How To Make Ordinary Meals Extraordinary With Herbs And Spices

Adding herbs and spices to a favorite dinner recipe will turn an ordinary meal into an extraordinary one. Using fresh herbs will add needed vitamins and nutrients to any food recipe and diet without adding calories. When you start cooking with herbs and spices, you’ll love the wonderful aromas created in your kitchen. Learning to use herbs will also make cooking more fun and have your dinner guests impressed. Family and friends will always look forward to having dinner at your home. Cooking gourmet style in your own home is possible when you use the right amount of seasoning with herbs and spices.

Some common and favorite herbs are basil, parsley, savory, thyme, rosemary, chervil, Tarragon, coriander, cumin, chili, caraway, dill, ginger, garlic, lemongrass and curry, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. These are just a few of the many herbs used to alter the flavor and aroma of foods. Other flavoring agents are vinegars, marinades and oils, fruit zests and juices such as orange, lemon & lime.

Fresh herbs are becoming more available in local food markets and dried herbs have been available forever it seems. Salt, pepper onions and garlic have been favorite flavor enhancers over the ages, but with the popularity of gourmet cooking a wider variety of herbs and spices are now becoming more widely used. Here are some of the common herb combinations used with foods:

Meat & Herbs:
Use the following herbs with each type of meat...

Pork -Rosemary and Mint
Beef -Garlic, oregano and curry
Chicken -Thyme, Ginger, Curry
Lamb -Mint and Rosemary
Duck -Mint (with orange zest), Thyme (with apples)
Turkey -Basil, Thyme and Savory

Fish & Herbs
Salmon, Trout, Tuna, Mahi-Mahi, etc

Herbs that work well with Fish are; Dill, Lemongrass, Lemon & Lime juice

Vegetables & Herbs
Potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, beans, peas, asparagus, eggplant, beets, etc.

Herbs that are good with vegetables are; basil, parsley, thyme, coriander, cumin, and oregano

Fruit & Herbs
Apples, peaches, pears, melons, bananas, and berries

Herbs that work well with fruit are; mint, ginger, lemongrass, and rosemary

Oils & Vinegars
Popular herbs that work well in oils and vinegars are; thyme, oregano, coriander and rosemary

My all time favorite flavor enhancers along with herbs, are pressed garlic cloves, minced onions, course ground black pepper and a hint of salt. There are so many ways to alter the flavor and goodness of foods using herbs. Don’t be afraid to experiment with herbs because it is so easy to add them to any dish.

Buying Herbs
Herbs and spices can be expensive to buy at the fresh food section of the supermarkets. Even the dried varieties are expensive if bought in the small prepackaged bottles. The least expensive way to stock up on dried herbs is to look for places where they sell in smaller quantities such as at bulk food stores. This way you can get more variety of herbs for the least amount of expense and you’ll be ready for any recipe.

Growing Fresh Herbs
You may even want to think about growing your own herbs at home. Having a fresh supply of herbs at home is a healthy and less expensive alternative to buying them. Herbs are best grown in container pots and as long as they have good indirect sunlight they can produce an endless amount of fresh herbs. Growing potted herbs at home is fairly low maintenance as well. Once you start incorporating these herbs and spices in your favorite dinner recipes you’ll wonder how you ever cooked without them.

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About The Author, Deborah Prosser
Deborah is a partner in Ipcor Publishing and Personal Logs.com. She is publisher of the website Get In Shape.Find more information about herbs and spices on her webpage Herbs and Spices. Download a Free copy of the e-book '101 Everyday Tips To Lose 10 Lbs' from her Get In Shape website.