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Help with spices... and dinner tonight

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I have come to a point in my life where it is imperative to my wallet and my waistline that I learn how to cook.  To start this adventure I visited Whole Food bulk spice section and purchased the following

  Cumin, Curry, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Rosemary, Parsley
Basil, Cinnamon, Cloves, Thyme, Chili Powder, Paprika
Nutmeg, Celery Salt, Oregano, Peppermill

So now I have many pretty spices, but I still have a few empty jars.  Any suggestions for other essential spices?  Whole Foods was out of Ginger, and that seems important.  Obviously, I needs salt.  I welcome any suggestions!

That said, I also need to cook dinner tonight.  I don't have very much food, so I was planning on baking a chicken breast and heating up a can of black beans.  For me, this is practically gourmet.  So, what spices can I put on my chicken breast?  In addition to these spices I have actual garlic too, but I don't know how to use that.

Chicken is like a blank canvas - you can cook it in a thousand different ways.  Any of those herbs and spices you purchased would be delicious with chicken (except of course the baking spices - cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg).

My personal favorite is a little salt, paprika, and garlic powder.  And congratulations on doing your own cooking. The savings will be amazing!

Your pictures aren't showing and they're a bit large as well.

That being said I would add in the following
Herbs de provence mix

Marjoram. Our favorite meat maninade is rosemary and marjoram with some other stuff.

Allspice. Whole is used in a lot marinades I make, and ground is used with ground ginger and cloves and cinnamin for all many flavor and Christmas foods.

You need chives, unless you get fresh every time you want them on potatoes and cottage cheese. That is actually a great windowsill plant.

Congratulations on starting down this road. There are incredible creative possibilities here.

Ginger is a root. It's best if you buy it fresh. To use it, peel it with a paring knife, the mince (chop very finely) or grate it. You can also get ginger juice if you squeeze some in a garlic press. You can freeze the rest if it is wrapped up in foil, but if you get smallish roots you can just buy it almost as you need it. If you want to use horseradish, buy it fresh; it tastes far different than the bottled stuff. Also, garlic. Fresh only.

There's more but that's probably a good basic overview of three main ones. Oh, and by the way, the way to get a garlic smell off your hands is to rub them on stainless steel--a sink, silverware, etc. Or wear gloves.

ETA: If you are interested in exploring the world of cooking at a comfortable level, allow me to recommend the magazine Cook's Illustrated. It is an excellent publication, and even a beginner will feel at home with it.


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