Spices You Can't Live Without

I cook quite a bit during the week to save money and to keep our waist lines in check.  It hasn't always been easy and sometimes I do resort to a frozen pizza or my favorite 7-layer burrito.  But, I've noticed that having my pantry full and my spice rack stocked makes it easier for me to make meals that my family will love and that taste better than take-out any night of the week.  The trick is knowing what to keep on hand.   

One idea I had to quickly and efficiently stock your spice cabinet was to buy one of those pre-filled spice racks I keep seeing in the stores and online (here's one from amazon that has caught my eye).  And for those that have money burning in your pockets you can go and do just that.  I will warn you that if you are not a confident cook you won't know what to do with half the spices you get in those racks and then they go stale before you get the courage to even use them.  It's not a wise investment for everyone. 

A better idea and one that I use when re-stocking my pantry is to think about what spices I actually use on a weekly basis in my home cooking and go from there.  Don't worry about spending a ton of money on spices and seasonings.  There are some great options out there.  One place I have found recently that has a nice selection that is not too overwhelming is Aldi's.  I can get all of my basic spice needs and I don't spend an arm and a leg doing it.

Aldi's Spice Rack Display

So, here are some of my favorite basic spices that I think every cook needs:

  • Onion Powder or Flakes - Keep this around for those nights when you either forgot to buy onion or don't have the energy to chop one up. 
  • Garlic Powder or Dried Garlic - Sometimes you just need a little more concentrated garlic flavor.  This will do the trick and it will save you time in the kitchen.
  • Dried Parsley - I love the green color this gives to any dish.  I use dried parsley in almost anything.
  •  Bay Leaves - They season stock, soups, and stews.  Just remember to fish out any bay leaves before serving.
  • Poultry Seasoning - This mixture usually includes sage, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, and black pepper.  It's an economical way to get all that flavor from just one jar.  I use quite a bit of poultry seasoning during the holidays.  

This is just the few basics that I can't live with out in my kitchen.  In my next Spice Rack Post I will share some of my favorite spices for Italian & Mexican or Tex-Mex cooking.

What are some of your go-to spices in your spice pantry? 


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    Emily Elliott

    Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard. Google

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