Favorite Foodie Tips

I have a bunch of small ideas to add flavor to meals, and quick ways make store bought taste homemade, none were enough for a whole post.  So, I have gathered them into one flavor idea packed post, and I hope you’ll share some of your ideas too.  So, first, I make jar tomato sauce taste more like fresh made by adding a freshly chopped tomato to the sauce.

Foodie Tips at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Easy and simple, it gives an extra bit of texture to the sauce, and a fresh tomato taste to your pasta dishes.

Foodie Tips at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Do you make garlic bread at home for meals?  Add a bit of Parmesan cheese to punch it up a bit.  I microwaved this one, but I really like it better done in a stovetop pan or under the broiler to brown the cheese.

Foodie Tips at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Ever wonder how the restaurants get that light and cheesy tomato sauce?  I do it by simply adding ricotta cheese to it.  I tried cream first, but like the lower fat and fuller flavor of the ricotta.

Foodie Tips at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

This is DH’s favorite tomato sauce, and even better with a fresh tomato added.

Foodie Tips at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

On another day, I might add a tomato and some chopped green onions.

Foodie Tips at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Somehow adding those fresh onions seems to bring the freshness up in the whole dish.

Foodie Tips at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Topping off each serving with a bit of Mozzarella or Parmesan finishes it off nicely.

Foodie Tips at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

I did a post recently on how I use Flavored Oils to punch up the flavor in many dishes.

Using Flavored Oils at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Here’s another idea using Garlic Oil that I didn’t show you.  I Butterflied a Chicken, (see the link on how to do that) and rubbed the skin with garlic oil.  Then I added some spices and herbs.

Foodie Tips at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Baking it at 350 degrees for 15 per pound gives a golden brown skin with moist juicy meat.

Foodie Tips at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Yum, hungry yet?

Foodie Tips at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

I’ve talked about the use of specialty salts before too, Around the World in Salt.  Our friends own The Spice and Tea Exchange in Asheville, and they have an immense selection of specialty salts and peppers, along with teas, sugars, olive oils and candles.

Foodie Tips at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Bold smoked salts work well on mild flavors like eggs, or my Shrimp Flower Appetizer.  There is no more or less sodium in a specialty salt than in regular table salt most of us use.  Certainly if you are salt sensitive, this wouldn’t be for you, but a nice freshly cracked black, green or pink peppercorn would be a nice substitute.

Shrimp Flower Appetizer at From My Carolina Home

Smoky flavors are also a flavor booster on my Heirloom Tomato Avocado Salad.

Heirloom Tomatoes at From My Carolina Home

This meal is so fast, you won’t believe how quickly it gets to the table.  Low carb and gluten free too!!  Just saute a fish filet, turn it and add fresh spinach.  Cover and cook about 5 minutes and serve with a tomato salad.  See my Weeknight Fish Dinner for all the details.

Long time readers will recognize my Asian Inspired Salad from the Japanese Inspired February event last year – a month of projects and recipes inspired by the Japanese culture.  This is simple and fast, with the flavor kick of my homemade Sriracha Mayonnaise.  In fact, I like that Sriracha Mayo so much I’ve started putting it on sandwiches and tacos too.  Adding the fried onions to lots of vegetable dishes as well punches up flavor with an added bit of crunch to top off a yellow squash casserole or a Baked Spinach dish.

Asian Salad at From My Carolina Home

Lastly, I was recently in a nostalgic mood, and remembered this sandwich from years ago.  We ate it a lot as a newly wed couple, as it was inexpensive.  The recipe is from an old magazine ad for Starkist tuna, and is called Cheesy Charlies.  Just make some tuna salad your favorite way, spread it on a piece of bread, and top with grated cheese.  Broil until cheese is melted and lightly brown.  Serve hot.  This time, I made this with colby-jack cheese, but grated cheddar or mozzarella would work too.  Whatever you like.

Foodie Tips at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

What is your favorite tip to add flavor to your meals?

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20 thoughts on “Favorite Foodie Tips

  1. Linda B

    Great ideas, Carole! Thanks! I am with you on ricotta…I used to love lasagna, but gave it up trying to eat low carb, then found out that it was the ricotta that I really liked, and now I put it in lots of casseroles…goes great with green beans & onions or butternut squash and sausage and apple, or zucchini. I usually put dollops around and then top everything with provolone, but sometimes just spread a 1/2 inch or so layer of ricotta. Other best tip is in making soup…I usually finish up one or two half eaten jars of salsa in the soup (or about 1/4-1/2 cup). Adds amazing flavor and a little heat. Trader Joe’s sells Coconut Aminos and now a new spice jar called Multipurpose Umami – neither add distinctive taste, but apparently bump up the flavors with “umami”. I often grab one or the other when cooking. Yes, getting hungry!

  2. Donna Campbell

    I’ve used a couple of your hints plus adding green peppers to jarred sauce. Great ideas!
    Unfortunately your post is hurt by the photography. The pasta and sauces look awful in the pictures! Also the microwaved cheese bread. I almost stopped reading. You need some lessons in plating more attractively. And I guess just skip photographing Orange past sauce. Hope this is helpful. Sorry I don’t know how to post it confidently.

