Chili Pepper Madness

Once again, I must extoll the wonderful virtues of the stuffed chili pepper. Stuffed peppers are easy to make, satisfy like no other, and allow for a nearly infinite level of creativity. Practically anything you can conceive of can be stuffed into a chili pepper and made better. You can grill your stuffed peppers or bake them, whichever you prefer. Or how about the crock pot? Today I chose poblano peppers. I had a couple of these left in the fridge, some decent sized ones, and they were begging me to stuff them. "Please please!" They were calling my name. And so was the shrimp. Cajun shrimp! When working with shrimp, Cajun is such a tasty way to go. You don't often get to mix seafood with cheese in an effective way, but this is one of them. The combination of Cajun shrimp with the mixture of Manchego and goat…
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
You know what I love about a good green enchilada sauce? It's the combination of roasted tomatillos and roasted chili peppers. Tomatillos are staple Mexican ingredients and they're easy to cook with. While they look just like little green tomatoes, with a papery our layer that you must peel away, they have a different taste and are quite different from the tomatoes you're used to. You can eat tomatillos raw, but they are so good when roasted and blended up, especially with other staple Mexican ingredients, like the chili pepper and all those outstanding seasonings. Patty and I get a little excited about making homemade sauces from scratch because they taste so much more personal. You can customize a recipe to your personal preference that particular day. In the mood for more garlic? Toss in a couple more cloves. I usually do! Want some extra heat? How about a couple…
Published in Sauces
June 17, 2015

Habanero Pepper Jam

Habanero pepper jam coming your way! I used to shy away from making jams and jellies. I'm not sure why. Growing up, I was pretty boring, actually. All I ever ate was grape jelly. Peanut butter and jelly was a daily thing, and if you served me grape jelly with seeds in it, forget about it! And don't even get me started on strawberry jam. Fast forward a few years - fine, MANY years - and here I am, making habanero jam. I mean, just look at it! Isn't it beautiful? I'm so happy my tastebuds have evolved. Habanero peppers are some of the best to work with. They are nice and spicy and have an inherent fruitiness and sweetness that lends them to spreads like jams or jellies. A note about that - the biggest difference between a jelly and a jam is that a jam has the fruit…
Published in Jellies
Flat out - I can't keep these around the house long enough. They never last! Hot sauces get poured onto everything. It is AWESOME to have hot sauce around as a nice finisher. Plus, you can incorporate them into recipes. How many times have I written, "Hot Sauce of your choice" in a recipe? While not all hot sauces are alike, this recipe produces an ideal level of both sweet and heat, the perfect combination. Walking through the store the other day, I found this HUGE pile of pineapples and one accidentally spilled into my cart as I was passing by, so I figurred, OK, fine, I will cook with you. And then his friend the mango came along for the ride. I didn't want them to be alone, so into a sauce they went. Tropical fruit is so nice and friendly like that. Especially with ghost pepper! Yes! I…
Published in Hot Sauces
The whole world needs more poblano peppers, those earthy, grillable, tasty, awesome chili peppers that are the perfect vessels for many a delicious stuffing. Patty was in the mood for something a little decadent and the first thing that popped into my mind was cream cheese. Cream cheese? Really? I have no idea why. There are so many dedadent options around. Decadence abounds! But once the cream cheese train started rolling, I couldn't get off, so the idea snowballed into the recipe you see below.  One key with this recipe is the grilling. I have instructions below for grilling the poblanos, but I've also written up more detailed instructions here - How to Grill Poblano Peppers - for your reference if you have further questions. Grilling your poblano peppers allows you to peel off the skins, and it softens up the peppers, reducing the sugars and amino acids within, bringing…
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
Here we go again. More homemade hot sauce! This one is not for Patty, though she's been enjoying hotter anad hotter chili peppers. This one is more for me, using some nice and spicy ghost peppers, aka the bhut jolokia chili pepper. Ghost Peppers top 1 Million Scoville Heat Units, which is pretty darned hot. In a good way. That is if you're like me, who likes it crazy hot sometimes. I'm including a version of this recipe in the superhot cookbook I'm working on. I've made versions of this particular hot sauce recipe with other peppers and it always turns out because of its simplicity. It is a tomato-pepper-based sauce with only 7 ingredients, pretty hard to go wrong. It works with habanero peppers, Scotch Bonnets, larger sweet peppers, Serrano peppers, jalapeno peppers, though I tend to lean toward the more Caribbean style peppers that are sweeter. It also…
Published in Hot Sauces
If you like your jambalaya to be super meaty, with plenty of chunky chicken, seasoned and seared shrimp, spicy andouille sausage, PLUS with the flavor and heat of wonderful jalapeno and serrano peppers, then this recipe is going to make you happy. I have been ITCHING to make a jambalaya for a while now, but was sort of waiting for colder weather. There wasn't any need for that, as you can get a great jambalaya anytime of year in warm New Orleans, but it is such a stick-to-your-bones type of recipe, it feels more like fall or winter to me. The beauty of Cajun shrimp, chicken and andouille jambalaya is not only in the heat and awe-inspiring flavor, but also because it's a pretty easy to make one-pot meal. I made a version recently for a gathering and let it sit covered on the stove while everyone else scrambled with…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
Giardiniera is a wonder condiment, turning any sandwich into a burst of flavor. Here is our Chicago-style recipe with plenty of chili peppers, vegetables and seasonings. Giardiniera is something we encounter on a regular basis. Patty and I are from the Chicago area, and Chicago is well-known for its selection of beef sandwiches. If you're from Chicago or anywhere near there, you can't order a beef sandwich without giardiniera. It's a travesty. If you want funny looks shot your way, go ahead and order one and tell them to hold the giardiniera. Okay, I'm half-joking, but only half. Seriously, giardiniera is a tasty condiment you can enjoy on any number of sandwiches, and not only at the ubiquitous beef joints. I personally love it piled onto a hot dog over over a crispy toasted sub sandwich. We have a chain sandwich shop nearby and we enjoy their flatbread sandwiches. They…
Published in Hot Sauces
Make your own spicy hot sauce at home with only 6 ingredients - habanero peppers, cilantro, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and garlic. Here is the recipe. Hot sauce is one of the greatest gifts ever received by humanity. Grandiose? I think not! It would be hard to imagine an existence without this wonderful stuff. There are some outstanding artisan hot sauce products out there on the market today, and I enjoy many of them, but I also enjoy making my own hot sauce, depending on what I'm in the mood for or on what meals I may be planning in the upcoming week. For this week, I KNEW I would be needing some habanero hot sauce. We've been traveling a bit and there is a kitchen we're we are staying. I brought along some dehydrated habanero peppers. I dehydrate a lot of peppers from our garden each year to make…
Published in Hot Sauces
OK, my friends. It is time to reveal one of the hottest hot sauces I have ever made in my own kitchen. Yes, it is homemade and it is crazy hot. Crazy hot in a good sort of way, the way only a serious chilihead can enjoy. Or any true heat lover. The story is this. I was putting the finishing touches on my new cookbook, "1 Million Plus! Cooking with the World's Hottest Chili Peppers" and I had acquired a couple of pounds of superhot chili peppers to complete a photo shoot for the cover and promotional materials. We took our photos and when everything was wrapped up, I had the wonderful benefit of having a LOT of superhots to work with. I also grew a slew of peppers in our own garden this year. We're talking Carolina Reapers, Scorpions, a couple of 7-Pot varieties. And that was what…
Published in Hot Sauces
July 29, 2015

Hot Pepper Relish

This very simple recipe for pickled pepper relish is great for any type of food you can prepare on the grill. We're talking steaks, chicken breasts, burgers, brats, even the good old hot dog. It's one of those wonder condiments that goes with so many dishes. Extra bonus - it is also a GREAT way to preserve your abundant pepper harvest. Loaded with wonderful chili peppers, a bit of onion and garlic, it packs in the flavor. Seriously, if your garden is practically exploding with chili peppers like mine does every year, consider the humble relish. The vinegar not only makes the relish delicious and somewhat sweet, it acts as a preservative, letting you keep your peppers around longer so you can enjoy them. You can realistically use this recipe on ANY type of chili pepper. Just be sure to chop them up to consistent sizes and chunks. If you're…
Published in Sauces
December 14, 2015

How to Make Chili Oil

I purchase chili oils for all sorts of recipes. They're pretty standard in certain parts of the world. They figure prominently in Chinese and Japanese cooking, and in many parts of Asia, although the Italians enjoy their own version as well. I like to always have a good brand on hand, but sometimes it is more efficient to make your own when you need a small batch, or even as a gift. Perfect for this time of year, right? A typical chili oil is made from a vegetable oil that has been infused with your chili peppers of choice. I've included a recipe below for a very simple superhot version made with a blend of dried 7-Pots and Scorpion chili peppers, though you can use any type of pepper you'd prefer. Heat the oil, then add dried peppers and other seasonings and ingredients, then allow to cool, thus infusing the oil…
Published in Cooking Tips
While writing and developing new recipes for my new "superhots" cookbook, I worked on upgrading an older garlic-based hot sauce of mine, tweaking it, adding some new flavors, really just developing it a bit more to my own personal preferences. I used yellow scorpion peppers and wow, talk about heat. Scorpion peppers reach over one million Scoville Heat Units and they pack that famous "scorpion sting," a fiery blast that instantly bites into your tongue and holds on. They're perfect for a hot sauce, really, though admittedly, the audience is somewhat limited for the superhots. Still, I had to write the book and hope to see it available soon. I will certainly make an announcement! I wanted to do a slightly milder version that others could enjoy. I chose the habanero pepper. Habanero peppers are no slouch. These babies pack around 300,000 SHU, and that is still plenty hot enough…
Published in Hot Sauces
Who is grilling this weekend? With the holiday here, and summer of course, we're already grilling like crazy. Living in the Midwest means a shorter grilling season for us, so when we have it, we like to take advantage. When it comes to grilling, burgers are always at the top of the list. You already know we make a lot of turkey burgers - see our Burgers Recipes and you'll see - but how about something a little different? Turkey-Chorizo Burgers. No, not turkey made into chorizo. I mean a combination of ground turkey and spicy Mexican chorizo. You'll get a full on blast of that awesome chorizo flavor, accompanied by our favorite ground turkey and plenty of seasonings mixed in, including jalapeno peppers, of course, which I am obviously MAD for. Jalapeno Madness, baby! You can play around with the ratios of turkey to chorizo until you achieve your…
Published in Burgers
February 10, 2016

Peri Peri Sauce

Make your own peri peri, or piri piri, sauce at home with this recipe. A traditional African sauce made from African Bird's Eye chiles. If you have not tried peri peri sauce, this is one you need to put on the list. Peri Peri sauce is a traditional African sauce made from spicy African Bird's Eye chili peppers. It is also known as piri piri, or pili pili. If you want the TRUEST of the TRUE peri peri sauce experiences, you'll make this with African Bird's Eye peppers grown in Africa, as the soil conditions there are completely different than anywhere else in the world, which influences the pepper flavor, and therefore the resulting sauce. So let's all go to Africa! But of course! It is the same with peppers grown in New Mexico or the Caribbean. Hatch chiles, for example, are so darned good when you get them directly…
Published in Sauces
As I was working on a new superhot cookbook, I experimented with a number of homemade hot sauce recipes. That is the fun part of running a food blog, especially one dedicated in large part to chili peppers in general. I get to make all sorts of spicy recipes, particularly hot chili sauces. So very fun for me! When making hot sauce, it is easy to work up large batches and even different types of chili sauces at the same time because you can use a little bit here, a little bit there, save some and combine it with something else for an entirely different result. This particular chili sauce is a Caribbean style sweet chili sauce recipe that uses a combination of Bhut Jolokia chili peppers (aka Ghost Peppers) and some Scotch Bonnets, though I also included several long red cayenne peppers because I had them on hand and…
Published in Hot Sauces
Stuffed chili peppers are amazing. There are so many chili pepper varieties in the world, and so many of them are ideal for stuffing. They're the perfect vessels for all sorts of delicious goodness, it makes my head spin. One of the most popular peppers around is the Anaheim chili pepper. The Anaheim is a mild pepper with a thick enough flesh to be slightly meaty in texture, especially when roasted. You'll find them in most grocery stores in the fresh fruit and vegetables section, along with other more popular peppers. I believe they are popular because they are so mild and can be incorporated into any number of dishes. Stuffed chili peppers are an excellent choice for these guys. Serve up one or two of these and you have yourself a full meal. For this particular recipe, we went with some Creole seasoned chicken breast, along with onion and…
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
Love jambalaya? This recipe brings all of your favorite jambalaya flavors and transforms them into a tasty pasta dish. Patty and I both go a little crazy over Cajun flavors. Such powerful food when it comes to flavor. The seasonings blends are potent and can truly liven up any type of a dish. After making the Creamy Taco Style Pasta recently, and seriously LOVING it, I thought --- How might that concept work with Cajun flavors? The answer is DANG GREAT. If you enjoy jambalaya, you'll enjoy this recipe that brings all of those flavors and tosses them up into a big bowl of pasta.  Another great thing about this recipe is that it is FAST. Yep. Quick and Easy, ideal for lunch or dinner in a hurry. Of course you can leave the sauce to cook and simmer awhile to let the ingredients mingle and develop with even MORE…
Published in Pasta
A recipe for the red sauce you find in Mexican restaurants in squeeze bottles, perfect for smothering your burritos, for taco sauce, for any type of Mexican food. It's also great as a flavorful salsa. I've talked about guacamole recipes in Mexican restaurants, how there is a basic form of the recipe, yet every Mexican place does it their own way. The same is true, if not MORE so, for Salsa Roja, or Mexican Red Table Sauce. If you've been to a Mexican restaurant, you've seen it. It's the red stuff that typically comes in a large squeeze bottle, the bottle slightly condensed with moisture because it has just been removed from the refrigerator in the back, most likely freshly made that very morning. So very fresh. It is similar in consistency to a thin salsa, with a bit more processing to give it that sauce like quality that is…
Published in Sauces
January 04, 2016

Juicy Turkey Tacos

A recipe for quick and easy ground turkey tacos that are juicy, healthy, and downright satisfying. Most of you know my love for ground turkey by now. I'm in LOVE with turkey burgers (see one of my favorite turkey burger recipes) and we cook with turkey constantly. As much as we both love beef, turkey is a lower calorie option that helps to keep the weight down. So! Bring on the Turkey Tacos. I can't say enough good things about turkey tacos. They're healthy, low-calorie, inexpensive to make, super quick and easy to prepare, and flat out delicious. Seriously, you can have this recipe done in about 20 minutes or less. The only thing holding you back is how many fixings you decide to serve up. Turkey is your blank canvas protein that absorbs all the flavors you choose to bring to the plate. Choose wisely, though to be honest, it's…
Published in Tacos
June 13, 2015

Smoky Whiskey Mule

Patty here again with another "Thirsty Thirteenth". Whoop whoop! Since Father’s day is approaching, I decided to make a drink dedicated to and inspired by my Dad. This year is extra special for him because his birthday is just a couple days before Father’s day and he is turning the big 7-0. My Dad switched over from a beer drinker to Jack Daniel’s many years ago. He was trying all sorts of crazy things because he didn’t like the Jack and Coke route at all. For a while he was drinking Jack and Gatorade. All different flavors of Gatorade. Everyone thought he was crazy. Some of them were really gross but others not too bad. One day someone told him that the upper and a downer combination might not be so good for him since he wasn’t exactly a spring chicken. So, he switched to Jack and water. The great…
Published in Drinks
Pique is an interesting hot sauce. You'll find it in Puerto Rico - it's a national staple there, with a different version practically for every household. It is one of those hot sauce recipes that defies any specific recipe because it can vary quite a bit. Many of the ingredients come down to personal preference of the household serving it up. It is not a blended hot sauce. At its most basic, it is a number of ingredients floating in vinegar. Those ingredients, in particular, chili peppers, infuse the vinegar with heat and flavor, which you can use to dash over anything you desire. I've seen versions with or without lime juice, splashes of rum, culantro leaves, sugar, onion, pineapple chunks or other fruit, peppercorns. So many possible ingredients. The traditional chili pepper used is the Aji Caballero. You basically chop up the larger ingredients, drop them all into a…
Published in Hot Sauces
These are the days we're super glad we had a garden over the summer and fall. We still have a bit of frozen fresh green tomato-pepper sauce in the freezer, and it was perfect for a quick dinner sauce. This is a typical night in the Madness household. We both love salmon and since we both work full time, I will often thaw some quickly and whip together something new and unique as either a side or for the sauce. Have you ever had those nights, staring into the refrigerator, wondering what the heck to make? I say Salmon! It's a huge go-to in our house. It is very healthy, delicious, and easy to prepare. Love that. For this meal, I had an avocado that was just perfectly ripe. I'm sure you've been there. If avocados could talk, they would say, "Wait, wait, wait, NOW, too late." This one was ideal. I…
Published in Salmon
October 17, 2015

Pickled Peppers

Pickling peppers is one of the most popular and traditional methods of preserving your chili pepper harvest. I've pickled so many peppers over the years, I can hardly count, and I'm always happy to have them around. Pickled peppers of any type are welcomed to many a meal. You can chop and stir them into soups or stews, use them as a condiment by topping sandwiches, cook them into pizzas. Go crazy, really. I prefer pickling a variety of chili peppers, though you can keep one type all to itself in its own jar. Pickled jalapenos, anyone? Yeah! Jalapenos are crazy popular any time of year. This truly is a quick and easy recipe. The basic steps include chopping your peppers, then bringing a seasoned brine solution to a boil. The brine consists of vinegar and salt. From there, you'll add your own preferred pickling spices, which you can use…
Published in Pickled Peppers
A homemade hot sauce recipe made with roasted red jalapeno peppers, garlic, tomato and red wine vinegar. This is one of the most addicting hot sauces I've ever made. I already need another batch! Happy New Year, friends! This is a very important post. It is the first of 2016, a brand new year, and there were so many possible recipes for us to post. As food bloggers, we think about food ALL THE TIME. It's just what we do, and we LOVE it. We're sure you could tell. But! What to post? We considered posting something light and healthy to kick off the new year with good eating habits. Nothing wrong with that. We like the watch our waistlines and what better time to recommit? We also considered posting a Blood Mary recipe. Patty is an UH-MAZING Bloody Mary mixologist. Believe me when I say that. She has some…
Published in Hot Sauces
Make your own hot sauce at home with this quick and easy recipe that incorporates spicy habanero peppers, sweet pineapple and cilantro. Perfect for dashing over meals or spicing up your favorite cocktails. We like it for our Bloody Marys. This hot sauce exists for 2 very specific reasons. FIRST, the habanero peppers are POPPING in the garden. YES! We seriously LOVE when the garden starts producing. So many fresh peppers! We can walk right outside and grab a few off the plants and get busy! Talk about living. To quote my father-in-law, "Is this living or what?" SECOND...Bloody Mary. If you are like us, you enjoy a bit of spice and kick to your Bloody Mary drinks, and this, my friends, is the solution. Pineapple-Habanero Hot Sauce. To be honest, it's great on just about anything that can take the level of heat with the touch of sweet. It's…
Published in Hot Sauces
Make your own crispy, crunchy, restaurant style battered and fried jalapeno bottle caps at home. Here is the recipe. I've seen these wonderful fried jalapeno slices in restaurants for years, but oddly enough I've never made them. Silly me. They're great little bites of spicy crunchiness and they're rather addictive, so beware if you make them. I probably ate half of them as we were taking the photo for this post. Make a double batch! I'm sure you'll have the same problem and will devour them before they hit the table. In restaurants, they are often served as appetizers with a cooling sauce, like ranch or a blue cheese dip, but I enjoy them most when they are included as the crunchy topping of a sandwich. Jalapeno Heaven, my friends. Yes, we're now entering Mike's jalapeno obsession territory. Again. #JalapenoObsession This is why we're making jalapeno bottle caps. For a…
Published in Appetizers
If you are a gardener like we are, right around this time of year your gardens are exploding with all sorts of fresh goodness. At Chili Pepper Madness, that includes a lot of chili peppers. I mean, a LOT of chili peppers. I personally cook them into tons of different foods, but even for me, it is impossible to use them all up before they go bad. Letting them go bad is a serious no-no! I give some away, sometimes fresh but usually in the form of a hot sauce or an infused salt or a seasoning blend, but realistically, it is better to preserve them so you can consume them throughout the winter. We want chili peppers all year long. I'm sure you do, too. You've worked hard for that garden harvest. You can preserve those chile peppers for later use. There are several things you can do to preserve…
I want to show you how to make moist, juicy turkey burgers. Yes, once again I am going to extoll the virtues of awesome turkey burgers. Flipping through our burger recipes section, you'll find a number of turkey burger recipes, and that is because we flat out love turkey burgers. Don't get me wrong. We also LOVE a good beef burger, but beef had an unfair advantage over turkey because of the fat content. This means it is much easier to get a juicy beef burger, but it also means you'll have a lot more calories. With turkey burgers, you need to figure how to get the moisture in the burgers, but also some flavor, as the ground turkey alone is much milder that beef. To me, that's a welcoming blank canvas. Making juicy turkey burgers is easy, actually. Add in some spicy jalapeno peppers or other peppers of your…
Published in Burgers
We're always experimenting with traditional Mexican flavors and ingredients. They lend themselves to so many outstanding meal choices. This particular dish is inspired by the uber-Mexican dish, the Enchilada. Ah, the enchilada, that rolled tortilla filled with so much goodness, served up with a chili sauce. We've basically deconstructed your typical enchilada and recreated it as a one-pot dish. Is it a stew? Is it a casserole? We're not sure, but we are sure that it tastes so good! We went with a meatless, vegetarian version, with a chili pepper focus, but this would work just as well with some chopped chicken or pulled pork. I'm seriously going to make this with the leftover pulled pork from a different recipe I made recently, and I can't wait to try that version. The beauty of a one-pot meal is that you can prepare each component of the meal and toss it…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
Lately we've been experimenting a bit with infusing alcohols with chili peppers. Infused alcohols are all the rage nowadays. You'll find vodkas, tequilas, moonshines, even whiskeys hopping on the bandwagon with all sorts of interesting flavor combinations. Moonshine is a perfect alcohol for infusing and we've been doing it for years. Like vodka, it is nice and clear and soaks up the flavors of your chosen ingredients nicely. I've done this with superhots of all types - think ghost peppers, scorpion peppers, 7-pots (my faves!) - though this particular recipe utilizes the wonderful habanero pepper. Yes! The habanero has gained immense popularity in recent years due to its fruity quality and the growing love of heat and zesty food. It's a good time to be Chili Pepper Madness, let me tell you. So happy for the habanero. What can you do with a habanero infused moonshine drink? Time to get…
Published in Drinks
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #YesYouCAN #CollectiveBias Arroz con Pollo, Spanish for “Rice with Chicken”, is a classic Latin comfort food dish. You’ll find versions of this dish all over the world with slightly different ingredients and methods, though the bases remain the same. Rice and Chicken. It’s a classic pairing, really, two very basic ingredients that are abundant, easy to find, and popular with the masses. And honestly, they’re just SO. DARNED. GOOD. When done right, that is, and with Arroz con Pollo, regardless of which country’s style you’re going for, you’re pretty much guaranteed a satisfying meal. We’re moving in the MEXICAN direction with this recipe, going with more traditional Mexican seasonings, but we’re making it easy. Easy is good, right? Better than difficult! It isn’t a difficult dish to prepare anyway, but this particular recipe…
Published in Chicken
File this recipe under "Quick and Easy". And summerlicious. Is that a word? It should be! Summertime is ideal for light, bright foods, especially when you can sit outside and grill. Shrimp takes practically no time to cook, so you can have this meal ready is practically no time. For an even quicker meal, make the salsa ahead of time and let it sit in the fridge a couple hours. It will allow the flavors to meld together. So good on shrimp tacos. The salsa is vibrant and colorful with fresh green jalapeno peppers and diced avocado, red tomatoes, tropical mango, crisp lime juice, cilantro...I'm getting hungry again describing it. Just see below. It practically wants to leap out of the bowl and straight into my belly. Shrimp Tacos with Fresh Mango-Avocado Salsa Ingredients FOR THE SALSA 1 medium avocado, pitted and peeled 1 medium mango, peeled and cored 1…
Published in Shrimp
Have you ever tasted decadence on a spoon? Behold - Bacon Jam. I've heard bacon jam referred to as Devil's Delight somewhere, and oh my, is that an accurate moniker. Bacon jam is deliciously savory and sweet and works as a spread over cheeses and breads, or as a flavor blast addition to meats or sandwiches. And so much more! Can you tell we both love bacon jam?  I've been experimenting with different ingredients and this is our favorite version, though I also love to use superhot chili peppers. I'm working on a new cookbook about superhot chili peppers, including a large variety of cooking techniques and recipes, and a version of this recipe will be included with Carolina Reaper peppers. If you want to make your own superhot version, you can use a powder or dehydrated chili peppers. Fresh is ideal, but the powders or rehydrated pods will still…
Published in Dips
What do you do when you have leftover pulled pork? Leftover tacos is an obvious choice, but how about something more fun, like poppers! The other day I made another batch of roasted poblano pulled pork for quick and easy tacos, and we had quite a bit leftover. I like to make larger batches of pulled pork for this reason. There are only two of us here and pork is easy to add to any number of creative dishes. Jalapeno poppers are some of my favorites. Bite-sized deliciousness, easy to prepare, super easy to enjoy, no forks necessary. Jalapeno poppers are the uber appetizer and party food. They're also perfect for when the weather turns nice and you can sit out on your patio in the sun with a plateful of these babies. Check it out...just core out your jalapeno peppers. I usually like to serve them boat style, by…
Published in Jalapeno Poppers
Preserving your chili peppers is important if you want to keep them longer. It is impossible to keep your chili peppers fresh forever. It is just the nature of chili peppers and any natural food! They will eventually rot and spoil if you don't preserve them in some way. One way is to preserve your peppers in olive oil. The peppers won't keep as long as other methods, unless you freeze them, though they will last a few weeks at least, giving you plenty of time to enjoy them. If you're a crazy chili pepper lover like we are, they won't last that long anyway. You'll probably gobble them down. It is important to roast the peppers first. There is so much more flavor in a roasted chili pepper. The method below is a basic method for preserving peppers in oil, but you can easily vary it up by adding…
A recipe for all-purpose homemade chili sauce that is both sweet and savory, made with plenty of chili peppers, tomato, pineapple juice and tons of seasonings. Allow me a moment to extol the virtues of homemade chili sauce. YOU. ARE. AWESOME. CHILI. SAUCE! OK, done. Sort of. The thing about a good chili sauce is that it works for so many meals. It all depends on the ingredients you put into it. That is why I call this recipe an "all-purpose" sauce, because realistically, it can go into any type of dish. OK, obviously within reason. You're not going to dump this over a bowl of tapiaco pudding, but hey, to each their own. With a chili sauce like this, it can be used as a straight sauce or as a starter for something else. It's a good idea to make a large batch of it so you can have…
Published in Sauces
A recipe for corned beef, cooked low and slow, then served with a rich, creamy, and slightly spicy gravy made with Guinness beer and habanero peppers. This is NOT your traditional corned beef and cabbage recipe. Think outside the box this year. This is sort of a long recipe, my friends, but you know what? It is seriously worth it. I'm posting this one early this year, long enough before St. Patrick's Day so that you can have an option outside of the traditional corned beef and cabbage recipe you might have every year. Don't get me wrong! There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with traditional corned beef and cabbage, but every now and then, we like something different. Know what I mean? We're using all the same ingredients, with a few more tossed in - you know, chili peppers! Habanero! Jalapeno! The good stuff - along with Guinness Beer. Cooking…
Published in Beef
Total SHOUT OUT to my friend and neighbor, Matt. You know who you are. Patty and I were invited to his house for dinner the other night. It's always fun to hang out with Matt and Jackie, sipping a few cocktails and enjoying each other's company. Except when Matt pulls out the cedar planks and grills up perfectly seasoned steelhead trout. Boom! Talk about a phenomenal meal. I've made steelhead trout in the past but Matt's meal has inspired me to work up something of my own, and we love how it turned out. Matt grillled his on cedar planks. I, of course, had to run out and buy a good dozen planks for myself, though I didn't use them in this recipe. I'm reserving them for a special occasion, or another blog post, whichever comes first. I did, however, grill these up for a crunchy skin. No need to…
Published in Other Fish
I couldn't help myself. I've been absolutely jonesing for some chicken wings and I had to make some. No reason to run out to the local wing joint when you can make them at home, especially when you have this freshly made jamaican jerk seasoning rub just sitting there, taunting you, begging you to use it. Come on! How am I able to resist? Alas, I am not able. But I will not chastise myself. I will, instead, enjoy the heck out of these wings.  We're going Caribbean with this recipe. It's a double whammy flavor blast, actually triple if you count the brine. I brined the chicken wings to make them extra moist on the inside. Pat them dry and give them a good rub down with your Jamaican jerk seasoning. I made a fresh homemade blend, but feel free to use your favorite brand. Then, I grilled the…
Published in Chicken Wings Recipes
A recipe for the green sauce you find in Mexican restaurants in squeeze bottles, perfect for smothering your burritos, for taco sauce, for any type of Mexican food. It's also great as a flavorful salsa. Recently I posted a Salsa Roja Recipe (Mexican Red Table Sauce), so it is only natural that I follow up with the GREEN version of that recipe. It isn't really the same as the red, but they're synonymous because you'll typically find them side by side in your local Mexican restaurant, either in large squeeze bottles or served in small bowls so you can scoop them out with a spoon to pour over your burritos, tacos, or whatever else you're ordering. The way it works for me is to have each sauce next to me while I chow on my chicken tacos. First I squeeze a bit of salsa roja onto the taco, take a…
Published in Sauces
More stuffed peppers coming your way. Of course! At Chili Pepper Madness, we sort of LOVE cooking with chili peppers, and that means chili peppers of ALL types, and if I've said it once, I've said it probably ten million times by now - We LOVE stuffed peppers! Chili peppers are the perfect vessels for all sorts of stuffing. I mean, look at them. They're hollow, right? You slice off the top and peer down into that lonely emptiness and think, this poor little thing needs some company. Or you slice them in half right down the center and you're left with perfectly formed bowls. All you need to do is get creative. In this case, creative doesn't have to mean complicated. In fact, it is rather easy. We went with an Italian style stuffed bell pepper recipe this time, working with some gorgeous red and yellow bells. Green peppers…
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
February 01, 2016

