Add Some Spice to Your Life

I’ve never been a fan of spicy or hot foods. I never was big on Thai or Mexican cuisine simply because I always feared the food would be too spicy for me to handle. I remember growing up thinking my dad was a total weirdo for going to Kansas City and trying the hottest barbecue sauce that he could find, to the point where there would be tears coming from his eyes. Now that I’ve had time for my pallet to grow and I’ve expanded my cooking skills beyond the basic American diet, I’m starting to really enjoy a good kick in a lot of my foods. I know I’m not breaking any new ground by sharing my favorite ways to add some spice to my meals, but this is a new experience for me! I actually crave something hot and spicy to the point where that’s what I’ll tell Jake that’s what I want for dinner. Yes, my hormones are totally normal so please don’t jump to any conclusions.

Jake always makes fun of me and my “sauce collection” going on in the fridge, but I’ve finally discover sriracha and I need it in my life. Also, it’s cousin sriracha mayo – so good on tacos! I had some tofu tacos a few months back when we had a food truck at work and my coworker highly encouraged me to add sriracha mayo on for a little something, something. I’m blaming this new found addition on her. After that I made tacos at home just so I could buy sriracha mayo for my “sauce collection”. It’s great on top of normal tacos, fish tacos, tofu tacos, or these sweet potato and black bean slow cooker tacos. We made this recipe two weeks in a row at home and it’s a perfect dinner dish for fall! And it’s a slow cooker recipe, so it can’t get much easier – I highly recommend trying it. Adding a little sriracha or taco sauce on scrambled eggs or a breakfast sandwich will also fulfill my cravings as they come along.

Another great recipe for a little spice, and also so easy to make, is this easy lo mein dish from Damn Delicious. I added in a tablespoon of sriracha and omitted the sugar, and it turns out perfect. Like I said, this recipe is super easy to make and takes nearly no time to cook it. Jake and I are pretty busy and also work opposite schedules, so I don’t like taking a lot of time to make the meals we get to eat together. Another sriracha inspired meal is this 20-minute spicy ramen. I even did the poached eggs and ate it with chop sticks. I’d love to try out some more homemade ramen recipes for the winter months, so please leave suggestions if you have them!

I’m finally figuring out what I’ve been missing out on all this time. I want to go out and try some authentic Thai or Indian cuisine, play around with their spice levels. Maybe some good, authentic Mexican food too. I’ve already been trying out some new salsas to see how much I can handle; I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew – for now.

Mexican Inspired Summer Meals

The past few weeks I’ve been super into Mexican inspired dishes for healthy summer dinners. I’ve never been one for Mexican food, but something about avocados and cilantro lately has tasted amazing. My go-to site for recipes, suprise, surprise is Pinterest. I’ve found quite a few good recipes that I’ve made for both Jake and I that have gone over very well.

The Cilantro Lime Shrimp Tacos has a lot of steps and because of the seafood, tends to cost the most, but it’s very delicious. This recipe would be great for a grill out as the recipe suggests, but we made ours in a saute pan and it turned out very tasty.  I would definitely suggest letting the shrimp marinate for a couple of hours and using large to jumbo shrimp since they shrink while cooking.

Quinoa is awesome for recipes as the main part of the dish or as a replacement for rice or other grains. I use it all the time for salads or to replace rice in fried rice or stir fry. I don’t usually like quinoa so much in warmer dishes, but this Quinoa Enchilada Casserole is amazing, even Jake was surprised and loved it. We omitted the corn from our version and didn’t as a lot of jalapeno. This would even be great as a taco filling or in eggs for a breakfast dish. A similar recipe to this was One Pan Mexican Quinoa. This version is instead made on the stove top as opposed to the oven, which is a little bit more forgiving during the warmer summer months. If you live in an apartment or house without central air, like me, then you’ll probably prefer the stove top version.

This week, I have a few leftover black beans and corn from a failed quinoa taco recipe, and  I’m thinking I’ll just fry them up in a saucepan with taco seasoning, cook up some minute rice, and make my own version of vegetarian tacos. I have a busy week coming up and I’ll be moving soon, so I’m trying to avoid buying a whole ton of groceries so using up these bits of leftovers is perfect. I’m definitely on the search for the perfect vegetarian taco recipes, preferably one I could make in my Crock Pot, so I’ll continue looking and trying out new recipes for summer!