Kitchen Staples: The Spice Rack

One thing I’ve learned while living on my own the past year or so is that there are many things that you need to keep stocked in your kitchen. This does not just apply to the pantry or the fridge, but also your hardware and spice rack. I will do a series of this blogs for each area of your kitchen.

I’m not one to use a lot of spices. I don’t know why. I feel most of the time that my food doesn’t need seasoning, unless it is a pinch of salt. However, there are many types of spices you need in your pantry on a regular basis if you want to keep things interesting! Let’s count down, shall we?

10. Taco seasoning! That’s right. Why is it a staple? Because when you get a hankering for tacos, you find you don’t have any laying around. But the thing is, it’s not just for tacos! You can give a Spanish flavor to rice, beans, fish, quinoa, pasta, the list continues. Many searches through Pinterest have led me to this recipe for your own seasoning: http://www.5dollardinners.com/homemade-taco-seasoning/ . It’s healthy, has no added preservatives and you can freeze it. Unfortunately for me, I have a hard time living without my McCormick seasonings and go the easy route.

9. Chicken Chili Seasoning Chicken Chili you say? Heck yes, I say. I will be posting a recipe for it later (when it’s made in the Handy Dandy CrockPot!) but for now it’s just the seasoning. My mom introduced me to chicken chili when I was in college. I came home and she declared a new recipe was to be tested. I agreed and it has been on the rotating menu ever since! The spices are simple (again, McCormick is my go to here). Another reason to make your own is to save monies!

8. Salt & Pepper of course! Need I say more?

7. McCormick Salt Free, All Purpose Seasoning. You could make your own, but why bother right now. It’s a simple concoction of several seasonings and spices. “ONION, SPICES (INCLUDING PARSLEY, BASIL, OREGANO, THYME, AND RED PEPPER), GARLIC, LEMON PEEL, CELERY, AND PAPRIKA.” mccormick.com. I promise you I’m not endorsed by them (although that would be nice, wink wink), but I find their products reasonable and easy to use. They also have these Perfect Pinch Spices out that give major zing to anything without major zing. I tried their Perfect Pinch Vegetable Seasoning on some yellow squash and zucchini over the summer, and I will never go back. Please visit their website for more info: www.mccormick.com

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6. Olive & Vegetable Oils. Yes, I understand they aren’t “spices” per se, but they do sit with the rest of them and talk about how to make food taste better. I use mostly olive oil, but I switch between the two because it is so darn expensive. I will get it from the bulk store because it lasts longer and is slightly cheaper. Veggie oils I use mainly for things in the oven or baking.

5. Oregano. Don’t know why, just seemed like the go to spice. I use it mainly in brothy things because the heat lets it swim throughout. The trick is to crush it in the palm of your hand before you add it to anything to release its natural oils.

4. Garlic and/or garlic powder. It’s to keep the vampires away. I really eat a lot of garlic. It’s good for your heart and for your blood. My stepdad makes what he calls “tempura” (not Japanese) with crushed garlic and salt and we use it on everything! But garlic is pretty go to because you can saute it to add more intense flavor to a meal.

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3. Cumin. The key ingredient to regular chili.

2. Cinnamon. It smells great and you can use it to sweeten a pot. My grandmother used to stick cinnamon sticks and orange peels in water on the boiler and the aroma would fill the house. It was incredible.

1. Baking Soda. It is one of the most versatile things you have in your kitchen. Why? Because it can be used for cooking, cleaning, healing, uh…. I could go on, but instead I’ll tell a story. Spiders like to eat me, frequently. One day, I woke with a huge spider bite on my leg. It just kept getting bigger, badder, and redder with each day. I didn’t want to go to the doctor, so I scoured the internet for natural solutions. One was to mix baking soda and water to form the paste. I did and applied several times. Within 12 hours, the baking soda drew out the poison and my leg healed with no scars! Moral: Baking soda is awesome.

Please comment below and let me know what spices you keep in your cabinet and what you most commonly use them for.

(Courtesy of Google Images)

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