Cranberry-Jalapeno Jelly

Craving a sweet jelly? This easy-to-make jelly recipe with jalapeno peppers and cranberries is both delicious and sweet. Great for a quick spread or even as a glaze. When I was growing up, the only jelly I would eat was grape. I would turn up my nose at even the suggestion of anything other than grape. And if you suggested I try something new with my peanut butter, look out! Dang, was I picky. Fast forward and here I am, making my own jellies and jams at home, and seriously mixing up the flavors. Thankfully, my tastebuds have come a long way. Chili peppers are PERFECT for jellies and jams. Check out our Pepper Jelly Recipes. So good! So many combinations. With this recipe, I didn't realize I still had a bag of frozen cranberries in the freezer from the holidays. Oh boy. What to do? Yep. Jelly. Lucky for…
Published in Jellies
A recipe for rump roast rubbed with a rich, spicy chili blend, then slow cooked and served with homemade chipotle gravy. We're talking comfort food at its finest. Seriously. Chipotle Gravy! Don't forget the Cheesy Garlic Mashed Potatoes. Make this. Serve it up. Drop the mic. Boom! Done! Yes, this completes the recipe that started with our previous recipe post - Cheesy Garlic Mashed Potatoes. When you put it all together, it is food that will seep into your soul. You will settle into a bit of foodie heaven, and it will certainly satisfy your meat tooth. Rump roast is a tough cut of meat, but when it is slow cooked, it literally falls off the bone. You can shred it with a fork and it is super tender and juicy. My mother used to make roast all the time and it was by far my favorite dish she made. This…
Published in Beef
A recipe for chicken wings that have been brined, rubbed with chili powder and garlic, then tossed with your own homemade Peri Peri sauce. Then we grill them to perfection and toss them again in Peri Peri sauce. Win! We literally JUST made our own Homemade Peri Peri Sauce and it was DEE-VINE. So tasty. So yum-inspired. So many beautiful chili peppers in there. But you can't let the sauce just sit there. You have to eat it! Peri Peri sauce is a traditional sauce originating from Africa. It varies from region to region and it can be served as a dip or spread, or as a sauce for all sorts of foods, particularly chicken and fish. One of my personal favorite foods is chicken wings - see our Chicken Wings Recipes and you'll see what I mean - and these grilled Peri Peri wings are an excellent addition to the…
Published in Chicken Wings Recipes
Jalapeno peppers sliced, stuffed with shredded chicken and cheese, then wrapped in bacon and broiled or grilled to crispy perfection. The ideal party appetizer. Here is the recipe. Someone once asked me when is the best time to serve jalapeno poppers. Um, hello? It's ALWAYS a good time to serve jalapeno poppers. Even if you're stuck home all alone while your wife is out with the girls having herself a good ol' time and you feel like treating yourself to something fun and tasty. Yes, that is an OUTSTANDING time to serve yourself up some crazy-delicious jalapeno peppers stuffed with seasoned chicken and cheese, all wrapped up in crispy bacon. Um. Yeah. Bacon. Poppers. So-Dang-Good. #JalapenoPoppers. #JalapenoObsession. #JalapenoLove. Or, perhaps when you're having a PARTY! Yes, that is truly the BEST time to serve up jalapeno poppers. I don't really know anyone who doesn't like jalapeno poppers, except my one…
Published in Jalapeno Poppers
September 08, 2015

Skillet Jalapeno Cornbread

Cornbread and chili peppers are best buds, especially jalapeno peppers. I don't think I can have cornbread anymore WITHOUT some delicious chili peppers baked in. We made this for a party and it disappeared pretty quickly. The challenge with cornbread is to ensure it does not get too dry. It can easily dry out if you're not careful, and nobody wants cornbread that just sort of clunks in your mouth. It needs to be moist, almost like a cake. The keys here are incorporating the brown butter and beer. You'll get plenty of moisture in the resulting cornbread. So good! It's an excellent side dish, though we've also served it as an appetizer and it always goes fast, so you might want to make an extra batch. You can use muffin tins for this cornbread recipe, but the skillet works out awesome for cornbread, and you can serve it right…
Published in Side Dishes
Taco night, my friends! You don't have to wait for Tuesday for tacos. Seriously, tacos are perfect for any night of the week. Tacos have been a staple in our house for years. They always satisfy and they're so darned easy to put together. For me, half the fun is putting together the fixings, like whipping up the guacamole, shredding the cheese, roasting the jalapeno peppers. So many outstanding options available to you. If you're looking for something just a little different, I present to you this recipe: Salmon Tacos! Salmon Tacos? Yes! Salmon Tacos. You might not automatically think SALMON for your next taco night, but you should. Sure, maybe FISH TACOS might pop into the brain, but most people think tilapia or some other white fish. Nothing wrong with that AT ALL, but next time consider this wonderfully flaky pink fish. We cook with salmon all the time.…
Published in Salmon
This is the easiest recipe for homemade nachos to make, yet also the most satisfying, made with corn tortilla chips, salsa con queso, shredded cheddar, chorizo, jalapeno slices, fresh avocado and tomato. Perfect for parties, tailgating and late night gatherings. My friends can't get enough of these late night nachos. This recipe has been around in the Madness household for close to 20 years. It started back in Northern Illinois University where we met in college, but it evolved and took solid root in our very first home several years later. We've always been party people. We LOVE throwing parties and having gatherings in our home. Often times those parties run a bit late, so we like to have extra "late night" food on hand when the inevitable cravings begin. People start getting hungry again and they want something to munch on. What better late night munchie food than nachos?…
Published in Appetizers
Patty here again with your monthly Thirsty Thirteenth. I’ve noticed a trend in my cocktails lately. They all seem to be this yellowish color with citrus fruits. I guess it’s obvious I’m excited about warm weather finally being here. Well, this time I was thinking about something else hot besides the weather. Let’s make a spicy drink. There is nothing better than a spicy margarita, especially with Cinco de Mayo just around the corner. Let’s spice it up with the awesome habanero. Oh yeah. This one is pretty easy too. We’ll just blend the habanero up with some nice fresh spring mangos. This drink can go a few ways. If you want it extra spicy, let the habanero sit in the mango puree for a few days. The flavors will meld more and it will get hotter each day. I suggest overnight. I ended up having mine sit for about…
Published in Drinks
The pork shoulder in my refrigerator was calling my name! And so were all of the brand new spices I just picked up recently, so nice and fresh - ancho powder (I do love thee!), smoked paprika, cayenne, Mexican oregano. Not to mention the loads of chili peppers begging to be cooked into something delicious. What else to do but make a homemade chili? I am not a chili purist who demands that chili either have beans or no beans. No beans about it! I like it both ways. In fact, I like chili pretty much any way, from red to green to anything in between. This particular recipe skips the beans and goes the green route, though since I used so many seasonings here, it turned out more red than green. It truly is a riff off of a green chili recipe, or chili verde, starting with roasted tomatillos…
Published in Chili
Get your smokers and grills ready for summer with this classic mustard-based barbecue sauce from South Carolina. It goes perfectly with pork. Here is the recipe. South Carolina has a rich and proud history in barbecue. Growing up, I only knew of tomato-based barbecue sauces. Sadly, they were all I'd ever been introduced to. Little did I know there were so many other types of barbecue sauces out there, and a practically infinite variation of each of them, but each with their own unique base. This mustard-based barbecue sauce is one of them. Mustard, you say? In barbecue sauce? Absolutely. If you've never encountered a barbecue sauce recipe made with mustard, you're in for a taste bud awakening because it truly is a revelation.  First off, you only want to use yellow mustard. No brown mustard here, my friends. You MUST go with the classic recipes. Trust them in the…
Published in Sauces
Patty and I are still enjoying the crab we caught in the Chesapeake Bay with this recipe for sweet peppers stuffed with succulent crab meat, goat cheese and Parmesan, then baked to perfection. So glad we caught so much crab! Our Stuffed Chili Pepper Recipes collection is growing on the web site. I love it. I just can't get enough of them. I probably mention every single time I post a stuffed pepper recipe how PERFECT chili peppers are for stuffing. They're the ideal vessels because you can so easily slice off the top or down the center, scoop out the insides, and stuff them with all manner of deliciousness. I just happened to find these gorgeous little sweet peppers at the grocery store down the road and they leapt straight off the cart and into my basket. I swear, they must have heard of all the crab meat we…
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
A homemade hot sauce recipe made with fiery chili peppers, fresh peaches and jerk seasonings for a bit of island flare in a bottle. Perfect for chicken or shrimp. We're making plenty of hot sauce in the Madness kitchen lately. The garden is producing like CRAZY and I'm also preserving in many different ways. I dehydrated a huge batch of superhots this weekend and ground them into a powder for use with rubs and seasoning blends. I pickled a batch as well, which will keep in the fridge so I can toss a few pickled pepper slices onto my sandwiches for lunch. I love having so many chili peppers around! Hot sauces are another great way to use up a number of your peppers so you can still enjoy them throughout the year. This particular sauce was inspired by a chili pepper I hadn't tried before. It is called the…
Published in Hot Sauces
Make these classic Mexican meatballs at home with this recipe and serve them up as appetizers, the main course with a spicy red sauce, or in soup. It's a traditional Mexican comfort food with Spanish roots and they're incredibly tasty. And now, my friends, it is time to make the meatballs. But not just ANY meatballs. We're making a zesty version using more traditional Mexican flavors and we're serving them up however you like. The name "Albondigas" means "meatballs" in Spanish. The recipe made its way to Mexico via Spain and even has an Islamic influence, but truly, it has become a traditional Mexican recipe over the centuries. It's a beef based recipe, made with ground beef and vegetables, then seasoned with chili powders, cumin, herbs and cheese. You can, of course, include other seasonings to your preference. The albondigas are thickened slightly with masa harina, which helps them stay…
Published in Beef
This is not your average jalapeno popper dip recipe, with additional must-have seasonings, loads of creamy cheese and plenty of jalapeno peppers. It's a tray of jalapeno poppers rolled up into an exciting, crowd-pleasing dip. I have made a lot of jalapeno popper dips in my life. I mean, a LOT. It's a simple go-to recipe that you can whip together quick and easy for any type of party. And it's popular. How could it not be? You have cream cheese in there, along with cheddar cheese, and jalapeno peppers, one of the best chili peppers on the face of the planet. I will forever shout out the awesomeness of jalapeno peppers and declare my love for them. I LOVE JALAPENOS! The thing about jalapeno popper dip, though, is everyone makes them. You can't really blame them. Truly, it IS that good, but most people seem to make the same…
Published in Dips
Time for something extra spicy today, friends and chili pepper lovers. We're talking ghost pepper hot. Do you have a favorite buffalo wing joint? Most people do. I have a few different favorites, depending on my mood, though each one is different. Some focus on the rubs, some focus on the sauce, though the one thing almost all of them have in common is that they deep fry everything. I've mentioned in the past, I don't mind frying, but prefer to stay away from it when I'm at home. So for this chicken wing recipe, we're baking them. Yes! I present to you, Crispy Baked Ghost Pepper Chicken Wings. Just look at these babies. Don't they look nice and crispy? The chicken wing rub here is super simple. It is just a combination of ghost pepper powder, garlic powder, salt and some baking powder. If you can't find ghost pepper powder,…
Published in Chicken Wings Recipes
Homemade hot sauce! We're going Caribbean with this recipe, bringing in flaming habanero peppers, velvety mango, vinegar, honey, allspice and more. Drizzle it over chicken, shrimp or fish. Love it. It's a way of life. Not gonna lie. I'm kind of hooked on this sauce. I JUST made it and it's half gone already. Dang. Guess I'll have to run out and buy another mango. No worries about the habanero peppers, though, because our habanero plants are producing like crazy now! BIG WIN! Throwing my hands in the air and dancing sort of win. Bragging about my garden again, my friends, so please excuse me. I can't help it. I get so happy this time of year with all the fresh produce, particularly chili peppers, popping out of the garden. Preserving will very soon be upon us, but for now, I am having ZERO problem keeping up with the pace…
Published in Hot Sauces
These mini pork burgers, made from lean pork loin, are topped with melty pepper jack cheese and roasted jalapenos, then smothered with homemade creamy honey-mustard sauce. Perfect for parties. Get the recipe here. Yesterday we posted a recipe made with pork loin and we were both ecstatic how the meal turned out. It was the Baked Garlic and Herb Pork Loin with Cheesy-Garlic Rutabaga Mash. As you know, there are only 2 of us here in the house, so when we make a pork loin, we almost always have leftovers. If you have a large family, you probably don't have this problem, and if that is the case, you may want to run out and purchase another pork loin specifically for this recipe. I enjoy making a large pork loin for us so we can enjoy the leftovers, especially in recipes like this one. We're talking SLIDERS, mini pork burgers of…
Published in Pork
Don't you love a good jerk seasoning? Jerk cooking originated in Jamaica and you'll get all those wonderful Caribbean flavors when you cook with these spices. It is traditionally used with chicken, but it works great over shrimp and other seafood. I'm not very picky in how I use it. When I want spice, I want some spice! With these flavors, it can work with any protein of your preference. Tofu, anyone? Why not? It also works on vegetables, like grilled corn on the cob. That recipe is coming soon! There are quite a lot of seasonings that go into this dry rub - fifteen, to be specific, with my personal blend. You can easily buy some from the store or your favorite online spice shop, but I like to make mine at home for a couple reasons. First, I can emphasize certain ingredients over others. Want less clove? No…
Published in Spice Blends
Anaheim peppers offer an alternative to grilled jalapeno poppers for those looking for less of a kick in the spice department. These are just as easy to make as jalapeno poppers. Cajun Cream Cheese Stuffed Anaheim Peppers Ingredients 5 Anaheim peppers, stemmed and cored ( or more as needed, depending on the size) 8 ounces cream cheese 2 ounces shredded cheddar cheese 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning Cooking Directions In a mixing bowl, combine cheeses with Cajun seasoning. Mix well. Stuff Anaheims with cheese mixture. Preheat grill to medium heat. Wrap Anaheim peppers in aluminum foil and grill 6-8 minutes, or until nicely charred. Alternatively, you can broil them not too close to the heat source about 15 minutes, until they begin to char. Serve.
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
Time for more mustard. The last one we made - Beer-Honey Mustard - disappeared pretty quickly and we were dying for more. In our house, it is pretty important to have a nice selection of sauces and condiments on hand, especially ones you can make yourself, and it's hard to beat a good homemade mustard in the summer. Mustard is ideal for grilled foods of all types, but it can also form the basis for many a new sauce combination. It also makes for an excellent rub for pork. Bust out that smoker for some mustard rubbed ham! Instead of going the sweet route, we decided to move in a spicier direction, dropping the honey and swapping it for one of the world's most outstanding chili peppers - the habanero. I often point to the habanero as a gateway pepper. Much like the jalapeno pepper is the gateway for many…
Published in Sauces
March 16, 2016

Mexican Rice Recipe

Make this authentic, homemade Mexican rice for your next fiesta then step back as your guests go loco with flavor. We're busting out this AWESOME Mexican Rice Recipe today for no reason other than it is simply awesome. We've thrown Mexican-themed fiesta parties throughout the year, usually toward summertime when the warm weather calls for getting a little crazy, and this is always on the fiesta menu. It doesn't matter how much we make, it always goes. Nary a leftover of Mexican rice, my friends! When we make it at home, I like to make an extra large batch and keep the leftovers throughout the week. Mexican rice goes with MANY a dish, a perfect side pairing, but did you realize it can also be the star of your meal? Try serving it with refried beans over warmed flour tortillas with a bit of shredded cheese, roasted jalapeno peppers and…
Published in Side Dishes
You can give me Huevos con Chorizo any day of the week. I will eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night snack...anytime! This very simple Mexican breafast recipe needs no complication because, like most Mexican food, the simple combination is perfect on its own. It takes very little time to prepare - heck, it took me longer to roast the jalapenos and chop the ingredients - so if you're in a hurry or just plain starving, this might be your new go-to dish. Spicy chorizo is the way to go, but if you'd like to lower some of that heat, you can purchase milder chorizo. Once the chorizo is cooked up, the eggs cook up in very little time. Keep them moist. You don't want to dry out the eggs too much, though that would be difficult with the fat content of the chorizo, which is AWESOME, by the…
Published in Breakfasts
Ever wonder how to make your own harissa chili paste at home? Here you go. It's a rather straightforward process, easy in my opinion, but if you don't cook much, you'll be doing a few things you've never done before, like rehydrating dried chili peppers and lightly toasting fresh seeds and grinding them. Not a big deal, pretty easy, just new maybe. Or not! What exactly is harissa? Harissa is a highly popular chili paste used in North African and Middle Eastern cuisine. The recipe varies by the region, so you will find variation after variation of harissa, depending on the local ingredients. I have seen it made with tomatoes, mint, different types of chili peppers and more. I often like to toss in some lightly roasted habanero peppers or maybe even a superhot or two. I also like to keep some of the seeds for a bit of texture.…
Published in Sauces
So, I can't believe I haven't made these before. Well, I've actually made them plenty of times, or some variation of these, but never put them on the web site. What? Am I nuts? I'm obviously crazy and obsessed with jalapeno poppers - see jalapeno poppers recipes - and I wrote an entire cookbook dedicated to jalapeno poppers - see "Jalapeno Poppers and Other Stuffed Chili Peppers" - so dang! I guess I just didn't realize I hadn't made them in quite some time. So! Here they are, in all their glory. The wonderful, unbeatable, jalapeno popper stuffed turkey burgers. Turkey, you say? Yep. You can, of course, make these with beef or pork or a blend of ground meats, heck, even chicken. Yeah! But you already know about my weird obsession with turkey burgers. Ever since I got my base recipe down and how to keep them nice and…
Published in Burgers
A zingy margarita recipe made with spicy habanero peppers, juicy blackberries, and white tequila. Time to seriously up your zest factor. Hey, it’s Patty again with your Thirsty Thirteenth. And yeah, I'm thirsty. I’ve been on a blackberry kick lately. They are so delicious this time of year. Plus, it’s amazing how easy they are to work into drinks. They are so soft that they can be juiced by simply muddling them or blending them in a blender. You want to make sure you have a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth handy to strain out the resulting the seeds and pulp. I wanted to make a spicy margarita this month as margaritas lend themselves so nicely to spicy chili peppers. I decided to make this for a train crawl so I could share it with my fellow crawlers. Everyone tried it and it was a big hit. The habanero…
Published in Drinks
Can you freeze stuffed peppers? Absolutely. Learn how to freeze your stuffed peppers so you can make larger batches and enjoy them later. I've received quite a few emails recently about freezing stuffed peppers so I figured it was time to finally get a post online. The big question is - Can You Freeze Stuffed Chili Peppers? The answer is YES. Absolutely. Freezing your stuffed peppers is a smart way to keep them. I enjoy making larger portions so we can have quick meals throughout the week. It's a huge time saver. They will easily last several months in the freezer, even up to a year, though mine don't stick around that long. However, there are some important steps to take to ensure you retain the quality you desire. How to Freeze Stuffed Peppers / Freezing Stuffed Peppers Cook your stuffed peppers according to your recipe. No half-cooking, please. Make…
Published in Cooking Tips
A recipe for salmon fillets seasoned and grilled, mopped with a quick honey-sriracha sauce, served over a garden fresh salad made with cucumbers, habanero and jalapeno peppers, and a simple vinaigrette. Time to fire up those grills! Ahhh, salmon. You already know it's my favorite fish. It's grilling season so OF COURSE we're grilling these babies up. It has been super sunny this entire week, save for this morning when we woke up to a soft rain, which is GREAT for the garden. Sunny days call for long, lazy visits to the backyard where we can sit and enjoy a cocktail or two and have a quick and easy dinner. Salmon typically fits that description. It grills up quickly and it goes with so many types of flavors. It's a perfect protein, a stupendous centerpiece, a fantastic flavor... I know, I'm getting annoying. As the garden is producing like crazy…
Published in Salmon
Need pulled pork in a hurry? Here is a recipe to make super juicy, highly seasoned pulled pork in only a fraction of the time it takes with your slow cooker. We're using our pressure cooker. Game day quickly approaches! Are you hosting the big party? Got your menu figured out yet? If you're the one hosting the big bash, this can be a stressful time of year. So busy busy! We're crazy busy all the time, and if you're like us, you might be on the lookout for ways to save a bit of time in the kitchen. Hence! The PRESSURE COOKER. I love my pressure cooker. Talk about great food in a snap. OK, maybe not SNAP, but the pressure cooker will seriously reduce the time it takes to cook certain meals. I recently made Pressure Cooker Chicken Wings and wow! They were extremely tasty and very easy…
Published in Pork
Stuffed peppers! Did you know that we have a slight obsession with stuffed chili peppers? Considering that I wrote an entire cookbook dedicated to them, I'm sure it will come as no surprise, but it has to be said - the stuffed chili pepper is a cause for celebration. This recipe uses the sweet bell pepper. We were at the local grocery store, working our way through the produce section, and these peppers leaped into the cart. Look at the colors. The brightness, the vivid orange and yellow, the plumpness of the skins. They were begging to be stuffed. Since the holidays are arriving and we both need to hold back on the calorie intake in preparation for all the upcoming celebration eating, we opted for a lighter fare recipe this time. This recipe incorporates a simple ground turkey mixture that has been seasoned with plenty of taco seasoning. We…
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
Today we have another stuffed chili pepper recipe, this time for breakfast. And with poblano peppers. We both love poblano peppers immensely. They're distinctive, with a flavor different from other peppers, more earthy, and the perfect size for a smaller portion meal, unless you want to eat a whole bunch of them like we normally do. This recipe incorporates spicy chorizo that has been cooked up with onions and jalapeno peppers, then mixed with eggs and stuffed into the wonderful poblano. We were sitting around in the morning, a little tired from the crazy night before, not really feeling the work thing, wondering what to make for a quick breakfast, but not TOO quick, not like a super-quick soft boiled egg on toast or an even quicker cold pizza slice. We wanted something good and relaxing to enjoy on our deck that overlooks the pond. No stress! These stuffed poblano…
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
An all purpose chili paste recipe made with fresh chili peppers and seasonings. Use it as a condiment, sauce, spread, or for swirling into other recipes for a heat and flavor boost. Or, How to Make Chili Paste from Fresh Chili Peppers. Chili pastes ROCK. Don't they? They're pretty key in many recipes and every cuisine around the world has some version of their own chili paste that includes local chilies and ingredients. Chili pastes are wonderful because they bring the essence of the peppers into many a dish, often taming a bit of that heat and mellowing out the flavor of raw peppers. It's an all-purpose condiment, chili paste. I like to make some on the weekend so I can use it in recipes all week long. It depends on the seasonings you're using. If you want to be even MORE all-purpose, limit your seasonings and incorporate those on a…
Published in Sauces
Go and get yourself some Cubanelle chili peppers. Go ahead, I'll wait. If you haven't cooked with Cubanelle peppers, now is the time to start. I've done a number of stuffed Cubanelles - take a look in the Stuffed Chili Peppers category - and they are some of the best to cook with. They aren't too spicy, which is good for most. I personally LIKE more heat, but that is something you can easily add in. It is much more difficult to subtract the heat. They have a fairly thick wall compared to smaller peppers, so they stand up well to the cooking process, whether you are grilling, broiling, baking. The Cubanelle has you covered.  This particular recipe came about as an afternoon lunch idea on our patio. We were lounging a bit, enjoying the backyard summer weather, and our eyes turned to the grill just sitting there, practically begging…
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
Ahhh, the excellence that is fresh tomatillos and other garden fresh ingredients. There is nothing better than snatching up gorgeous vegetables and herbs from the local farmer's market or your favorite local grocer and turning them into something delicious. And what could be more delicious than a classic tomatillo salsa, aka "Salsa Verde". This salsa verde is all about the tanginess of the tomatillos, and we're making the roasted version here, which makes the flavors richer and deeper. You can easily opt for a fresh version - no roasting of the tomatillos or jalapeno peppers - and we have no preference, but today we wanted that roasted flavor. One good thing about this salsa verde recipe is how quickly you can put it together. Company stopping by unexpectedly? Got a last minute party invite? Roast some tomatillos and jalapeno peppers and you've got yourself a homemade salsa verde! Of course…
Published in Salsas
Chow Chow is a quick pickled relish made with a combination of vegetables. Our version includes a mixture of bell and banana peppers along with fresh cucumber and basil. We're ready for Spring! Patty and I were at the grocery store recently and they had some crazy sales going on. We're talking super cheap bell peppers of every color. You should have seen my face as I approached the display with all those vibrant capsicums piled up and threatening to spill over. In fact, some of them DID spill over, right into our cart. Eleven of them, to be exact. It was a "Buy 10, Get 1 Free" deal. I just had to! PLUS! There were cucumbers. Oh my! HUGE cucumbers. Patty needed one for a particular cocktail she was planning to make, but somehow we wound up with THREE of them in our cart. So! What does one do…
If you want super tender, fall-off-the-bone chicken wings, prepare them in the Dutch oven with this recipe and you're off to spicy heaven. We have another chicken wings recipe, my friends. Shocked? But why? They're so good! Seems we've been making chicken wings around here once a month. It's my fault, really. I'm a chicken wing fanatic. On road trips, I beg Patty to stop at wings joints along the way, desperate to find the next latest and greatest sauce or wing preparation. There are so many great wings joints around! I wish I could try them all. One thing I rarely find on the road or in restaurants, though, are wings that are not fried. I've encountered a few, but the vast majority only offer fried wings. You can sometimes find them grilled, which is great, but I never find them oven baked. So, I'll just have to have…
Published in Chicken Wings Recipes
If you've ever perused the aisles of a specialty food store, you've probably encountered a variety of salt blends available to you. There are some wonderful blends and combinations for pretty much anything you might need. You might even own a few. I do. I've received them as gifts and I've picked some up myself. But, I soon realized that I wanted specific blends of my own, and the stores just weren't selling them. So, we made our own. We have small batches all over the house now with different combinations, like a spicy celery salt blend in the bar for Bloody Mary's, or this very excellent Superhot Salt blend in the kitchen that I like to use as a finisher. Some meals call for a fresh blast of salt over the top for serving, but as you know, I personally enjoy the heat. You may or may not like…
Published in Spice Blends
This recipe is an ode to the underappreciated green bell pepper. When people think of chili peppers, they tend to think more about the spicy sting of the serrano, the happy jolt of the jalapeno, the blasting bite of the bhut jolokia, but usually not the bell pepper. Bell peppers have no heat, measuring in at "0" - that is ZERO - on the Scoville Heat Unit scale. Nothing wrong with that. You may not know this, but bell peppers are actually vital to Cajun cuisine. While the French have their mirepoix - a mixture of onion, carrot and celery - the Cajuns have their Trinity - a mixture of onion, bell peppers, and celery. Add in garlic, and you have the Holy Trinity. Sounds important! These form the base for many a dish. Even in the bell pepper world, the poor green bells are eschewed for the more attractive…
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
If you enjoy a good stew recipe, or a soup with lots of chunky chicken or pork, then Mexican Posole is something you'll want to try. It certainly is a classic dish, very traditional to Mexico, and it has a number of variations, ranging from chicken and pork and different types of meat, to a huge variety of preferred garnishes. I stick with what I typically have on hand - diced avocados, cilantro, some lime wedges - though others like to include lemon, cabbage, salsa, onion, radishes or other chili peppers. Roasted jalapenos or serranos would be awesome here. One of the keys with a good posole is the chili paste that you prepare with dried ancho peppers. This paste is seriously good stuff. It adds depth and flavor, and also color, to the dish and it really makes it distinctive. Funny thing is, before I learned how to make…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
Patty requests these all the time. They are definitely being filed under "Patty's Favorites". There is something fun and satisfying about a good Italian sausage pasta, especially in the form of homemade lasagna. Lasagna is one of the few dishes my mother used to make. She would cook up some ground beef, pour in a jar of Ragu, then dump it over lasagna noodles with ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. It was pretty good, actually, one of my fonder memories, but now that I've learned to cook, I like to make mine a bit more homemade. It helps to have an herb garden that is exploding with goods, like fresh basil. Oh yes! I love basil.  You can use ricotta cheese, which is more common, but if you want to really elevate your lasagna rolls, bring in the goat cheese. Goat cheese has much more flavor and a rich mouth feel.…
Published in Pasta
Patty and I spent time in the Mediterranean a few years ago and truly loved the food. It was a two-week cruise. We started off first with a week in Italy, then hopped on the ship and hit a number of spots, including Croatia, more Italy, Greece, France, and Turkey. While the food was different everywhere, so awesome for us foodies, there was an underlyling healthy quality to it. No fast food! We noticed smaller portions, no processed foods, homemade feel everywhere we ate. So much better for you, really. Remind me to tell you about the homemade meal in Turkey. Best. Meal Ever. The whole family agreed. Uber-Turkey. I also love the combination of some of the ingredients. We're talking chickpeas that take on a creamy quality when cooked long enough, marinated artichoke hearts with a flavor unlike anything else, and feta cheese! We definitely love feta cheese! We…
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
June 26, 2015

