Most people rely on salt and pepper to season their food. While that is well and good, you are doing two things wrong. One, you are consuming too much salt over time, and two, you are completely missing out on what other spices can do for your food. It is okay if you feel intimidated about experimenting with other spices; a lot of home cooks feel the same. However, you do need to get a little creative, and start expanding your seasoning palette. Here is why.
Your Meat Dishes Are Begging for More Flavor
If you make pot roast, steak, turkey, and chicken, there is only so much salt and pepper you can add before you and everyone else at the table has had enough. Too much salt results in the need to drink a lot of water to wash down the salt. The meat dishes you make are begging for more flavor and less salt.
The seasonings most commonly used to season all of these meats are paprika, thyme, marjoram, and basil, with a few others that properly season just red meats or just poultry. Start with just a sprinkling of one seasoning here and there, and then add another seasoning and note the difference in taste. Never over-season; a quarter to a half teaspoon of these seasonings rubbed over or sprinkled on the meats is good enough.
Seasoning Stews and Soups
Seasoning stews and soups is a little trickier than just seasoning meat. For that, you can "cheat" a little and use blended meat seasoning packets to liven up your stews (e.g., beef stew, lamb stew, etc.). Blended seasoning packets are also sold specifically for soups. If you read the contents labels on these packets, you can get a good sense of the spices used. For example, you are likely to find celery seasoning in a packet mix for chicken soup, but not in the beef stew packet. In the beef stew packet, cracked black pepper and red pepper are common, but you will not find those in the homemade soup spices. Check out different types, such as Riley's Meat Seasoning Co., to find your favorite.
Taste as You Go
While you cannot taste raw meats after you have seasoned them, you can wait until the meat is cooked almost all the way through. Taste as you go to see how the final dish or meat will taste. If there is something missing, add a pinch of another spice to see how that makes a difference. If you want to be very cautious and not ruin an entire dish or piece of meat, you can take a spoonful or small piece from the whole, season it on a plate to the side, and then determine if that is the spice you wish to add.