We all have a kitchen full of basic ingredients that get us by from meal to meal without really pushing our culinary limits.  However, what if I told you that you could add 5 affordable ingredients to your staple items and it would transform your recipes and take them to a new level?

Let's get started!



One of the basics of Mediterranean cooking is this simple puree.  But it has a complex flavor that not only is the ground floor for hummus, falafel, and even thai and Chinese noodle dishes.

You can find Tahini in most grocery stores for around $7.00 and that jar will last you a while!

0002.jpgRoasted Cauliflower with Lemon Tahini Sauce 

Tahini lasts a long time and you can use it for so many quick and easy dishes or appetizers. Toss it together with some olive oil and lemon juice and it is a quick dressing or dip for vegetables. You can even spread it over fish or before roasting carrots for a Mediterranean region flare.

Anchovy Paste


Looking for a great umami flavor but don't want to get side-tracked with searching for an umami paste packed with artificial ingredients? Go for a simple anchovy paste and simplify.

What is umami?  It is a flavor that represents the savory taste, is one of the five basic tastes. Not to be confused with saltiness, umami is a deeper and more complex flavor.


Fish in Caper Lemon Sauce

This is another unusual ingredient that is actually found in many of the commercial food you are probably used to eating. You can find it easily in most grocery stores or even fresh in some specialty stores.

It is salty, powerful, and a little tube will last a long time. So go lightly.  You can always add more later.


I love matcha.  Not only as a tea drink, but in cookies, syrups, and even soup! Matcha is finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea.


Why Matcha? Because it is a superfood and SO GOOD FOR YOU!

You can find a good matcha powder in most Asian markets and many health markets like Whole Foods or online. Make sure you fully dissolve the powder to keep from having a grainy texture.


I only buy local honey because it has the freshest flavor, to fight of seasonal allergies, and honey contains many enzymes that help in digestion and immune support.

Honey can vary in price, but you really don't need to spend a fortune on good honey. I like to shop at our local farmers and craft markets and support local bees.

Many people think honey is just a sweetener, however in my house we use honey for more savory dishes than sweet. Mix it in with salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic, and paprika and pour it over salmon before you bake or BBQ. YUMM!


Texas Roadhouse Butter


Tiny, salty, versatile. These are the words I think of when I think of capers.  A tiny little jar of flavor.

You'll find them in the canned goods or the Italian section of the grocery store.  They run about $3.50 for a small jar that again will last you a long time. You can get them in salt or in oil, but trust me they do not need the salt!

I use them to top anything from pasta to deviled eggs. I love them baked with lemons over tilapia. So many ways to use them!


Southern-Style Pickled Shrimp

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