Massaman Chicken

Not long ago I prepared a Thai dish called Massaman Shrimp and since then have made it a few times. OK, maybe a few dozen times. It is one of those dishes that cooks up quickly but majorly delivers in the flavor department. But as with all recipes, it is up for interpretation. And alteration. This version isn't a huge departure from the original. We have seasoned and seared chicken instead of shrimp, dropped the potatoes, played with the ratios a bit, but you still get that excellent flavor. I've also made this with homemade harissa instead of the Thai chili paste, though you can certainly use Thai chili paste, which is more traditional. This is why it is convenient to have not only a lot of seasonings in your pantry, but some form of a chili paste in your fridge. I can make a big batch of harissa or Thai…
Published in Chicken
It is already November and the holidays are moving quickly upon us! We'll be cooking like crazy, going to parties, attending family gatherings and rushing headlong into a whirlwind of celebrating and, of course, eating. And drinking! What is a chilehead to do? For all of our spicy food loving friends, and particularly those who favor the heat and flavor of the wonderful habanero pepper, we've compiled a list of Ten Habanero Recipes to Heat Up the Holidays. These recipes aren't meant to replace your traditional meals, but can certainly compliment those dishes. But who knows? Some may serve as gifts, or perhaps inspirations, but all will certainly heat things up. Habanero Pepper Jam Habanero jam is an ideal gift for your host, but you can also use it to spice up carved turkey, produce a quick appetizer with crackers and cream cheese, or sweeten up ham or turkey with…
Published in Food Celebrations
This is my favorite recipe for homemade biscuits with cheddar cheese and jalapeno peppers, perfect for quick morning breakfast or brunch, for serving with chili, or even enjoying as a quick-to-make dessert. You know, homemade biscuits are NOT hard to make, but I managed to screw them up for years. I have no idea why. I sometimes feel there is an invisible force emanating from my body that actively interferes with anything with flour that requires baking. In the past I have failed horribly at making bread or anything involving yeast, and this poor luck extended to biscuits for some reason. Until now! I am happy to report that I no longer have an issue making biscuits, thanks to a few small things. First, I measured properly! WOW. Did you know that when you bake anything, you need to ensure your ratios are correct? Baking is different from cooking in…
Published in Breakfasts
Anaheim peppers! When you cook with chili peppers as much as we do, you'll find yourself making a lot of stuffed peppers. I mean, a LOT of stuffed peppers. Seriously, I'm adding them all the time. See - Stuffed Chili Pepper Recipes. It's really growing. I've even written an entire cookbook dedicated to them. Plug for me! We don't just make them, though, because we're huge chili pepper lovers. Stuffed peppers are actually a convenient way to prepare a meal, and when it boils down to the basics, they're just plain fun. I mean, look at them! There are so many possibilities to choose from, ranging from the mildest bell all the way up to the superhots, which are quite a bit harder to stuff because of their size. If you want to turn your stuffed peppers into a meal, you'll need to choose an appropriately sized chili pepper.  I…
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
A refreshing cocktail recipe featuring the flavors of crisp cucumber, fragrant cilantro, tart lemon and fiery serrano pepper, made a little sweet with sugar and rallied with cilantro vodka. Cocktail time, my friends! Patty here with your next Thirsty Thirteenth. Spring is such a refreshing time of year. When everything starts blooming and people are spending more time outside, it makes me think differently about what type of cocktail I’d like to drink. I'm thinking FRESH, and seriously, what is fresher in flavor than cucumber? For this recipe, I've paired it with cilantro and serrano pepper for a bit of bite. First, you will need to blend the cucumber to juice it and then strain it so you're left with pure juice with no pulp. If you have a good juicer it will be even easier. Muddle the serrano and cilantro with cilantro vodka to get a really fresh flavor. Next,…
Published in Drinks
June 29, 2015

Cajun Candied Bacon

Patty recently made some candied bacon to go with her Thirsty Thirteenth drink recipe, the Smoky Whiskey Mule. She used candied bacon to infuse whiskey and also garnished with a big slice of candied bacon. Wow! As we were making it, we of course had to sample the bacon and it was so good. Beyond good. Good enough to turn it into its own post. We've made this in the past for different reasons, though I never thought to call it "candied bacon". The name makes sense, of course. "Candying" refers to preserving something with a sugar syrup, and that is essentially what candied bacon, or "bacon candy" is. You can use maple syrup as well, though we've really simplified our recipe to include only brown sugar and some form of spicy powder, in this case Cajun seasonings. The result is sweet, though not overly sweet. You still get that…
Published in Pork
So I'm told that today is officially National Moldy Cheese Day. Did you even realize there WAS such a day? Wow! How fortuitous then that I was already going to post this butternut squash soup that incorporates, of all things, moldy gorgonzola cheese. Patty was slightly skeptical when I said I wanted to make a butternut squash soup with gorgonzola. She isn't the biggest fan of moldy cheeses, but it has been my mission for us both to appreciate every type of food in some way. The way I see it, every food has a proper pairing, and in this case, the gorgonzola is ideal for this type of recipe. Gorgonzola has a powerful, bold flavor. It stands out against so many other ingredients, often overwhelming them. I actually love gorgonzola and blue cheese. Roquefort anyone? So many applications. It truly pops in this soup recipe, a combination of roasted…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
I'm totally hooked on harissa lately. I made a large batch of homemade harissa and have been incorporating it into a number of recipes, and it has been, quite frankly, fabulous. As a couple of chili pepper and zesty food lovers, it is smart and convenient to have something like a homemade harissa on hand in the refrigerator for when you want big flavor fast. It is something you can swirl into soups or stews, rub into chicken wings, or in this case, season some healthy chicken breasts for baking. It isn't the quickest meal in the world because of the potato puree - I oven baked the potato along with the garlic - but if you skip the puree, you can have this done fast. Or, master the potato setting on your microwave and cook the garlic in a pan with some oil for about a minute. I prefer…
Published in Chicken
Earthy poblano peppers stuffed with a mixture of chicken thighs, a combination of cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, and plenty of Cajun seasonings. Get the recipe here. Not too long ago we made a recipe similar to this one called Cajun Shrimp Stuffed Poblano Peppers. Those turned out to be very popular. I can see why! They looked great, and truly WOWED in the flavor department. It was definitely one of our favorites, so we're co-opting our own recipe to make a version with chicken. In this case, chicken thighs! Chicken breast works just as well - I've made them both ways - but I have a special place in my soul for chicken thighs. Plus, I bought a huge pack from the grocer and had too many in the freezer. Time to get eaten! What you'll get with this recipe is cheesy-chicken greatness, with a combination of shredded cheddar and…
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
February 15, 2016

Papaya Salsa

A recipe for sweet and spicy salsa made with fresh papaya, jalapeno, cayenne peppers and more. Sometimes all it takes for a recipe to come together is the inspiration of a single ingredient. In this case - the PAPAYA. As we were walking through the local farmers' market, all manner of fresh foods found their way into our shopping bag. Chili peppers of all sorts, avocados, potatoes, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, and a single super ripe papaya. Such a gorgeous fruit. Papayas are mild but slightly sweet, with the consistency of a ripe mango and an almost buttery texture. They aren't quite as sweet as melon, and perfect for salsa, IMO. So! Papaya Salsa it is, my friends. Something simple and something super easy to serve up at a party or an impromtu gathering. Salsa is always a hit for parties, pretty much a no-brainer, and I should emphasize that salsa…
Published in Salsas
August 31, 2015

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Back to the basics, my friends! Now that football season is closing in on us, I'm sure you're already thinking about what you'll be serving at your next party. If you need ideas, check out our Game Day section, but make sure you include this classic dip recipe - Buffalo Chicken Dip. Buffalo Chicken Dip is one of the most popular dips around. I've been to parties where more than one person brought their version of this dip, unbeknownst to the other, and all of it went! Just be sure to bring enough chips. I've made that grievous error once, arriving at the party with a mongo batch of dip and not nearly enough chips. Hello! I nearly died that day at the hands of hungry partygoers. This recipe is pretty darned easy. My version includes a lot of gorgeous jalapeno peppers. Most dips are incomplete without jalapeno peppers, in…
Published in Dips
December 04, 2015

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I know this guy that keeps talking about soups and how much he dislikes the cold winter, even though it isn't even winter yet, but every time you turn around he's making some kind of soup to warm his bones. OK, fine, that guy is ME. I admit it. I think I have a soup disorder. I am ALWAYS nice to the Soup Nazi because I can't go without my soup. Especially when the soup is super thick and meaty and chunky with loads of chicken and black beans and avocado and crispsy tortilla strips and jalapeno peppers and all sorts of awesome seasoning. Pshew! Gotta catch my breath. I'm all crazy hungry for this soup again. Should have made a bigger batch. When the temperatures start to dip down into the 20s and 30s, you gotta go the soup route, though realistically, this type of soup will make for…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
Here is another twist on the classic Italian Carbonara recipe, that wonderfully awesome pasta dish that is so creamy and unlike any other. I've been making carbonara for years, tweaking the original recipe very little, though lately I've been experimenting with new ways to make it. I previously posted a Butternut Squash Carbonara recipe, and that went over very well in our house. I figured, if it can work with squash, why not cauliflower? Cauliflower is all the rage these days. I bop around food blogs and see people cooking with it like crazy. Deservedly so! Cauliflower often gets a bum rap sometimes because it is lower on the flavor scale, but I actually see that as a positive. Cauliflower is not only healthy, but it is a blank canvas, absorbing all those other flavors you're working with. When you roast it or cook it down, it blends to a…
Published in Pasta
October 26, 2015

Habanero Chili Paste

This is it. This is the end of our chili pepper season here in zone 5 where the frost has already hit us. I still had a number of fresh chili pepper pods in the refrigerator and needed a good way to preserve them for use. We already froze a TON of them, dehydrated a crazy amount of peppers for making spice blends, made sauces galore. You name it, we've probably done it this year. And! That includes making chili paste. Chili paste is a flavorful alternative to incorporating dried spices into your meals. You can reach into the fridge and swirl your chili paste into your dish rather than season with dried ingredients. You'll get a fresher flavor blast this way. Use it as a rub for meats or seafood, or for soups or stews. I made this one with habanero peppers, though you can easily make it with…
Published in Sauces
'Tis the season for stuffed peppers! Actually, around here, it is ALWAYS the season for stuffed peppers. Can't help it. We both just LOVE stuffed pepper recipes and they're easy to put together. Not only that, they're darned delicious and allow you to get creative with your cooking. With Thanksgiving over (to our family and American friends/readers), you might have leftover turkey or chicken in the fridge right now. This recipe would be PERFECT for leftovers. If not, start from scratch, but hey! It's worth it. Ideal for any time of the year, of course. I mean...STUFFED PEPPERS! This is a very Mexican style ingredient combination, with chicken seasoned with ancho and paprika, though if you're unable to find those specific ingredients, you can use a Mexican blend or even a taco seasoning that you prefer. It also includes black beans, crumbled Cojita cheese, avocado, white rice and cooks in…
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
November 23, 2016

Cajun Style Deviled Eggs

These Cajun-style deviled eggs are rich, creamy, and just the right amount of spicy, and they make for a perfect holiday or party appetizer. Here is the recipe. It just isn't the holidays without deviled eggs. Growing up, I can't recall a single holiday gathering where we didn't have some form of deviled eggs. Usually it was your typical recipe, egg yolks mashed together with a bit of mayo, bit of mustard, salt, topped with sprinklings of paprika for color. Sometimes my mother would toss in a spoonful of pickle relish, and picky as I was as a kid, I didn't mind it. There is something about deviled eggs that just makes you happy, no matter how they are made. It's one thing I love about them. It is one of those recipes that, once you learn how to make the basic form, you can adapt and change it to…
Published in Appetizers
This is an extremely simple dish to make, and is quite perfect as a party appetizer or introduction to brunch. Serve with champagne or a cold margarita if it isn't too early. We like to make this when the garden is going crazy, or when our neighbors' gardens are going crazy. Seriously, we had to stop growing cucumbers because everyone else in the neighborhood is growing them, and everyone wants to give them away. Why does the world need so many cucumbers? It's hard to complain since they are so delicious. This is a great mini appetizer or snack with a spicy Mexican flair, depending on your choice of chili powder. Enjoy! Chili and Lime Cucumbers Ingredients 1 small cucumber 1 tablespoon chili powder Juice of 1 lime Dash of salt Directions Slice cucumber into thin slices. Drizzle with lime juice. Sprinkle with chili powder and a bit of salt.…
Published in Appetizers
Yo, Patty here. An idea sprouted last night between Mike and I about what would be the ultimate Halloween post, “Madness Style”. Since I’m the mixologist, of course it would be a drink. We have done the “finger food” parties for Halloween where you make everything look like a creepy finger, we’ve done plenty of themed parties and most included a special drink. Not sure this recipe would be good for the masses, but it’s actually quite tasty and I’ve found it’s astounding how many guys are willing to taste all the superhot delights that Mike offers. Unfortunately, we haven’t had a chance to share this with any of those crazy guys yet, but hopefully we will on Halloween. Buwahaha. Since we have these superhot peppers that look just like devil’s tongues, that was completely the inspiration. I went into our stash and started smelling different bottles to think of…
Published in Drinks
A mostaccioli pasta recipe made with a variety of flavors, including smoked Italian sausage, Cajun seasonings, rich chili paste and plenty of melty cheese. A big flavor comfort food. It's how I cook when I think no one is looking. I'm not entirely sure what to call this recipe. It's a mashup, really, a combination of different styles and flavors, nothing you'd find in any typical Italian kitchen or Cajun kitchen or Mexican kitchen or even a Tex-Mex kitchen. It's an amalgam, a mystery within a puzzle within a conundrum of sorts. OK, it's not so crazy, but it IS big on flavor. I say this is how I cook when I think no one is looking because, with a recipe like this, it comprises me snatching items from the refrigerator and cupboard and tossing them into the dish to see how it works. This is how family recipes are…
Published in Pasta
OK, so now Patty and I have a new favorite recipe in the house. Oh yes! Pork Burgers with Grilled Pineapple. As Patty and I were wandering through the grocery store - OK, I am the one who wanders, Patty not so much, much to her chagrin - a package of ground pork accidentally spilled into our shopping cart. What is a guy to do? I originally thought of meatballs, as pork makes for some outstanding meatballs, but since it is grilling season, I really wanted to get the grill fired up. What better than burgers? Pork burgers! I'd never actually made pork burgers before. I figured they would be good, but neither of us realized they would wind up going into our favorite recipes list. See Mike's Favorites and Patty's Favorites. Lucky for me we had some pineapple on hand, as well as some homemade mustard. You can, of…
Published in Burgers
This is truly one of my personal favorite meals. I cook versions of this for most of our parties for several reasons - it is inexpensive to make, it is super easy to cook in the crock pot, it is very high on flavor, and everyone loves it. Pork shoulder is a fattier cut so when I say high on flavor, I mean seriously HIGH! We went on a cousin's weekend trip recently and I made this again for tacos, and gone! Bye bye, no more. Luckily I saved a little back home for us for the next day. Yes! There are a few important things to remember when making this recipe. First, you want a nice seasoning blend. Be very generous. I used a spicy habanero powder with mine, but when cooking for larger groups, I tamp it down with paprika or go with a good blend, like a…
Published in Sandwiches
We're playing around with purees again, coming up with some very interesting sauces. And winning! As you might recall, we've experimented with a number of purees for sauces, ending up with some very tasty meals, including the Linguine with Cauliflower Carbonara Sauce, Butternut Squash Carbonara, Pasta with Zucchini Pesto with Jalapeno Peppers, and this is no exception. It's good! I've created a vegetarian version here, though you could easily toss it with grilled chicken or maybe some seasoned and seared shrimp. The recipe result is sort of a mashup, with roasted poblano peppers and creamy avocado - always a classic combination - and potatoes. Did I just say potatoes? Yep. It gives the sauce body, making it fairly thick, which we both enjoy. It will thin enough with the starchy pasta water so you'll have a nice and smooth puree. Finish it up with fresh herbs and a bit of spice, and boom!…
Published in Pasta
Oh baby! Nothing super fancy here today in the Chili Pepper Madness household. Some nights you just want to have a little fun, and oftentimes that includes pizza! We're talking pizza bread, a super easy way to fulfill all those comfort food cravings without a whole lot of work. It's easy because you don't have to mess around with making your own pizza dough. Don't get me wrong. We enjoy a good homemade pizza - check out our pizza recipes - but pizza bread has a couple of advantages over traditional pizza. First, it's different. Hard to compare! Pizza bread is thick and crisps up much differently than a traditional dough. Second, it's fast! Some days, that's all we want. This recipe is ideal for a couple of hungry people on a Saturday night, hanging out with a few beers, or it works as an appetizer. Make it ahead of…
Not too long ago we made a wonderfully decadent bacon jam. I have made a few different versions of it, including a superhot bacon jam for an upcoming book about superhot chili peppers that I have been working on, but this is simply tops. It doesn't last long in the fridge, it's just too good to resist. It is slightly sweet with a powerful savory element, a comingling of bacon and brown sugar and all manner of goodness. In case you missed it, here is the link to that recipe: Bacon Jam Recipe Bacon jam pairs perfectly with cheese. It compliments a lot of foods, actually, but for us, cheese is ideal. We like it with simple cheese slices over crumbly crackers or mixed in with cream cheese for a wild dip, but guess where it really shines - Yes! Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. When you have something like bacon jam on…
Published in Sandwiches
Time to get to preserving your chili peppers. If your garden is going crazy with chili peppers right now, you might find it difficult to consume them all. Keeping your peppers perpetually fresh is impossible. So! You need to preserve them. There are numerous ways to preserve your chili peppers - See Preserving Chili Peppers - but one tasty and simple way is to preserve them in olive oil. We have a general page here on How to Preserve Your Chili Peppers in Olive Oil, but I'm including a recipe below that brings in just a bit of seasoning and some wonderful, wonderful garlic. Did I mention that garlic is wonderful? Yes it is. The roasted garlic helps to infuse the oil and adds not only flavor, but fragrance to the finished product. This is an easy, no fuss recipe for preserving your peppers in oil and it will last…
Game day approaches! Regardless of who you want to win, everyone wants the same thing - good food! Jalapeno poppers are always a hit. They're easy to make and disappear quickly. Who doesn't like a perfect bite of gooey cheese with bacon crumbles? We tend to be jalapeno popper fanatics around here, mixing and matching stuffing styles and ingredients, trying new types of foods, filling up not only jalapeno peppers but chili peppers of all types. Since we had some bright and fruity Cubanelle peppers on hand as well as a load of fresh jalapeno peppers, we mixed up some extra cheese mixture and stuffed a few of them as a bonus. Want to stuff other peppers? Go for it! Goat Cheese-Ricotta Poppers with Bacon Ingredients 10 jalapeno peppers 3 tablespoons ricotta cheese 8 ounces goat cheese 3 cloves garlic, diced 1 teaspoon ground cumin 2 teaspoons spicy chili powder…
Published in Jalapeno Poppers
Our stuffed chili peppers recipe collection is one of the most popular destinations for our visitors. People from all over are seeking creative and tasty ways to stuff a pepper with all sorts of delicious goodness. I don't know how many times I've said this, but it bears repeating - heck it bears SHOUTING OUT to the world - stuffed peppers are awesome! Chili peppers are the ideal vessel for stuffing. ANY sort of stuffing, practically. Varying in shapes and sizes, chili peppers can be hollowed out and can serve as appetizers, side dishes, main courses or even party food. Below are some of our best and personal favorites. We do love stuffed peppers around here. Could you tell? Stuffed Pepper Recipes by Chili Pepper Madness Grilled Chorizo and Cheese Stuffed Cubanelle Peppers Cajun Shrimp Stuffed Poblano Peppers Easy Italian Sausage Stuffed Peppers Chorizo and Egg Stuffed Poblano Peppers Chicken…
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
I'm starting up a whole new category on the Chili Pepper Madness web site. It's called Quick and Easy Recipes. As you already know, Patty and I work from home. We run a web site development business and I am a writer (just sold another screenplay, yo!), so on our crazy busy days, we need meals quickly. I KNOW we can run down the street for a sammich or down to our favorite Taqueria for a burrito, but hey, I'm obsessed with cooking! I'm a TOTAL chilehead with a hankering for spicy food! Besides, there is nothing like a home cooked meal, as I'm sure you would agree. Just because food is done quickly doesn't mean it can't be good. By "quick and easy", by the way, I'm talking 30 minutes or less. Not like, "Let's whip out some lunch meat and slap it on some bleached white bread" type…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
As Patty and I were walking through the local farmer's market the other day, we came upon a booth with a TON of chili peppers. Talk about heaven! I got to dust off some of my Spanish and picked up some gorgeous Long Red Cayenne peppers. We got a huge bag for a buck. Lucky! Check these out. Cayenne's have a decent level of heat and they're typically used in hot sauces. I cooked up a few, popped them into an omelet, roasted some to top a sandwich, but what can you do with so many peppers? Sauce! They were on the verge of going bad and I didn't want to waste them, so into a sauce they went. We also picked up some plump strawberries that threatened to suffer the same fate, so into the sauce they went. You might not think of strawberries for a chili pepper sauce,…
Published in Sauces
It's Thirsty Thirteenth! Time for a new cocktail! October brings us several wonderful things that we only get to enjoy for a short time a year. Fall leaves make the chilling of the temps more pleasant, and pumpkins everywhere get you in the mood for Halloween and all the exciting flavors of fall. Ahh! Pumpkin. I simply had to make a pumpkin drink filled with fall spices and chili pepper heat. This drink is surprisingly tasty. It might sound like a weird combination but if you love the taste of fall and some spiciness, you will love this. There are a number of different flavors going on that meld very nicely. You can easily make a big batch of the habanero pumpkin simple syrup and then mix up the drinks quickly for a party, or if you are inviting the parents of the neighborhood trick-or-treaters in for a cocktail. If…
Published in Drinks
Pork tenderloin is lean and tasty and easy to prepare, especially with this recipe that sears the tenderloin to form a flavorful crust, sealing in the juiciness, then baking it in our own sweet and savory chili sauce. So juicy and tender... It's true. Pork tenderloins are some of easiest cuts of pork to prepare. They may seem daunting, but nope. The reality is that pork tenderloins cook up quickly and retain their natural juiciness when you use a very simple method of searing then baking. There are many methods to cook this particular cut of meat, but we're going SUPER EASY here, and the results? Delicious! Here are some general instructions for the simple sear and bake method for a tenderloin. How to Bake Pork Tenderloin First, pat your pork tenderloin dry and then rub it down with your preferred dried seasonings. Even a simple salt and pepper mixture…
Published in Pork
You know autumn is OFFICIALLY here when all the fall spices come out to play. Chili peppers are wonderful to enjoy throughout the warm summer, but they are just at home in the cooling fall, where pumpkins and apples traditionally dominate. We're putting all of that together to make a popular condiment that will keep in the fridge a while and should compliment many a simple meal - chutney. Chutney is originally from India, a combination of vegetables and fruits mixed with spices, sugar and vinegar. It has the consistency of a thick sauce, depending on how you make it, and becomes even thicker in the refrigerator, making it a bit more like a spread. U.S. chutneys tend to be sweet. There are many possible chutney combinations, depending on your preferred ingredients. I did not go with any particular chili pepper flavor profile with this recipe. I chose a wide…
Published in Sauces
A fish tacos recipe made with white fish that has been lightly fried in seasoned beer batter, served with a crunchy habanero slaw and creamy chipotle sauce. Bring on the tacos, friends! There is ALWAYS room for tacos. What is it about fish tacos that make them so awesome? Perhaps because...THEY ARE TACOS? Quite possibly. Tacos are certainly one of life's perfections, but the fish taco is something unto itself. It is so much about the fixings. So many choices! And the fish, right? What sort of fish do you choose? How do you season it? What type of hot sauce do you pour forth? Oh my, and do we serve it grilled or blackened or fried? Help! No worries. This isn't any sort of taco crisis. I am NOT freaking out over here. I LOVE that we have so many options for fish tacos that I might just have…
Published in Tacos
More stuffed peppers coming your way. Why? We love chili peppers! The "LOL" is assumed there, except now I just wrote it, so it is no longer assumed. I'm sure you've figured out how much we love chili peppers around here, chili peppers of all types. Chili peppers are ideal for stuffing, especially the thicker walled bell peppers. They stand up to the heat and you can fit a lot into them, making them perfect for dinner sized portions. These made for a big meal in our home. This particular stuffed pepper recipe incorporates healthy ground turkey and simple white rice as the main body of the stuffing. I worked in the Homemade Harissa that we whipped up fairly recently, but if you are not so inclined to make that recipe, or can't find harissa in the supermarket, try a bit of tomato paste instead, but if you do, add in…
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
Salmon, salmon, salmon. Following our web site here, I'm sure you already know we're CRAZY for salmon. Cray-Cray. We both love it and eat it all the time. See SALMON. However, thus far I've only prepared it a few different ways. Until now. Like you've rarely seen them before. Salmon Patties! OK, I'm getting a bit dramatic here. I'm sure you've seen salmon patties, but these are a bit different in that we've served them up burger style on buns with a nice and spicy jalapeno-basil mayo. Salmon patties are pretty darned easy to make. Just a bit of processing with other ingredients, a good binder, some flavorful and spicy seasonings, and viola! Patties are formed. They're great for grilling season, as they cook up nice and quick on the grill. Get those grill marks, yo! Make it look pretty. Or pan sear them like I did. Either way, all…
Published in Salmon
Getting a few last blasts on our grill this time of year. The cooler weather is coming and the temperatures are fluctuating quite a bit. We still have some warm days coming, and we have no problem enjoying the fall. It's a great time of year, really, so comfortable, great sleeping weather, and the pepper garden is STILL exploding like crazy. But since we're grilling, I'm taking advantage of a recent concoction - Homemade Jamaican Jerk Seasoning. I made a fairly large batch for making Jamaican Jerk Grilled Chicken Wings but I wanted to point out that jerk seasoning does not need to be relegated to only chicken. It's a truly versatile seasoning with a number of flavorful components. You can give many a dish a blast of this Caribbean awesomeness. Think shrimp. Think vegetables. Think corn on the cob! For this recipe, it is the uber grilling Midwest vegetable -…
Published in Side Dishes
These chicken burgers are made with tangy Buffalo sauce and they're overflowing with blue cheese that's been stuffed into the center. They're juicy and tender and yes, you will want more. Oftentimes we like to prepare certain foods ahead of time or in bulk and freeze some of it for enjoying later. This is one of those recipes. It evolved as an exercise of clearing out the refrigerator and realizing we had some ground chicken that needed to be cooked. I went back and forth hin my head - Meatballs? Pasta? Tacos? - but landed on BURGERS when I realized we ALSO had some blue cheese left from a previous meal. Blue cheese is so good. Not everyone does. It's a powerful cheese and it can easily overtake the other flavors in a dish, but it stands up nicely to the tangy flavors of Buffalo sauce and the lovely spiciness…
Published in Burgers
Guacamole time! There is something awesome about a great guacamole recipe. Basic homemade guacamole only needs a few ingredients. You can add ingredients from there, to your preference, experimenting, making it your own, though it is hard to beat the classic guacamole. Or maybe you can! Much depends on your mood. If you're in the mood for a little heat with your guacamole, then it is time to bring in the awesome habanero pepper. The habanero pepper isn't very hard to find nowadays. With killer peppers like the ghost pepper, Moruga, Scorpion, and the Reaper around, the habanero looks pretty tame by comparison and its reputation for heat has taken a hit. People aren't so afraid of them so the local markets are carrying them more and more. Rightly so! Habanero peppers deserve no fear, but beware. They do deserve our respect when it comes to heat. Averaging around 300,000…
Published in Guacamole Recipes
February 26, 2016