    1. I have to disagree with you, Donna. I think Carole’s photos look fine. Her sauces look like mine do, so they are realistic; same with the cheese bread. If you have been following her blog, she shares a variety of ideas in her posts on varying topics. I would agree with you if this was a food-focused blog, but it’s not. Might have been best to send your comments to her privately, through email or through her “Contact” tab in the menu above.

    2. Cheryl Adkisson

      I disagree too, Donna. Carole is a wonderful blogger, who gives more of herself in every post than most bloggers. Have you seen all her charity work? Have you tried some of her recipes? I, for one, would be very upset if she stopped posting because of your comment. She doesn’t need plating lessons, but you sure need lessons in civility. If you cannot say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

    3. Jeanne

      I think her photos are OK, too. In fact, I like that she doesn’t do fifteen photos of the same view of a dish only shifted by a few degrees like ‘professional food bloggers’ do. Carole is a real woman, with real ideas for real food. She does wonderful posts on all kinds of subjects. She is inspiring to cooks and crafters of all kinds, and I love her blog. Thank you, Carole, and keep up the good work!

    4. Brenda Ackerman

      Donna, I have been thinking about your reply to Carole all day long. First of all, I agree with what Wendy wrote about your comment in each point she brought out. Comments that are this harsh should be kept to yourself or handled in a private email. I have been a devoted reader of Carole’s Blog since her first Mystery Quilt and in all of those years, I have never read a nasty comment until today. Carole does a magnificent job in presenting every aspect of every post, including this post.

      She clearly states that she is sharing her Favorite Foodie Tips not a Gourmet Meal that is being presented on the cover of a magazine. Carole is a very generous and caring woman who loves to share the information that she knows, hoping to help other people out. In this post about ideas to make store bought prepared food better tasting and then she even goes that step farther and asks us to share our ideas with her and everyone reading the post, that way it is a window of opportunity for everyone!

      In my experiences with trying Carole’s tips and recipes, I have been delighted!
      Tonight, my husband and I tried the Garlic Bread with Cheddar Cheese done in the broiler and it was delicious! In today’s world it is really hard to please everyone, but I for one, believe that Carole does a MAGNIFICENT job at everything she tries and that she is a MARVELOUS person for GIVING TO THE COMMUNITY and to the QUILTING WORLD and every other place she can to HELP THE WORLD BE A BETTER PLACE ! Even if her pasta sauce just did not make you smile….I will always love it from now on, just because I am her friend and I want to support her in every way that I can!!!

      Great Post Carole from your #1 Fan Brenda

    5. Kathyz

      To Donna:
      Oh you posted confidently alright, just not confidentially.
      Maybe you should stop reading – or at least stop commenting in such a mean-spirited way.
      This is a nice, supportive, gentle community.
      Nothing helpful came from your comments.

  3. We eat quite a bit of parmesan cheese, so when we get to the rind, I toss them in a baggie and into the freezer. When I’m making minestrone or some other soup, I’ll toss the rind into the pot and let it flavor the soup. I remove it before we eat. Yum!

  4. Rosemaryflower

    All of these dishes look very tempting and tasty.
    I am not a foodie and sadly, my stick figure shows it. I need a chef.
    I do like Prego spaghetti sauce and I do like adding tomatoes.

    I used to like onions a lot. For some reason, I have turned into a picky child with just about all foods that have onions, unless they are fried in butter…. of course.
    Happy Wednesday Carole

  5. I love a good tuna melt! We used to do grilled tuna & cheese sandwiches for an easy Saturday lunch. Very filling. The avocado and shrimp is making me drool. Thanks for sharing your tips.

    1. Donna, perhaps if you seek professionally photographed food you might consider paying for a subscription to a magazine. There’s a ton of creativity and work that goes into Carole’s FREE posts which she so generously shares. It’s disappointing you don’t recognize the difference .

  6. Just last night, I used one of my favorite easy add-ins for dinner, Ken’s Steakhouse brand Asian Sesame with Ginger and Soy salad dressing. I did my usual chicken breast cubed and sauteed with onions and frozen green beans. Once it was done, I stirred in a quarter of the bottle of the salad dressing until it was heated and served it all over wild rice. Yummy!

  7. dezertsuz

    You always have the best hints about food. Thanks for sharing your experience and cooking talent (which I don’t have!). I really want to make that cheesy bread!

  8. Lynne Stucke

    Yum! Everything looks and sounds SO yummy!!!! Unfortunately, all these delicious cheeses aren’t on my diet. . . . :o( Back when I was in the world of those who can eat real food, I used to add parmesan to my mashed potatoes. Everyone loves them; even my husband, who swears he hates parmesan. :o)

  9. Phyllis Smith

    Hello Carole, Finally greetings from the sunny Ga. for a change. This tea shop in Asheville sounds fantastic. I have relatives in Raleigh, N. C. I’m planning to go see and this would be a great stop off to check out. The shop looks interesting and full of flavors to try. Looking forward to checking this one out for sure. Have been going back through my e-mails and copying some of your ideas on the Specialty oils and some of the recipes. I want to try a Cornish hen with the butterflied chicken recipe since I’m the only one that will be eating it. How silly of me to run out of paper before getting all the great recipes LOL.

    Enjoying all your ideas.


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