We’ve all been there, sometimes cooking from home gets a little bland. We love supporting local restaurants and indulging in fancy meal kit services. Still, our budgets and nutritional needs often require us to head to the kitchen to prepare homemade meals. If you’ve been stuck in a dinnertime rut, try one of these bold recipes to get your mouth watering and taste buds tingling again.
Hot tip: To avoid irritating your skin, it’s a good idea to wear gloves when working with hot chillis, especially when chopping and handling the insides of peppers. Coring your hot peppers (removing the seeds) before you add them to your cooking will reduce your recipe’s spice-level while still allowing for plenty of flavour.
Hot Honey: The ultimate sweet and spicy.
Hot honey is a hit because it’s versatile, easy to make, and of course, delicious! Hot honey lover and maker Mike Kurtz recommends drizzling it on everything from meats, veggies, cheeses, pizza, even ice cream and yogurt.
You can make your own hot honey with different combinations of your favourite honey variety and dried or fresh chile peppers to bring the heat. Some recipes also include vinegar to add classic hot sauce flavour to this sweet and savoury condiment.
- Homemade hot honey (infused with red chillies)
- Hot honey with fresh serrano peppers
- Bourbon Hot Honey
Blend your hot honey into a margarita, mix it into a salad dressing, or go wild and pour a little over your next batch of brownies. Check out these chef-inspired ideas for more tips on cooking with this fantastic combination of sweet and heat.
Charcuterie boards love jalapeno jams and jellies.
Spiced-up spreads are almost as versatile as hot honey and just as scrumptious. Try a classic green jalapeno or jalapeno and bell pepper jelly, or experiment with the hot pepper and sweet/tangy fruit combinations below to give your next pb&j an extra edge:
You eat a charcuterie display with your eyes first, so adding one of these colourful spreads will boost both the aesthetic and taste appeal of your next masterpiece.
Bonus Recipe: Cowboy Candy
Already in the kitchen chopping up chilli peppers for honey or jelly? Why not make a batch of candied jalapenos (AKA cowboy candy) too? Mike from Chili Pepper Madness recommends using these homemade spicy confections to garnish drinks, breads and gourmet cupcakes or tossing them into guacamole or a cream cheese dip.
Spiced-up saucy entrees
If adding a spicy condiment to the menu won’t satisfy your cravings, these dishes inspired by Mexican, Cajun and Hawaiian cuisine definitely will.
In our opinion, veggies taste better when they’re mixed into a delicious sauce. The staple ingredients for the sauce used in enchiladas verdes include: Mexican green chillies, cilantro, lime and, of course, tomatillos. We can’t think of a better way to eat your greens!
- Homemade roasted tomatillo enchilada sauce
- Chicken & tomatillo enchiladas
- Butternut squash & mushroom enchiladas with tomatillo sauce
Not sure which Mexican peppers to use in your sauce? Use poblanos for a milder heat, jalapenos for an extra kick and serranos for an even more potent capsaicin hit.
Cooking with cajun seasoning is perfect when you want to bring the heat to a dish without chopping fresh chilli peppers. You can even make your own cajun spice mix with dried spices in your pantry like cayenne, paprika, black pepper and onion powder.
If you love spicy arrabbiata sauce, then chances are, you’ll love Cajun-style pasta as well. Many recipes use butter and heavy cream to bring palette cooling deliciousness to the table. Vegan alternatives include vegan butter and Coconut milk.
This Cajun jambalaya pasta with chicken, shrimp and sausage includes “the holy trinity” of Cajun and Louisiana Creole cuisine: onions, celery and bell peppers.
This signature Hawaiian dish is a favourite of seafood and sushi lovers. However, poke-inspired meals can also be adapted with other proteins, including tofu and steak.
- Salmon poke bowl with sesame honey dressing
- Albacore tuna poke with jalapeno and orange juice
- Honey garlic prawn poke bowl
- Vegan poke bowl with crispy tofu and tahini sauce
- Seared Steak Poke
Poke sauce recipes get their flavour from a variety of Asian ingredients. For example, this poke bowl with siracha mayo gets its heat from siracha hot sauce, ground ginger and wasabi paste. Sprinkle on some Japanese furikake seasoning for more umami flavour.
Ready to take a break from bland and step out of your culinary comfort zone? Add a pinch of spice to your pasta and poke or use chilli-infused sauces and condiments to crank up the spice-meter (officially known as the Scoville scale). Your taste buds will thank you for a new flavour adventure, even if it means that your tongue ends up pleasantly numb.