Creamy Taco-Style Pasta

A mashup-recipe of pasta tossed with spicy ground pork and tomato sauce that has been seasoned with taco seasonings. Pasta pasta pasta! There is always room for a great pasta recipe on the menu. When we travelled to Italy not long ago, we enjoyed all manner of pastas. There is a wonderful variety of shapes and forms and sauce combinations. We flatly ADORE Italian cuisine. But as you know, we ALSO adore Mexican cuisine and figured, what would happen if we made pasta, spaghetti in this case, the way we make pasta at home, but instead of typical Italian ingredients, we used Mexican ingredients? Behold! A Taco-Style Pasta recipe. I hestitate to call this a Mexican-Style recipe because that would be a traditional "Fideo" recipe, which is a Mexican pasta made with Fideo noodles, where you actually toast the noodles in oil before cooking them in your tomato sauce and…
Published in Pasta
April 01, 2015

Mexican Burgers

Don't you ever just crave a good beef burger? We eat a lot of turkey burgers around here and we love them, but every now and then we just get a hankering for a good old beef burger. You can't match the flavor. We have a few restaurants nearby with excellent burgers, one in particular with seats along the lake. What a view! Perfect for relaxing with a burger and a beer. While we also both love a traditional burger in all its glory, we also like to mix things up by adding new flavors and, of course, bringing in our love for chili peppers. Hence! The Mexican Burger. This burger recipe is a Mexican spin on an American classic, sort of an American-Mexican mashup. I used a homemade taco seasoning for this one, but any taco seasoning mix you get from the store will do. Just use your favorite. Purists will…
Published in Burgers
A comfort food classic grilled cheese recipe with an Italian spin, made with balsamic marinated tomatoes, roasted red pepper pesto, and Italian cheeses. This is NOT an award-winning grilled cheese recipe, my friends. Alas! But it IS a pretty DANG tasty grilled cheese and we're proud to include it on the web site. Talk about comfort food. Grilled cheese is on the uber comfort foods, in a class all by itself. SO. DANG. GOOD. We learned there was a grilled cheese recipe contest and we set about to creating something unique, something fun and tasty, and in the end, something that we really wanted to eat. I suppose I could have gone the superhot route, incorporated ghost peppers or something hotter -- 7 Pots anyone? -- but we settled on an Italian themed grilled cheese and hit the kitchen running. We weren't sure how it was going to turn out,…
Published in Sandwiches
This post is sponsored by New Mexican Connection. Rich and smoky flame roasted chili peppers straight from New Mexico. We have a fairly obvious perspective here at Chili Pepper Madness. Our name alone implies that we’re flat out crazy for chili peppers, which is true, though it is more appropriate to say we’re in love with deep, bold flavors. It just so happens that most peppers HAVE deep, bold flavors, particularly when you treat them properly. Major goal here. You have to do it right.  “The New Mexican Connection” is a company doing it right. I mean RIGHT. Being Midwesterners in the crazy state of Illinois, our seasons limit our growing season. Also, many of the local stores available to us only carry limited chili pepper choices. That is why it is great to have a resource like “The New Mexican Connection”, especially when you want flame roasted peppers delivered…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
Make your own Bloody Mary Mix with this homemade Mexican-style recipe, which incorporates fresh roasted tomatoes, roasted jalapeno peppers, Mexican oregano, plenty of spicy seasonings and so much more. Packed with flavor. Happy Thirsty Thirteenth from Patty. I’ve been dying to make some Bloody Mary mix from scratch for a long time. I waited all summer long for our heirloom tomatoes to ripen so I could make some amazing tasting, homemade tomato juice and cook the spicy flavors right into it. I knew the heirlooms would bring such a fresh taste. However, being in zone 5, many of the heirlooms didn’t ripen until REALLY late in the season. And then life got busy so we roasted the tomatoes and popped them in the freezer to use somehow later. If you want to make this fully from scratch in the winter, just buy tomatoes at the store. Otherwise you can use…
Published in Drinks
Grilling poblano peppers is something we do all the time. Whether your intention is to prepare them for preserving, get them ready for stuffing, or cook them into any sort of a meal - all good things! - grilling is an excellent option. Like any chili pepper, grilled or roasted poblano peppers have a much different flavor than fresh, raw pobano peppers. The flavor is deeper and a bit sweeter. You lose the crunch but gain a fullness and impact you won't get with other ingredients. You can roast your poblanos in the oven or over an open flame - Learn how to roast chili peppers here - but grilling works just as well. And I'm here to show you! How to Grill Poblano Peppers - Or How to Roast Poblano Peppers on the Grill Roasting means cooking in an oven or over an open flame, and it's pretty much…
Published in Cooking Tips
Pasta pasta! Here is what I like about stuffed pasta shells - you get them ready and you can leave them in the refrigerator until about a half hour before serving time, then just pop them into the oven and boom! Dinnertime. Stuffed shells are good for a small group, easy enough to prepare, and they're rather filling, depending on your stuffing choices, and stuffing choices abound. You can go anywhere from ground meats to sausage to seafood to vegetarian. For this meal, I've gone with a simple mixture of shrimp, goat cheese and spinach. Don't mistake simple for boring. This has a ton of flavor. This is partly because of the Cajun blend I like to use. Awesome go-to seasoning, a must for any kitchen. Also because of the goat cheese. Goat cheese is the perfect soft cheese, so much flavor and so melty, like a cream cheese but…
Published in Pasta
Get the tastes of the tropics with this cocktail recipe that incorporates a quick infusion of fresh cayenne pepper to vodka and rum, then finishes with fresh pineapple juice. Hi, All! Patty here for Thirsty Thirteenth. Have you got the Winter blues? How about if we escape to the tropics together with a tropical pineapple drink. Since it is COLD outside, we’ll heat things up with some spicy red Carolina Cayenne chili peppers, or finger peppers. If you can’t find these peppers, any cayenne will do, as long as they bring a little bit of heat. I chose the cayenne because I feel it pairs well with pineapple, but also because it is pretty darned hot, so it is quick and easy to infuse the vodka with that heat. You don’t need to let the peppers steep long in the alcohol. Just a quick shake and there you go! Mike’s…
Published in Drinks
Spring is in the air! You can feel it where we live. We can finally open the windows and let in the fresh air. The birds are visiting our backyard pond and the muskrats are chasing each other around in the water. Soon we'll be watching the goslings and ducklings wading after their mothers and I will be discouraging birds from building nests in my housing ducts. Spring is life affirming, really, with better weather, longer days, and best of all, spring veggies! Yes! I love all the fresh produce appearing in the supermarket. All those flavors begging to jump into your cart. It also encourages us to think a bit lighter in terms of calories. Now that we'll be outside more, and more active as well, it's a good time to recommit to healthier eating. So we're going lighter here today with a quick pasta meal, something light and…
Published in Pasta
It's time to banish the chill from this wintry air and warm the bones. The temperatures have been dropping in our area, down into single digits in the evening, and it's hard to shake that chill from your innards once it settles in. Cranking up the heat helps, but there is nothing like that blooming warmth that starts from within, from a hot homemade meal. Let us present --- da Da DAA! -- Chicken and Black Bean Soup. We're both big black bean fans. They're so good for you and the flavor is unlike other beans. It is richer and earthier, and so nicely paired with chicken. I always enjoy cooking Mexican style. If you let this recipe simmer in the pot with all those seasonings and peppers and chicken stock, the flavors build and mingle and they're just so satisfying. I wish we had a fireplace some nights when…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
Extra gooey cheese, seasoned chopped chicken, a hot and spicy kick, with a single bite that makes you quiver and your mouth saying instantly, "oh yes, more please..." This is to experience the wonder of the quesadilla. Many of us have had quesadillas as kids, thin tortillas filled with cheese and melted in a pan, or maybe in one of those shmancy quesadilla makers, the ones that don't always work so well. Maybe those were good as kids, but now we want a quesadilla with some serious flavor. Let's elevate the quesadilla! It doesn't take much to turn the already yummy quesadilla into something exceptional. Get yourself some good Chihuahua cheese, the kind that gets all melty when you heat it. A white cheddar is good, very flavorful, but there is something about the Chihuahua consistency that drips all around the tortillas. You want flour tortillas here, not corn, and…
Published in Appetizers
A recipe for beef cooked low and slow, finished in a chipotle gravy sauce and served up with tortillas and your favorite toppings. This recipe is an example of how you can take an almost identical recipe and turn it into something completely different. If you compare this recipe to our last one - Chili Rubbed Rump Roast with Chipotle Gravy - you'll find all the same ingredients, but an entirely new recipe. The first one, we served it over Cheesy Garlic Mashed Potatoes, but here, we're serving it up taco style, because, well, TACOS! Do we ever need a reason to eat tacos? I think not, so therefore, I am. You can do so much with a 3 pound beef rump roast. Once you get your seasonings down, you do a simple rub down, sear it up in a cast iron pan, then slow cook - and I mean SLOW…
Published in Beef
August 21, 2015

Mexican Street Snacks

This is my sort of appetizer or dessert. I can't really decide which category to place these, so I'm placing them in both. They are fresh and healthy and all natural and are at home on an appetizer platter or on the dessert table. You might not think of chili peppers for dessert, but they are actually an excellent addition, especially when you want something crunchy and light. These were inspired by a classic Mexican combination - Cucumbers with Chili and Lime. Talk about a tasty appetizer/snack. We've been to Mexico several times and have enjoyed different variations of these types of snacks, served in cups or on tiny skewers, always dusted with chili powder, though the ingredients vary slightly. You can easily include other fruits, like pineapple, mango, avocado. Go with your flavor preferences. It is quite a bit like a salad skewer, a tasty single bite with just…
Published in Desserts
Hot sauce can be more than a simple condiment. It can completely transform a dish. Here is a collection of tips and ideas for incorporating your favorite hot sauces into many different types of meals.  Hot sauce is one of life’s greatest gifts to humanity. Grandiose? I think not. A well-made hot sauce adds flavor, heat and zing to many a meal. It can elevate boring food to something to look forward to, even take a dish that’s tottering on the edge of greatness into the STELLAR category. There are numerous types of hot sauces to choose from, too many to name, originating from countries all over the world using regional peppers and ingredients. This is part of what makes hot sauce so great, the unique perspective each brings to your recipes. This goes for your own homemade hot sauces as well as all those wonderful artisan hot sauces on…
Published in Cooking Tips
September 04, 2015

Aji Pineapple Hot Sauce

We have a new favorite for Patty - See Patty's Favorites. We planted a few varieties of Aji chili peppers this year, including the Aji Pineapple, a wonderfully sweet and mildly spicy chili pepper that lends itself to many a dish. The pepper is named because the fruits have a distinctive fruity pineapple flavor. The plants are exploding with peppers right now and one of the best ways to use up a large harvest of peppers so you can keep them through the year is to make hot sauces. So here we are! So happy to have Aji Pineapples because they make for an outstanding hot sauce. This is a small batch that yields only about 12 ounces or so, enough to fill a couple of small hot sauce bottles. The hot recipe recipe calls for about 25 of these peppers. They aren't too large, maybe the size of a…
Published in Hot Sauces
Thanksgiving and the holiday season is rapidly approaching. All of us cooks are already planning our meals as the party plans fill up the schedules. Make sure you block out some time to get your menus ready. And don't forget to breathe! This time of year can certainly be stressful. While Patty and I greatly enjoy traditional American holiday food - we're talking roasted turkey with stuffing or a baked ham, oven baked carrots, yams with marshmallow, green bean casserole, you know what I'm talking about - there is a part of me that desires something non-traditional. I would love one year to cook a rib roast instead, or serve up steaks. Maybe we don't have to go that far, though. For example, how about a potato-cheese tart? This recipe is a good example of how you can take a typical holiday staple, the humble yet AWESOME potato, and transform…
Published in Appetizers
A quick breakfast omelette recipe stuffed full with some of your favorite Mexican ingredients, including black beans, corn, jalapeno peppers, avocado, tomato, and plenty of melty cheese, then topped with crema. So, is this an omelet? Or an omelette? How the heck do you even spell this word? A quick Google search tells me BOTH spellings are correct, but I am going with "omelette" because it sounds a bit fancier. Not that these omelettes are fancy, mind you. They look phenomenal, at least they do to me! But fancy? Nah. I've made French style omelettes and they're delicious, though a bit fancier than these bad boys. These loaded Mexican omelettes are "LOADED" because the filling is literally spiling out of them. I don't think I could have wrapped them up completely if I tried. They would look like gigantic overstuffed egg burritos. Sounds sort of fun, doesn't it? Of course…
Published in Breakfasts
Take all of your favorite chicken nachos ingredients, stuff them into roasted poblano peppers with loads of cheese, then bake them to gooey perfection. Here is the recipe. I have a strong feeling that, since you're visiting Chili Pepper Madness, you LOVE a big bowl of nachos filled with gooey cheese, crunchy chips, seasoned shredded chicken and plenty of toppings. AND! You also LOVE cheesy stuffed poblano peppers that have been roasted so they bring that deep earthy flavor that is like nothing else on this planet. Am I right? NOW! Imagine you have to choose. You can pick only one. This is the stuff of horror. I told you I'm a horror writer, right? Here is your evidence. I say -- Banish this nightmare scenario! Now we can have BOTH of them, all wrapped up in a single recipe. Behold, my  friends - Chicken Nachos Stuffed Poblano Peppers. I…
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
Make your own ghost pepper hot sauce at home with this recipe, which includes plenty of chopped ghost peppers, tomatoes, vinegar and salt. Big flavor, big spice! With a pleasant blast of heat. Drizzle it over everything! Ghost pepper hot sauce coming at you, baby! You GOTTA have some ghost pepper sauce in the fridge for times when you need that extra bit of heat. Our ghost pepper plants weren't quite as productive as our 7-pot plants this year, but we still got plenty of pods for whipping up some hot sauce. Hot sauces are one of my favorite foods to make. I've become a bit fanatical about it, really. I've come to need a big variety on hand for all the different types of meals I make. You can tell by the growing collection of Hot Sauce Recipes on the web site. I've been moving into making flavors and combinations…
Published in Hot Sauces
September 28, 2016

Sambal Oelek Recipe

A recipe for homemade Sambal Oelek, the classic chili paste used for cooking, made with a variety of ground chili peppers, vinegar and salt. It is ideal for seasoning noodle dishes and enhancing the flavors of sauces. We know you all love sriracha - Homemade Sriracha, anyone? - but have you cooked with Sambal Oelek? Perhaps it is time to begin. You can purchase Sambal Oelek from the grocer and carry it home, but once you realize how simple it is to make on your own, you'll never want the store bought version again. Fresh is always best, and you can't get much fresher than this. What is Sambal Oelek? While Sriracha is distinctly Thai, Sambal Oelek is Indonesian, and it is essentially a raw chili paste that is ground. It uses very few ingredients, traditionally red chili peppers, vinegar and salt. It can be used as a base to…
Published in Sauces
We're in a major winding down time for our garden in this part of the world, so lately we've been scrambling to preserve a lot of our peppers. We're freezing peppers, pickling peppers (more of that to come VERY soon), preserving peppers in olive oil, dehydrating peppers, you name it, we're doing it. We're also making jams. Jams? Absolutely. Jellies and jams are a smart way to incorporate a number of your chili peppers into a single preserving session, and what you wind up with is something super crazy delicious that you can use all through the winter. This particular recipe calls for a cup of minced peppers and it makes two half pint jars. That's quite a lot of peppers! It's OK, though, because we have so many, we barely know what to do with them all. Well, maybe we do, but still! This is a "no sugar" or…
Published in Jellies
January 27, 2016

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

A dip recipe made with plenty of roasted red peppers, slow cooked garlic, roasted tomatoes, honey and olive oil. Sop it up with torn bread and enjoy. More party food! Dips go a LONG way with parties. They're easily one of the most popular offerings at any gathering because they're usually easy to make and your friends can chow down like finger food by spreading it over crackers or pretzels or whatever yummy vessel you feel fits your chosen dip. This particular dip is easy, too! Good thing! Easy is nice. We were down at the local farmers market perusing all the wonderful fruits and vegetables and I couldn't help myself but load up several bags of goodies. They were practically leaping into our arms - fresh garlic, TONS of chili peppers, juicy tomatoes - oh yes! So much of it went into this wonderful dip that you flatly MUST…
Published in Dips
A sweet, fresh chili pepper sauce recipe made from chilies picked straight out of the garden, with garlic, honey and oil. Perfect for smothering chicken or salmon dishes. These are the days when I'm SUPER happy we have a great garden. Patty and I like to plant a big variety of chili peppers and heirloom tomatoes each year, along with some herbs, for cooking into all sorts of dishes. We try different types usually, while sticking with a few of our favorites. Our garden is really starting to produce, so I am able to step out our back door most evenings and snatch a few peppers off the plants to whip up into whatever I feel like making for dinner. Here are a few of them I just picked. This is just a few of them. Don't they look great? The plants will be producing like CRAZY very soon and…
Published in Sauces
July 01, 2015

Easy BBQ Sauce

This super-duper easy homemade bbq sauce is a simple way to elevate your condiments. The story goes like this --- Patty and I were in the kitchen, readying up some spicy Italian sausages for the grill. We weren't doing a recipe. It was a day off of our Madness duties, and I didn't think anyone would be interested in a couple of basic grilled Italians. I didn't have sauce prepared other than the homemade honey-beer mustard that I hope to post soon. We were just going to go with the standard ketchup and mustard, and for me, a bit of sriracha. I like my Italians with mustard and a splash of sriracha or some other hot sauce. So! Patty, as she likes to do, tosses out a challenge. "You should do a recipe with these condiments." My first thought was, "WHAT? Are you nuts?" But, being one who does not…
Published in Sauces
Are you a fan of grilled chicken wings? I sure am. As much as I love an elevated meal, I can't stop loving the awesome chicken wing, arguable the king of uber bar food. There are so many ways to prepare them and I love them all, though I have to admit some wing joints are better than others. I'm sure you would agree. It's gotten to the point where I flat out will not order wings from some places. Forget about most restaurants who don't specialize in wings. Their take is typically a boring flash fry, maybe some salt, and some generic wing sauce. Umm, no thanks. I like my hot wings with some flavor and some character. Hence! Harissa Rubbed Grilled Chicken Wings. Here we go again! With harissa, I mean. As you recall, I made some homemade harissa recently and since I made a large batch, I…
Published in Chicken Wings Recipes
Italian meatballs, baby! Only these are made "Madness" style with a bit of added kick, and of course, some chili peppers to REALLY bring out the flavor. This is a party sized recipe, perfect for a game day bash or a large party appetizer. Or, serve it with pasta for the classic spaghetti and meatballs combo, or pop it onto some rolls for a sandwich. Meatballs are good for any type of dish, it seems. How wonderful for us! Over the years, in making many a meatball, I have learned a number of different ways to make the meatballs moist and not so dense. Sometimes they can get overly thick and a bit tough to eat if you don't treat them right. One way that works for me, and I've used it in this recipe, is to incorporate cooked onion and peppers. The moisture from those ingredients adds to the…
Published in Side Dishes
A Mexican sandwich recipe made with shredded chicken, served on torta bread rolls and topped with a creamy, tangy ancho-lime sauce. There are SO many days we bop on down to the local Mexican restaurant for a quick lunch on our crazy-busy work days. Usually the hardest decision is what to order. Tacos? Burritos? Tostadas? Should we get a side of guacamole? (UM, YEAH!). How about a Torta? YES! Today, we're staying IN for lunch and making our very own torta sandwiches. Have you ever had a torta? A torta is a Mexican sandwich made with different types of highly seasoned, chopped or shredded meats, along with various toppings, like refried beans, lettuce, cheese, sour cream or crema, and of course, plenty of hot sauce. No matter how many different Mexican restaurants you visit, you'll find a unique variation at each place. And they're ALL freaking good to me. This…
Published in Sandwiches
A vegetarian recipe for sweet bell peppers stuffed with Mexican rice and cheese, baked, then topped with your favorite hot sauce. Party down with this party sized recipe! Or make a smaller batch and save the rice for other meals. Or freeze some for later. Yes, this is certainly a party sized recipe. We're cooking up 10, count that, TEN, stuffed bell peppers, but we haven't yet decided if we want to have a stuffed pepper party or if we want to freeze them for later use. Some of our friends might opt for the stuffed pepper party - hey, stuffed peppers and beer, yo! - but methinks we'll freeze some of these. Absolutely, you CAN freeze your stuffed peppers and I'll include a bit of information on that below. But first, onto this delectable recipe. This particular recipe was born from a recent side dish we made, Mexican Rice.…
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
So we're sitting here and it's cold outside. Brrrrr! And it's a bit snowy. And tomorrow is a holiday and everyone is cooking like crazy and I just want to warm the bones a bit with something. What else warms the bones better than SOUP? Coco? I'm not in the mood for coco and I'm hungry. So soup it is. Since you're in the mood for soup, too - I can sense these things, it is rather uncanny - here is a collection of 10 soup recipes with a spicy spin to help you choose. Of course we had to spice things up a little. Not TOO spicy. Just nicely BOLD. With flavor! These are some of our favorites. If you're making these AFTER the holidays, think LEFTOVERS. Soups are notoriously easy for leftovers. Chop up some leftover turkey or chicken and toss it into the soup. Use the mashed…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
October 08, 2013

