Investors have a habit of overcomplicating the process of constructing a portfolio. Sure, there are infinite potential worries about how any business might perform over the next quarter and what you should do short-term to account for that. But you are highly likely to generate good returns just by owning a basket of excellent businesses and simply holding on through volatility like today's bear market.

With that simplicity in mind, let's take a look at two easy-to-understand, industry-leading stocks that might deserve a spot in your portfolio. If you've got $3,000 available that isn't needed for bills, to build up an emergency fund, or to pay off debt, you might want to put it to work by buying McCormick (MKC 0.38%) and Microsoft (MSFT -0.70%) stocks. Here are some reasons why these two simple stocks can boost your portfolio long-term.

1. McCormick is appealing

McCormick specializes in selling products that add flavor to meals. Its spice and sauce portfolio is popular with many restaurants and food-service professionals, but its main business involves marketing to home cooks, allowing it to take advantage of steady global growth in that industry. McCormick's huge selling footprint delivers market-share gains against smaller competitors, and its ownership of premium brands like French's condiments and Frank's hot sauces powers high profit margins and cash flow.

The stock price stumbled in 2022, along with most of the market. McCormick as a business isn't growing as quickly as management had predicted earlier in the year. Consumers aren't spending as freely on their groceries due to inflation, and spiking costs are also hurting profitability.

But McCormick is still winning share in an industry that has soared since the start of the pandemic and is likely to keep growing over the coming years and decades. Its financial strength (the company is a Dividend Aristocrat) will give it the flexibility to invest in areas like marketing during any downturn so that it emerges even stronger into the next growth cycle. While investors wait for the stock to recover, they can collect a quarterly dividend yielding just under 2%.

2. Microsoft has the cash

Microsoft holds dominant market positions in attractive niches including productivity software, video game entertainment, and enterprise cloud services. Steady expansion in these areas has powered phenomenal growth for the software giant over the last few years, and the current slowdown doesn't mean those boom times are gone for good.

Yes, consumers aren't spending nearly as aggressively on gaming and home productivity products today. But it still boasts one of the most profitable businesses around. Microsoft generated $20.5 billion in operating income this past quarter, up 14% after accounting for currency exchange shifts.

That success gave room for the software giant to raise its quarterly dividend by 10% in mid-September even as it spends tens of billions of dollars investing in growth for the coming decade. Its proposed purchase of Activision Blizzard is a prime example of that expansion strategy at work.

Wall Street is fretting over the next few quarters, which might show slowing sales and earnings growth. But savvy investors can look past that volatility toward a future that will be increasingly software-driven across big industries like entertainment as well as hybrid and remote work. As that future arrives, you'll likely be glad that you made an investment, even a relatively small one, in Microsoft stock.