Looking for new ways to spice up your meals? Some foods can be so bland and boring, and even a recipe needs a little more flavor to it every now and again. Here at Budget Meal Planner, we’d like to introduce you to 7 different spices you need to know how to use.
Before we start, have a look at the spices already in your cupboard and make a list. You’ll be surprised by what’s already there, and what you haven’t been using much of (until now). There are ways to be creative with what you already have to help improve your meals, the way you like them.
There’s no sense in buying pre-seasoned meat or Old El Paso taco mix, when you can save money by utilizing what’s already in your kitchen. Even the cost of a few new spices and herbs will be less than one-off spice mixes and other pre-seasoned foods.
Garlic salt is an easy burst of flavor you can add to your food. It’s made of a mixture of dried ground garlic and table salt. It’s a delicious and simple, all-natural seasoning for almost anything. If you have garlic cloves or garlic powder and salt in your pantry, you can even make your own garlic salt. It’s easy to mix at home, takes very little time and can save you money.
What to Use Garlic Salt with:
Use garlic salt with anything you’d use regular salt for savory flavor.
- Dry-based rubs
- Mashed potatoes
Although you can buy taco seasoning in the store, you might already have the ingredients in your cupboard. Taco seasoning is made of chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin and salt. For extra spice, add some black pepper and cayenne pepper to this delicious Mexican seasoning.
What to Use Taco Seasoning with:
- Any Mexican dish
- Tater tots
Thyme is part of the mint family, and one of the most commonly used herbs in the world. It has a lovely and gentle flavor that blends beautifully with just about anything. Its taste is a bit earthy with lemon and mint tones. You can grow it in your garden and use it fresh or dried in all kinds of dishes. It’s about ‘thyme’ you started using this herb in your meals.
What to Use Thyme with:
- Fresh bread
- Pesto sauce
Cinnamon comes from the inner bark of cinnamomum tree. It is extremely aromatic, described as woody and wintery, and often used in those irresistibly delicious baked goods. Cinnamon has a unique sweet and savory flavor, and is the second most popular spice in the U.S.
What to Use Cinnamon with:
- Sweet potatoes
- Baked goods
Lemon pepper is a seasoning made from granulated lemon zest and cracked black peppercorns. The lemon zest is grinded with the pepper to allow the citrus oil to infuse into the pepper. The strong citrus notes of lemon compliment the slightly bitter black pepper, and these two flavors work well to not overpower one another.
What to Use Lemon Pepper with:
- Salad dressings
- Grilled vegetables
- Fish breading and crusts
Italian seasoning is a blend of dried Italian-inspired herbs such as basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. If you don’t have all of these spices in your cupboard, even blending just a few can give you good results. Common additions also include garlic powder, sage, and coriander, but no salt. This is a no-stress seasoning because, after all, it’s nothing more than a blend of common herbs.
What to Use Italian Seasoning with:
- Grilled vegetables
- Sauces and salad dressings
Rosemary is also a member of the mint family, and most often used in barbecued dishes. It has a wonderful woodsy scent that is similar to charred wood, although some say it also has hints of lemon. The taste of rosemary is piney, however also slightly bitter. This sharp flavor can be used fresh or dried.
What to Use Rosemary with:
One other way to be budget friendly with your spices and herbs is to grow your own. Spending a few dollars on fresh herbs and spices each time you need them, will quickly add up. Luckily, you don’t need a large garden to supply your own herbs, just a few seeds, a pot with some soil and a windowsill with plenty of light. Obviously everyone’s cooking habits are different, but if you enjoy fresh herbs, a great way to save money is to grow it at home.
Do you have any favorite spices to share? Leave it in the comments below! And don’t forget to check out our meal plans to help you with your money-saving goals.