Eggs. Milk. Butter. Salt. Pepper.
No, I am not listing the ingredients for the perfect fluffy scrambled eggs. These are traditional kitchen essentials. You know, those must-haves necessities to create basic, everyday meals. We all have them. Those few ingredients that are in our pantries, and in our refrigerators. They are our go-to basics, the very things we need to survive.
Of course these items will vary from home to home. For some, the staples may consist of a full rack of red wine, and a freezer full of ice cream. For others, whey protein powder, whole wheat sandwich bread, and almond butter might do the trick. For my husband, several bags of chips, ground beef, and caesar salad dressing must be available at all times.
Since I spend a little more time in the kitchen, my list is just a smidge longer and a bit more complex. I love creating different dishes and experimenting with flavors, so I expect my must haves to not only pack a full punch, but to be versatile enough to use across the spectrum. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Italian, American, Mexican. And so much in between.
Onion Powder. Not only is this seasoning super potent and full of flavor, it is also an amazing time saver. Chopping onions can sometimes take forever (not to mention the burning sensation and watering of the eyes), but onion powder adds all of that sautéed oniony goodness in two shakes of a lambs tail.
Garlic Butter Spread. Seriously, if you are not a believer, you should be. Of course garlic spread is a great addition to a loaf of French bread, but have you ever thought about any of the other endless possibilities? Baked potatoes. Shrimp Scampi. Spinach dip. Or simply brushed onto the crust of your oven baked pizza. See…I told you the possibilities were endless.
Hot Sauce. Not Tabasco sauce. Hot Sauce. Franks Red Hot to be exact. You really can put that sh*t on everything. The above mentioned scrambled eggs. Catfish. Chicken. I especially love adding hot sauce to my frying batters, as well as to my braised collard greens. A few dabs will do ya, but the spicy acidic elements do something magical.
Seasoning Salt. It is so rare that I use plain salt. In fact, I think most of its usage goes to rimming margarita glasses at my house. Seasoning salt combines salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and more. So robust. So delicious. So necessary.
Lemons and Limes. Can enough really be said about citrus fruits? They are wonderful for creating dressings and sauces (one of my new favorite areas of experimentation), merry with so many flavors from around the world, and seem to instantly cut the grease after a heavy meal. Both lemons and limes make beautiful garnishments, cut the harsh liquor taste in just about every cocktail, and can be a simple yet elegant centerpiece for any dining room table.
The next time you are in the grocery store strolling aisle by aisle, pick up a few of my faves. Substitute them in your recipes. See if my kitchen essentials make a believer out of you too.