Sunday, January 12, 2014

Spice things up!

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 =)


  1. I will have to start checking out the spices at TJ Maxx. I have to admit I am really bad about eating protein. I am more likely to eat a carb and a vegetable. Raw meat tends to gross me out although I am nowhere close to being a vegetarian.

    1. I used to eat carbs, veggies & protein at every meal. I'm trying to cut back on carbs these days though. Meat used to gross me out too, now it's nothing though.

      And yes! Check the spices at TJ Maxx. They have an amazing selection!


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