5 Spices To Elevate Your Skills In The Kitchen

Herbs and spices have a wide range of health benefits.  They can relieve inflammation, fight oxidation and much more.  But most importantly, they can make a bland meal into a bling meal.  By strategically adding a few spices to your food, you can make your food taste a lot better.

Furthermore, using herbs and spices to flavor your food has several benefits such as:

  1.  Consuming less salt.  This lowers your risk of high blood pressure
  2.  Losing weight. Spicy foods make you feel satiated and can help burn calories
  3.  Increased heart health.  Certain herbs and spices can reduce inflammation, which in turn, may reduce heart disease

My top five favorite spices:

  1. Oregano.  Oregano is so versatile that it can be used in almost any dish.  I grow mine fresh and I use it for pesto sauces.  Most recently, I added it to an aioli sauce that I slathered on mini sliders – so good.  This hard-working spice can also be added as a topping to pizza and chicken meals as well.  Sometimes I rub it on red meat and chicken before cooking to give it a head start on flavor.  Best uses – Sprinkle it in pizza as an extra topping, mix it in salad dressing or sprinkle it on fish and poultry before or after cooking.
  2. Saffron.  While saffron is not as versatile as oregano or many of the other spices on this list, it still packs quite a punch.  I mainly use it to add a slightly bitter- mild sweet – flavor to Indian, African, and Spanish meals.  Best uses – Add it to paella, risotto, plain yellow rice, and vegetable stews.  Remember that a little goes a long ways – seriously!
  3. Garlic.  This next spice needs no introduction as it is probably the hardest working spice on the planet.  On top of all of its obvious health benefits, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-viral, it is a no-brainer when it comes to taste.  You can easily add it to almost any pasta or salad, meat and poultry dish you choose.  Although it may have a strong pungent odor, the taste and health benefits are to phenomenal to ignore.  Best uses – Everything as there are very few recipes I have that don’t include a bit of garlic to.  Heap ( I love a lot of garlic) it on soups, salads and roasts.
  4. Ginger.  Ginger is another one of my favorite spices.  The sweet and savory flavor of ginger is awesome with vegies, soups, and stir-fry.  If I have it, I even add ginger to a warm cup of tea.  Best uses – My favorite is adding ginger to either chicken or beef stir-fry.  I try not to use to much because not everyone in my household is a fan.
  5. Cumin.  Last but not least, my last go-to spice is cumin.  With cumin, you get a lot of bang for your buck.  It’s rich, peppery and nutty can be used in a variety of ways, from a chicken rub to popcorn toppings. It lends a great flavor to stews and soups, sauces, beans, and tacos, as well. Best uses – this is definitely a staple in any Mexican dish I cook.   I feel like it gives my Mexican dishes an authentic, yet bold flavor.  In order to get the most out of the spice’s flavor, make sure to use seeds that are freshly ground.Those are my five favorites but there are sooooo many more to choose from.  Just a few quick tips before I go – keep the lid on spices to prevent moisture from seeping in and keep track of when you buy your spices so you know when to replace them (they age and lose flavor after about three years).

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