stir to combine; simmer until the liquid is gone.


Ranch dressing was never my favorite, but as soon as I couldn't have it anymore, I suddenly wanted it. My friend, the same one who gave me the taco seasoning recipe, gave me this yummy dairy-free version. I like it a lot better than the lactose-laden original. Probably because it doesn't give me heartburn.

Ranch Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dried parsley or 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely minced
1 teaspoon onion powder
⅓ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

• Mix mayonnaise and vinegar together until smooth. Add parsley and spices; stir to combine. Keep refrigerated.

Lately, I've been on a fresh-herb kick. Dried herbs are good. And it takes a little more time to chop fresh ones, but it seems like the fresh ones are just a little bit better. Plus, they make nice garnishes.


Teresa in Music City said...

Thanks Elizabeth for posting these recipes! I've been trying to avoid dairy and other foods that are causing a lot of sensitivities. The ranch recipe will help a lot especially since I love it, but it doesn't love me!

Shay said...

I love fresh herbs. I think they're much more flavourful(excuse me I think I just made up a word!) than the dried ones.

Ive seen recipes for home made taco seasoning before and just haven't got round to making it yet ...I've read that packet mixes can have silica in them (yuk!)but I rarely use them so I feel kind of virtuous now.

Paulette said...

I'm going to try your ranch dressing recipe. I do mayo + horseradish in lieu of sour cream on baked potatoes, but this sounds better. Just the other day I was thinking how I used to shell out whatever it cost for a package of taco seasoning back in the dairy-eating days. Now I just spin the spice racks and do it myself. Easy-peasy and tastes so much better. Thanks for posting these.