I cook dinner about 5-6 nights a week. Sometimes it's a complicated, Sunday dinner type meal that has me in the kitchen for hours and hours. But most nights I keep it simple: a sauteed protein & vegetables.
My step dad used to tease me about how often I cooked chicken. In my opinion, chicken gets a bad rep as being boring. It can be boring if you don't season it well, but so can anything. In my opinion, the most important thing in a kitchen is a well stocked spice cabinet.
Honestly, I have more spices than I probably need. I have a jar of jerk seasoning that I've used exactly one time, and a can of Old Bay that I've used maybe twice. But other than those, I use spices a LOT when I'm cooking and I'm always looking for delicious new varieties to try.
The tall jars contain things I use frequently, and use a lot of. Like cumin. And my beloved rosemary and basil sea salt. I love using mason jars for my spices. The opening is large enough for even my largest spoon. I started using these when I redid my pantry last year, and I haven't looked back since. Not to mention, the wide mouth also makes refilling them really easy.
But of all the spices that I have, I have three that are my "go-to". I use one (or more) of these three seasonings for every meal I make.
My all time favorite it this rosemary basil sea salt. I found this at TJ Maxx last year. I had always been hesitant about buying food items there, but it was in date and I was intrigued, so I bought a jar.
The next day I went back and bought the other three jars that they had. And then two more jars at another store. #obsessed
This stuff is amazing. It's great on chicken, fish or pork. And it's excellent on vegetables. I usually sprinkle this on zucchini when I'm sauteeing it, or broccoli before I roast it. I really can't get enough of it.
(Since I'm not opening these three until the current one is empty, I keep them in the freezer to help with freshness.)
The Montreal Steak seasoning is a great, versatile blend. It's perfect for everything, considering it's coarse salt, pepper, onion & garlic. I use this for a thick crust on steaks, but I also use it on chicken, fish or anytime a recipe calls for salt & pepper but I'm too lazy to grind it myself. I've been known to just shake the jar a few times into spaghetti sauces or pots of chili. For the past 7-8 years, I've always had a jar of this in my spice cabinet.
I love salt, and use more than I should, but they do have a low sodium version, and a spicy version. Both are really good.
Lastly, my newest favorite is the Tailgater's blend from the Spice & Tea Exchange. I bought a small packet of it at the store in Bentonville, Arkansas and I was so happy that there was a store in Williamsburg. This stuff is awesome on chicken & pork and on roasted potatoes.
So, there you go. Delicious dinners don't have to be complicated or require specialty ingredients. Just try a few seasoning blends or spices, find flavors you & your family love and go crazy =)