Though the weather may be numbingly cold, one quick and easy way to warm up is with some spicy foods to wake up your taste buds. Capsaicin - the natural component found hot peppers - tricks your body into thinking that it is hot, causing you to sweat a bit when you ingest spicy foods. A less enjoyable side-effect of capsaicin is that it also causes a burning sensation with whatever it comes in contact with - including your skin. For that reason, be sure to practice spicy food safety when preparing your next hot meal, and wear gloves when chopping hot peppers, and be sure not to rub your eyes, as the oils from the peppers also carry that spicy component, which can stay on your fingers and spread onto anything you touch. The concentration of capsaicin is incredibly high in the seeds of hot peppers, which is why most recipes state to remove the seeds before cooking, though some people leave a few (or occasionally all) of the seeds in the recipes for an even bigger kick. Safely enjoy your super spicy experience with one of these blazing recipes!
Homemade Sriracha Sauce
Feel the burn with this recipe, which you can use to cook chicken, pulled pork, or whatever else you can think of!
- 1 lb red or orange Santa Fe peppers
- 2 heads of garlic
- 2 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar or honey
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
Directions: Wash the peppers and spread them out on paper towels to dry, being careful while handling the peppers – do not rub your eyes or touch any exposed cuts. Cut off the tops of the peppers, then slice the peppers in half, removing the seeds and inside membranes. Peel and mince the garlic cloves. Pour vinegar, sugar, and salt into a glass jar and mix until dissolved. Add the peppers and garlic, and refrigerate overnight. The next day, strain the garlic and chilis from the vinegar, and pour the vinegar through the strainer into a large saucepan. Cook the vinegar on medium heat until it is reduced by about half. Add the strained peppers and garlic to the reduced vinegar and continue cooking until the peppers and garlic are completely soft. Transfer the mix to a food processor and blend well. Enjoy the sauce, or start the canning process right away.
Spicy Shredded Beef
This slow cooker recipe is great for shredded beef tacos!
- 2 lbs chuck roast
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 3 tbs tomato paste
- 1/4 cup beef broth
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 serrano pepper, diced small
- 1 jalepeno pepper. diced small
- 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 1 tbs chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
Directions: Take the roast and season it with salt and pepper, then set aside. Mix chili powder, cumin, and paprika together and rub over both sides of the roast. Put the roast in a crock pot with the onions, garlic, and peppers. In a small bowl, combine tomato paste, lime juice, and beef broth, then pour over the beef. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours. When the meat is tender and can rip apart easily with a fork, you can then shred it completely with a fork and return it to the slow cooker, mixing the meat with the other juices. Serve as tacos, or in a taco salad!
Jalapeno Popper Garlic Bread
If you like jalapeno poppers, you’ll love this cheesier, more filling garlic bread version.
- 1 loaf of Italian bread
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 jalapenos, sliced
- 1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
- Garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line a cooking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the loaf lengthwise and turn both halves so they are facing up on the cooking sheet. Brush both faces with melted butter, and shake some garlic powder over both slices. Cover with foil and bake for 5 minutes. Chop both jalapenos, and use one for the slices that will go on top of the bread and the other to get mixed in with the cheese. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together one chopped jalapeno, cream cheese, sour cream, and a dash of salt and pepper. Take the bread out of the oven and remove the foil. Spread the jalapeno-cheese mixture over the bread, and top with cheese. Arrange the slices from the other jalapeno on top of the cheese. Put bread back in the oven and bake for 2-4 more minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted. Remove from oven, let it cool, and then slice and serve!
Not for the faint of heart, these margaritas pack a real punch!
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup triple sec
- 1 1/2 tbsp agave syrup
- 2 jalapenos, sliced and seeds removed
Directions: First, put sliced jalapenos at the bottom of an 8 oz mason jar, and pour in the desired amount of tequila. Let sit for 48 hours. Mix with lime juice, lemon juice, triple sec, and agave syrup and serve over ice.