Preparing meals at home is often an afterthought. It’s easy to fall into a rut and just doing the bare minimum to get a meal on the table. If you’re wanting to up your cooking game, try to jazz up some common ingredients. Or if you really want to wow your family, think about cooking with ingredients you might not normally choose. Add spice to meals with different meats. And don’t forget; fresh ingredients are always best


If you want to spice up a meal, replace traditional ground beef with some delicious chorizo. This highly spiced pork sausage can turn meals from ordinary to extraordinary.  Chorizo is a flavor bomb and so you can actually use less than ordinary ground beef. Adding some pico de gallo along with chorizo to queso makes the best table dip for your tortilla chips. Creating a queso fundido using great melting cheeses in an iron skillet along with some chorizo, onions, jalapeños, and tomatoes is a show stopper. Spoon a bit into a four tortilla and your taste buds will be in heaven.

Another fun dish to try is smoked armadillo eggs. An armadillo egg is a large jalapeño pepper stuffed with a variety of meats and cheeses, then smoked or grilled. Chorizo is the perfect meat for this delicious treat!


Eggs are a staple in every household. They can be prepared so many different ways. Poached eggs are perfect as toppings for so many dishes; not just eggs Benedict. Cracking an egg into swirling simmering water makes for the perfect poach. Cooking with eggs as additions to simple dishes raise the flavor and add a wonderful texture. Add hard boiled eggs to your canned tuna along with some celery, onion, sweet relish, mayo, and a splash of white balsamic vinegar and you’ve created the perfect tuna salad. 

Fried rice is as simple as adding beaten eggs to your cooked rice in a skillet along with some diced carrots and onion to elevate a simple side. Eggs are a great source of protein and have lots of nutrients.


Garlic is the herb that is used in the best meals. It not only packs a flavor punch for your meals, it also has many health benefits. Amazingly, garlic has the ability to boot your body’s immune system, reduce cholesterol, and can also help lower your blood pressure. It’s great in all varieties of meals. Don’t think it’s just for Italian food! Garlic can be added to wonderful tortilla soups and mixed with butter for amazing bread.

It really is the “every” herb that works in any cuisine.


Another versatile ingredient to have at home is the mushroom. The variety of mushrooms is endless. Large Portobello mushrooms can be used patties for hamburgers for those trying to cut down on red meat consumption. Cremini mushrooms are give a great consistency to sauces. Button mushrooms can be found on most salad buffets and are great eaten raw. And to elevate your steaks, adding a spoon of sautéed mushrooms gives another texture and flavor altogether.

It’s fun to try ingredients you don’t normally cook with. Trying new ways to use common ingredients also can elevate your family meals, creating something special that everyone is bound to love.

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