Chili-Lime Vinaigrette

I enjoy this quick and easy recipe because we're often in a rush and need something quick to serve over a nicely grilled salmon or other white fish. We're big on fish here, and fish screams for a nice and spicy sauce of some kind. With this particular vinaigrette, you can pop out to the garden and snatch up a few fresh peppers and boom! 20 minutes later you have your simple but flavorful topping. I chose a variety of chili peppers for this one - the jalapeno pepper, serrano pepper, and habanero pepper. Vary it up to your particular tastes, but I like the heat and flavor of this combination. Ingredients 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar Juice from 1/2 a lime 1-2 jalapeno peppers, sliced into rings 1 serrano pepper, sliced into rings 1-2 habanero peppers, sliced into rings Dash of ground sea salt Cooking…
Published in Sauces
Happy Holidays, everyone! What an excellent year! We've been super busy working on the Chili Pepper Madness food blog and zesty food information site, and we're happy to share our TOP 10 CHILI PEPPER RECIPES OF 2015. Can you guess which recipe of 2015 is number one? Read on. It just may shock you! What were some of YOUR favorite recipe on our site for the year? Feel free to share! When we started our food blog many years ago, our idea was to simply share our love of bold, zesty, and spicy food, which OF COURSE includes chili peppers, but we also fought to grow as communicators and artisans in this vast food blogging community. We've met a number of great people along the way and we're excited to share what we've learned through the pages of our blog. Our goal is to continue to grow, and to be…
Published in Food Celebrations
Another super-quick meal alert! Busy-busy day here in the Madness household, dealing with the ins and outs of daily life. Blargh! No worries, I will spare you the details, but that means we needed something quick. However! Quick doesn't need to be boring. Or tossed in a microwave. Yuck. Definitely not a fan of tossing food into microwaves, not even leftovers. So! We go rooting around in the refrigerator and what do we find? Homemade giardiniera. Oh yes, I have my own Homemade Giardiniera Recipe right here. Check THAT out. It is Chicago-style. This recipe will be quick for you if you have your own giardiniera on hand, either a nice homemade batch, or something purchased from the store, but if you don't, then you'll need to add that time into your overall time. Sorry! So plan ahead and have some giardiniera on hand for this. You might think giardiniera…
File this one under Quick and Easy. I need more of those! We have been CRAZY busy here lately. We've taken on a number of web projects for our business, and I have been working on a rewrite to a screenplay I just sold. The producer notes weren't crazy, but there was still a bit of back and forth. Plus we had a fun beer tasting event this weekend, so I couldn't cook. So we needed quick meals this week! I often think pasta for quick meals, but there are SO many other options when you need to whip something together. Case in point: Cashew Chicken. What a wonder recipe. It truly is super easy to put together, doesn't take long at all to cook, and it does not disappoint in the flavor department. Cashew Chicken is a Chinese dish, highly popular in Chinese restaurants and takeout joints. You can…
Published in Chicken
A recipe for Ti-Malice, a popular Caribbean hot sauce originating from Haiti, typically made with Scotch Bonnet chili peppers. It has an interesting origin story in Haitian folklore and has many variations. This is one of our favorite ways to make it. It's time for more hot sauce, my friends! We keep running out of hot sauce in the fridge, so I need to constantly replenish the stock. You know how we are with our hot sauce recipes. Can't help myself! Today we're going Caribbean style, Haitian in particular, because I acquired some amazing Scotch Bonnet peppers. These are Scotch Bonnet Freeport Orange peppers. They are very fruity chiles with a habanero level heat, so use accordingly. They will surely bring you a beautiful spice level! While the taste is excellent, what I love most about this hot sauce is the story behind it. Haiti is rich in folklore, particularly…
Published in Hot Sauces
Spice up your corned beef breakfast hash with this recipe, done up Madness style. We've incorporated Cajun spices, spicy peppers and plenty of your favorite hot sauce. Get cooking! This is the last in our quick series of corned beef recipes, including the Slow Cooked Corned Beef with Spicy Guinness Gravy and Corned Beef Stuffed Peppers. We cooked up a gorgeous corned beef nice and slow in the Dutch Oven, in Guinness beer - YES! - but since there were plenty of leftovers, we were able to stretch it to 3 separate meals. You could easily stretch a 3 pound corned beef to 4 meals for 2 people, depending on how hungry you are. And I'm sorry, but I ate too much of the first meal! I blame the Guinness Gravy. And the corned beef. It was JUST. SO. GOOD. But leftovers we had, luckily for us, and they found their…
Published in Breakfasts
This is an all-purpose chili paste recipe made with ancho and guajillo chili peppers. Use it to flavor soups and stews, pasta sauces, slow cooker recipes and so much more. I have this in the refrigerator all the time as a quick go-to for massive flavor. Chili pastes are essential in this wild place called the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen. A good chili paste brings a HUGE infusion of flavor to many a dish, and when I don't have a quick chili paste on hand, ready to go at a moment's notice, I chastise myself repeatedly then rush to make another batch so I can stop berating myself. Note to self: ALWAYS keep chili paste in the house! Recipes all around the world list chili pastes among their required ingredients. Each is made from regional chili peppers and spices, which makes the recipe flavor completely unique. A simple chili paste…
Published in Sauces
More asparagus! We got a nice fat bundle of fresh asparagus from the grocery store the other day and didn't want it to go to waste, so we get asparagus twice in a row, this time in the form of a spinach-asparagus salad. Good thing for us, because this was one of our busy work days. Whenever we get slammed with work and other projects, we try to do quick lunches, but quick doesn't have to mean boring or fast food. As we often do, we will dig into the refrigerator to see what is on hand, what needs to be cooked up, what is on the verge of going bad. Neither of us likes to waste food, so when we found the spinach and asparagus, this salad option became a no-brainer. Besides, we're trying to watch our waist lines just a bit, so a healthier salad is appealing to…
Published in Salmon
Happy Thirsty Thirteenth again. It’s Patty and it’s my favorite day. It’s Thirsty Thirteenth, but not just that. It also happens to be my birthday! I couldn’t be happier than to share a great party cocktail with you. Mike and I were at the beach recently discussing what the next Thirty Thirteenth drink should be. I was scanning through Pinterest for some ideas and came across a watermelon sangria. When I mentioned it to Mike his eyes lit up. It’s so summery and refreshing and absolutely perfect for a hot August day. I can’t wait to share this with my girlfriends tonight. The longer you let the watermelon-alcohol infusion sit, the stronger the watermelon flavor will be. Just give it a good stir once a day. If you want to really get some good basil and serrano flavor in there, do a bit of muddling. I used our mocajete which…
Published in Drinks
A recipe for large chili peppers sliced in half, stuffed with a slow cooked shredded chicken with chipotles in adobo sauce, then topped with cheese and baked to perfection. It's time for dinner! Our Doux D'Espagne peppers have finally ripened and WOW, are they good. These chili peppers are freakin' HUGE and that makes them perfect for stuffing to serve as an entire meal for two with a single pepper. You know a pepper is going to be huge when it goes by another name - The Spanish Mammoth Pepper. Compared to bell peppers, they're quite a bit sweeter in flavor and larger on average, though you won't find them easily in supermarkets, or in America, for that matter. You're more likely to find them in Paris or other warmer climes outside of the U.S. They're best grown in your own garden, which I would urge you to do, but if…
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
A recipe for quick and easy chicken curry made extra spicy with an addition of ghost pepper and other chili peppers. Chili Pepper Madness style. We're truly spicing up your traditional chicken curry recipe over here at Chili Pepper Madness by bringing in the wonderul bhut jolokia, aka Ghost Pepper. Chicken curry is one of those super quick-to-make recipes, something you can easily have done in 30 minutes or less. Even I, a cook who takes forever in the kitchen, can whip this dish out fairly quickly. It makes for a fast tasty lunch on those busy work days, or a quick dinner when you're really in the mood to plop down in front of the television with the latest release. You're probably already familiar with the ghost pepper, but if you're not, beware. It is consider a "superhot" chili pepper, over a million Scoville Heat Units, so yes, this…
Published in Chicken
A quick and easy pasta or noodle bowl recipe with seared shrimp, served with a simple creamy roasted red pepper sauce made with goat cheese. As I've been working to build up our "Quick and Easy Recipes" section for spicy food lovers, I've come across a new, very simple sauce that works wonders for me. It isn't that I'm simply trying to populate that section of the site without reason, but rather, I'm one of those types of people who craves VARIETY, and we're also crazy busy sometimes, so I don't have any particular couple of go-to recipes when time is short. Some people have simple default recipes, like smoothies or super quick salads, or maybe a slap-together PB&J sandwich for days they don't have time to think about what they're going to eat. Or hey, leftovers! Leftovers are always good in a pinch. But I like VARIETY! Hence! This…
Published in Pasta
January 15, 2016

Zesty Taco Soup

A zesty, spicy soup recipe with loads of tomato, chili peppers, black beans, and all the fixings. It's a taco in a bowl. Is it wrong to file this recipe under "Tacos"? I think not. I mean, fine, we're not wrapping tongue-pleasing deliciousness in a tortilla this time around, but what we ARE doing is taking all of those outstanding taco ingredients and turning it into a soup. Oh baby! Yes. Taco soup. Allow me to say that again. TACO SOUP! Yum. I'm in such a good mood today because I recently sold a movie script (did you know I'm a screenwriter?) and they're signing some truly AMAZING cast members, but also because I made this soup last night and I have leftovers! Yes. Patty and I get to eat this soup again for lunch. How awesome is that? Like most soups, this is a simple one-pot meal and quite…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
This homemade barbecue sauce brings a wonderful smoky spice with the chipotle peppers and bacon, but it's also slightly sweet from the sugar and molasses. It is rich and thick and will stick to your ribs or chicken nicely. Get the grills ready! Here is the recipe. I'm cranking out barbecue sauces this summer like they're going out of style. Even when I make big batches, they disappear so fast. That's OK. I don't want to make my batches too large because I enjoy the variety. When I run out of one batch, I'll switch it up and go in a different direction. The last sauce we made was a Peach-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce, and it was delish! I didn't switch it up TOO much this time around, keeping the wonderful bourbon flavor, but now we're bringing in smoky chipotle peppers, and everyone's favorite - DUN DUN DUN - BACON! Oh yes,…
Published in Sauces
A recipe for salmon fillets, seasoned with Cajun spices, then baked and served over a bed of Cajun rice. Serve with a bit of squeezed lemon and happiness ensues. I guess it's fairly obvious by now what the favorite fish is in the Madness household. That would be SALMON. Salmon has a flavor that is unique unto itself and it's something I grew up on. When Patty and I married years ago, it was one of the foods I started cooking with because I missed it so much. My mother used to make salmon patties when I was younger, and I always enjoyed them, but they were out of a can. When I learned to cook on my own, I gravitated away from canned foods, especially something like salmon. Sorry, Mom! Fresh salmon is infinitely better. While I have gone on to make my own version of Mom's Salmon Patties…
Published in Salmon
These are easy. Super easy. You don't have to fuss with making your own pizza dough or homemade flatbreads when you have Naan around. While we do enjoy making our own flatbreads, sometimes you need something quick and easy so you can get on with the ten thousand other tasks in your life. I don't even want to talk about those! I'd rather focus on food. Just because you're going quick and easy doesn't mean you can't have a lot of flavor. We're going Mediterranean style with this one. A homemade pesto is simple as long as you have the ingredients on hand. If you don't have pine nuts, try toasted almonds, toasted pecans, or even sunflower seeds, though pine nuts are traditional. You're a quick blender ride to pesto awesomeness, and isn't pesto one of the best sauces out there? We think so. Then you have some lightly cooked…
Pasta Pasta! I don't think I know anyone who doesn't love pasta. And I've looked. I've polled random people and nary a negative response. When Patty and I went to Italy, we experienced pasta in many forms, with such an awesome variety of sauces and accompaniments that we're still to this day talking about going back. When are we going back to Italy? Tomorrow! I do wish. I would go back to Tuscany in a heartbeat. Or Rome. Or Venice. ANYWHERE in Italy! If you've ever been to Italy, drop me a line with your experience. You have an open ear. I digress.  Back to pasta. So! I'm always on the lookout for super quick sauce recipes. As I've mentioned (complained) before, Patty and I both work full time with our web business, and I am a writer - not to mention our outstanding Chili Pepper Madness site! - but…
Published in Pasta
This is the tail end of our icy-cold season and we're now starting to think about our gardens, so it's time to get in a last blast of bone-warming comfort food in the form of split pea soup. We only make this a couple times a year, maybe three times. We can make a whole pot and it will last us throughout the week for a dinner and then the leftovers for quick lunches. It doesn't take much to fill you up. I have a more traditional spicy slow cooker split pea soup recipe that you can review if you would like to get a base, but this time around we were looking for a bit of a spin - a Southwestern spin with all those spicy ingredients and flavorful chili pepper additions. It doesn't have to be too spicy, though I personally love it that way. Go light on the…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
Nom Nom. Seriously. NOM! This is an older recipe of ours and I can't believe I haven't shared it with you all yet. Funny thing is, I've been making versions of this mashed potato recipe for years, in different iterations, and never realized it was a popular Tex-Mex dish. Thinking back, how could it not be! Consider - a recipe for very cheesy mashed potatoes made with jalapeno peppers, red bell pepper, onion, garlic, and spicy chorizo. So many of my favorite ingredients. Yes! Count me in! Twice! Patty's entire family is HUGE on mashed potatoes. It is a staple at holiday parties or large family gatherings. I am flat out not joking when the crew has gone through TEN pounds of potatoes. They are mashed potato fanatics. However, they're extremely traditional and want only the typical mashed potato recipe, which I will NOT complain about. I love mashed potatoes…
Published in Side Dishes
Take all the best parts of your favorite chicken taco and turn it into a stuffed pepper. Here is the recipe. Yep. Stuffed peppers done up chicken taco style. Today I unapologetically offer up yet another stuffed pepper recipe. Nope. I have absolutely ZERO regrets. I mean, stuffed chili peppers are just the way to go in this wild and crazy world where the strange and bizarre are commonplace, like the popularity of Kanye West (Hey, he's from Chicago!) or Trump for President (Not judging! It just came out of the blue!). Never would have guessed those. But stuffed peppers ground me to reality, and that is what is needed in these troubled times. When you find yourself a bit lost and meandering aimlessly, a good stuffed pepper recipe will bring you home. Hence! See below. These babies are grilled up to what I call perfection. We were both totally…
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
Bring on the leeks! It isn't everyday that most people cook with leeks. Such a shame. Leeks are quite tasty, even if they are bit odd looking, with their floppy green stalks that resemble a cross between a corn stalk and a flapping sea monster. Or maybe a gigantic green onion. Even so, there is good flavor in there. They're actually rather mild, similar to an onion but much tamer. Where a green onion will give you a bit of a bite, leeks are not very assertive and pair very nicely with potatoes and bell peppers. Of course we had to add a couple jalapenos and some Cajun seasonings to up the "zest" factor. Hey, we like it bold! But you'll still get plenty of that leek flavor, though it is slightly pepper forward. Though this recipe is vegetarian, you can easily add in meats like seared and chopped chicken,…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
Hey everyone! Patty here again with your Thirsty Thirteenth drink recipe. Well it’s HOT here and it’s welcomed since we don’t get much of it. Plus, I’ve got a nice cold refreshing drink to keep you cool. I really wanted to be outside all day and thought it would be great to grill some pineapple for our drink. It adds an extra complexity to the flavors of the final cocktail. I went around the neighborhood and gathered up my friends and whatever herbs I could snip out of their gardens. It all came together as a group effort. I was able to gather some sage and basil from various gardens. And, I had to bring you some spice of course with some jalapeno. I wanted this to be a fresh summer drink with local flavors so I even decided to use a cilantro vodka. I always have a lot of…
Published in Drinks
Tacos for breakfast? Yes! With spicy pulled pork and scrambled eggs, topped with a quick enchilada sauce, avocado, roasted jalapenos and shredded cheese. Here is the recipe. Come on, now. Admit it. You LOVE tacos for breakfast. Don't you? What's not to love? It doesn't have to be TUESDAY for tacos. Tacos are great any day of the week, because, truly, it is one of the best foods in the universe. And today we have Tacos in the Morning! YES! In the form of pulled pork tacos mixed with creamy scrambled eggs and all the fixings piled on, along with a quick and easy enchilada sauce recipe that I've used a few times in the past. It works wonders when you don't have any other sauce on hand and need something fast because you'rer getting hangry. Someone serve the breakfast already, will ya? If you're in the mood for a…
Published in Breakfasts
In all honesty, this is a stuffed pepper recipe born of leftovers. Patty and I recently made a highly satisfying Sweet Corn and Crab Risotto dish and, quite frankly, I made WAY too much of it. Well, there was no crab left - I mean, Butter and Chili Poached Crab? Hello?! - but there was plenty of the risotto. I purposely made a larger batch with this recipe in mind. I've been wanting to do a new stuffed pepper recipe with risotto for some time now, and this was my chance. Turned out great! You don't have to make a huge batch of the sweet corn risotto like I did. I've included a basic risotto recipe below that will be enough to fill your peppers, but think of recipes like this next time you DO make risotto and have leftovers. Leftovers a great thing sometimes. Talk about time savers! I…
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
A recipe for jalapeno peppers made Italian style, stuffed with seasoned ground turkey, fresh basil, tomato sauce and topped with shredded Parmesan cheese. These are perfect for a last-minute party appetizers. Who is attending a New Year's Eve bash this year? Raise your hands. Wow! That's a LOT of you. Yep, we are as well, and we're looking forward to seeing our friends and ringing in the new year. This year we are doing it a bit differently, with everyone bringing a dish to share, sort of a pot luck style. I love it! There will be so many delicious dishes to enjoy. I hope there will be something spicy. The idea, though, is to keep it simple, nothing overly fancy. However, if you happen to be attending your own party and are struggling to come up with a dish to share, here is one you can try. It is…
Published in Jalapeno Poppers
Hand-formed pork burgers with fresh ghost peppers, slathered with homemade spicy aioli, topped with roasted jalapenos. Spice it up with this recipe. My gorgeous wife is no longer upset with me because I FINALLY used the grinder attachment for our Kitchenaid mixer. Not sure why she was so annoyed. I mean, we ONLY got it for Christmas a year and a half ago. OK, fine, I'm slow to get to some things. I freely admit! In reality, I'm more annoyed at myself for not getting around to it sooner because now I LOVE grinding my own meats and wish I could have been doing it all along. The attachment is simple to use. You just screw it into the top face and operate it with the standard controls. The actual grinding process can be a little tricky, but the key is to work with meat that has been chilled, and…
Published in Burgers
Alligator sliders, you say? Absolutely! These are easy. Turn your alligator sausage into mini burgers with this recipe, served with roasted red pepper remoulade and quick pickled cucumbers. This recipe is special to me because it isn't everyday you get to cook with alligator. Have you ever cooked with alligator? I have in the past, though it has only been with ground meat. I haven't yet had the opportunity to cook with any other type, but who knows? Perhaps in the near future! When Patty and I visit Florida, we always make a point to stop at a particular restaurant right along the water that serves up some of the most delicious gator sausage you can find. It is perfectly seasoned and served with a red pepper remoulade. It's an excellent lunch and one of Patty's all-time favorite meals. So! I had to acquire some for her. I had to…
Published in Burgers
This healthy-yet-hearty stuffed pepper soup is truly a stuffed pepper in a bowl, and our Madness version includes plenty of additional fixings to load it up for pure satisfaction. I will be the first to admit we're not breaking any crazy new ground here, friends. I mean, if you Google "Stuffed Pepper Soup", you'll get a million+ results. Hey, those are some good looking soups out there. There are variations, of course, but it all boils down to taking what you'd traditionally use to make stuffed peppers and turn them into a soup. Easy enough, right? Not so special? Wrong! This is one of the best soups you'll ever have, especially when you make the Chili Pepper Madness version. Check it out. Here is the NAKED version of our Stuffed Pepper Soup. Just before all the fun begins. Look at how chunky-meaty-brothy-tomatoey-chile-peppery-yummy it looks. Oh my, I'm already ready for…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
Give the Super Bowl snack table a spicy makeover with these recipe ideas. Game Day is just around the corner! With the Super Bowl looming, we've compiled a list of twenty spicy recipes to help you get your snack table ready for those who love food with zing. Of COURSE we had to ratchet up the heat level a bit. We LOVE bold and zesty flavors. I mean, we're Chili Pepper Madness, right? It doesn't matter to us who wins the Super Bowl this year. We're just here for the food. Here we go! 4-Cheese Jalapeno Poppers Creamy Crunchy Jalapeno Popper Dip Buffalo Chicken Dip Roasted Red Pepper Dip Crispy Baked Ghost Pepper Wings with Buffalo-Blue Cheese Sauce Thai Chicken Wings with Chili-Peanut Sauce Spicy Italian Meatballs Buffalo Chicken Meatballs Habanero Guacamole Jalapeno Popper Pizza Bread Roasted Mango-Habanero Salsa Roasted Poblano Pork Tacos Homemade Roasted Tomatillo Pork Chili Zesty Taco…
Published in Food Celebrations
Salmon is common in our kitchen. We both love it and it's easy to pick up around here. Sometimes I wish we lived closer to the coast where we could find all sorts of fresh seafood, but alas, we do not. In the middle of the country, our seafood options are more limited. But salmon is one of those awesome options. I prepare it a number of ways, but today is an Italian version because my tiny little basil plant still had basil! It was really on its last leg, poor little thing, but it lasted quite a while. We froze some basil in oil for pesto through the winter, but this got us through a nice fresh batch. You'll notice this isn't your typical pesto. This one includes a couple of sweet Italian red peppers I picked up during the last shopping trip. Chili peppers are so great. They're…
Published in Salmon
A recipe for crispy baked chicken wings tossed with a homemade garlic-parmesan sauce that you can make in minutes. It's always time for chicken wings. I couldn't tell you when it was that I got hooked on chicken wings. I had never really tried them until late into my college life. The only exposure I had to chicken wings was from the buckets of chicken my mother used to pick up every now and then, but there were only 2 wings in the bucket and my mother took those first. Fast forward and I am an admitted wing junkie. I LOVE heading out to one of several wing joints in my area, mixing and matching different sauces, going crazy hot one day, sticky and sweet the next. So many wonderful choices. That said, wing joint wings are wonderful and all, but sometimes you just can't beat a batch of chicken…
Published in Chicken Wings Recipes
We've been experimenting lately with vegetable purees. Do not fear the puree! I want to write an article with that title so I can expound on the awesomeness that is the vegetable puree. Talk about a way to get your veggies AND pack in the flavor. It's easy to do and you can use a vegetable puree to form a sauce, a soup, swirl it into stews and more. For this recipe, a puree of butternut squash, jalapeno peppers, garlic and onion is used as a pasta carbonara, that wonderfully amazing Italian dish that we've fallen in love with. Traditional carbonara is made with eggs. You beat the raw eggs with pancetta and parmesan cheese, and the hot pasta cooks it. We have nothing against eggs, but I wanted to experiment with substitutions. Would the pasta still be creamy like a carbonara? Would the flavor be there? Will it satisfy…
Published in Pasta
November 29, 2014

Turkey Ancho Stew

These are the types of meals I like to make on a fairly regular basis. It doesn't take very long, is pretty easy to make, and incorporates a lot of healthy vegetables. And chili peppers! This stew makes excellent use of dehydrated peppers, which impart a lot of flavor to the dish. Ever cooked with dehydrated peppers? Be sure to rehydrate them first so you can blend them into the paste that will be incorporated into the mix. So good. Here's a helpful link - How to Rehydrate Dried Chili Peppers - though the instructions are listed below. This recipe is also ideal for leftovers! Yes, this is why we made the stew. Leftover Thanksgiving turkey. We didn't cook Thanksgiving dinner this year but everyone took home some of the leftovers and we got a bag of turkey meat. If you don't have any leftover turkey, use cooked chicken instead.…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
Go Spring! Patty and I were walking into the grocery store for our normal shopping and always start with the produce section. It is how most grocery stores are setup, which is great for us since that is what we usually need to stock up on the most. We walk in and BAM! Right there at the front of the produce area were these gorgeous yellow Campari tomatoes. We weren't even planning on grabbing them, but as with most awesome items, they just leapt into the cart so we were forced to bring them home. I know, such a sad day for us. Campari tomatoes are sweeter and very juicy. So! They became the inspiration for a springtime pasta dish. File this one under fast and easy. It didn't take long to prepare, just a bit of chopping with fresh ingredients, boil some noodles, toss some things together in a…
Published in Pasta
We got our first blast of winter here, folks. Even now as I gaze out the window, we're blanketed with a solid 8 inches of snow and the temps are below freezing at the moment. Can't say we're big fans of winter, but at least we have butternut squash soup to warm us up. Ahhh, butternut squash soup. It's one of those uber winter recipes. Something to stick to the bones. Of course we want to make ours a little bit spicy, but we also want it creamy this time. Super creamy. It's easy to achieve and it will knock your socks off. Seriously. Speaking of easy, did you ever realize how EASY it actually is to make butternut squash soup? Half the work is tossing a bunch of ingredients into the oven for roasting. Seriously, here is my setup for the majority of the soup. This is half the…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
A recipe for juicy burgers made from scratch with ground pork, ground beef, jalapeno and serrano peppers, and plenty of seasonings. Completely handmade. Fire up the grill and get cooking! You may recall that recently Patty and I ground about 11 pounds of meat in order to make a number of different recipes. I posted about this in the "Grinding Meat with a Meat Grinder - the Why and the How". This recipe is a prime example of the WHY. Why? So we can eat burgers! We have SO MUCH in our freezer now, but believe it or not it's already half gone. We made burgers and sausages, but we also froze some for more generic use, and even made homemade breakfast sausage, which is totally gone BTW. I will be posting that recipe soon enough, but not before I make another batch for Patty. Total FAVE! We had an…
Published in Burgers
Patty here for your Thirsty Thirteenth! Who doesn’t love hot apple cider? Especially on those cooling fall nights. And especially when you spike it with rum and take the heat up an extra notch with some habanero peppers. Yeah, we went there. We had a party planned at our house for after an outdoor beer tasting in late October. It was that weird time of year when it’s sunny and fairly warm one day and cloudy and chilled the next. The weather forecast called for not only cold and cloudy but a bit of rain as well. Ugh. Not so great for an outdoor gathering. So, I knew people would be looking for something to warm them up when we got back to our place after the beer tasting. To give them some extra heat, I infused habaneros into the cider-punch. I really wanted a fall tasting drink, so apple…
Published in Drinks
The Fourth of July is just around the corner! People all over the U.S. will be firing up their grills and cooking up all sorts of goodness, from burgers and brats to hot dogs, chicken, ribs, and so much more. No matter what you're cooking on the barbecue, there is one thing in particular that ties it all together - Barbecue Sauce! We know you love barbecue sauce as much as we do, and there are plenty of great store bought sauces. You probably have your favorites, be they from the local supermarket or your favorite online resource. However! There is a deep satisfaction from making your very own homemade barbecue sauce. You'll be the hit of the party when people show up for your grilling goodness, each of them exclaiming, "Where'd you get this sauce? It's amazing!" You know you want that satisfaction. If you're in the mood to…
Published in Food Celebrations
Who likes chicken? We do, but it’s one of those foods that doesn’t have a lot of character by itself. This is not a negative. Chicken lends itself to an immense variety of cooking techniques and flavors. It readily takes on the flavors you incorporate into your dishes, so in that way, chicken is one of the perfect foods. It’s also quite healthy. Last night we were in the mood for something lighter, something a bit lower calorie, so we defrosted a couple of chicken breasts and tossed them into a flavorful Chili-Lime Marinade. Dried chili peppers are perfect for marinades in terms of ease of use and flavor, and a perfect compliment to lime juice, which nicely infuses your chicken. This particular marinade is good for other dishes as well for when you want a flavor blast. Try it on fish, pork, steak. Get going! Ancho-Lime Marinade Here’s the…
Published in Marinades
Hey all! Patty here again with your Thirsty Thirteenth cocktail. It’s December and the holidays are upon us so I decided to focus on a popular holiday ingredient - Cranberries. This recipe utilizes some really great flavors that go well together. I usually like to bring you some slightly complex drinks that require just a bit of effort because anyone can pour a few ingredients in a glass and shake it. Don't worry, it will be worth the effort. The payoff is a crazy YUM-filled drink. I love infusing alcohols with different ingredients or making simple syrups. It’s unbelievable how easy it is to make simple syrups. I guess that’s why they are called “Simple”? LOL. This one combines cranberry and rosemary, which has a very savory quality to it, along with a bit of jalapeno pepper, to make for an excellent flavor combo. I kept the jalapeno very subtle…
Published in Drinks
A recipe for spicy chicken meatballs made with jalapeno peppers and serrano peppers (optional!), served with classic Buffalo sauce, then topped with blue cheese crumbles. Pure Madness style. Bring on the Buffalo Chicken Meatballs! This delicious recipe has been added to both Mike's Favorites and Patty's Favorites. They seriously POP with huge flavor and, truly, Buffalo sauce will always be a favorite here. We're also thinking ahead to the big GAME DAY that is rushing upon us. If you're planning a party and you're the one serving the food, or if you need to bring a dish to share, this might be the one. Yum. These chicken meatballs are zingy and tangy and they have just the right amount of heat to them. Why? Because we've incorporated a jalapeno pepper as well as a serrano pepper for some pleasant flavor and heat. However! If serrano peppers are too spicy for…
Published in Chicken
These chicken thighs are perfectly seasoned then seared and slow cooked until fork tender. Served with a creamy poblano sauce. We served ours over Mexican rice. So good! Chicken thighs don't get the recognition they deserve, in my opinion. It's a cultural thing, really. In China, dark meat is actually preferred, but here in the U.S., it is white meat that is prized. You'll usually find the chicken breast as the star of most dishes, and while I have no personal complaints against the meaty chicken breast, I can't help but find myself drawn to the wonder that is the chicken thigh. What about you? Are you a chicken thigh fan? I don't think there is an easier part of the chicken to cook. Chicken thighs are quite forgiving. They aren't very large, usually, and take to any number of cooking methods, especially a slow cook in some seasoned stock,…
Published in Chicken
I enjoy soups in the fall. Sure, they're great all year round, but they really stick to your bones when the weather turns cooler. When seasonal broccoli appears, I immediatel think of soup. Cheddar cheese is a no-brainer addition to broccoli. They're always highly complimentary to each other. And what else? Jalapeno peppers! Add in as many jalapenos as you'd like for this recipe, depending on your preferred spice and flavor level. I typically use 4 or 5 large jalapenos. Jalapenos are the best. Just a touch of heat and lots of flavor. Ingredients 1/2 onion, diced 4-5 jalapeno peppers, diced 1/4 stick butter 1/2 cup flour 1-1/2 cups whole milk 1/2 cup heavy cream 1 cup chicken broth (+ more as desired) (NOTE: Use vegetable broth if you'd prefer a vegetarian version) 1 head of broccoli, chopped 1 tablespoon chili powder 2 cups grated cheddar cheese Salt and pepper…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
February 20, 2015

