Whether you are a novice in the kitchen or a seasoned pro (pun absolutely intended) there is always a time for a little extra flavour when cooking. 

Over the years of experimenting with new recipes, trying out different cuisines and more recently going through the baby weaning experience I’ve learned that there are a few ingredients I cannot live without to add flavour to any dish I put on my weekly meal planner. 

meal planner notepad

You don’t need one of those huge fancy pantry’s from The Home Edit organised with matching jars and labels (although personally I would LOVE that) to enjoy cooking and create tasty meals for the whole family to enjoy. Keep it simple with a few ingredients and you cannot go wrong.

I will caveat this post with the fact that I’m not a chef or trained in any kind of cooking skill at all. All of my experience, tips and cooking ideas come from recipe books, watching TV shows and following fab foodies on Instagram. Plus, during my time working on cooking shows as part of my day job I’ve definitely absorbed some knowledge over the years.

Right let’s get to it, here are my top 5 store cupboard ingredients to help enhance your cooking;

Mixed herbs

For me fresh herbs are always the best thing to add to any meal HOWEVER for those meals you cobble together the day before you do your weekly food shop it’s always worth having a jar of mixed herbs in the cupboard to add a bit of flavour. They are great to add to tomato puree to make a quick pasta sauce or pop them in with your eggs when you make an omelette.

Smoked paprika 

There are 3 types that I know of, sweet, smoked and hot. They don’t all do the same thing! If you’re only going to buy one type I’d go for the smoked, it adds so much flavour to any dish, even with a small amount you will notice it.

You can add this into your pasta sauce with the mixed herbs above or I like to toss potato wedges in it with a little olive oil and sea salt before popping in the oven to go golden and crisp. A quick and simple way of livening up the humble potato.

Sea salt

When I say sea salt I mean a good quality sea salt, my preference is Maldon Sea Salt. If you are not sure what sea salt adds over normal table salt then let me share a tip that I picked up a few years ago. If you cannot see it on your finished dish use table salt, if you can see it add sea salt.

I may have butchered it a little but does that make sense? For example when you are cooking pasta, add table salt to the water. However when you are making your potato wedges (as above) you will see the salt when they’ve finished cooking so add sea salt. Not only does it add flavour it adds a little texture too. 

Garlic granules

I only discovered these recently, actually when starting to wean my little one. One of the many weaning books I used a lot for ideas suggested it. At first I was a little dubious but just a little sprinkle of these granules in a sauce adds a huge amount of flavour. Again like the herbs I do prefer fresh garlic but I will always have a jar of granules in the cupboard for those quick fixes. 

You can also get frozen garlic these days which I have tried a couple of times but I don’t use it often and I find after a while in the freezer it’s very hard to get anything out, it becomes one solid block. That's why the garlic granules have become my new go to back up.

Worcester sauce

I’m sure you all have a bottle of this in the cupboard, it’s perfect to add to cheese on toast, a pot of chilli or spag bol as well as gravy and anything else that needs a little boost. You can also do exactly the same with Marmite!



That concludes my top 5 store cupboard staples to add flavour to your meals. Are you going to add these to your shopping list notepad now ready for the next big shop?

If I’ve inspired you to get cooking why not check out my mid week meal blog posts for some inspiration for next week’s meal planner.

Thanks for reading.

Sarah x

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