When you cook, buying spices can really get expensive. It’s especially frustrating when you purchase a specialty spice for a dish and can’t find other recipes in which to use it up. To keep your cupboards from overflowing with bottles, here is my list of top five ingredients you’ll be happy you have on hand.
Salt is the staple seasoning. It enhances the flavor of meats, sauces, vegetables and just about everything else. Plus you use it both in cooking and baking so it serves double duty.
2. Black Pepper
Black pepper is almost as universal as salt. It adds zing without being overpowering and can be added to almost any dish to keep it from being bland.
3. Pumpkin Pie Spice
Pumpkin pie spice is a great option to replace nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves in recipes and gain space in your spice rack. Using pumpkin pie spice instead of a single seasoning like cinnamon or nutmeg also helps add complexity to your dish. It’s great for baking, but I’ve also been known to use pumpkin pie spice to enhance vegetables like sweet potatoes from time to time.
4. Italian Seasoning Blend
Italian seasoning is a blend of spices, like basil and oregano, which are often used in traditional Italian dishes. In addition to condensing several spice bottles into one, it’s great because it’s incredibly versatile. Use it as a meat rub before grilling or to season your spaghetti sauce.
5. Cajun Seasoning Blend
Cajun seasoning blend is a mixture of traditional Cajun spices and can be used as a replacement in recipes for cayenne pepper, red pepper, and the like–reducing the number of containers in your pantry. It works well on fish and other seafood, but go easy at first, some people aren’t ready for the intensity these spices can bring.