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Hidden gems for making restaurant-quality food at home

Jackfruit makes a great taco filling, and it's easy to prepare big batches if you put it in the oven on a large baking sheet tossed with your seasoning of choice.
Jackfruit makes a great taco filling, and it's easy to prepare big batches if you put it in the oven on a large baking sheet tossed with your seasoning of choice. (BestReviews)

If you're getting tired of your own cooking but a trip to a specialty market or grocery store isn't in the cards to pick up more diverse ingredients, you might feel as if you're missing out.

But the good news is that you can order those hard-to-find ingredients online without making extra supermarket trips.

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Save yourself a trip to the store and buy flavor-packed sauces, seasonings, and spices online. If you're a big fan of a particular brand, you might be able to save big and order it in bulk, too.

If you're looking for inspiration, we're also sharing a few recipes featuring our favorite spices, seasonings, and sauces.

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Ever had berbere? This flavorful spice blend hails from Ethiopia and gives every dish a flavorful, aromatic finish with hints of garlic, chili peppers, and coriander. Use it to add a pop of flavor -- and color -- to jackfruit tacos.

Black bean jackfruit tacos

Ingredients: 14-ounce can jackfruit, 8-ounce can black beans, 2 ounces corn, soft or hard taco shells, lettuce, diced fresh tomato, shredded cheese, sour cream, berbere spice blend

Directions:

Drain the jackfruit and transfer it into a mixing bowl. Drain black beans and corn together, and transfer the mixture into a separate bowl.

With a fork and knife, slice up the jackfruit until it achieves a piecey texture. Add berbere spice to taste.

Build taco shells starting with a base of shredded cheese, then layer it with jackfruit, beans and corn, lettuce, and diced tomatoes.

Serve immediately with a generous serving of sour cream.

Other uses: In spiced lentils, in fried chicken batter, as stuffed pepper seasoning

Talk about a serious culinary "umph" with jerk seasoning. This Caribbean blend features a lively combination of cloves, peppers, ginger, which makes it a perfect pick for bone-in chicken thighs.

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Caribbean bone-in chicken thighs

Ingredients: 1 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs, 2 whole habanero peppers, 4-5 green onions, 6 cloves garlic, 1-inch ginger stalk, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 4 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 2-3 tablespoons jerk seasoning, salt to taste

Directions:

Add ginger, garlic, habaneros, and green onions into a mini food processor until blended into a paste-like consistency.

Add all other ingredients to the food processor and mix until well-blended.

Marinate chicken thighs overnight in a resealable silicone bag.

Cook chicken thighs skin-side down on high heat on a grill for six minutes.

Transfer chicken thighs to the other half of the grill where burners are off, and let cook for 25 minutes, flipping halfway.

Other uses: As yellow rice seasoning, as guacamole flavoring, tossed with roasted potatoes

Takii Umami Powder: $9.29+ at Amazon

If you're a mushroom lover, then umami powder should be a pantry staple in your kitchen. Its earthy flavor presents a complex, surprisingly savory flavor profile. It's perfect for making meats, such as sous vide flank steaks.

Sous vide umami steaks

Ingredients: Flank steaks, umami seasoning, olive oil

Directions:

Fill a stock pot three-fourths of the way full with tap water and place your sous vide inside, set to 131 degrees Fahrenheit.

Gently blot flank steaks with a towel to dry them. Once dry, rub or sprinkle a generous coating of umami powder on both sides, then place in a bag to be vacuum sealed.

Once sealed, place the bag into the pot when it reaches the set temperature point, and let cook for approximately three hours.

Preheat a cast iron pan on high heat for five minutes and drizzle a little olive oil on it. Remove steaks from the vacuum bag. Place the flank steaks on the pan and cook for approximately three minutes on each side.

Other uses: In homemade broths for soups and ramen, as rub for beer can chicken, as hummus seasoning

If you're a fan of mushrooms and hot sauce, we doubt you'll find a better pairing to marry two of your favorite flavors. Not only does it enhance everyday dishes, it's a conversation-sparking condiment -- especially when you make chicken salad with it.

Chicken salad with truffle hot sauce

Ingredients: 16 ounces canned white chicken breast, 1 large onion, 1 celery stalk (minced), 2-3 hard-boiled eggs (diced), 1/3 cup mayonnaise (more or less based on your consistency preference), Truff hot sauce to taste

Directions:

Drain canned chicken and place into a colander, rinsing it thoroughly with cold tap water. Transfer it to a foil-lined baking tray and pat the chicken pieces as dry as possible with paper towels.

Mince onions and sauté them in butter until caramelized, then transfer onions to a bowl and let them cool.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix the chicken with mayonnaise with a spatula. Add the diced hard-boiled eggs, followed by the minced celery and caramelized onions.

Add one tablespoon of Truff hot sauce and mix well, and add more to preference.

Cover and refrigerate chicken salad for at least two hours before serving.

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Other uses: On burgers, on scrambled eggs, as ice cream garnish (yes, we swear it's delicious)

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Nutritional yeast earns the title for one of the most healthful seasonings on our list, especially since a single tablespoon covers your daily recommended intake of vitamin B12. We like adding it to recipes to give them a cheesy flavor, like this pizza crust.

Cheesy cauliflower pizza

Ingredients: 1 head of cauliflower, 2 eggs (beaten), 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 1 tablespoon pecorino romano, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Break the cauliflower into florets and place them in a food processor. Pulse until they resemble fine breadcrumbs.

Transfer cauliflower crumbs into a microwave-safe container, add one tablespoon of water and cook on high for five minutes. Drain completely and pat dry with a paper towel.

Transfer the cauliflower crumbs to a mixing bowl and add all other ingredients until the consistency is well-blended and even.

Spread mixture evenly across the baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove baked crust from the oven and top with sauce, cheese, and other toppings. Let the pizza bake for five minutes.

Other uses: As popcorn seasoning, as omelet seasoning, for cheesy vegan mashed potatoes

Believe it or not, Thai curry is an easy dish to make if you have pre-made curry paste, which is why we're sharing this beginner-friendly recipe.

Easy Thai curry chicken

Ingredients: 2-3 chicken breasts, 3 tablespoons curry paste, 15-ounce can coconut milk, 1 large onion (diced), 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, 8-ounce can carrots, 6-ounce can peas, 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic, 1/4 cup vegetable stock, 3 tablespoons coconut flakes, lime juice, canola oil

Directions:

Heat curry paste, onions, and two tablespoons of canola oil in a sauté pan over medium heat for six minutes or until onions are translucent.

Add chicken to the pan and cook in the mixture, turning occasionally, for five minutes, or until both sides of chicken achieve a golden-brown color.

Add tomatoes (with liquid), carrots, peas, minced garlic, and a splash of lime juice, and let cook for a couple of minutes.

Add and stir in coconut milk, stock, and coconut flakes. Let simmer for approximately 15 to 25 minutes, or until all ingredients form a sauce-like consistency.

Serve over rice or sweet potatoes and garnish with a sprinkle of coconut flakes.

Other uses: Mixed with cream cheese for spreads, as crudité dip, as chicken marinade base

Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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