Bucatini Puttanesca

My father-in-law LOVES anchovies. And he LOVES olives. And he LOVES capers. I wasn’t a fan of these growing up. Over the years I have acquired a taste for many an ingredient, including the ones my father-in-law loves. Long ago when I first married his daughter, he sat me down and said I needed to try anchovies. I grimaced and kicked up a fuss but he told me you can’t really judge a food if you haven’t tried it in the proper application. Turns out he was right. I first tried the anchovy by itself and my first impression was, “Hey, it tastes like a salty piece of fish that’s been left out to go rancid”. But then I tried it on pizza. It wasn’t so bad. Actually, it was pretty good. That was years ago. I've acquired the taste for a good anchovy pizza. What can I say? I…
Published in Pasta
February 27, 2015

Easy Seared Shrimp Tacos

Get ready for a super quick lunch! And a healthy one, too, if you watch your fixin's. This is why we like to keep certain meal components on hand through the week, like Pico de Gallo, and a homemade taco seasoning. Since Patty and I work from home and have certain crazy-busy days, we need fast lunch options. This recipe is even faster than running out for a quick sandwich. We basically got bombarded this week with web site projects, and I'm in the middle of a crazy writing project, so quick lunch it is! Shrimp cooks up so quickly and it is ideal for a taco. Just warm the tortillas while your shrimp is cooking and serve it all up. If you don't have your own homemade taco seasoning, any store bought brand will do, but give the homemade version a try. It's not only fun, but more personalized…
Published in Shrimp
Growing up, I used to think chicken breast was boring. Even as I grew older, pre-Mike-Likes-To-Cook days, I never looked forward to chicken breast. It could be dry. It didn't have a lot of flavor. It was just sort of blah. But then I learned a few things. I actually cracked open a cookbook here and there, looked on the burgeoning thing called "The Internet" and learned a thing or two about chicken breast, and now I look forward to them. Chicken breasts can actually be exciting food! Who would have thought? There are numerous inspirational ways to prepare chicken breast for your next meal, but today we're busting out the grill. Grilled chicken breast is unique in that you get that excellet sear that locks in the seasonings, a bit of smokiness in flavor, and a unique mouth feel in each bite. It truly helps to lock in the…
Published in Chicken
Typical story here in the Madness household. Walking through the store, just sort of perusing, getting an eyeful of what there is to offer and WHAM! I see these gorgeous King crab legs resting over ice in our local grocery store. I froze there, absorbing the sight of them, and before I even realized what was happening, the seafood lady was already wrapping one of them up for us. We LOVE King crab. It is so succulent and meaty, and when it pulls out of the freshly cracked shell in one long piece, you experience a bit of heaven right there. Tops! I did a quick preparation, a simple butter poach with dried chili flakes. We don't live near the coast so the seafood is typically frozen or flown in that day, but it is still pretty darned good. I had been planning a risotto for a while now because…
Published in Crab
This particular recipe has a couple of different extra tasty components. You already know we love salmon and cook with it all the time - see our Salmon Recipes - and we're giving it the Autumn/Fall treatment with flavors of the season. We're talking pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves. And habanero peppers. Two ways! We start with a sweet brown sugar glaze that incorporates pumpkin, habanero, and all those beautiful spices. Glazes bring a double whammy of sweet and taste to many a dish, along with some of that heat we tend to crave. Did you know we like heat? Especially that habanero pepper heat. The glaze drips over the salmon first before you bake it, then more as you are ready to serve. We baked our salmon this time, which takes a little longer, but it always gives a nice and evenly cooked salmon fillet. Serve this over your…
Published in Salmon
Patty and I are hanging out in Florida for a while - it's just too dang cold in the Chicago area and we want warmth! And beach. One of the benefits of our temporary stay is the fresh seafood and local farmers markets. We ran down to the local farmers market, which is only open on Sundays, and snagged a big variety of fresh fruit and vegetables. We'll be set for a while, but I was so happy to find a good selection of chili peppers. We picked up some habanero peppers, a bowl of jalapeno peppers, as well as some bright red Cubanelles. We filled our bags with potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, citrus fruit of all kinds, Brussels Sprouts, beautiful red beats, and the list goes on. Last night I popped over to the fresh fish market and nosed around at what came in that day. What jumped out to…
Published in Other Fish
I encountered my first remoulade while visiting Maine. We traveled there for 2 primary reasons - 1. Hiking in Acadia, and 2. Lobster. Boy, did we eat lobster! That trip to Maine was the only time in my life I have ever gotten sick of lobster. I'm back on the lobster wagon - hey, lobster is great stuff! - but this post isn't about lobster. It is about a spicy remoulade. While in Maine, the very first restaurant we visited served up a tasty lobster roll with a simple remoulade sauce, and I've been hooked ever since. You'll encounter them in New Orleans, where they are most popular and as variable as the restaurants in that crazy town. While there are numerous ways to make a remoulade, I have a simple version that is highly flavorful and focuses on the chili peppers. This version brings in the superhots - Chocolate…
Published in Sauces
A beautiful summer shrimp salad recipe made with seared shrimp, tomato, avocado, jalapeno, garlic, basil and burrata cheese, served with crunchy crostinis, so light and delicious. Honestly, I wasn't sure what to call this recipe, exactly. Is it a salad? An appetizer? Some sort of side dish? All of the above? It doesn't seem to be in my typical recipe wheelhouse at first glance, but in reality, it is by virtue of the ingredients. You don't need many to make this OUTSTANDING little dish, mostly fresh vegetables, which is ideal for summertime dining and snacking. Light, fresh, and enticing. Visually, it's a stunner. I used a small springform pan to mold these into a taut circle and served them up in our backyard for lunch with glasses of fresh basil lemonade.  If you have a garden, you can pick half the ingredients directly and whip this together in practically no…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
Make your own giardiniera at home with this extra spicy recipe. I used a variety of peppers, including jalapenos, 7-pots, ghost peppers, jaloros, habaneros and Italian sweets, plus so much more. The garden is officially over. Booo! Truthfully, we had an incredibly productive season, yielding MANY LOADS of chili peppers and tomatoes this year. We were both suprised and excited by the amount produced. I finally just yesterday pulled the remaining pepper plants from the ground and gathered another 8 pounds of peppers or so. I will be chopping and freezing some (see How to Freeze Chili Peppers), dehydrating several more (see Dehydrating Chili Peppers), and cooking in general, but here is another one of my very favorite ways to use up a big batch of peppers in order to keep them longer. Homemade Spicy Giardiniera. Giardiniera is a wonder condiment, and it is an absolute MUST if you live in…
Published in Hot Sauces
A fish sandwich recipe made with seasoned beer battered white fish served over lightly toasted buns, topped with a spicy mayo and homemade crunchy-sweet slaw. Bring on the sammiches! OK, yeah. This is a crazy-delicious, rather decadent fish sandwich recipe, but what can I say? I'm only human and I truly love this thing. Dang. What a recipe. I had a brainstorm of a vision for this just after I made the Beer Battered Fish Tacos Recipe, run through the filter of ideas for the big Grilled Cheese contest we entered recently, and this is the result. We took one bite and...WOW. Insert fluttering eyes here as I savor the taste. As I've mentioned before, I usually don't fry foods very often, though I've been experimenting with my new Dutch oven and it works GREAT for frying without needing a deep fryer. I've also been experimenting with beeer batters and…
Published in Sandwiches
These are the days when it is AWESOME to have a garden, when you can walk out your back door, pick a few fresh ingredients that you grew your very own self, and turn them into a meal. Some days you can exist entirely on your garden. There is nothing more satisfying than turning something you've grown yourself into something scrumptious. Hence - Caprese style chicken. You can't make this recipe without fresh tomatoes and thick, leafy basil. Of course you can pick some up from the market, and I sure hope you do because this recipe is worth it, but you might want to get a garden going soon so you can make this all the time. Grilled chicken is arguabley one of the most popular recipes around, something super simple to prepare, so healthy, but it can also be boring. It doesn't have to be. When I do…
Published in Chicken
Here’s a fun seafood chili recipe you can dig into. We busted out the black tiger prawns for this one, thick and heavy shrimp that will satisfy your cravings for shrimp, all wrapped up into a nice and spicy chili recipe. Ingredients 1 small onion, chopped 1 poblano pepper, chopped 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 can (15 ounces) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained 8 ounces tomato sauce 2 Roma tomatoes, diced 1 cup chicken broth 2 tablespoons hot sauce (pick your favorite) 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon dried basil 1 tablespoon chili powder 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined Cooking Directions In a large saucepan, saute onion and poblano pepper in oil for 4-5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, broth, hot sauce, cumin, chili powder and basil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until heated through. Add shrimp; simmer 10 minutes…
Published in Chili
Time to grill up the salmon! Only this time, we're using a cedar plank to get the party started. Have you ever grilled with a cedar plank? How exactly DO you cedar plank a salmon, and why would you want to do it? Well, allow me to tell you. All you need to do is soak the cedar plank in water a couple hours, then spread the items you'd like to grill over it, set it on the grill and let the grill do all the work. No need for flipping anything. As the cedar plank heats up, the water steams out of it and bathes the salmon and vegetables, or whatever else you've decided to cook up, with the flavor of cedar. And why? Because it tastes so good! It's a bit like smoking salmon, flavorwise. I purchased a big variety pack of cedar planks of all sizes online,…
Published in Salmon
A zesty chicken piccata recipe made with plenty of lemon, salty capers and beautiful chili peppers in a buttery white wine sauce for a quick and easy meal. Um, yeah. I'm in! You'll be surprised just how easy it is to make, and it is guaranteed to impress. OK, people. Enough with all the holiday recipes. We DO realize the holidays are here but we're guessing you already have all of your meals planned out. I know we do. I've been planning a big brunch, a New Year's Eve dinner, a Christmas Eve meal, and possibly a New Year's Day free-for-all that may or may not include a Bloody Mary bar, but those menus are set. I already know what I'll be making, so now it's time to plan for the ingredients. If you're like me, and I'm guessing you are, you're close to being DONE with those plans. So…
Published in Chicken
January 09, 2014

Cocktail Sauce Recipe

We served up a raw bar for our neighborhood New Year's Eve celebration, which included oyster shooters, stone crab claws and plenty of prawns. I put together this particular cocktail sauce for the prawns the night before because prawns scream for a cocktail sauce. We set up the raw bar on a wide table with plenty of shaved ice, set the seafood over the ice and nestled the sauces into the ice beside the seafood. The table was picked clean! Make this sauce ahead of time to allow the flavors to mingle, especially the horseradish. It will intensify in flavor the longer you let it sit. Also, you can easily vary up the ratios of these ingredients to your personal preference. The thing about cocktail sauces, and sauces in general, is taste, taste, taste! Ingredients 1 cup ketchup 1 cup chili sauce 2 tablespoons lemon juice 6 ounces clam juice…
Published in Sauces
This recipe is quickly becoming one of our favorites, a sort of go-to for a quick meal. There is flat out something magical about pesto, the uber Italian sauce that goes so perfectly with pasta. I often make batches of pesto and keep some in the fridge or freezer, and I actively look for ways to incorporate it into meals OTHER than pasta. It's great swirled into soups and as a spread, but a personal favorite is pairing pesto with egg. Who'd-a-thunk? You may be as surprised as we were by the awesomeness of this combination. It was a busy working day and we wanted something quick for dinner, something really easy to prepare, and I thought, pesto? We always have a productive basil plant this time of year. And peppers, of course. How about with soft boiled eggs? Patty's eyes lit up and the rest is history. I've made…
Published in Pasta
I'm pretty darned happy it is pumpkin season. For all the complaining I do about the impending cold weather, there is always the PLUS that I at least have ready access to pumpkin. We both greatly enjoy fall vegetables, particularly pumpkin and squash, and it is both fun and tasty to incorporate them into meals. Pumpkin purees up nicely, making for a consistent sauce. The flavor of pumpkin is unmistakable. For this meal, we were in the mood for a quick pasta. Pasta always satisfies. I wanted a creamy sauce and was already jonesing for pumpkin, so tossed it up with goat cheese - talk about creamy! - and roasted chili peppers. Roasted peppers add that bit of smokiness to the dish. My neighbors own a huge sage bush and the thing produces like crazy, so they gave us a HUGE bag of sage leaves. I didn't know what to…
Published in Pasta
A quick and easy pasta dish tossed with a flavorful sauce made with hummus, fish sauce and soy sauce, and tossed with your favorite chili peppers. File this one under Quick and Easy! I love it. I've been playing around with a lot of recipes lately, trying to find quick and easy meals that actually satisfy the both of us. As you know, we run a web site development business and I am a fairly active writer (just sold a screenplay, yo!!), so we NEED meals some days that can be whipped together FAST. However! Fast doesn't mean it has to be boring. I mean, anyone can throw a slice of bologna on a piece of bread with a squirt of mustard and say, "Hey, see? Fast!" Sorry, that just doesn't hit the spot where we live. That's how we roll! Oftentimes, for speed, I turn to pasta. Pasta noodles…
Published in Pasta
A quick recipe for making pickled peppers that you can keep in your refrigerator for months. They're perfect for topping sandwiches, tacos, tossing onto pizzas, or munching right out of the jar. By now your garden is going INSANE, isn't it? If you have a garden. We do, as you know I've mentioned about a thousand times by now and I hope you're not sick of me going ON and ON about it. I can't help it! I love my peppers and tomatoes! But yeah, if you're like me, you have peppers coming out of your ears and you don't know what to do with them all. I think I do more than most people do - obsession, anyone? - but even after all of the hot sauce recipes, salsa recipes, stuffed chili pepper recipes, dehydrating peppers and chili pepper recipes in general, we STILL have a load of chili…
Published in Pickled Peppers
Make your own barbecue sauce at home with fresh ingredients, including sweet peaches, jalapenos, serranos, bourbon and honey. Fire up the grill! AAHHHHH. That is ME, soaking in the embracing warmth of summer and the smells of tender pork spare ribs wafting from my new grill. These are two of life's greatest pleasure - Warm Summer Nights and Tender Spare Ribs. Patty had another girls night out, and you know what that means. What has become practically automatic for me, when I am completely alone and cooking only for myself, I bust out the superhots. I LOVE superhot chili peppers. I love them so much, I even wrote an entire cookbook dedicated to them - One Million Plus! Cooking with the World's Hottest Chili Peppers. Most people have a hard time with them, being so crazy, wonderfully hot and spicy. Patty is a true chilehead, but she can only tolerate…
Published in Sauces
A hearty beer brat soup recipe made with juicy brats and creamy ale along with poblanos, serranos, potato, Swiss chard and plenty of seasonings. Perfect for leftover party brats. Let's say you've just thrown a huge Summer Brat Party and you have a bunch of leftover brats. You overcalculated and planned on three brats per person on average, but forgot to account for all the side dishes people bring, plus the chips and dips, the beer consumption, not to mention that THREE brats is a LOT of food for anyone to eat. OK, FINE! I officially apologize. Guilty as charged. I am notorious for overcooking for parties. One of my greatest party fears is running out of food, just after running out of beer, so I almost always overdo it. I can't help myself. However! If you're like me, you start to look at this as an opportunity. You start to think…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
I received some spicy chili peppers from my friend, Jim Duffy, over at Superhotchiles.com, one of my favorite varieties - the 7 Pot Barrackapore. This 7 Pot variety comes from the region of Barrackapore on the Caribbean Island of Trinidad. The pods are similar to the Bhut Jolokia in appearance, heat and flavor, with a fruity expression and heat right around 1 Million Scoville Heat Units. I've been into making Chimichurri lately, for several reasons. 1. It tastes darned great. 2. It goes with so many dishes. 3. It is very quick and easy to make. 4. You can experiment with different chili peppers! This dish is normally made with jalapeno peppers, but this version incorporates the 7 Pot Barrackapore for a spicy version. Add as many peppers as you'd like to your heat and flavor preference. Chimichurri Recipe with 7 Pot Barrackapore Above are all of the ingredients for…
Published in Sauces
Over the weekend I took advantage of some unseasonably nice weather and busted out the smoker. I own a huge smoker and wanted to ensure we’d have plenty of leftovers to freeze so I smoked a 10 pound ham, a 10 pound turkey breast and a whole chicken. There is always something satisfying from cooking with the smoker. You rub everything down with your preferred spices, choose the wood, your liquids, then slow cook as needed. For me, I used a combination of chili powders, garlic, salt and pepper, some Cajun additions as well as superhot powders, though I also included mustard with the ham. Always a nice addition. We ate the chicken for dinner but from all the nibbling during the carving of everything else, we had plenty of chicken leftover. Does that ever happen to you? You know it does! Half the times I make large family meals…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
Xni-Pec is a Yucatan salsa made with fresh habanero peppers, tomato, onion, sour orange juice and more. It packs some heat, and as the name implies, might make you sweat like a dog's nose. Sweat like a dog's nose you may, my friends. The fresh habanero peppers in this salsa makes it quite hot, but addictively so. It is pleasant, really, as any fresh salsa can be and you can practically make it with ingredients straight out of your garden. It is quite similar to pico de gallo in both composition and flavor, though quite a bit hotter and more of the typical habanero tropical flavor. The name says it all. Xni Pec, pronounced "Shnee Pek", translates to "Dog's Nose" or "Dog's Snout" in Mayan, which implies you will sweat like a dog's nose when you eat it. I can verify the truth in this statement. I made this salsa…
Published in Salsas
Blow away your party guests with these homemade sausage sliders done up Cuban style, with Swiss cheese, pickled peppers, stone ground mustard and mojo sauce. This post is sponsored by Johnsonville – http://www.johnsonville.com Game day is on the way! Who are you rooting for? To be honest, it doesn’t really matter to us who wins. We’re more excited about the food! Everybody wins with a good spread and a loaded up snack table, but we don’t want the same old, same old this time around. We’re here to help you with that. If you want to throw a truly EPIC party this year, you need to seriously consider the menu options. So, for game day, throw your own Sausage Bowl Party. Yep. #SausageBowl   We’re making it EASY for game day by bringing in Johnsonville sausage. You won’t even need to dig into your spice drawer for these homemade sliders made…
Published in Burgers
I came upon a soup recipe recently by Jamie Oliver, the well know TV chef/personality, and was intrigued. I was searching for cold weather soups and something interesting to do with some leftover ciabatta bread. I like the chef's take on the bread. Bread is used in sauces like Romesco, which I love, and it works just as good in soup. It not only thickens it up for a hardy dish, but permeates the soup with flavor. I was surprised at how much garlic the original recipe called for. How could this much roasted garlic go into a soup? Wow! Turns out it is quite good, especially when you tweak the recipe with plenty of roasted jalapeno peppers and my preferred spices. I’m all about garlic, but the soup greatly benefits from the addition of the jalapeno peppers. Ingredients 3 large bulbs fresh garlic 1 small white onion, chopped 4 large…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
My chili pepper grower friend, Jim Duffy over at Superhotchiles.com sent me some white habanero peppers to play with, and boy are they good! Who doesn't want to play with habanero peppers? I accidentally-on-purpose added 4 of these babies to the salsa and got a bit of a shock when I took a bit, but I do enjoy the heat. White habanero peppers have a very similar flavor to the typical orange habanero that you may have grown or purchased at your local grocery store, but these are fun to cook with because of the color. Salsas don't need to be relegated to bowls and chips. You can use them as toppings for dishes like grilled chicken or fish. Or, try blending them with a bit of liquid for a ready-made sauce. Be sure to check out the recipe video in the Media section below. Ingredients 1 large poblano pepper,…
Published in Salsas
These noodle bowls are made with rice noodles, tossed with a quick and flavorful Chinese stir-fry sauce, then topped with pulled pork and jalapeno peppers. Get the recipe below. I've been cooking with chili peppers a LONG time now and my wheel house typically falls into a few dominant categories of cooking - Mexican, Tex-Mex, Cajun, American, Italian. I dabble in other realms, but lately I've been slowly working my way into Asian territory. That's a BIG-BIG territory. There is an entire other side of the world filled with rich and diverse cuisines, and I'm eager to learn more about them. My own developing interest stems not only from the unique flavors of the food, but started as Patty and I explored quick meal options. As you know, we both work full time running our web business, plus ME cranking out fiction and screenplays, not to mention our AWESOME food…
Published in Pork
A stuffed pepper recipe with slow cooked corned beef, shredded cabbage, spicy peppers, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island Dressing. Perfect for leftovers. On Friday we made an awesome new recipe of Slow Cooked Corned Beef with Spicy Guinness Gravy and Caramelized Cabbage, and we couldn't help but be overjoyed with the flavors. "Guinness Gravy" is a new favorite phrase in this house. Yum! But as there are only 2 of us here, we had plenty of corned beef leftover. A 3-pound corned beef brisket can go a long way. If you're making a corned beef dinner this year for St. Patrick's Day (or hey, any other day), you might need a plan for those leftovers. Here's one idea... Corned Beef Stuffed Peppers! Cue the music! La la la la! Stuffed peppers make me happy. We're basically taking everything from a more traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner and turning it into…
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
Searching for Cinco de Mayo recipes? Look no further. We have loads of spicy and Mexican recipes to make your authentic fiesta a hit. At Chili Pepper Madness, we're all about recipes with bold and zesty flavors, and sometimes a bit of heat. Patty and I lean heavily toward Mexican cuisine, and we have some traditional recipes for you, as well as some of our own creative versions we hope you will enjoy. Throw your own fiesta and celebrate the holiday Mexican style. 1. Classic Mexican Chicken Posole 2. Homemade Green Enchilada Sauce 3. Turkey and Cheddar Stuffed Anaheim Peppers 4. Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas 5. Mango Habanero Margaritas 6. One-Pot Meatless Enchilada Stew 7. Mexican Burgers 8. Roasted Poblano Pork Tacos 9. Extra Creamy Roasted Jalapeno Guacamole 10. Chicken and Black Bean Soup 11. Citrus Jalapeno Margarita 12. Easy Huevos Rancheros 13. Pico de Gallo 14. Roasted Pineapple-Habanero Salsa 15. Roasted Corn and Habanero Salsa 16. Chili and Cheese Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers 17. Easy Seared Shrimp…
Published in Food Celebrations
Yesterday was warm and mild, begging for a cookout. We kicked off early. I ran out to the local butcher and picked up a variety of brats. I snatched up a potato half the size of a football for a twice-baked side dish. Nothing fancy, just good old fashioned grilling. But when I arrived home, I found a special delivery in my mailbox – Venezuelan Tiger Peppers. It wasn’t that much of a surprise. Jim Duffy over at Superhotchiles.com had already mentioned that he would be sending over something new, something that no one else really has in the U.S. The story is that Jim received these chili pepper seeds from a friend through another friend, whose grandmother grew these plants in her own garden in Venezuela. She sent the seeds along, which found their way to Jim, and here they were, sitting in my mailbox. Only they were already…
Published in Sauces
Patty and I both enjoy broccoli, but admittedly, I cook it more into soups or casseroles far more often than serving it by itself. There are so many other side dishes that we enjoy, but I think I'm turning a corner. I've always liked the taste of broccoli, but it can always use a bit of additional seasoning and, of course, spice. So! This recipe not only marries broccoli with one of our very favorite chili peppers, the jalapeno pepper, but also introduces a bit of chili oil to the mix, and we're roasting the broccoli to truly bring out the flavor. Yes, the key here is roasting. Roasting broccoli at a high temperature browns the outsides of both the broccoli and the jalapeno peppers and concentrates the flavor within. Quite delicious! Especially with the extra kick from the chili oil and the citrus pop from the lemon. Don't forget…
Published in Side Dishes
When Patty and I first got married, neither of us was much of a cook. I had started to learn some things while living on my own in college, but hadn't gotten very far by the time we married. Patty actually does not cook, but when she did, her go-to meal was meatloaf. I don't remember the recipe she used, but one thing I DO remember is that she used tomato sauce in the mix. It always came out moist and tasty. Over the years I've played around with the recipe and made it my own, bringing in a lot more flavor and, of course, chili peppers. I never lost the tomato sauce, though, which is pretty key in making the meatloaf so moist. Of course this new sauce does a bit of simmering with plenty of fresh ingredients. Flavor, baby! Also, this is a ground turkey meatloaf done Italian…
Published in Turkey
A recipe for bone-in pork chops, brined for extra juiciness, then seasoned, seared and baked to perfection. Served with spicy papaya salsa. Ever had a DRY pork chop? Ugh. Such a shame when a delectable cut of pork is treated poorly and turns out like shoe leather. Even a slight overcook and it can dry out and kill the meal. I used to think that was just how pork turned out. Dry, dry, dry. I would sauce it up like crazy but you can never escape that underlying BLAH once it's dried out. No more! These bone-in pork chops are juicy. TOTALLY. It's all in the bone. And the brine. And the baking. You don't need to mess around with complicated preparation here. Add your pork chops to a salty seasoned water solution and let them sit. The salt helps to open the cell walls, allowing the water and other…
Published in Pork
A chicken pesto pasta recipe with a twist, made extra spicy with roasted jalapeno peppers, prepared with spinach and basil, pecans, manchego cheese and more. If you enjoy pesto, you'll love this version. Pesto! If you've never had pesto, you're missing out on one of life's greatest gifts. I remember the first time I tried pesto, so long ago, but it was a revelation. A true show stopper. I thought, let's just put a pause on life right now so I can enjoy this taste forever. I realize I tend to exaggerate a bit (hey, I'm a writer), but not so when it comes to the awesomeness that is PESTO. I'm so happy for this time of year because we keep a basil plant or THREE in the kitchen for anytime use. Where we live, it is difficult to keep a basil plant around in the cold winter, but already…
Published in Pasta
October 10, 2016

