OK, it's happened to all of us before. You're making dinner and there are lots of flavorful ingredients in your dish, but for some reason it just tastes…bland. Boring. Uninspired. I made a burrito bowl the other week and even though it was piled high with veggies and proteins of all shapes and colors, I couldn't get over how dull the dish tasted. The next night I experimented and added a ton of different seasonings and spices, and it made a world of difference—it was so much better! Spices are, well, the spice of life for the food world. So if you feel like your dishes could use an extra kick, I would highly recommend trying some new seasoning combinations to elevate the flavors. Probably the most commonly used seasoning mixes would be for chili, pizza, and tacos, and I've got delicious suggestions for all three!
Pizza: This one is probably my favorite, but that's because pizza is my favorite food, so I'll declare that bias up front. I've tried this seasoning on both homemade pizza and store-bought frozen pizza, and I absolutely love it! I used to always sprinkle a generous amount of pre-made Italian seasoning on our pizza, and it definitely helped, but this seasoning mix makes the Italian seasoning look like a fool. It's so much more complex and flavorful and adds a lot of dimension to the taste. I add it before I bake the pizza, but you could use it on top of a takeout pizza as well.
Chili: This is definitely a chili (and a "chilly") time of the year for us here in Missouri, so it's a good idea to have a good seasoning mix on hand to make the dish more exciting. This seasoning is really well-rounded, and it's on the milder side as far as heat goes (which I like). Of course you can add more of the spicy ingredients if you like your chili hot. I omitted the flour on this recipe (a lot of the reviews suggested that). If you are making a chili recipe that calls for a packet of seasoning (usually single packets have 1 oz of spices in them), then I would start with 2 tablespoons of this seasoning and add more if needed. I ended up using about 3 tablespoons total for my chili recipe.
Tacos: My husband and I are big fans of Mexican food, so tacos always sound good to me. I love how this seasoning mix tastes different from any packaged seasonings that I've tried. I think the chili powder in this mix adds a bit of a smokey chipotle taste, and it makes the flavor a little more unique. Just sprinkle the seasoning over your meat as you brown it (or over beans if you make veggie tacos instead). We used around 2 tablespoons for a pound of ground beef and I omitted the flour from this recipe as well.
Of course, like anything you are mixing together, take a look at the ingredients first and tweak anything as needed. If you know you hate any hint of cumin, then leave it out! Addicted to garlic? Add more! Love/hate spice? Adjust the red pepper flakes. Also, I did notice that some people said sea salt (especially large grain) can't really be measured the same as table salt, so dial back the sea salt a bit if you are substituting that in a recipe until you know just how salty it will taste. You can also leave out the salt and salt to taste if you want to have complete control over the salt level. The other thing I love about searching for seasoning mixes is that most recipe sites have lots of reviews where other people give tips about any adjustments or ways they like to use the seasoning. Very helpful. You can use a spice or coffee grinder to grind your spices together, or you can use a mortar and pestle as well. This grinding step isn't required, but it does help to release more flavor.
You can also use these seasonings in other similar dishes (like the pizza seasoning in spaghetti sauce or lasagna and the taco seasoning in burritos, etc.) This set of three seasonings would also make a great hostess gift when you go to a housewarming party or a present for a foodie friend (these are the spice bottles that I bought). Once you start trying homemade seasonings, you'll get really into finding out what other mixes are out there for other dishes too. Do you have any homemade seasoning mixes you swear by? Now go and, in the immortal words of a certain all girl group from the 90s, "spice up your life!" xo. Laura
Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.