Grocery Shopping to Add Flavor Punch to Your Cooking


Grocery shopping can be a tedious task. We concern ourselves with getting meal-making ingredients and often times forget that what we keep in the pantry, freezer, or spice rack makes all the difference.

Here's my suggestions for go-to items to take your meals to a super tasty level.


Red pepper flakes, Tabasco sauce, horseradish, ginger root, BBQ seasoning, canned green chilies, jalepeno, buffalo hot sauce.

I mix horseradish sauce with mayo and ketchup for a fish and chips sauce/fry sauce for french fries that is off the charts.

Dice up your jalepeno peppers and put in a jar or freezer bag in the freezer. Add to soups, chili, taco mixes, etc. 

I am a Buffalo sauce freak! Love Frank's and they make some cool mix sauces too.  Here's a cool thing I do with mine. I make fried chicken in my air fryer and then when I make some gravy for it, I add the hot sauce to it and make a buffalo gravy. This is poured onto the fried chicken and french fries. Or, you can mix the sauce with Ranch Dressing and it works equally amazingly! When I marinate chicken for frying, I add the sauce to milk and it creates a buttermilk type of vibe with heat. 

Buttermilk substitute can be made by curdling milk with lemon juice or vinegar and letting it sit a while until it's tangy and texture has changed a bit.


Bacon, hot Italian sausage, pepperoni, ham hock, are all fantastic punches to meals to bring the flavor up. 

I use hot Italian sausage on homemade pizza, in soups, and meatballs (with hamburger) and nothing adds more intense flavor than that. 

Bone broth is another intensely flavorful item to keep on hand. When I have things like buffalo wings, I keep the bones to make a broth and then freeze it for cooking rice or making soup.


Obviously, melted cheese is awesome on anything but for flavor punch, you need a wedge of parmesan on hand. This stays for an extremely long time in the fridge and you can grate some on top of eggs, on pizza, grilled cheese, salads, you name it!

This super lunch idea was so simple. Pepperoni, a chip of parmesan. Balsamic vinagrette dressing with some italian seasoning and garlic salt added becomes a dip for fresh Italian bread. 


Obviously, salad dressing is ideal for your crunchies and Ranch dressing is great for dipping fries and the like, but things like balsamic vinagrette make great marinades, as well. 

Balsamic vinegar and apple cider vinegar are two important standards to have on hand. I use the balsamic in so many things and often times let it reduce in the pan to become a sweet component of sauce. A good marinade includes an acid like lemon juice or vinegar and an oil and no oil has more flavor punch than olive oil.

If you don't have fresh lemons on hand, consider getting a few and juicing them and adding some zest. You can keep it in the fridge or freezer for when you need it, but lemon has a way of brightening everything you cook. I can't say enough about how much I use it. In fact, I ended up planting a lemon tree.


My go-to seasoning that I keep on the counter with salt and pepper is the Everything Bagel seasoning.    Pretty much anything I make, I sprinkle this in and it's amazing in omelets and on eggs too.  It has garlic and onion, several kinds of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and sea salt. So simple but the taste is just like your favorite bagel.

I really love mix spices and the best ones I've found for bold flavor are Cowboy Spice Company's.  There are hot and tasty spices for any kind of meat or occasion. If you're going to grill, consider using good smoking woods like apple or hickory, even mesquite.


Pickled items can be overlooked, but look what relish can do to a hot dog. It can do that to tuna fish or potato salad too. Pickled peppers add an amazing taste to a dish. One of the best roast beef recipes I make involves pepperocini, au jous packet and ranch dressing packet. Olives diced up and cooked with some diced up tomatoes and balsamic is an intense relish to soup up a dish's flavor. I love using that on pasta recipes.

You are likely getting inspired to think about how you can add a lot of flavor to dishes that you already make.