Crock Pot Taco Soup

A recipe for hearty, chili-like soup with all your favorite taco ingredients, including ground beef, lots of chili peppers and tomatoes, taco seasonings and all the fixins, all cooked up slow in the crockpot. Super easy! We busted out the slow cooker/crock pot this week and it's ready to go for the season! It's all kinds of seasons right now, isn't it? We have the fall season, football season, tailgating season, holiday season, pshew! So many seasons all swirled into one. One thing that goes with any of these seasons is slow cooked soups and stews in the crock pot. As the weather cools, so many of us are looking for warming, hearty dishes that fill our bellies and bones with comfort. We have just the thing for you spicy food lovers - Crock Pot Taco Soup. Yes! I love my slow cooker because you can just toss everything in…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
Let's make some Italian Arancini, but with a Mexican flair using Mexican-style risotto, stuffing them with cheddar cheese, and serving them with a nice picante sauce. It's a fun mashup recipe. The first time I encountered Arancini was in a local chain Italian restaurant. We sat down for a lunch and the server brought over the specials, and on the appetizer list was something called "Arancini". I had never had it so didn't know exactly what it was. Nowadays, with smart phones and Google at our fingertips, it didn't take long for me know I had to try them. I found myself surprised that a chain restaurant would serve something so cool, but in reality, this fancy sounding appetizer is not much more than breaded and deep fried balls of rice that have been stuffed with cheese or meats. Or both. You know what I have to say to that?…
Published in Appetizers
October 21, 2016

Salsa Verde

A recipe for quick and easy salsa verde made with tomatillos and jalapeno peppers, which can be served as a table sauce, hot sauce, or as a salsa with tortilla chips. This is the ultimate green salsa. There are a number of ways to make an awesome salsa verde, or green sauce. Every Mexican restaurant has their own version and I have yet to encounter a bad one. Even I have a number of different kinds that I make, all pretty much variations on a theme, like our Mexican Green Table Sauce made with tomatillos, jalapeno peppers and avocado. Or our Homemade Green Enchilada Sauce with Roasted Tomatillos. The key ingredients in a good salsa verde is the tomatillo. Of course tomatillos alone do not a salsa verde make, but without them, it's pretty difficult. Tomatillos are those tiny green tomatoes you find in grocery stores or the Mexican market, covered…
Published in Salsas
A quick and easy recipe for avocado toast made with seasoned mashed chickpeas and served with a homemade pepper relish or Chow Chow. Another quick meal alert! It's been CRAZY busy around here lately. We have a number of development projects and I'm smack in the middle of another screenwriting project. I'm sure you know how it goes. You're SLAMMED with work and the last thing you want to do is come home and make an elaborate meal. We've all been there. Your options are stopping off for a quick pizza or Chinese takeout, but then you feel guilty for consuming all those calories. And forget about fast food! Or! You make a quick meal at home. I'll take that option. This is more of a lunch type meal for my own personal preferences, but it can easily sub in for a super quick meal. We're talking Avocado Toast. With…
Published in Sandwiches
December 02, 2016

Homemade Picante Sauce

Make your own picante-style sauce at home with this recipe, with fresh tomatoes, spicy jalapenos, tangy apple cider vinegar and more. I use this sauce on practically everything. Can be served as a sauce or a salsa. Dude! I'm excited. Why? Because we have a nice new big batch of PICANTE SAUCE in the fridge. Oh yeah! This is one of my very favorite sauces to keep around. Or is it a salsa? I will let you decide! The consistency is somewhere in between and it can be served easily as either a sauce in a bottle that you can douse over anything, or in a bowl with chips that you can serve salsa style. Doesn't it look gorgeous? So many sauces do. This one has a tongue-grabbing mix of smokiness from the chipotle peppers and tanginess from the apple cider vinegar, not to mention HEAT and FLAVOR from that…
Published in Sauces
A recipe for velvety bisque made with roasted red peppers and blue crab caught directly from the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland during our anniversary trip. Let's go crabbing! Patty and I recently celebrated our 20th Anniversary. I can hardly believe it. It does not feel at ALL like we've been together for more than 20 years. I sometimes feel like we're newlyweds. I don't know how she puts up with me! We decided to celebrate by traveling to the east coast of the U.S.. We love the east coast, with all the seafood and the gorgeous ocean and particularly the food. The last several days of the trip were spent in St. Michaels, Maryland, a historic town filled with Bed and Breakfasts, narrow streets and an influx of locals on weekend getaways. It is situated a few miles from the Chesapeake Bay, which is known for its abundance of oysters…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
A summertime potato salad recipe made with lightly smoked potatoes, ripe avocados and roasted jalapeno peppers. It is creamy and tangy and sure to be a hit at your next party. Growing up, I was never a fan of potato salad. It never used to be my thing. I think it's because the typical potato salad recipe I'd encountered were goopy messes comprised of overcooked potatoes mixed with an unsubtle glop of mayo. It didn't look very good, and it sure didn't taste very good, nothing short of a bland concoction of unseasoned mayo over nearly mashed potatoes. Plus, hey, I was a kid and I was pickier back then. That's for sure. Fast forward and I'm a fan. A BIG one. Give me a potato salad with a fun and interesting blend of ingredients and I'm in! Bring on the potato salad! Like this one. I made this while…
Published in Side Dishes
This weekend, Memorial Day weekend, we remember those soldiers who have given their lives in service to our nation. I know many who serve and who have served, family included. My thanks to you all. We'll be celebrating with our neighborhood with some very traditional grilling - burgers, brats, chicken, pork chops. Speaking of pork chops, this particular recipe is sure to please you spicy food fans. I used some El Diablo spicy mustard along with habanero powder for the extra kick, but you can easily vary this up to include your own preferred mustard. I enjoy mustard with pork because the flavors are highly complimentary, but you'll also get a clear mustard flavor afterward. Enjoy. Spicy Mustard Rubbed Pork Chops Ingredients 4 medium sized pork chops, trimmed 2 tablespoons chili powder 4 tablespoons spicy mustard Juice from 1 lime Salt and pepper to taste Cooking Directions Rub the pork…
Published in Pork
Make this quick and easy noodle bowl recipe with sliced smoked brisket and egg noodles, served with chickpeas and carrots, all tossed in a garlicky sriracha-soy sauce. I've been making more and more noodle bowls lately because I've realized just how quick and easy they are to prepare. When Patty and I are basically SLAMMED with our web site work or when I'm smack in the middle of another writing project, I try to get a good meal on the table that won't take me forever to put together. This is why noodle bowls are so perfect when you're in a hurry. Noodles boil up quickly. Always. Choosing simple ingredients helps, of course. Chickpeas, carrots, fiery serrano peppers. Nothing too crazy here, but an excellent combination. The secret, truly, is in the sauce. It's a HUGE reason why I've been graviting toward Asian cooking lately. These no-cook sauces are so…
Published in Beef
A refreshing summer corn salad recipe made with charred corn, Hatch green chiles direct from New Mexico, blistered cherry tomatoes, and crumbled cotija cheese. It’s time to fire up the grill! This post is sponsored by The Hatch Chile Store – https://www.hatch-green-chile.com Where we live, summertime is all about corn. We’re in the heart of the Midwest, and it’s interesting here because we can drive 10 minutes in one direction and hit a decent sized city, and 10 minutes in the opposite direction and hit a cornfield. We ride our bikes along a bike path that cuts through a large cornfield and the stalks are typically “knee high by the fourth of July”. The grocery stores are jammed with pallets filled with corn and the road side stands appear where you can toss your money into a wooden box and take away fresh corn on the cob. It’s a great…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
September 26, 2016

Kiwi-Jalapeno Jam

A recipe for homemade jam made with garden fresh jalapeno peppers and sweet kiwi, perfect for preserving, for serving as a spread or with cream cheese crostini bites. It was a jam-making sort of weekend in the Madness household. We picked another monstrous batch of peppers from the garden, including some glorious jalapeno peppers. Cue Mike's #JalapenoObsession music. We have a TON of other peppers, but jalapenos hold a special place in my heart as the first pepper I ever loved, my very own gateway pepper. They have a pleasant level of heat and they're hard to beat when it comes to taste. The garden will be winding down very soon as the temperatures drop around here, so it's time to get preserving. I like to make a few different batches of pepper jellies or pepper jams throughout the year as a way of preserving some of those peppers. Jellies…
Published in Jellies
This Asian noodle bowl is packed with plenty of sweet heat. The combination of habanero and jalapeno peppers, along with honey, vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, chili-garlic sauce and so much more is sure to be a new recipe go-to. Super HAPPY to have another amazing recipe to add to our "Quick and Easy" category. Patty and I are food bloggers, OBVI! But we also run a web development business during the day hours, and I am a screenwriter desperately trying to make his mark in that crazy business (Hey, my 3rd sold script is in development right now! STOKED!), so some days we're just seriously CRAZY busy. However! That doesn't mean we have to eat lame fast food or anything. Lately I've been turning to some Asian inspired recipe for incredible flavors that can be made FAST. Asian is such a generic term when it comes to cooking. SO…
Published in Asian
A light but creamy Cajun-seasoned pasta made with seared chicken breast, tomato paste and light cream cheese, with plenty of vegetables and flavor. Done in a half hour or less. Quick and easy meal alert, my friends! We're serving up a creamy fettucine dish with a Cajun-seasoned cream sauce that is immensely satisfying but falls on the lighter side. I mean, it's pasta so I won't claim that it is uber low-calorie, but there are ways to make your pasta nice and CREAMY without resorting to lots of butter and heavy cream, which are quite delicious, YES! But a great AND flavorful way to achieve a creamy tomato-based pasta sauce is this: Cream Cheese and a bit of Crema.  Once you cook down your initial vegetables with the chicken, the sauce is simple - Chicken Stock with Tomato Paste, then swirl in Light Cream Cheese and a bit of Crema…
Published in Pasta
This recipe is why it is great to have some homemade pepper relish in the fridge. For those days when you're in a rush and you just don't have the time to make a crazy meal, but you also don't want to run through the drive through and clog your arteries with fast food, you can turn a simple dish into a great one with a few dashes of hot sauce and some relish on hand. This was one of those days. With Patty out for a meeting and me busy working on another script, I needed something fast. What cooks up quick? Omelets! Also, I didn't have much in the fridge, aside from some straggling leftover ingredients. It was a combination of needing a fast meal and not having much to work with. But I was happy with the result! The key here, though, was already having the wonderful…
Published in Breakfasts
December 01, 2016

Zesty Layered Taco Dip

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #YogurtInspiration #CollectiveBias #HolidayEntertaining Looking for a quick and easy party appetizer? This recipe for layered taco dip can be ready in about 15 minutes. Serve it up with tortilla chips and you're good to go. Got any holiday parties coming up? How about a game day gathering? Or maybe just some upcoming weekend get togethers? Times like these, it's good to have a quick and easy go-to recipe in your back pocket. One of those, for me, is a simple yet flavorful (and quite popular, I might add) Taco Dip. These are ingredients I almost always have on hand, so if we're pressed for time and need to come up with something fast, layered taco dip is the way to go. First of all, just look at it. YUM! This is a vegetarian version…
Published in Dips
Enjoy the cooler weather with this delicious autumn cocktail recipe made with fresh apple, apple cider, salted caramel vodka and sweet apple peppers. Happy Thirsty Thirteenth again everyone. It’s Patty coming at you again with a fun Fall cocktail recipe. The temps are dropping, which means it’s not only Fall, but that lovely-weird time of year where it can be beautiful and warm one day and windy and cool the next. You have to check the weather daily before venturing out of the house. Obviously depending on where you live in the world, this varies, but even if that time of year is not right now for you, you still know what I’m talking about. Unless you are super lucky to live in some amazing tropical place that has perfect 80 degree weather every day of the year (jealous!). To me, this time of year is when you can’t decide…
Published in Drinks
A recipe for home cooked pulled pork carnitas made simple in the slow cooker, then lightly seared to crispy perfection and served cantina style with warmed tortillas, onion, cilantro and roasted jalapeno peppers. I am a man in love with Mexican pork carnitas. There are worse things to love. We're talking incredibly juicy pulled pork shoulder that is seasoned and seared, then slow cooked in juices until it is fork tender, shredded, and finally finished with a light sear in oil to make it crispy, all served on corn tortillas with your favorite toppings. Can I get an AMEN? Oh yes! I do not recall where I was the first time I encountered slow cooker pulled pork, but I do remember the emotion. PURE JOY. What a discovery it was to try it for the first time. You have to make pulled pork in a slow cooker to fully grasp…
Published in Tacos
Juicy steakhouse burgers made with hand-formed beef patties straight from the butcher, topped with spicy pepper jack cheese and tangy barbecue sauce. Here is the recipe. This is a recipe for barbecue sauce lovers. AND burger lovers. Here is the scenario - Patty has another girls night out. I know what you're thinking. How many girls nights does Patty have? Mike is home alone. Normally I take these opportunities and cook up something SUPER SPICY, like crazy Ghost Pepper Chicken Wings or these 5-Alarm Superhot Chicken Wings, but not this time. This time I was seriously craving a burger. The vast majority of the time, I cook turkey burgers, though I greatly enjoy pork burgers and blends, but I wanted a beef burger. NEEDED a beef burger. And I was itching for some of the barbecue sauce we'd made just recently - Homemade Peach Bourbon Barbecue Sauce. We still had some…
Published in Burgers
A recipe for creamy guacamole made even BETTER with the smoky flavor of roasted jalapeno peppers and juicy, chunky diced tomatoes. A must for your next gathering or taco night. Talk about creamy guacamole. AND slightly chunky. Patty and I are huge fans of guacamole. It's a difficult dish to mess up. It doesn't contain many ingredients, though every Mexican place makes it slightly different. The traditional base for guacamole is avocados, cilantro, lime juice and salt. You can add in other ingredients from there, such as onion, tomato, pomegranate seeds, peppers and more. It's all about personal tastes. Even the cilantro is negotiable.  We have a lot of guacamole recipes on the site. See: Guacamole Recipes. I'd like to say I have a favorite, but I don't. It comes down to what I'm making with it. Am I serving it over tacos? What kind of tacos? Over Mike's Late…
Published in Guacamole Recipes
Bust out the grill for these addictive barbecued kebabs made with bacon wrapped pork, chicken, pineapple and peppers, then mopped with a quick glaze of honey and sriracha. Here is the recipe. SO HAPPY we finally got our new grill. The old one was on its last leg. The grates were still good, but the entire inner structure was falling apart, but hey, it lasted 8 years. This new one looks so pretty sitting on the patio and it likes to talk to me. It says, "Mike, let's get grilling. NOW. Hurry. What are you making tonight? Hey, Mike. Hey. HEY!" I am absolutely NOT one to ignore the call of the grill. You know what goes great on the grill? So many things! Especially KEBABS. Kebabs are fun because you get to flex your creativity in numerous ways. First, you can vary up the primary ingredients as much as…
Published in Chicken
A recipe for homemade burrito salad bowls made with fresh spinach, black beans, seasoned pulled pork and a load of delicious fixings. Who needs tortillas? We're going BOWL! Burrito bowls are something I definitely need to make more of. Usually when I'm making burritos, I'm already heating up the tortillas before I even consider going full on bowl. I know local chain restaurants offer burrito bowl options, but I don't really see them in true Mexican restaurants. Perhaps I haven't been looking hard enough? Regardless, a burrito bowl is an excellent option for when you're looking to cut a few calories out of your typical meal and also for when, hey, you just feel like eating out of a bowl. Like so. They aren't as messy as a burrito can be, and you're saving a few hundred calories. Not bad! This version is a bit more like a salad than…
Published in Pork
Large sea scallops seared in butter and olive oil and served with a light, slightly spicy salsa made with a combination of citrus fruits and jalapeno pepper. Ideal for brunch with a glass of white wine. This meal was inspired by a jalapeno pepper wine Patty and I recently encountered. We'd never had the pleasure of drinking a jalapeno wine. It sounded odd at first. I've had chili pepper beers, some good and some not so good, and we enjoy infusing our own alcohols and drinks with with chili peppers, so in hindsight, it shouldn't have sounded so odd. Wines have been imbued with many other flavors over the centuries, so why not chili peppers? I have no answer. All I can say is that after trying this particular wine, I'm glad someone got creative! The very idea of a jalapeno wine inspired this particular dish - Seared Sea Scallops…
Published in Scallops
A classic Greek dip recipe, Htipiti, made with feta cheese, roasted red peppers, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and seasonings. Be careful, it is quite addictive. Make this for your next party or tailgating session and watch it disappear. Looking for a new seriously quick and easy party food dip recipe? You just found it. We're all about big and bold flavors here in the Madness household, and this one certainly fits. It is called "Htipiti", a Greek dip made primarily with feta cheese and roasted red peppers. As with any dip of this sort, variations abound across the web and subtle changes in ingredients may result in the branding of a new name, but at its core, it's a roasted red pepper and feta cheese dip with olive oil and seasonings that will light up your world and make everyone like you at your next bash. They'll seek you…
Published in Dips
The perfect recipe for standing prime rib roast rubbed with seasoned chili paste, oven roasted, and served with a bold horseradish cream sauce. This is the ultimate holiday or dinner party meal. If you've never cooked a standing prime rib roast before because you felt the task was too daunting, I'm here to tell you it is much easier than you think. To be honest, cooking prime rib is one of the easiest meals to prepare. Don't get me wrong. Prime rib certainly is a pricey meal endeavor, for the cost alone of the bulky prime rib roast will stretch your budget, but in the end, this meal is SO worth it. I recently wrote an article for Chile Pepper Magazine's holiday issue - Beef for the Holidays - and THIS prime rib recipe was the star. Call your butcher! Get yourself a prime rib roast!  Turkey is more traditional…
Published in Beef
Our version of the classic Tuscan salad recipe made with dressing soaked bread, fresh heirloom tomatoes, sweet chili peppers, seared shrimp and more. Panzanella for dinner, or a sharable brunch. Once again, this recipe was inspired by the AWESOMENESS that is coming out of our garden right now. We have tomatoes and peppers going BAZONKERS at the moment and there really isn't much better in life than fresh produce from your own backyard. Fresh Veggies = Happiness. We're growing a number of different heirloom tomatoes and everytime I pick one, I want to eat it right there, so I have to resist. They're incredibly juicy and so much better than what I can get from the store at the moment. I picked a couple Kellog's Breakfast Tomatoes as well as some Black Krim and a number of smaller globe tomatoes and they were begging to be a salad, so that…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
Make your own whole grain mustard at home with this recipe, using brown and yellow mustard seeds, IPA beer, apple cider vinegar, and 7-pot chili peppers that offer a blast of wondrous heat. As I was take inventory of the contents of my fridge, I realized with horror that we had no mustard. What? No mustard in the house? Are you FREAKING KIDDING ME! Sorry for the shouting, but really? You gotta have mustard in the house. Time to make some. Sure, you can rush out and purchase your favorite brand from the store, but why not make your own? The great thing about making your own mustard is you can include all the flavors you want. Add in those ingredients you'll never find in the store, like 7-Pot peppers. Yes! Talk about heat. I've seen hot mustards at the local grocer, but you can't get the proper heat levels…
Published in Sauces
I always enjoy my jalapeno peppers, especially with a comfort food so well known in the U.S. We're talking classic mac and cheese, with a few different cheese options, some crunchy pancetta, chili seasonings and, of course, pan roasted jalapeno peppers on top. I could have personally eaten at least ten jalapeno peppers this way, but I had to make room for the cheese. I've made variations of this recipe for years now, constantly substituting in different cheeses and chili peppers. I like cheeses with stronger flavors, though this version is not overpowering. Also, habanero peppers work great here, if you can handle the heat. Ingredients 2 cups ziti noodles, cooked to preference 4 jalapeno peppers 2 ounces pancetta 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons flour 1 cup milk 3 ounces goat cheese 3 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (+ a bit more for topping) 1 teaspoon chili powder Pepper to taste…
Published in Pasta
Here is a recipe for juicy ground pork burgers topped with melted cheddar cheese, lightly fried jalapeno peppers and a big helping of creamy, homemade guacamole. Yes, it is now time to drool. Sometimes, you just gotta have a burger. I don't know if there is a food that is more uber American than a burger. What else might contend? Pizza? Ribs? Nah. I think the burger reigns supreme and truly represents. We were heading out to a beer tasting event and I didn't want to spend a lot of time on dinner, but luckily I still had these handmade burgers vacuum packed and frozen, ready for quick cooking. To refresh your memory, we did a big round of meat grinding and made several batches of homemade burgers and sausages. This is our Batch #5 - Mexican-Style Pork Burgers, made with traditional Mexican ingredients. Here is the link to the…
Published in Burgers
A recipe for New York Strip steaks, lightly seasoned then pan seared to perfection, topped with a homemade garlic-bourbon-chili butter that melts into every nook and cranny. Today is my birthday so I decided to make us a pre-birthday dinner last night, but couldn't decide. When you learn how to cook, the world becomes your oyster! Was I in the mood for pasta? Lobster? A big rack of ribs? So many options! Then an email came through from the butcher with a sale. New York Strips! Only $9.99 a pound! I'm super happy with the quality of the steaks at my local butcher, and the thought of New York Strip had me hooked instantly.  Steak. Yum. Birthday steak. Yummier. Birthday steak for me. #Yummiest! Yes! New York Strip steak it is. You're gonna WANT this meal so hurry out and snatch up your steaks. Are you back yet? Ready to…
Published in Beef
This summer, throw the hottest bash in town with your own Tequila Party, featuring these tequila cocktails and tequila-inspired recipes. This post is sponsored by Tanteo – http://www.tanteotequila.com We’ve got some serious heat going on over here. It is summertime, the sun is out, and temperatures are rising. We also have jalapeno-infused tequila. Say what? OH YES, that is exactly what we have, and now we’re heating up the summer even more with our own scorching Backyard Summer Tequila Party. The air is electric this time of year with thoughts of parties and fun gatherings. Everyone is happier with long, sunny days and it’s all the more reason to socialize and revel in good food and drink. That’s why we’re having a party, and so can you, with Tanteo Jalapeño Tequila. Tanteo takes ultra premium blanco tequila and infuses it with fresh peppers, putting a modern twist on tradition. It's…
Published in Food Celebrations
Make your own garden fresh Bloody Mary mix at home with this recipe that includes tomatoes and peppers picked straight from the garden and plenty of Italian herbs and seasonings. Hi, all! It's Patty here for Thirsty Thirteenth. I seek out great bloody mary’s any chance I can. There are so many ways to go with so many ingredient options. After trying them at all different bars and restaurants from house-made mixes to the standard every bar carries, I’ve come to the conclusion that I really need to make them myself. I’m not talking about just mixing up one quick that I build on tomato juice from a can. I’m talking about building real depth of flavor. So, I have gone back to the basics and started in the garden. Now, if you want to save time, feel free to buy some tomato juice, just as long as it’s 100%…
Published in Drinks
October 07, 2016

Dehydrating Peppers

Instructions for dehydrating chili peppers in a food dehydrator so you can preserve them for later use, make crushed red pepper, or grind them into powders for your own special seasoning blends. Dehydrating chili peppers is one my favorite ways to preserve our chili pepper harvest. With so many peppers coming out of the garden, it can be difficult to keep them all, but once you start dehydrating, you start to realize you could grow so much more. I of course greatly enjoy other methods of Preserving Chili Peppers, like pickling, freezing, making hot sauces (YES!) and more, but dehydrating peppers is something entirely different and yields outstanding results. Once you've dehydrated your peppers, they will last an incredibly long time, and pretty much indefinitely if you keep them sealed in protected bags. You can dehydrate them whole and use them for decorating purposes, or seal them and grind them…
Last minute bbq? No worries! Grill up brats and top them with these three easy-to-make toppings for a delicious and stress-free party. This post is sponsored by Johnsonville: http://www.johnsonville.com #ad Summer is here – BIG YAY! – and we couldn’t be more excited. We’re TOTALLY summer people. Give us a beach or a lake and some warm weather and we are in our natural element. Summer means FUN! Summer means grilling! Summer means parties! We also LOVE parties. Parties can be broken into two very specific categories: Planned and Spontaneous. This is a huge deal for a person like me who likes to cook because it affects the menu choices. If I have time to plan, I can mull over the menu a bit, let some sauces simmer on the stove for hours, let flavors mingle in the refrigerator, and whatever else I need to do. Pretty much the opposite of…
Published in Pork
Every night is fajita night with this recipe for perfectly grilled tri-tip roast rubbed down with homemade fajita seasoning, served with warmed flour tortillas, guacamole and plenty of grilled chili peppers. Calling all steak fajita fans! It's dinner time. If you love steak fajitas, this recipe is for you. You'll never want to go to the restaurant for fajitas again. We're cooking up our fajitas in the traditional style, but we're changing up a few things. First, we're not using skirt steak. I KNOW what you're going to say. "But Mike, skirt steak is the absolute KING of the steak fajita world." You're right! Skirt steak fajitas are dang delicious, but you may never go back once you try them with tri-tip. Tri-tip? Oh yeah! Tri-tip is an inexpensive cut of beef cut from the bottom sirloin, from the muscle group that controls the steer's back legs. It's an ideal…
Published in Beef
A jalapeno poppers recipe of sliced jalapeno peppers stuffed with seasoned ground beef and cheddar cheese, then wrapped in bacon and broiled until crispy. These are the perfect appetizer. You know me. I ALWAYS love a good jalapeno popper. I mean, I'm the guy who wrote an entire cookbook dedicated to jalapeno peppers - "Jalapeno Poppers and Other Stuffed Peppers, the Cookbook". Truly, I can't help myself. I've said this so many times, but it bears repeating - I LOVE JALAPENO POPPERS! #JalapenoLove. #MikesJalapenoObsession. The thing about jalapeno peppers is that they're practically BEGGING to be stuffed and turned into poppers. They are the perfect size for appetizers and side dishes. And, you can be as creative as you want when it comes to stuffing ingredients. You can start from any world cuisine and come up with an interesting jalapeno popper or stuffed pepper. For this particular recipe, we're starting…
Published in Jalapeno Poppers
A quick and easy grilled salmon recipe served over lightly grilled Swiss chard, topped with a velvety tropical black bean and banana salsa. I'm following through today with my SALMON promise. I posted yesterday the Black Bean-Banana-Avocado Salsa Recipe that was quite the surprise, and we both enjoyed the flavor on its own. But here we are, now at dinner time, wondering how it is going to taste over a griled salmon fillets. Hold one sec, while I take another bite... YUM! Seriously, we were super happy with how it turned out. The whole dream scenario where this recipe popped into existence actually had a positive payoff, and I will certainly serve this again. The combination of the black beans, avocado and banana, with their velvety textures, and the bite of the onion and jalapeno peppers, the vinegar, the lime juice...so good over salmon. I lightly wilted the Swiss Chard…
Published in Salmon
A simple yet flavorful side dish made fast with grilled summer squash, a mixture of chili peppers, fresh basil and crumbly feta cheese, all tossed with lightly toasted almonds and a lemony dressing. Here is the recipe. It's party season, that's for sure. We've already been to a number of gatherings and it's been great. So many wonderful people to visit with, catch up with, have a beer with! That's one thing we love dearly about summer. All the gatherings. One issue we often have is - What the heck should we bring? I'm notorious for bringing poppers to parties, and hey, no problem here! But there is often a dearth of side dishes. Sure, you can fill your buns with burgers and hot dogs, but I enjoy many of the sides to go along with them. So for the next party, I'm bringing this dish - Grilled Summer Squash with…
Published in Side Dishes
September 07, 2016

