Homemade Beef & Bean Burritos + Taco Sauce (from scratch)

Homemade Beef and Bean Burritos & DIY Taco Sauce

Every day here in the Sunshine State, it is roughly one billion degrees outside. (Please let’s not talk about our hair in the accompanying 100% humidity.)

And, every day, at roughly 3 pm, the sky grows dark and a deluge opens up and soaks the living bejeezus out of all things outdoors.

And, also? Once the deluge commences, for some mysterious reason, the air conditioner seems to work extremely well. Like I’m digging out my fleece pants and hoodie sweatshirt and cranking it up to 80 degrees so I can stop my teeth from chattering.

This comes from living in a sub-tropical climate for a double-digit number of years. We become like reptiles. We need the sun to stay warm.

So in the summer, around 3pm, the sky grows dark, it starts to rain, and I’m really cold.

Therefore, cozy comfort food cravings begin.

Like burritos.

So even though burritos don’t seem like summer food, for reptiles they are.

Reptiles ♥ burritos. (I’m pretty sure about that, but don’t mark that as your final answer if it ever shows up on a legit test about animals and the foods they love. More research is necessary, I’m sure).

So I know burritos are not rocket science.

I’m not here to pretend they are.

I’m just here saying that when you put them together like this and you share them with friends, they’ll devour them, then they’ll fight over who get’s the last one.

And they’ll be super happy when you bring more for round two a few weeks later.

Burritos = friendship makers.

For reals. Homemade Beef and Bean Burritos & DIY Taco Sauce

Aaaaaand, when you make the sauce and the spice mix initially, you’ll have plenty extra left over to make burritos a few more times in the future  without the extended (reallynotsoextended) prep.

And the “taco” sauce? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it would be pretty spankin’ good as an enchilada sauce too. Or with some huevos rancheros, or in a nice little homemade salsa.

All I’m saying is, you’ll be happy to have leftovers.

Homemade Taco Sauce and Beef and Bean Burrito Filling

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: about 10 -12 large-ish burritos, with leftover sauce and spice mix

Homemade Taco Sauce and Beef and Bean Burrito Filling

This sauce as just as satisfying as store bought versions, but so much healthier. If you are following a Paleo regimen, or just prefer not to use refined sugar, light-colored maple syrup is a fine substitution for the sugar in the recipe. Just throw the ingredients in a pot before you start browning meat and it can simmer away while you finish up your burrito filling.


    For the Taco Sauce:
  • 1 (17.64 oz) carton Pomi strained tomatoes
  • 3 1/4 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • For the Burrito Spice Mix:
  • you could go here, which was my starting point. We've since altered it to the recipe that follows. I also like to make a larger batch - so that the next few times around all I have to do is pull it out of the cupboard already mixed and ready to go:
  • 4 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons onion powder
  • 3 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon crushed, dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • For the Burrito filling:
  • 3 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 can (or 1 3/4 cup) blackbeans, drained
  • 4 tablespoons taco/burrito spice mix
  • 1 cup of water
  • tortillas
  • and toppings of choice:
  • shredded cheese
  • guacamole
  • diced tomatoes
  • shredded lettuce


For the Taco Sauce:

Add all ingredients to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook on a low simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers in the fridge, tightly covered. You can also freeze portions for later use.

For the Burrito Spice Mix:

Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk to mix well. Set aside. (Store in an airtight container at room temperature).

For the Burrito filling:

Over medium heat, in a large skillet, borwn the beef. Drain.Reduce heat. Add in spice mix and water. Stir and cook over med-low heat until water is mostly evaporated. Remove from heat, serve hot on tortillas with cheese, sauce, and desired toppings.


Sara| Home Is Where The Cookies Are


* I have marked this recipe as Paleo because both the filling (if you remove the beans) and the sauce (when you sub maple syrup for the sugar) are Paleo compliant. However, Paleo eaters – you’re on your own when it comes to tortillas and cheese!

Let’s talk eggs, ugly pictures, “viral” posts, and people mad about microwaves.

Eggs in the microwave. Done in two minutes.

These, right up there ↑, are microwaved scrambled eggs.

They may be the simplest concoction I’ve ever posted here.

I was flabbergasted by the ease of them. The one dish wonder. The fastness of it all.

I’d never seen it done before I saw the add in a magazine.

I only had mediocre pics to post with it, but I went ahead and posted.

Then Buzzfeed picked it up, and now it is BY FAR, the most visited page on Home is Where the Cookies Are.

It’s my one claim to fame. My one “viral” post.

I can’t decide how I feel about this.

Stirred up eggs zapped in the microwave and sprinkled with cheese. . . .

And an ugly picture to top it off.

It also happens to be the only post that inspires ugly comments.

One commenter screamed the F-word at me (in writing, of course), for sticking eggs in the microwave.

I did not publish that comment.

Just like I tell my kids Folks – you can disagree with me, but it must be done respectfully.

Then we can have a mature discussion about the dangers of eggs in the microwave.

One, on the Buzzfeed feed, pointed out that I burned the toast (and then another commenter corrected them, “No Dude, it’s pumpernickel”. Thank you Random Defender).

Salted Chocolate Toffee Pretzel Bark/ Crack Bark

This is Crack Bark. Long title: Salted Chocolate Toffee Pretzel Bark.

But truly, it should only really be known as Crack Bark.

‘Nuff said.

You should probably make it.

And if you don’t want to shovel the whole thing down your face hole in one sitting, pre-plan who you are going to share it with.

