About two years ago I made a homemade version of Fritos Chili Cheese Corn Chips - completely homemade with Corn Masa dough cut into little strips and the frying and seasoning, etc. and it was good... but after hours of mixing, frying, taste-testing, adjusting, taste-testing, baking, taste-testing... I was so sick of chili cheese corn chips and my stomach rebelled with the grease, the spices... I didn't even want to smell them for a month, much less eat another one.
Such is the 'taste testing' process of many recipes.
And this is one of them.
A great food product that after five continuous hours (yes, 5) in the kitchen tasting and testing and cooking and frying and sprinkling and tasting... I had a hard time even wanting to post the results. I didn't even want to think about Dorito Dust flavoring anymore. But I have to - because it's a great food idea I want to make sure I make again in the future (far, far future....) but also need it posted so my kids can try making it.
By the time I was done taste-testing and adjusting, I had about 4 cups of this seasoning! Ha Ha. So I closed up shop for the night and use my food sealer to seal it in air-tight bags and tossed them (far back) in my pantry for a future time when Doritos flavored chips, taco shells, Chex mix, popcorn and baked potatoes sound good again. Because right now... they don't.
If you've been around An American Housewife before (and stayed awhile) you probably know I'm a huge proponent of keeping a stocked pantry for 'unexpected' things in life, be they made-man or by nature. This includes not only a well stocked cupboard and pantry, but canned, dehydrated and freeze dried foods for long term storage.
This makes it easy for me to throw together recipes without having to run out and purchase or order many items - but I know most people don't keep cheese powder, powdered tomato, red pepper, etc. on hand. I will link to some of these items below from Amazon since I'm an affiliate there, but just as a side-note - I order a lot of my long term food storage items directly from Emergency Essentials and The Ready Store, Auguson Farms, etc.
When I decided to tackle a nacho flavored Dorito, I had most everything I needed (or thought I'd need). NOTE: I had diced freeze dried red and green peppers I just ground up in the food processor with the cheese mix. I tried to powder them alone first, using a clean coffee grinder but they just flew all over and didn't grind because they have almost no weight to them. After the coffee grinder and a small Cuisinart processor, I finally resorted to adding them in with the powders in the larger food processor and that worked perfectly. Companies like Harmony House offer it in powder form and I probably would have bought it if I didn't already have freeze dried on hand.
To make this, I had about 4 different lists of seasonings and spices and such to use... no real amounts, and some items I knew I wouldn't use (like nutritional yeast) because I didn't have it and wasn't in the mood to buy it. I also was loosely basing this recipe test on the chili cheese corn chips I made 2 years ago from a camping and food storage recipe.
This is the part that scientific 'tell me exactly how much to use' people are going to hate.
Because it's not like that.
I'm not going to tell you exactly how much or what products you must use.
EVERYONE tastes things differently. Similar... but different. So what I think tastes really good or exactly right on target, my husband tastes a little differently. For the most part, I tend to pick up on tiny, subtle tastes or smells as a HUGE difference and can't or won't eat many items because of it. (*Like Carbquick mix or soy flour - yuck!) For me, the flavor is a massive, screaming flavor that overwhelms everything it's in... yet some people can't taste it at all! See how this works?)
I can give you an approximate measurement or a measurement to start with.
But then you have to taste it. And add and delete until YOU think it tastes "about right".
I started to scribble down on my notes every time I added more flavors but it got crazy and I just stopped. Sorry.
Cheddar Cheese Powder (think; the cheese packet of macaroni & cheese - but more of it)
Red Bell Pepper Powder (can be ground from freeze dried red bell peppers)
Green Bell Pepper Powder (can be ground from freeze dried green bell peppers)
Nacho Cheese popcorn seasoning
Whatever you want to use it on: Corn chips, corn tortillas, baked potatoes, taco shells, rice or corn Chex cereal, bread, popcorn, Bugle snacks, peanuts... the list goes on.
In a food processor start with approximately;
1 1/4 cup cheese powder
1/2 cup tomato powder
2/3 cup freeze dried red bell peppers
1/4 cup freeze dried green bell pepper
2 tablespoons nacho cheese popcorn flavoring
1 tablespoon garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder
2 t paprika, turmeric and salt
1 t MSG
I didn't use any cayenne but some people use that and a dash of dry mustard powder.
I added more tomato powder, popcorn seasoning and onion powder.
I added more turmeric. Then realized I wanted a little more red pepper powder.
I added a little more salt and MSG to mine.
Then I added more cheese powder, then more turmeric and then more garlic powder and onion powder.
I added more chili powder.
Then... I was happy with it. Or at least sick of taste-testing it and decided it was "close enough". And I found the flavor changes when added to hot foods! It becomes even more vibrant and fresh and delicious so keep that in mind when tasting.
And then I started to use it on all the foods in my kitchen!!!!!
I cut white corn tortillas up into triangles and fried them in hot oil. Placing them on paper towels briefly to drain and then quickly dipping them into the dust and back on a paper towel. These were a huge hit with my family.
We used these not only to snack on as a regular nacho cheese chip, but used them in taco salads.
Since I had the corn tortillas out, I fried them up and seasoned them to make taco shells. My family loves these.
Made the same way I made the chips; fry in hot oil, drain, dip to season and back on a paper towel.
Kind of a pain in the back-side to make when you can buy them at the store pretty cheap, but this way you know exactly what went in them to make I guess! Next time I'm just going to lightly spray store bought taco shells with Pam, season, and pop into the oven at 350 for a few minutes. :)
I don't know if they are still on the market or not, but in parts of the US there are flavored Chex mixes with BBQ seasoning on them that we tried once and really liked. That got me thinking of using the dust to make Dorito Corn Chex for a snack!
Since I had worked on this one for 5 hours, I was sick of the smell, site and taste of anything remotely related to the seasonings anymore so I washed off my orange cheese encrusted fingers, brushed my thankful tongue and teeth and packaged up the remaining seasonings with my food sealer.
NOTE: I LOVE MY CHILI CHEESE VERSION - and was finally able to eat it again after 'over doing it' with recipe taste-testing chili cheese corn chips from 2 years ago. JUST ADD MORE CHILI POWDER to the mix - taste test - and use on corn chips.
You might be interested in some related products available through Amazon (these and all the other ingredients can be found online if you can't find them locally);
Frontier Turmeric Root Ground, 1.92-Ounce Bottle
Harmony House Foods Dried Tomato Powder (6 oz, ZIP Pouch)
Mother Earth Products Freeze Dried Bell Peppers, Red, 1 Full Quart
Hoosier Hill Farm Cheddar Cheez Powder, 1 Pound
Freeze Dried Green Bell Peppers - 14 oz
Kernel Season's Nacho Cheddar Seasoning, 2.85 Ounce Shakers (Pack of 6)
Hamilton Beach Food Processor