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Cooking without a recipe is the endgame when it comes to eliminating dinnertime stress. How great would it be to come home and know exactly which bottles to pull from the rack to make chicken breasts spicy, Mexican, or whatever flavor you’re craving that night?
Well, we’re making it that easy for you—even if you’re only starting to cook. The chart below lays out 13 awesome combinations that are so versatile they can almost all work as a sauce, dip, or salad dressing (when stirred into your basic oil and vinegar blend), and be served on any vegetable, protein (beef, tofu, salmon), or carb (pasta, beans, quinoa, you name it).
Use as much of each ingredient as you prefer, though we suggest relying on the base with just a little flavor enhancer. If you don’t have all three ingredients at your fingertips, don’t worry; one or two of them will greatly improve your dinner, and in most cases the flavor enhancer can be omitted, letting the other two shine. Feel free to improvise and add more ingredients or substitute one or two as you get more comfortable. Remember, when it comes to cooking, always follow your gut.