Chili Pepper Madness

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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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Mike Hultquist of Chili Pepper Madness

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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

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Jalapeno Poppers and other Stuffed Chili Peppers Cookbook