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International Kitchen

Most of us are cooking at home now more than we typically do. This likely means that most of us are also facing the daily dinner dilemma that some days seems so tiring to tackle. We turn to our pantry, refrigerator, or freezer to find foods we make night after night, which becomes not only boring to prepare, but likely also receives groans and complaining comments from those you cook for. Since cooking at home has many benefits and the moment we’re living in may mean we need to focus on our home kitchen for some time longer, it’s time to change this pattern.

It takes simple shifts in your cooking and a slightly expanded grocery list to make meals that celebrate international flavors. Beginning with the building blocks you already have you can create new recipes that shake up your home menu and develop dishes that your family may not be used to enjoying at home.

Cooking strategies to try:

Simmer sauces: Buy or prepare your own simmer sauces using a combination of spices and liquids from light coconut milk, salsa, diced tomatoes/tomato paste and more. With simmer sauces, you can flavor chicken, pork, fish, shellfish, or tofu with little effort while creating big flavor. Tip: this works best with smaller cuts of meat or fish to achieve the most flavor

Spice combinations: Create a dry rub for meats or fish before putting it on the grill to bring new flavors to your dinner plate. Try Moroccan, curry, jerk, or other seasonings that may not often make an appearance on your grill.

Change up the sides: Even if the side is rice (again) you can make it seem different with lime and cilantro. Or maybe add black beans, diced avocado, and pumpkin seeds. Or make a grain and then add diced peppers and edamame beans along with a marinade made from tamari, rice vinegar, ginger, and a bit of oil to create an Asian inspired side.

Add these “staples” to your shopping list so that you can easily put together a variety of dishes from around the world:

Garam Masala

Curry powder

Smoked Paprika


Sesame oil

Rice vinegar




Pearled couscous


Masa flour



Light coconut milk