Is dinner time starting to feel a little same-y every week? It happens. The meal planning routines and limited meal options the whole family agrees on can lead to a little burnout. The good news is you don’t have to go looking for complex recipes to shake things up. Open up your spice cabinet for flavor short cuts to meals you make every day.
Even the staples like meat, potatoes, and rice can taste different and delicious with the right seasonings. The beauty is that you can completely change a recipe’s vibe based on the rub you choose. Here’s a little guide to get you started.
One great way to change up dinner is to season your protein before cooking. When it comes to beef, try seasonings that are savory and have their own strong flavors that can hold their own. We love Crushed Peppercorn & Garlic on steak.
Chicken is the blank slate of meat. Because chicken has a mild flavor, there are many different rubs and spices you can use and get delicious results. You can go from savory flavors to brighter, sweeter flavors and still have something amazing to eat. Pick what fits your mood.
Flavored Rice Side Dish
An easy, affordable way to round out any meal is to serve it with rice. But even a nice, buttery rice can get boring. Add a little bit of seasoning mix to the cooking water, then add your uncooked rice for a flavor upgrade. You can also do this with couscous, orzo, or other grains that absorb the cooking water.
Crispy Potato Wedges
While we’re talking about simple, filling side dishes, let’s not forget about potatoes. You can mash them, roast them, or fry them, but usually, we only think to salt and pepper them. This quick idea for seasoned potatoes can be changed in many ways. One night it could be spicy Tex-Mex potatoes, and next time it could be dill potatoes.
To make them, cut 1 lb. (450 g) russet potatoes into wedges, coat with some oil and sprinkle with seasoning. Bake on a sheet pan at 425°F (220°C) for 30–35 minutes.
You can do so many crazy, delicious things with avocado toast (according to the Internet) and you can top it with anything! But, if you go back to basics with a dash of a different seasoning, you can savor this breakfast staple in a whole new way.
Mash an avocado with a pinch of your seasoning and spread it on toast. We love it with Seasoning Salt, Chipotle Rub, or Garlic & Herb Rub. Then top it with halved cherry tomatoes, red onions, or even sunflower seeds for a little crunch.
Easy Cream Cheese Dip for Veggies
Pair vegetables with a creamy dip to help your family eat their five-a-day. Raw veggies and crackers with dip can liven up after-school snacks or even be a side dish.
Combine room-temperature cream cheese and a little bit of your favorite rub. Choose a seasoning blend that’s salty with a light flavor that won’t compete with the vegetable flavors. Three Onion Rub is a fan favorite for making dips.
Cooking with flavored compound butter can elevate meals in so many ways. Think about the foods that you make that would benefit from compound butter, then choose your seasoning from there.
For example, if your family likes baked potatoes, a dill butter or garlic and herb butter would go great with that. If your family loves Asian flavors, you can make a compound butter for sautéing veggies.
All you have do is combine a stick of room-temperature, salted butter with ½ tsp–1 tsp (2 mL–5 mL) of any seasoning you like.
What are your favorite seasonings to cook with? What flavor shortcuts have saved you from the dinnertime rut? Share them in the comments below.