The way America cooks is in the midst of a flavorful evolution, according to the 10th annual McCormick Flavor Forecast. The report predicts an increased preference for high-impact flavors, balanced with comforting favorites. We’ll see new flavor combinations, thanks to the breadth of year-round ingredients, chosen and preserved at the peak of freshness, available in a pantry near you.

“Flavor has never been so quick and accessible,” says Kevan Vetter, executive chef at McCormick. “Today, a well-stocked pantry is like having a local farmer’s market or bountiful backyard garden in your kitchen.” The endless harvest of canned, pickled, preserved, frozen and dried ingredients are indispensable, at-the-ready tools for everyday one-dish meal ideas that are anything but ordinary.

Shepherd’s Pie with Cumin & Smashed Chickpeas

For example, a convenient can of coconut milk takes pumpkin pie spice and chicken thighs Caribbean. Economical canned chickpeas add Mediterranean flair to once-humble Shepherd’s Pie, now featuring the alluring warmth of roasted cumin. And aromatic bay leaves join salty-tart preserved lemons to brighten up tortellini, courtesy of the local grocer (or, your own handiwork—see sidebar).

For more easy recipes and featured flavor pairings, visit


Shepherd’s Pie with Cumin & Smashed Chickpeas

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
1-1/2 pounds all-purpose potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 can (15-1/2 ounces) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed, divided
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Collection Sicilian Sea Salt, divided
1 pound ground lamb
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 tablespoon McCormick Gourmet Collection Roasted Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Collection Ground Coriander
1/2 teaspoon McCormick Coarse Ground Black Pepper
1/4 cup whiskey or apple cider
1 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup each frozen carrots and green beans, unthawed

Place potatoes in 2-quart saucepan. Add water to cover. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain and return to saucepan. Add 1/2 of the chickpeas, milk, butter and 1/2 teaspoon of the sea salt; coarsely mash until well blended. Set aside.

Brown lamb and beef in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Drain fat. Add onion, cumin, coriander, remaining 1 teaspoon sea salt and pepper; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until onions are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in whiskey. Stir broth into cornstarch until smooth. Add to skillet; stir constantly until well blended. Stir in vegetables and remaining chickpeas. Spoon into 2-quart baking dish. Spread potato mixture evenly over top.

Bake in preheated 400°F oven 15 to 20 minutes or until mixture is bubbly and top is golden brown. If needed, place under preheated broiler to brown potato topping.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition Information per Serving: 316 Calories, Fat 14g, Protein 19g, Carbohydrates 25g, Cholesterol 63mg, Sodium 643mg, Fiber 4g


Lemon-Bay Tortellini with Spinach & Wild Mushrooms

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
1/2 preserved lemon
2 McCormick Bay Leaves
1 package (12 ounces) cheese tortellini
2 cups frozen leaf spinach, unthawed
4 strips bacon
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
8 ounces sliced assorted mushrooms
1 teaspoon McCormick Minced Garlic
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Remove and discard pulp from preserved lemon. Rinse peel to remove excess salt. Coarsely chop peel (about 2 tablespoons). Set aside.

Bring water and bay leaves to boil in large saucepot. Stir in tortellini. Cook as directed on package, adding frozen spinach during last minute of cooking. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Discard bay leaves.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in large skillet on medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon; set aside. Add shallots to bacon drippings; cook and stir 3 minutes. Add oil, mushrooms, garlic and preserved lemon peel; cook and stir 3 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Add tortellini mixture and reserved cooking water; toss to mix well. Sprinkle with bacon. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

To prepare with fresh spinach: Cook tortellini as directed, omitting the frozen leaf spinach. Cook bacon and mushrooms as directed. Stir in 1 package (6 ounces) baby spinach leaves until slightly wilted. Continue as above.

Nutrition Information per Serving: 416 Calories, Fat 24g, Protein 13g, Carbohydrates 37g, Cholesterol 46mg, Sodium 729mg, Fiber 5g


Caribbean Chicken with Mango Coconut Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon McCormick Paprika
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon McCormick Pumpkin Pie Spice, divided
1 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Collection Sicilian Sea Salt
1/4 teaspoon McCormick Crushed Red Pepper
8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed (about 3 pounds)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14 ounces) Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk
2 cups frozen mango chunks, unthawed

Mix flour, paprika, 1 tablespoon of the pumpkin pie spice, sea salt and red pepper in shallow dish. Coat chicken evenly on both sides in flour mixture.

Heat oil in nonstick 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove chicken. Drain excess fat from pan. Add red onion; cook and stir 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in tomatoes, coconut milk, mango and remaining 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice. Bring to boil. Return chicken to pan. Cover.

Bake in preheated 350°F oven 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve with cooked rice, if desired.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition Information per Serving: 357 Calories, Fat 21g, Protein 25g, Carbohydrates 17g, Cholesterol 86mg, Sodium 447mg, Fiber 3g

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