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Not every dish you prepare is going to be a home run. But I’ve found that every time Mr. O pronounces something, “The best I’ve ever made,” it usually contains very simple items… and my 2 secret ingredients.
Pardon me, but I’m going to string you along for a bit. See if you can guess my 2 secret ingredients as you read.
Okay, so here’s the deal; No matter how much I try, no matter how many times I say I’m going to, I am just not the kind of person who can plan out my meals for the week. Usually I end up thinking up something on the way home from work, or dance, or wherever, and hoping I have the ingredients to make it. If they’re actually defrosted, even better.
That’s why my “secret ingredients” have to be on hand at all times. They can’t be some specialty spice that I have to send away to Malaysia for. They can’t even be something I can’t get at the grocery store or Target. You know how it is – sometimes a quick Target run is all you can handle. And no matter how awesome that little boutique store is, I’m all about 1 stop shopping.
So that narrows it down a bit.
The next thing you need to know is that I have a 5-year-old. She’s not the world’s pickiest eater, but she’s got her ideas about what’s good and what’s not. Anything that has a really strong flavor is deemed “spicy” and, therefore, inedible. So, you can pretty much take out anything like thyme or paprika.
Honestly, my 2 secret ingredients are super simple. I can almost guarantee that you have them both in your kitchen right now.
Are you ready?
Salt and pepper!
Yes, really. That’s it. Salt is a flavor enhancer (if you don’t use too much) and pepper gives your food just a hint of kick. What more do you need?
The trick with these 2 not-so-secret ingredients is balance. If you’re eating a lot of processed foods you’re probably eating more sodium than you should anyway, so adding salt is not advised. But when you’re cooking up some chicken breasts or ground beef a little salt and pepper can really bring out the natural flavor of the meat. If you’re sauteing or broiling veggies, a sprinkle of salt will enhance the flavor.
Are you surprised? Don’t be. There’s a reason these 2 spices are in just about every pantry in the world. They’re incredibly useful and flexible ingredients.
So next time you’re struggling to figure out how to get the best flavor from your dishes, don’t overlook my 2 secret ingredients; salt and pepper.