Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Well-Organized Pantry ~ Part 3 of 3

This is the final part in the 'well-organized pantry' series, focusing on the spice cabinet.
By keeping your spice area organized, everything will be easily accessible,
thus saving time & making you more efficient in the kitchen.

I chose a cabinet shelf that was adequately sized based on the number of spice bottles
& containers that I regularly use.
I then purchased a tiered spice organizer {pictured below} to sit on my cabinet shelf,
tripling my storage.
I've outgrown my space just a bit, storing some of the larger items in the pantry.
The thing that works best for me is to always put the spices back in the same spot.
I keep the ones I use most on the front shelf & the lesser used ones on the 2nd/3rd shelves.

Here are the staples in my spice cabinet.

Besides good ol' salt & pepper, the 5 ingredients I use most often are:
garlic powder, bacon salt, chicken bouillon, bacon pieces, & onion.

Now, the onion & bacon pieces don't come from my spice cabinet, of course, but these are staple items for seasoning up lots of dishes.

If bacon salt is a new ingredient for you, you've got to try it out!!
You can find it at Kroger, Target, & Big Lots {best price is Target}.
My favorite use for it is in green beans.
We aren't able to have a garden, so it's canned green beans from the grocery for us
{we don't like frozen}.

Here are a few ways I perk up {2-3 cans} green beans:
-a slice of onion
-a sprinkle of garlic powder
-a tbsp. of bacon pieces or 1/2 tsp. of bacon salt or a chicken bouillon cube 

For flavoring soups, gravies, casseroles, & veggies, I keep chicken & beef bouillon.
I like the cubes & the powdered bouillon.
I buy the powdered variety for $1 at Dollar Tree.

Poultry seasoning is a new favorite of mine.
If you want to take anything chicken flavored over the top, add poultry seasoning.
It's great as a rub on chicken or turkey & a nice addition to stuffing/dressing, rice, casseroles, even meatloaf.

Crushed red pepper is a must-have to spice up chili & vegetable beef soup.

I don't always keep fresh parsley, but I do always have the dried ...
& I add it to almost everything.
It adds that little pop of color, especially as a topping on casseroles & veggies.

Cumin & chili powder are great ingredients for anything tex-mex.
Cumin is very distinctive in taste & a little goes a long way,
& is sure to make any Mexican dish more Mexicany!

Chili powder has more uses than just spicing up chili.
Try sprinkling it on chicken breasts before throwing them on the grill ... delicious.
Add it to mayo to make a gourmet sauce for a sandwich or burger.

I usually have a variety of grill seasonings in the spice cabinet.
These are great on steak, fish & chicken.
I sometimes mix in a tablespoon or so when I make pasta salad.
Another use, toss with vegetables before roasting them in the oven.

I first learned of smoked paprika from the Rachael Ray cooking show.
I picked some up, paying more than I wanted to {$6}.
I was glad I did though ... it has such a great smoky flavor.
I've since found it better priced at Target, even clearanced down to a couple dollars.
Use it the same as regular paprika {eggs, veggies, casseroles, stews, soups}.

My sweet friend, Jenny, recently gave me a gift basket & in it were these spices from her favorite health food store.
Not only are they great tasting, I love how they are packaged.
My favorite one was 'apple pie spice' which I promptly used in ... an apple pie.

Last but not least, these are two of my husband's favorites.
He's crazy about this 'chinese' pepper, as he calls it.
Every time we ate at the chinese restaurant, he'd comment how
he loves their extra-fine, white pepper.
I found it at Sam's Club.
James uses it on just about everything, but he especially loves it on sausage gravy & eggs.
As for the sea salt, he likes it best because of the minerals, texture, & flavor.

Here are some others that I have in my cabinet:
oregano, rosemary, sage, celery salt, celery seed, & cayenne.

I've found spices to be an inexpensive way to add big flavor to food.
Maybe I've shown something that you don't currently use.
Next time you're at the store, pick up a new one & get cooking =)

**While this blog focused on the more savory spices, I have plenty of spices that
are for baking & desserts {cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, cream of tarter, ginger, nutmeg,
cloves, vanilla & various extracts, etc}.


  1. Hi! I recently re-organized my spices, but still have them on a lazy susan. I may need to consider one of these shelves! Thank you for the idea! Have a great Tuesday!

  2. It has been a good solution for me. Thank you so much for your comment. I don't get too many, so I enjoy it when I do ;)