Our family sticks to a very strict grocery budget. It has increased quite a bit over the years, but one things that has always remained the same are the spices I stock. For me, spices are a key to keeping costs down in the kitchen while still filling our plates with made-from-scratch tasty and interesting foods.
Spices are the best way I know to add versatility and flavor to a meal. Here is a list of the spices and seasonings I always have on hand:
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Garlic powder
- Chili powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Italian seasoning (I use this interchangeably for either basil or oregano also)
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Dry mustard
I am always amazed at the different flavor combinations I can achieve with just that small amount of spices. Everything from Mexican to Italian to Mediterranean. Since I know that my family enjoys the flavors of all those spices, I never worry about getting creative and trying different combinations or proportions to mix things up a bit.
Also, a well-stocked spice cupboard allows me to make lots of different spice blends and sauces from scratch. Two of my favorites are barbecue sauce and an all-purpose Mexican seasoning.
- 1 1/4 c. ketchup
- 1/4 c. brown sugar
- 2 T. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 T. honey
- 1 t. chili powder
- 1 t. cumin
- 1/2 t. garlic powder
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/4 t. allspice
- 1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
Stir everything together in a small bowl until well blended. Refrigerate until needed. (NOTE: This will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.)
All-Purpose Mexican Seasoning
- 2 T. chili powder
- 1 T. cumin
- 1 T. garlic powder
- 2 t. salt
- 1/4 t. black pepper
- 1/8 t. cayenne pepper
Mix well and store in a glass jar. Can easily be doubled, tripled or more.
I use the all-purpose Mexican seasoning to make taco meat, to season refried beans, mixed with tomato sauce and water for homemade enchilada sauce and tons of other things as well.
I’d definitely be lost in the kitchen without my spices.
What are your must-have spices? And, what are your favorite ways to use your spices?
— Kate Miller is a work-and-stay-at-home mom of 4 crazy kids. She blogs about all her kitchen creations at Cooking During Stolen Moments. Additionally, she is the owner of Stolen Moments Menu Planning where she creates personalized menu plans to help save you time and money in the kitchen.