5 Recipes to Spice Things Up in the Kitchen

Heat things up with this selection of scrumptiously spicy recipes.

Want a great rack? Learn all about the best spices here.

1. Spicy Pasta Puttanesca Recipe


Quick and easy, spicy and fragrant, robust and satisfying, it’s no wonder this Neapolitan dish, Pasta Puttanesca, is also known as “whore’s spaghetti.” Myth has it that prostitutes would use this aromatic sauce to lure men into their bordellos, so, unless you’re looking for unexpected visitors, keep your windows closed.


2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup black olives, pitted and halved
1 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28oz/796ml) can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup dry red wine

3/4 lb fettuccini pasta

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


1) For the sauce, heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook 3-4 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add olives, capers, oregano, salt, crushed red pepper flakes and continue to sauté for 2 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and red wine, bringing to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2) For the pasta, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook until tender. Drain well and return to pot. Toss hot pasta with puttanesca sauce and Parmesan cheese. Top each serving with fresh parsley.

Serves 6

2. Texas Chili Cheese Fries Recipe


How do you take a food truck and carnival classic and transform it into home fare? Simple. You put Chef Lisa on it and she creates these off-the-charts delicious Texas Chili Cheese Fries, a meal in itself. Spice-coated, crispy baked (not fried!) French fries are smothered in a ribbon-winning, hearty homemade chili, sprinkled with sharp cheddar cheese and finished with a spicy pico de gallo (tomatoes and jalapeños and parsley!) fresh salsa.


Beef Chili

2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1½ lbs ground beef
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
¼ cup tomato paste
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes
1 cup salsa
1 (19oz) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Oven-Baked Fries

6 large russet potatoes, skin on, scrubbed clean
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Pico De Gallo

4 plum tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
1 small jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
½ tsp kosher salt

1 cup grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese


1) For the chili, in a small bowl, mix together chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, salt, pepper and cayenne. Set aside. In a large pot, brown ground beef over medium-high heat, stirring to break up the meat. Drain off the fat and set beef aside. Using the same pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, red and green peppers, stirring about 5-6 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Add tomato paste and the seasoning mix and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add canned tomatoes, salsa, kidney beans and browned beef. Lower heat to a simmer and cook covered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

2) For the fries, preheat oven to 425ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut baking potatoes into ½-inch thick matchsticks. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with olive oil, salt, chili powder, paprika and pepper. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheets. Bake 30-40 minutes, until golden and crisp, tossing a few times during cooking.

3) For the pico de gallo, combine tomatoes, jalapeno, parsley, lime juice and salt in a small bowl. Toss to combine and refrigerate until ready to use.

4) To assemble, preheat broiler to high. Place fries on an oven safe dish, top with chili and sprinkle grated cheddar cheese over top. Place under the broiler to melt cheese. Remove from oven, top with pico de gallo and serve immediately.

Serves 6-8

3. Chunky Vegetarian Chili with Cornbread Muffins


This hearty bean-filled, vegetable-packed chili is so delicious it won’t have anyone asking, “Where’s the beef?”


Chunky Vegetarian Chili

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 large red bell peppers, chopped
2 cups sliced white mushrooms
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup canned chopped green chili peppers, drained
1 (28oz/796ml) can diced tomatoes, with juice
2 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 3/4 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups canned red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup mild salsa
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup couscous
1 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
1 tsp packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
Shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, for topping

Mini Cornbread Muffins

1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 cup flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, patted dry and finely diced


The Chili

1) In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and season with chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add red peppers, mushrooms, carrots, minced garlic and chopped green chili peppers. Cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in diced tomatoes, black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, salsa, vegetable broth, couscous, cocoa powder, brown sugar and cayenne pepper.

2) Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently covered for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add corn and serve in bowls, topped with shredded cheese.

The Cornbread Muffins

1) Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 2 mini-muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.

2) Place thawed corn kernels on a plate. Pat dry and set aside.

3) In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper.

4) In a small bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar, honey, egg, vanilla and buttermilk.

5) Add butter mixture, roasted red peppers and corn kernels to dry ingredients. Stir gently to combine, just until flour disappears. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling to the top. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from tin to a wire rack. Serve alongside chili.

Yield: 30-35 mini muffins

4. Spicy Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe


How do you turn tender meatballs into great balls of fire? Simple…just stop, drop and roll. As in, stop what you’re doing, drop the grocery bags and start rolling out these marvellous homemade meatballs. Paired with this robust and spicy spaghetti sauce, this easy dinner is going to get everyone fired up!


Spicy Tomato Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 small garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 (28oz) tins San Marzano whole tomatoes
1 small bunch fresh basil, tied together
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper


2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
2 eggs
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ lbs lean ground beef
½ lb ground veal

1 cup olive oil, for browning meatballs


1) For the tomato sauce, in a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes, until softened. Add tomato paste, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon to create smaller chunks. Once sauce comes to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer. Add basil, salt and pepper and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove basil and set sauce aside until meatballs are ready.

2) For the meatballs, in a large bowl, combine panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine. Add ground beef and veal, mixing thoroughly by hand until well combined. Shape into 2-inch meatballs.

3) In a large skillet, heat 1 cup olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown meatballs in batches, being sure not to overcrowd the pan, about 4-5 minutes per side until both sides are browned. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel. Place meatballs into simmering tomato sauce and cook covered for 15-20 minutes more.

Yield: 30-32 meatballs

5. Loaded BBQ Chicken Nachos Recipe


Chips and cheese. Sounds pretty basic, right? Not when Chef Lisa gets her mitts on this classic combo. This easy recipe for BBQ Chicken Nachos, piled high with all the fixings (not to mention a great twist of subbing in BBQ sauce for salsa) are scrumptious. Get ready for love at first bite.


4 cups roasted, shredded chicken breasts
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp chili powder

Tortilla chips
2½ cups shredded cheddar cheese

Tomatoes, chopped
Jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
Barbeque sauce
Sour Cream


1) In a medium saucepan, combine chicken, barbeque sauce, lime juice, cumin and chili powder over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

2) Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray. Spread a single layer of tortilla chips on the baking sheet and top with half the chicken mixture and 1¼ cups cheese. Place another layer of chips over cheese and top with remaining chicken and cheese. Bake for 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and golden brown. Garnish nachos with chopped tomatoes, jalapenos and barbeque sauce. Serve with guacamole and sour cream.

Serves 4-6

Authors of bestselling cookbooks Bite Me, Bite Me Too and Lick Your Plate, saucy sisters Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat love eating, feeding, entertaining and dishing up easy recipes at BiteMeMore.com.