To kick of Nessa’s Necessities, I’m going to share with you 5 items that I ALWAYS have in my spice cabinet. These items are ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for the majority of the meals I prepare. I use these seasonings at least once on a daily basis because they are a quick and easy way to add a bunch of flavor, without having to use many products. Mind you, if you were to open my pantry, you’d find shelves of containers of spices that I pick up from the farmer’s market. But the truth is, I only use those spices for very specific dishes and flavors I am craving, and I can get away with only these 5 essential spice cabinet options to make any meal delicious.
Now you won’t find salt on this list. There’s enough salt in all purpose seasonings as it is. Long ago, I realized, no matter how many recipes only use salt and pepper to “season” the food, salt and pepper really does not make my taste buds happy. Putting only salt and pepper on chicken is not seasoning it. So stop it!
At the top of the list: Goya’s Adobo
I use this for LITERALLY EVERYTHING I cook. I mainly use the Adobo All Purpose Seasoning as a “finishing seasoning.” Now, what I mean by finishing seasoning… when my food is just about done cooking on the stove, I sprinkle some Adobo on top and stir it some more as the food finishes cooking. Adobo is very salty, which can be not so good when used in excess, but its salt content is also why I love to use it as a finishing seasoning. Since I do not season with salt, using Adobo is a great way for me to add the perfect amount of saltiness to my meal. Add since I’m not adding straight up salt, I’m using over a third less milligrams of sodium using Adobo over table salt. If you’re heavy-handed or have high-blood pressure, try using the Adobo Light, which has 50% less sodium than the original.
Second: Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning
Also another all purpose seasoning I use in most of my meals. I use this creole seasoning as a “base seasoning” for all of my meats and tofu; I either use it as a rub and let it sit in the fridge for a while to let the flavors seep in, or I just sprinkle some on the meat before pan-searing or baking it. Being a creole seasoning, this product contains black pepper, red pepper, and chilli powder, which add a nice kick to whatever you’re using it on. I like a little spice on my plate, so I often use the Creole seasoning on my sides as well (there are also “More Spice” and “No Salt” options). It’s great on sauteed and roasted veggies, beans, and french fries. This is also what I use to make my Creole chicken alfredo 🙂
Third: Dried Italian Herbs
Most of the people I know have dried Italian herbs in their kitchen. If you’re not one of those people, you should be. Even though I love using fresh herbs in sauces, these dried herbs are great for everyday dishes when you don’t have a lot of time to prep. Dried thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, and sage are good additions to soups and stews since the liquid will rehydrate the herbs and bring out lots of flavor!
Fourth: McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning
No, this is not only great on steak. I love to sprinkle this atop any grilled, baked, or pan-seared meat I cook— salmon, chicken, tuna steaks, pork chops, and of course steak. The garlic becomes as tender as fresh garlic, while the coarse salt adds a little crunch to the sear. This seasoning also adds a nice peppery flavor to meat, making it perfect for grilling.
Fifth: Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
Your typical ground black pepper is not the same as cracked black pepper. Whole peppercorns are much fresher and more versatile than ground pepper. You can get a pepper grinder that allows you to adjust the size of cracked pepper. I like coarser pepper on my meats, and finer pepper on my sides such as rice, pasta, and potatoes. Another bonus for using a pepper grinder is that you don’t get that suffocating dust that you get with containers of ground pepper.