Smart Supermarket Shopping: International Inspiration

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Shopping for your week's groceries is always a puzzle. How do you get everything you need in one shot and avoid midweek runs for forgotten items? Here are some tips from the Food Network Kitchens.

Do you find your grocery shopping trips are stuck in a rut? Do you get into a routine of buying the same foods each week because you know what works, and you know what satisfies your family? This week, switch things up a little by sticking to the basics but putting an international spin on it. You can try new flavors and exotic ingredients but still deliver dishes your family will be excited to eat.

Build your cart the way you usually do with all the produce you need, but substitute a few new ingredients from the international foods and spice aisles, as well as a couple different proteins and dairy items.

Center aisle shopping: The easiest way to change it up is by starting with your condiments: Leave the ketchup and mustard where they are! Instead, slowly stroll down the international aisle and pick up some new ingredients. Readily available in most supermarkets, these can turn your average dinner into a global meal.

  • Asian condiments: With just a few new jars, you can spin vegetables and proteins into something completely new for your family. Try buying some of the following:
  • Hoisin sauce: This thick condiment is a staple in Chinese cooking and is a mixture of soybeans, garlic, chile peppers and various spices. It’s a great flavoring agent for proteins, so try it instead of barbecue sauce when glazing your grilled chicken breasts for a sweet, salty flavor. 
  • Curry paste: Do you usually buy jarred soups or stew bases? If so, try curry paste for a Thai-inspired noodle dish or vegetable curry. Combine with stock or coconut milk for a stew that your family won’t forget.
  • Soy sauce: Soy sauce replaces salt this week. Try low-sodium soy sauce not only for dipping sauces, but also for making delicious rice side dishes or even soy sauce-tossed broccoli that gets roasted in the oven.
  • Sriracha: Does your family like it spicy? Well, shelve the Tabasco sauce this week, and try using Sriracha instead. This thick, bright red-colored Asian hot sauce is perfect on eggs, hot dogs, stirred into an Asian-inspired salad dressing or even mayonnaise for spicy sandwich spreads.
  • Harissa: This North African spicy sauce is a combination of chiles, garlic, coriander, cumin and other spices. It is an intensely flavorful blend which adds character to whole grains like couscous or quinoa, vegetable and meat stews or even roast chicken. If you usually make vegetable soups for dinners and lunches, try adding a couple spoonfuls (depending on how spicy you like your food) for a whole new version of a classic.