Taco seasoning is a packaged mix that contains a variety of spices like garlic, paprika, crushed red pepper, cumin and other Tex-Mex flavors. Although it is most often used to flavor ground beef for tacos, this seasoning mix is actually quite versatile. Use taco seasoning to add flavor to a number of dishes, from simple meats to complex soups.

5-Layer Dip

Serve this tasty dip at your next party. Mix together in a bowl one can of refried beans and one package of taco seasoning. Spread into the bottom of a greased 9-inch baking dish. Top with three to four mashed avocados, one 8-oz. package softened cream cheese, 2 cups salsa, and 1-1/2 cups shredded cheese. Bake in a preheated 425-degree oven until cheese is melted and the dip bubbles up around the edges.

Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

Add all the ingredients to a crock pot before heading to work. When you return home, dinner will be waiting. Simply heat up tortillas and serve with salsa, sour cream, cheese, lettuce, or any of your favorite taco toppings. Combine in a crock pot 1 cup water, 1 cup diced, canned tomatoes and 1 package of taco seasoning. Add 1 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until the chicken is no longer pink inside. Using two forks, shred the chicken into small pieces. Serve immediately.

Taco Soup

Taco soup is a breeze with packaged seasoning mix. Cook over medium-high heat 2 lbs. of ground beef and one large chopped yellow onion. Cook until the meat is browned and onions are translucent. Drain the grease from the meat through a strainer and pour into a large soup pot. Add two cans diced tomatoes with chilies, two cans black or pinto beans, one can drained corn, one package taco seasoning mix and one package ranch dressing mix. Simmer for 1 hour, then serve in a bowl topped with tortilla chips.

Grilled Skewers

Throw these skewers on the grill for a smoky appetizer or as part of dinner. Cut 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or flank steak into 1-inch cubes. Toss in a large bowl with one package of taco seasoning until all meat is well-coated. Place the meat on metal or soaked wooden skewers. If you wish, you can alternate meat with pieces of onions and pepper, cherry tomatoes or mushrooms. Grill about 6 to 8 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Serve with sour cream mixed with lime juice as a dipping sauce.