"Your spice cabinet is like a map of the world, a culinary map of the world," said Jeffrey Saad, author of "Jeffrey Saad's Global Kitchen: Recipes Without Borders"
Saad said most people only use a handful of the spices they have. For example, many people have paprika, but they never use it.
Saad showed us ways to dial up diet foods by using smoked paprika - ground chilies smoked over wood offering a sassy, smoky heat.
"Really quick, [get] day-old bread, cut it in cubes, toss it with some smoked paprika and garlic. It makes this chewy, crunchy, smoked paprika bread cube that's going to go on this gazpacho soup," said Saad. "The paprika makes it taste like, 'Wow, this is totally exciting. I'm treating myself. I'm doing something exotic, something delicious, something simple."
He is also a fan of Chinese Five Spice - a money saver with five spices like cinnamon, clove, Szechuan peppercorn and fennel in one jar.
Saad said to shake some of the five spice over shrimp before saut?ing so that it caramelizes on the outside, creating a dark brown, sweet crusted finish.
A brick of Achiote paste is a diet aid that Saad calls culinary magic. Add a bit of it to citrus like lime and OJ for a simmer sauce for a grilled veggie tostada with black beans.
Another way to fight fat is with a tube of Harissa, a North African chile paste. Saad adds a dab into low fat mayo to change your skirt steak sandwich experience.
While spices seem pricey consider this:
"You get a two-ounce jar of spice, it'll be $6, but it doesn't even calculate out to the penny per dish or per evening," said Saad.