It’s dangerous and intoxicating, and must be kept in mind for when you’re putting together your gift packages this season.

And again, poor, poor ugly pics that don’t do it justice.

Baked Onion Rings

Baked onion rings.

Must I say anything other than what the picture already tells us?

Crispy, delicious, mock-fried onion rings.

For a while, this was the most popular post in these parts.

Every day, I’d know. . . those darn onion rings again.

But I can’t fault popular demand.

The deserved their run of popularity.

Barbecue Baked Beans From Scratch - With bacon, brown sugar, and Magic Spice, these beans are sweet and spicy and always get rave reviews!

Barbecued Baked Beans from Scratch.


No ugly pics.

The photo’s all right.

And it also, is one of the most visited pages.

Again – can’t fault anyone out there for that.

These are just plain good, and it feels good to make them from scratch.

Martha's Pecan Bars - shortbread base layered with a brown sugar/honey caramel and loads of pecansThose right there ↑ are Martha’s (as in Stewart) Pecan Bars.

I happen to love this picture.

But the food sites did not share the same opinion.

Even though – this cookie bar gained some major momentum on other random food-collection sites, and now is one of the most Pinned recipes.

These are deep-sigh, eyeball-rolling, heavenly good.

Criminals certainly know how to whip up dessert.

And they travel well. Holiday potlucks? Yes. Cookie exchanges? Yes. Mailed to Grandparents. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Kool-Aid Scented Play Dough, make your own fruity scented play dough. DIY

This was my first post to ever make it on to Tastespotting.

Don’t eat this Kool-Aid Scented Play-Dough.

It’s not food, but it’s a darn fun way to make play dough.

And it is a fun thing to stuff into stockings.

Why am I all of the sudden talking about Christmas so much??

Oh. Right.

It’s NOVEMBER already!!!!

What the???!!!

I gotta go.

I need to get my holiday organization on.

Barbecue Baked Beans from Scratch

Barbecue Baked Beans From Scratch - With bacon, brown sugar, and Magic Spice, these beans are sweet and spicy and always get rave reviews!

I had planned on not posting a single thing I thought we ought to make for Independence Day.

I planned to let everyone else do that sort of timely, ultra-organized posting that requires all kinds of pre-planning and fake 4th of July prop-age.

I was going to let it niggle by – a day of sparklers and ice cream and hometown parades – with not a peep about it here but to holler, “Happy Independence Day, America!” from the heart-felt clickety-clack of my keyboard. From me to you – Happy Fourth of July!

Then, these beans came wildly careening onto our dinner table and to then to a screeching halt in a heaping mass on my dinner plate Sunday night.

And my plan changed.

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Taco Chickpeas

I’ve been craving things like, umm, chocolate sour cream bundt cake lately. . .  and french fries.

I really want to start eating healthier. I really do. It’s just so hard to follow through when you have that cake sitting on the counter asking you to use its glaze as lip gloss. (That would be, “lip glaze”).

So I found a happy medium. I saw this idea months ago in Fitness Magazine. Maybe even a whole year ago, because time is like that – a year can feel like just a couple of months.  I was intrigued by the concept of roasted garbanzo beans, but I actually got a little thrill out of the concept of tiny little french fry-ish taco balls.

It doesn’t matter, what it broils down to (you like that?)  is this:

Chickpeas, taco spice, olive oil, bake. It is almost like a taco french fry.
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Vegetarian Antipasto Platter

This has been dubbed, “weird salad” by my family.

But they eat it.

My husband looked at it the other day and said, “What is this?? Is it even a real thing?”


It is.

It’s an awesome thing.

Fresh, and crisp, and clean, and healthy.

It travels through your body scrubbing corners and shaking out the cobwebs after winter holiday abuse.

We went back for seconds and thirds, and so did my middle guy.

You don’t have to do it with the exact ingredients I used. It’s more a concept than anything, and it comes from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks that has yet to fail me.

It’s perfect for a portable lunch. You can make some on Sunday, and it will keep in the fridge till next weekend – if it lasts that long.

It’s great for a simple dinner with some crusty bread and cheese, or maybe as a first course followed by a light pasta or a not-so-light pizza.

Pick your veggies, pick your beans, pick your cheese. . . decide whether or not you want your greens, and dig in. It makes your mouth happy, and it makes your tummy happy.


Veggie Antipasto Salad

Artichoke hearts drained and quartered
Roasted red peppers, sliced
Celery, thinly sliced
Cooked garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
Thinly sliced red onion
Cheese (fresh mozz, shaved parm, crumbled feta. . . )

For the dressing:

extra virgin olive oil
fresh lemon juice
cayenne pepper
Fresh ground black pepper

Serve over your choice of salad greens. (I used baby spinach)


Slice, dice, or otherwise prepare the ingredients you’ve chosen according to your taste. Mine were:
Marinated artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, celery, garbanzo beans, red onion, Kalamata, and green Spanish olives, and grape tomatoes.
Arrange them on a platter in attractive rows if you like. Then sprinkle with your choice of cheese.

Drizzle everything with olive oil and lemon juice and top with cayenne pepper and fresh ground pepper to taste.
(I actually like to put the lemon juice, olive oil, and both peppers into a container, close tightly with a lid and shake them well. Then I drizzle the mixture over everything.)

Place individual servings of greens on separate plates. Top with antipasto mixture, and serve.

If you choose to serve the salad without greens, toss everyting in a colorful jumble in a large serving bowl. Best served warm.

This salad can be kept in the fridge without the greens and tomatoes for up to a week.

Source: Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home by The Moosewood Collective