Fresh Chili-Fruit Salsa

A fruity salsa recipe with a spicy citrus focus, using serrano and jalapeno peppers and plenty of fresh fruit, including pear, pineapple, peach, apricots and green apple. Excellent alone or with fish. Are you a salsa lover? I certainly am. There are SOOO many ways to make salsa, it would be impossible to count. The only thing most salsas have in common are fresh ingredients, but imagine the sheer combination of those. That is what makes salsa so wonderful, though, right? The infinite variety of awesomeness. Like this particular iteration. Made with two kinds of chili peppers and a medley of fruit, it sings with just the right balance of spicy and sweet.  Fresh Chili-Fruit Salsa. Yes! I made this particular dish for one of our "Dudes Wine Dinners". Have I not spoken of this yet? A few local friends and I like to get together for dinners where each…
Published in Salsas
Since I made a super simple Chili-Lime Vinaigrette the other day, I wanted to continue to experiment with other ingredients that I love, and this is the result. I always have avocados on hand in the kitchen. I sort of freak when I run out. It's almost as bad as running out of chili peppers. I had one sitting on the counter that was perfectly ripe, along with some leftover pineapple from a previous recipe for Pineapple-Mango-Fatalii hot sauce. Now THAT was delicious. So was this. I love it when random ingredients come together for a nice dish. This was served over salmon. Can you tell I love salmon? I think I eat it twice a week at least. One of my favorites. Ingredients 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar Juice from 1 lime 1-2 jalapeno peppers, sliced into rings 1 small avocado, peeled, pitted and diced…
Published in Sauces
A breakfast or brunch recipe of garden-picked green tomatoes, lightly breaded and fried, then served with bursting poached eggs and torn basil leaves. Don't forget the picante sauce. Perhaps with a bit of champagne? Are you tired of me talking about our garden yet? So sorry! I can't help it, though, because we're in zone 5 and the amount of time we're allowed to enjoy it is so limited, so we're forced to bundle up all this GARDEN JOY into only a few short months. So YEP, I tend to go a bit crazy with the garden love this time of year. I made this over the weekend for a quick late breakfast. We allowed ourselves to be lazy and slept in a couple hours past our normal wake up time. Weekends are SOOO nice for this. You get to catch up on your sleep, then step out to the…
Published in Breakfasts
Keep the party simple with this appetizer recipe for grilled sausage and cheese curd bites with two easy-to-make dippers. Quick and easy so you can focus on the game. This post is sponsored by Johnsonville – http://www.johnsonville.com #ad Football is on the way. It’s coming in FAST! I know a few people who truly lament this time of year, as they practically lose their spouses for the season. Hey, it’s just the way it is! For some people, football is a way of life. It is THE WAY OF LIFE! It’s also a time for parties, and you already know how we enjoy throwing parties. Sometimes we go all out and create some elaborate dishes, but that doesn’t fly for every gathering. Who has time? Sometimes you want it SIMPLE, right? Sometimes you just want to focus on the game and not worry about spending time in the kitchen. But…
Published in Game Day
A side dish recipe you can make on the grill, with grilled corn, sweet peppers, and crumbled feta cheese. Great for holiday parties and summer gatherings. Labor Day is coming up, and that means gatherings and barbecuing, at least around here. For us, it signals that summer is coming to an end and soon enough we'll be bundling up in autumn sweaters with a chill settling into the air. But not yet! Right now we're still enjoying weather in the 80s and my grill will not go down without a fight. This weekend, our neighborhood is getting together for a Backyard Olympics competition. We'll play goofy games and visit with each other, drink a few beers or cocktails, and rest assured, we will be grilling. If you're bringing a dish to pass for YOUR party or other gathering, consider this grilled corn salad dish with grilled corn on the cob. …
Published in Side Dishes
A recipe for grilled flatbread pizzas topped with sweet grilled peaches, poblano and jalapeno peppers, goat cheese, Parmesan and basil. Get a burst of sweet and savory in each bite. Excellent on the grill. Consider it for brunch or a simple dinner. Peaches are everywhere right now. I don't often cook with peaches, though they are so incredibly inviting. In our local grocery store, their vibrant color demands attention. They stand out starkly against the blasting flourescent store lights and immediately capture the eyes. Calculated, I'm sure, though anything so gorgeous will easily sell itself. Which, of course, happened to me when these peaches SOMEHOW found their way into my shopping cart. I have no complaints! Because I get to grill them up for pizza. Grill them up, you say? Oh yes. Peaches on the grill are delicious. Start with firm peaches, as anything softened won't hold up to the…
A recipe for juicy chicken breast smothered in sliced jalapeno peppers, garlic-infused spinach, fresh tomato and topped with melted Muenster cheese. This recipe has been around a LONG time in the Madness household. It goes back to the early days of our marriage, when I was still more or less learning how to cook (Still am! Always!), more dabbling than anything, but wanting more than just plain chicken in a pan. I don't even know where the original recipe idea came from, but I do know I altered it quite a bit, adding in the seasonings we've come to prefer, along with spicy chili peppers, of course, jalapeno peppers in this case. I used to make this one all the time. It's easy. That's pretty KEY when you're crazy busy or not in the mood to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I had this recipe on our…
Published in Chicken
A quick and easy, no-fuss recipe for salsa made with sweet pineapple, juicy tomato and a variety of garden fresh chili peppers. Perfect by itself or as a topping for grilled meals. So LOVING our garden this year. The heirloom tomatoes are bursting from the plants, and talk about chili peppers! Oh baby. We are growing a big variety this year, and there is nothing better than being able to walk straight out the back door to pick fresh peppers and tomatoes for whatever you feel like cooking that day. Like SALSA. Salsa is one of those foods that is hard to mess up. There is no single way to make it. Such a simple thing, really, a handful of fresh ingredients tossed together to form a quick snack, but every bowl is different from the next. See my Chili Pepper Salsas cookbook for a load of salsa recipes. I…
Published in Salsas
A recipe for homemade gazpacho prepared with fresh tomatoes and chili peppers harvested straight from the garden. Serve it for brunch or a fresh starter to any meal. Gazpacho is absolutely one of the freshest meals in a bowl you can ever experience. It is Spanish in origin and in general incorporates a number of fresh garden ingredients that have been blended with an oil and vinegar base. How you interpret this very basic description is up to you, and explains why there are so many takes on this classic dish. Traditional gazpacho ingredients include green peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and perhaps some bread and light seasonings. But as with any tradition, it is up for experimentation and interpretation, particularly for regions wanting to use their own local ingredients. This is what we're doing here today. I am including ingredients pulled from my own garden, which you can…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
A unique tropical salsa recipe made with black beans, diced avocado, red onion and velvety just-ripe banana. Perfect for serving alone or over a fish fillet. So I had this brainstorm the other night. I've been working on this food blog for years and I think it's finally crept its way into my sleeping brain. Like writing in general. I've had many a screenwriting or fiction story pop into my head in a dream, only to find myself scrambling in the morning to jot it down before it inevitably fades into oblivion. This is one of those ideas. I must have known I had a banana on the counter downstairs in the kitchen. That must have prompted the idea. I saw the banana next to a can of black beans and I think it was another freaky instance of food talking to me. Telling me things. "Mike. I want to be…
Published in Salsas
A recipe for large and vibrant sweet chili peppers stuffed with coconut rice, spicy chili-rubbed shrimp and Caribbean sauce with mango and habanero. Such a delicious meal. This is a recipe you'll want to print up and bind into your favorites folder. You have one of those, right? A folder or a binder or somewhere that you keep all of your favorite go-to recipes? Here's a new one! It's time to bust out another stuffed pepper recipe, because I'm basically crazy for chili peppers - or should I say "mad"? - and love to stuff them with all sorts of wild and delicious things. Like coconut rice! And seared shrimp! And Caribbean-style hot sauce! Drool. I pulled a couple Corno di Toro Gialla sweet peppers from our garden for this recipe, but you can use other sweet peppers you're able to find. Get larger ones if you can, but if…
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
A recipe for handmade burgers made with ground chicken and pork with plenty of Italian seasonings, grilled to juicy perfection and topped with a spicy pesto. Time to get cooking! Hey, it's still grilling season here, baby! I know summer is coming to a close, but the weather is OUTSTANDING and all the games are starting up. It's no better time to bust out that grill and get cooking. For me, this is a quick and easy meal because I made the burgers about a month ago and froze them. This is when Patty and I pulled out the meat grinder attachment to our KitchenAid and ground down about 10 pounds of meat for making burgers and sausage. See: Grinding Meat with a Meat Grinder - The Why and the How. We enjoy grinding our own meats so we can make unique blends for burgers and sausages that you normally…
Published in Burgers
December 12, 2016

Spicy Mustard Aioli

Make your own homemade aioli with this recipe, including egg yolk, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and a dash of chili powder for a spicy touch. It is easier to make than you think. This recipe is sort of a go-to in the Madness household. If you've never made your own homemade aioli, it is probably something you should try for yourself so you can see how easy it actually is to make. An aioli is very similar to a mayonnaise, differing only by small details, so you might think if you have mayo in the fridge, you have no reason to make aioli, but this isn't true. I myself keep mayo on hand for quick needs, but when you want to pull out all the stops, homemade aioli is the way to go. Talk about CREAMY. Aioli is an emulsion, so it WILL take a bit of…
Published in Sauces
Cozy up to the fire this winter with a nice, warm mug of hot chocolate made in the crockpot with chocolate, sweetened cocoa, cream and kahlua, with a touch of ancho to help warm your bones, topped with marshmallows and chocolate syrup. Party Patty here with your December Thirsty Thirteenth. Ahhhhh, December. With this time of year a lot of changes are happening. It’s getting colder, the holiday parties and shopping are in full swing, and with all of that, it’s time for some comforting warm food and drinks to relax and enjoy with friends. Around here we do a monthly girl’s night. The December party is always the biggest because people are excited about the holidays and we plan something fun. This year we decorated wine glasses with santa sliding down the chimney or snowmen or whatever people decided to paint. I made a palm tree glass, because I…
Published in Drinks
September 21, 2016

Homemade Fajita Seasoning

Make your own fajita seasoning at home with this recipe for steak, chicken, or shrimp fajitas. Includes cayenne powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt, brown sugar, cumin and black pepper. This is my personal favorite blend. Ever get a wild craving to suddenly make fajitas? I DO! Growing up we always used those store bought packets, which worked great, but as I grew older and began to experiment, I found making my own spice blends at home results in a more personal experience as well as a flavor blend that works best for me. This is especially true of fajitas, one of my favorite meals. I'll take steak, chicken, pork, shrimp, you name it when it comes to fajitas. It's all so VERY Tex-Mex, that awesome blend of Mexican and Texan cuisines. There are not a lot of ingredients overall, but the resulting blend is IDEAL. Also, just…
Published in Spice Blends
October 17, 2016

Chili-Plum Sauce

A recipe for a spicy plum sauce with an Asian flair, made with fresh plums, chili peppers, soy sauce and a variety of seasonings. Great as a dipper or for poultry. Plum sauce time! As Patty and I were cruising through the grocery store, picking up some of the necessities for the week, I rounded the corner and nearly slammed into the enormous purple wall looming before me. After my vision cleared, I realized it was plums, plums, and more plums. Plum season runs from May through October, and they clearly JUST got a shipment in. There were so many, so vibrant, glorious in color and like most foods, they spoke to me. "Mike! We want to be in your cart! Now! Take us home and cook with us!" So into the cart they went. Who am I to disappoint fruit? The main goal was to enjoy a couple of…
Published in Sauces
A recipe for homemade soup made with fresh heirloom tomatoes, chili peppers (I used jalapenos and Hungarian wax), garlic, basil and plenty of seasonings, cooked then chilled. Perfect for an end-of-summer harvest meal. It feels like we're coming down to the end of summer, but my garden doesn't think so. Lucky for me! We woke to cooler temperatures this morning, in the lower 60s - it even dipped into the 50s for a bit. This time of year is comforting because we can sleep with the windows open, let the cooler air envelope us, bundle up in the blankets and sleep the perfect sleep. I truly love this time of the year, but the cooler temps signal the coming end of our harvest season, but we're not done yet! Not if our garden has anything to say about it. There is still plenty of time to produce, and while many…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
A recipe for mild poblano peppers, roasted and peeled, then stuffed with seasoned pulled pork, black beans and chipotle peppers in adobo, topped with cheese and avocado. Bring on the stuffed peppers! Time for more stuffed chili peppers, my friends! Did you know I have an obsession with stuffed peppers? Um: Stuffed Chili Pepper Recipes. Yeah. I blame the poblanos this time. There we were, scooting through the store for ingredients for a new cookbook I am working on, minding my own business, when the pobano peppers distracted me with their calls. "Mike! Dude! Come over here. Grab a few of us and make something AWESOME. Please! We beg of you." See what I'm saying? I am absolved of all responsibility or blame in this situation. The poblano peppers wanted it this way. Glad they did because this was a hugely satisfying meal for the both of us. And pretty…
Published in Stuffed Chili Peppers
A recipe for colorful rainbow carrots lightly seasoned and charred on the grill, then served with an addictive, herb-filled chili chimichurri sauce. Delicious and gorgeous! Fire up those grills! Before we get into this recipe, which turned out quite AWESOME, by the way, I want to make it clear that tonight I am serving these with STEAK. I am seriously in the mood for steak and I already have the T-Bone picked up from the butcher. I am currently in the middle of writing an article about BEEF for the holidays (Yes, I am ahead of the game here), and after grilling up the T-Bones for the piece, I flat out did not have enough for myself. Desperately CRAVING T-Bone! But! This is not a recipe post about steak, my friends. NOPE. It is a post about incredibly gorgeous, delicious, and inviting Rainbow Carrots. On the grill. Nicely charred. Such…
Published in Side Dishes
A recipe for quickly made relish with garden fresh heirloom tomatoes and peppers along with a few splashes of vinegar and other ingredients. Great for topping steaks, burgers or other grillers. Summertime awesomeness! I was cooking up a tri-tip roast very recently for an article I'm doing for "Chile Pepper Magazine" and I wanted a quick sauce for dipping those tender ribbons of steak into. Nothing elaborate, just something quick and fresh, with a bit of vibrancy to it. The thing about tri-tip steaks is, if you season and cook them right, you really do not need a sauce. In fact, tri-tip purists (YES, they do exist) insist that sauce is a big NO-NO. But hey! I'm a tri-tip lover and if I want a sauce, I'll have a sauce! Besides, this isn't REALLY a sauce anyway. It's a zingy relish. To be more precise, Quick Tomato-Pepper Relish. I love a…
Published in Sauces
A grilled cheese sandwich recipe with kick and massive flavor, made with pepper jack and American cheeses, a spicy habanero pepper spread, topped with juicy beer battered apple slices, served on jalapeno-cheddar rolls. BEHOLD! The "Ornery Orchard". We don't always name our food like this. Most times we'll just call a recipe for what it is. It has to make sense, right? You should be able to look at a recipe title and pretty much know what you're getting yourself into. Hence the subtitle that I've added to help it make sense. "A Decadent Grilled Cheese Recipe". That's EXACTLY what this is, my friends. Wonderfully, beautifully decadent and maybe, just maybe, a slight bit over the top. But BOOM! Have we got flavor here. The very short story behind the name is this - We entered a grilled cheese contest and didn't win. BOOO! We thought we had it with…
Published in Sandwiches
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #VivaLaMorena #CollectiveBias For the holidays, introduce some Latin flair with this easy-to-make pumpkin seed dip made extra flavorful with smoky chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. The holiday season is upon us, folks! It's time to start your menu planning. Whether you are hosting the big gathering or traveling to your friends and loved ones, you'll need to start thinking about what dishes you'll serve or bring to share. Everyone has their own holiday traditions, which typically involve a turkey or ham, and while we have no problem with tradition, we often enjoy injecting a bit of Latin flair into our meals no matter what time of year. So, this year, we're bringing a batch of Chipotle Pumpkin Seed Dip, or "Chipotle Sikil Pak", and we're sure it will disappear quickly. #VivaLaMorenaSweepstakes What exactly…
Published in Dips
Check out which of our recipes made the top 10 list for all of 2016. Will it be a hot sauce again this year? Or a stuffed pepper recipe? Or something else entirely? Check it out. Happy Holidays, everyone! What an excellent year! We've been super busy working on the Chili Pepper Madness food blog and zesty food information site, and we're happy to share our TOP 10 CHILI PEPPER RECIPES OF 2016. Can you guess which recipe of 2016 is number one? Will it be a hot sauce again this year? Or a stuffed chili pepper? Or something else entirely? Hot Sauce Recipes and Stuffed Pepper Recipes are ALWAYS hugely popular on our site, but read on, friends. You just MIGHT be surprised! Tell us, what were some of YOUR favorite recipe on our site for the year? Feel free to share! When we started our food blog many…
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #KingOfFlavor #CollectiveBias Satisfy the biggest of appetites with this recipe for seasoned beef meatballs seared then slow cooked and drenched in habanero-tomato sauce. Just the right amount of spice and HUGE on flavor. Game day is on the way! The BIG GAME is approaching, my friends. Some of you are excited as HECK for this. You know who you are! Some of us are just as excited for the food. When it comes to game day tailgating or homegating, wherever you’re throwing the party, you GOTTA have good food to make the day complete. Today we’re cooking with El Yucateco® Red Chile Habanero Hot Sauce, and El Yucateco® is giving entrants the chance to win one-of-a-kind tailgating and homegating packages and MORE! We’re pumped! #KingOfFlavorSweepstakes (Super Bowl) For that big bash, we’re serving…
Published in Sandwiches
Turn your leftover prime rib roast into a sandwich with this recipe, serving thinly sliced prime rib on toasted Italian rolls, topped with melted cheese and a zesty horseradish cream sauce that whips together easily.  Did you, or ARE you making a standing prime rib roast for the holidays this year? If so, you WILL have leftovers. I can almost guarantee it. As you recall, we made a HUGE prime rib roast recently - see the Chili Rubbed Prime Rib Roast with Horseradish Cream Sauce Post - and yeah, we had leftovers. I sliced and froze the leftover meat for later use. Glad I did! You certainly don't want any of that prime rib to go to waste. The flavor is sensational and you know what, it makes for an OUTSTANDING sandwich. LIKE SO. Prime Rib Sandwich with Horseradish Cream Sauce. Seriously. We loved the first recipe so much, I whipped…
Published in Sandwiches
Make your own meaty, thick sloppy joe sandwiches at home with this recipe using ground beef, chorizo, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, loads of spices and plenty of fresh chili peppers and tomatoes. So much better than straight from a can. We took a trip with friends to Lake Placid over the summer and it was such a great vacation. The lake is gorgeous, and so serene in the morning. It was something straight from a story book, with the echoes of loons hooting through the dissipating early mist as the sun rose over the surrounding mountaintops. Each couple was in charge of the food on any particular evening and I personally found it a challenge to cook at such high altitude. It's true that everything takes longer! Many of us planned elaborate meals that cost us hours in the kitchen, but one of the most memorable meals,…
Published in Sandwiches
A hearty Cajun gumbo recipe made with plenty of andouille sausage, bacon, peppers, a long stirred roux the color of copper, and the addition of a flavorful Winter ale to help warm the bones. Is it cold where you are? It's COLD here. Brrr. The temperature is reading a high of "ZERO" today, my friends. ZERO! I just don't like it. When it gets this cold, it typically lasts for days, so when I see it in the forecast, I plan for meals like this one: CAJUN GUMBO. Talk about a meal that will stick to your bones and warm you up. Gumbo is one of my favorite foods on the face of this planet. It is TOPS for a reason. It is the Official State Food of Louisiana, basically a big mish-mash of different cuisines and cultural influences in a single pot.  And you know, you just can't stop…
Published in Soups, Salads & Stews
A quick and easy pasta recipe made with a fresh spinach and pecan pesto, roasted peppers, plenty of Parmesan cheese and grilled shrimp, drizzled with olive oil and served with plump globe tomatoes. Sometimes you just want pasta. Sometimes you just want pasta, indeed! Filing this one under "Quick and Easy Recipes" because, truly, you can have this done in about 20 minutes or so. There are nights when time is of the essence. We all have those days. You're slammed, too darned busy, have no time to prep the awesome meal you've had in your head all day, but you REALLY don't want to settle for takeout and you REALLY want something tasty, to reward yourself for a hard day's work. This is the dinner for you! Pasta with Spinach-Pecan Pesto and Shrimp. We're super busy right now working on a new cookbook, so meals like these are a NECESSITY.…
Published in Pasta
A tasty turkey sandwich recipe made with layers of cream cheese, oven roasted turkey, melted cheese, stuffed jalapeno poppers, bacon and tomato. Perfect for leftovers! Why are there still so many leftovers? With all of these holiday gatherings right now, leftovers are inevitable, especially TURKEY. We American sure do LOVE our roasted turkey, don't we? It's such a huge bird and a good sized turkey will certainly feed a lot, but no matter how much you stuff your belly, there always seems to be a big batch of turkey at the end of every party. This is not a complaint. One of the greatest things about turkey is that it can be used as the base of MANY a new meal. Like this one. Cheesy Jalapeno Popper-Turkey Sandwiches. YES! This sandwich recipe is a mashup between your typical turkey sandwich and one of the world's greatest gifts to mankind -…
Published in Sandwiches
December 29, 2016

Queso Fundido

Queso Fundido is the ultimate cheese dip recipe, with loads of melted cheese, spicy chorizo and roasted poblanos, topped with a quick homemade chunky salsa. Don't forget the chips! Best eaten hot, right away. The ULTIMATE party is coming up. Do you know what you're serving yet? Are you going fancy? Or easy? Either way, here is a last minute idea for you. You might even be able to make this with ingredients you already have on hand. It is truly the ULTIMATE party appetizer. What better for that ultimate party? I present to you - Queso Fundido. OH YES! The name "Queso Fundido" translates to melted cheese, and that is literally what you're going to get with this recipe. It doesn't get any more unpretentious. What you have is a mixture of cheeses melted over a pan of cooked chorizo, onions, roasted poblano peppers and garlic, then topped with…
Published in Dips
Comfort food at its finest with this recipe for extra cheesy macaroni noodles tossed with seasoned and seared chicken breast, plenty of spices, and extra chili peppers for our own personal tastes. Serves a crowd! Great party and game day food. Here we are, my friends, with another winter favorite. When the temperatures drop, we often turn to comfort food to help warm the bones a bit, and KEEP them warm with something that will REALLY STICK. You absolutely CANNOT go wrong with a big bowl of macaroni and cheese. NOPE! You simply cannot. Of course we've cooked ours up a little differently than most, with a spicy twist because...um, we're Chili Pepper Madness and we like things just a WEE bit spicy. If you LOVE mac and cheese but want to dial down the spice/heat level - GASP - it's easy. Just swap out the serrano peppers for milder…
Published in Chicken
A quick and easy recipe of Italian sausages seared with peppers, then served over mustard greens that have been cooked down with bacon and jalapeno peppers. I have to give a shout out to Bon Appétit Magazine for the inspiration for this recipe. We get the print version at home and I enjoy perusing the pages for inspiration and new ideas. I don't recall the issue, but one particular recipe stood out. It looked so delicious in its simplicity, with sausages seared in a pan and served over cabbage and some other greens. I tore out the page and it sat on my counter a few months until I couldn't resist any longer and had to make my own version of it. Talk about EASY. I LOVE Quick and Easy Recipes. I have been cooking a LOT with greens lately, greens of all types like collard greens, beet greens, mustard…
Published in Italian Sausage
A recipe mashup that combines the flavors and textures of corn bread with cheese puffs, resulting in an excellent side, dessert bite, or dippers for chili and more. I've been experimenting lately with instant masa. It's fun, really, working to incorporate it into recipes instead of flour. It isn't ALWAYS successful, as instant masa is so much different from a typical flour, even though they look similar in appearance. It is used more for making homemade corn tortillas or some versions of corn bread. While experimenting, I decided to create a sort of "mashup" recipe of a typical cheese puff (gougeres) with ingredients you'll typically find in corn bread. We LOVE corn bread and I was hoping for a puffier version, closer to a gougere. As I was using an Instant Masa, what I achieved wasn't quite as puffy as desired, but I was rather happy with the resulting "puffs" that…
Published in Side Dishes
January 13, 2017

Coastal Blood Mary

Grab yourself a cocktail with this homemade Blood Mary recipe made coastal style, with juice made from heirloom tomatoes, Old Bay seasoning, seafood stock and loads of seasonings. This recipe brings us back to the Chesapeake Bay! Hey, it’s Thirsty Thirteenth again and its Patty here bringing you another fully homemade Bloody Mary. I made this from heirloom tomatoes from our garden, which I had preserved in the freezer for a rainy day. You can certainly use store bought tomatoes or even buy tomato juice to speed up the process. After our adventure to Maryland this year where we chartered a crab boat, went crabbing and visited plenty of great seafood restaurants, I saw first-hand the passion for Old Bay seasoning and was able to fully understand it and appreciate it. Watching people order pounds of freshly steamed whole blue crabs served with newspapers, mallets and bibs was a bit…
Published in Drinks
A recipe for pork chops that have been brined, rubbed with ancho chili paste, then baked and served over a puree of goat cheese, white beans and potato. Top with apple, a bit of lemon and roasted jalapeno peppers. Excellent! Everytime I make pork chops, I hear Bobby Brady in my head - "Pork Chops...and Apple Sauce." Please. STOP. Bobby. I guess I'm showing my age. Regardless, bone-in pork chops are TOPS when it comes to pork because the bone imparts a LOT of flavor to the final dish. Sometimes pork chops that have been pre-cut from the bone can turn out dry and require some different cooking techniques. We've gone that extra step to ensure these stay nice and juicy and big on flavor by adding them to a brine before we start cooking. The brine opens up the cell walls, allowing more moisture to enter and stay through…
Published in Pork
Make your own Mexican Torta with pork at home with this recipe, just like your favorite Mexican restaurant, with seasoned pulled pork, refried beans, homemade guacamole and more. Not too long ago I made a batch of Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas (Crispy Mexican Pulled Pork Tacos) and they were DELISH. The pork cooked LOW and SLOW in the crock pot for hours and after we enjoyed them, there were plenty of leftovers. I froze the pulled pork in small batches to enjoy later. This is a perfect example of how you enjoy it later! We're talking Pulled Pork Mexican Tortas. A torta is a Mexican sandwich and they are sort of an obsession around here. Patty and I LOVE them. We have many different Mexican restaurants available to us and we enjoy most of them. It's fun to experience how different each of their tortas taste, despite the fact that…
Published in Sandwiches
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About Us

Hi, Everyone! It is nice to meet you. Welcome to Chili Pepper Madness, the food blog run by Mike and Patty Hultquist, a couple of spicy food lovers. Chili Pepper Madness is a special tribute to all things chili peppers, including chili pepper recipes... LEARN MORE ABOUT US

Jalapeno Poppers and other Stuffed Chili Peppers Cookbook