1/4 c. granulated onion (powder)
1 Tbsp. granulated garlic (powder)
2 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. crushed oregano
3 tbsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. Kosher or sea salt
Combine and mix all these ingredients. Then divide into 6 portions and wrap in foil. Keep in refrigerator.

To Make Tacos: In a 12-inch, heavy-bottom skillet, brown 1 pound of 86 percent lean ground meat over medium heat. When fully browned, thoroughly drain off all the excess fat. Then evenly sprinkle one (1) package of the taco seasoning mix you just made over the meat and stir it in completely.Now add 1/2-cup water (or chicken broth) to the meat, along with one (1) tablespoon of ketchup. At this point, simmer and stir everything well, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Then when you're ready to eat, spoon the meat mix into hot taco shells and top off each shell with a couple spoonfuls of small-diced tomato, shredded lettuce, and grated Cheddar cheese. Serve piping hot alongside a generous serving of sour cream and guacamole.

Important Note: Do not use leaner ground meat! Since the flavor of beef depends primarily on its fat content, and since you're already going to drain the beef thoroughly after it is sauteed, use the 86% lean designation to guarantee an intense flavor in the meat.Chef's Hint: To heat taco shells easily, heat the oven to 250 degrees and hang the shells upside down on the rungs of the oven racks. This way, they'll be easy to reach when you're ready to made additional tacos for your family or guests. . .and they constantly stay hot!


Homemade Taco Sauce El Pancho

4 medium ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 can (8 ounces) unseasoned tomato sauce, preferably no-salt
1 Tbsp. cilantro
1 (4 oz.) can Old El Paso mild green chilies, chopped
2/3 cup white onions, finely diced
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp. Kosher or sea salt
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

In a food processor, drop in the tomatoes, the cilantro, and the green chilies, and puree the mixture. Then add in the chopped onions and the Worcestershire Sauce and puree again. Then sprinkle in the salt and the crushed red pepper flakes, and puree one more time. At this point, cook the puree over a medium heat for about 30 to 45 minutes. When the sauce is done, chill it for no less than 2 hours in the fridge. Pour a couple of tablespoons into each taco shell before filling it. It's also really fine as a dip for tortilla chips.


Homeade Taco Salsa El Poncho #1

3 med.-size ripe tomatoes (about 1 lb.), peeled, cored, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. fresh lime juice + zest from the lime
2 Tbsp. cilantro, minced
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. Kosher or sea salt
1/2 tsp. Frank Davis Louisiana Garlic Hot Sauce.

In a medium-size bowl, mix together the tomatoes, onion, garlic and jalapeno pepper.
Then stir in the vinegar, limejuice, lime zest, cilantro, olive oil, salt, and garlic hot sauce.

Now toss the mixture thoroughly until uniformly blended. All that's left then is to cover the salsa and chill it in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving.

I recommend you serve this condiment ice cold over hot tacos, enchiladas, burritos, and other Mexican entrees. Some folks also like it as a clean, fresh dip for corn chips. And what you don't use right away can be tightly covered in a Mason jar and stored in the refrigerator for a week or so before it begins losing its freshness and texture. Buy the way, this recipe makes about 2 cups of salsa.

Chef's Note: Total preparation time is 5 minutes, plus 2 hours refrigeration.


Jackie Stepp's Homemade Refried Beans

This is the recipe for refried beans that Jackie has been doing for over 30 years. When she heard me say on TV that I had lots of recipes to share for homemade taco seasoning, homemade taco sauce, and homemade salsa, but the refried beans thing was gonna be a bit iffy, she immediately rushed me her time-tested recipe. Let me just say, if all y'all make these refried beans for your families, I think we're all gonna be sending Jackie thank you notes!

1 lb. pinto beans
8 cups water or chicken broth,
1 pinch Kosher or sea salt
6 Tbsp. bacon drippings

Place all the ingredients into a heavy 4-quart Dutch oven, turn up the fire to medium, bring the beans to a boil, then rapidly lower the heat to simmer and cook the mixture until the beans turn creamy and the water cooks out almost completely. At this point, immediately smash the beans into a paste with a potato masher until smooth and pasty. Serve piping hot with the tacos alone or alongside a spoonful of Spanish rice.

Jackie says these are 'proven' the best because her 15 yr old daughter will not eat canned beans at all. . .and she can immediately tell the difference between the two if you try to switch them one for the other!

Chef's Note: If you'd prefer' refried black beans,' simply substitute a pound of black beans for the pintos.


Frank's Famous Slap-Your-Abuela Guacamole!

4 ripe avocados
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 large garlic clove, super-minced
2-1/2 Tbsps. fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp. Kosher or sea salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper, heaping
1/2 tsp. Frank Davis Garlic Hot Sauce
1 medium tomato, de-seeded and diced small
Tostitos chips for dipping

First, slice the avocados (those are alligator pears to all you folks in the Ninth Ward and St. Bernard!) in halves, remove and discard the large pits, scoop out the pulp into a bowl, and with a potato masher turn the pulp into a creamy but slightly chunky pale green paste. Then when it reaches the right consistency, pour in the lemon juice and stir it in until fully blended.

At this point, also stir in the super-minced garlic, as well as the cilantro, the salt, the pepper, and the garlic hot sauce. Then, gently, fold in the diced and de-seeded tomato until it is combined uniformly with the avocado paste.

This is killer guacamole! And it can be served immediately at room temperature or lightly chilled for later service.