We’ve all got our favorite herbs and spices, but some ingredients are basics. For many, sugar starts off the day in your tea or coffee. Sugar is also a key ingredient in many treats. Salt, pepper, oil, and vinegar are also non-negotiable. As for condiments, many can be made at home and they’ll most likely taste better that way. A few recipes will get you started, but if you’re curious, head to the store and take a look at the labels on items like specialty dips, taco seasoning and cocktail sauce. You might be surprised to learn you have all the necessary ingredients at home.
Here is a list of the basic pantry items:
Herbs and spices you use the most
Tea and/or coffee
My favorite Taco Seasoning recipe.
1 Tbsp chili powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¼ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp paprika
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container.
Homemade Cocktail Sauce is another easy sauce to whip up at home. I love shrimp in any form and once you try this homemade shrimp cocktail sauce you will never buy it in a bottle again! Best news is that you can make it up to a week ahead and store in your refrigerator. Makes enough for about 8-10 servings.
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons horseradish, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 to 2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined.
Whisk together all the ingredients in a bowl. Taste and add more horseradish or any of the other ingredients to suite your taste. When you’re happy with the sauce, transfer it to a small serving bowl.
Cook the shrimp by poaching them in boiling water, pan-frying them on the stove, or roasting them in the oven until opaque. Arrange the shrimp around the cocktail sauce and serve hot or cold. Delicious!
Homemade salad dressing is another great way to use the ingredients you have on hand. This is my favorite balsamic vinaigrette that only has five ingredients! Store the leftovers in the refrigerator and if the dressing thickens just bring to room temperature before serving.
6 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp pure maple syrup
2 tsp Dijon mustard
6 Tbsp olive oil
Combine the vinegar, lemon juice and maple syrup in a bowl. Add the mustard and then slowly whisk in the olive oil. Perfect on any salad!