Children often shy away from spicy foods. But you can build up their taste bud tolerance to heat (and maybe even your own) by adding it in gradually. And there’s not a better time to add in some heat since the temperatures outside are dipping into the single digits – and even below! Jan. 16 is International Hot & Spicy Food Day, so use that as an excuse to try out one of these kid-friendly, spicy recipes. Remember that you don’t have to add the full amount of spice the first time you make the recipe. You may want to add 1/4 or just 1/2 the suggested amount of chiles and/or spice, and the next time you make the recipe, up the heat!
This soothing yet spicy hot potato soup recipe from The Nibble includes kid favorites like potatoes, cheese and bacon. The diced potatoes simmer in a pot of chicken broth, cumin, onion, carrots and jalapenos. Add in milk and shredded cheese. Top each serving bowl with bacon crumbles.
Creamy macaroni and cheese gets zingier with this spicy southwest macaroni and cheese recipe from SpaBettie. The heat comes from fresh jalapeno peppers and canned, diced green chiles. Lay off the jalapenos and just use the green chiles for cooler mac that still has enough heat to get your kids’ taste buds tingling.
Kids love tacos! Instead of using ground beef and a seasoning packet to make your next batch try these Crock-Pot sweet and spicy chicken tacos from Half Baked Harvest. The spice, from a combination of chili powder, cayenne powder and green chiles, is tempered with a dose of orange juice. Let the sauce soak into chicken in the Crock-Pot and then shred once it’s cooked through. Taco time!
Look for chili-garlic sauce – a mixture of chiles, garlic and vinegar – in the Asian section of your grocers. You’ll need it for this recipe for chili-garlic roasted sweet potatoes from Eating Well. Toss sweet potato wedges in the sauce along with soy sauce and olive oil then roast. Sweet, spicy and delicious.
Another chocolate-spice combination is this cinnamon hot chocolate recipe from Betty Crocker. There are no chiles in this recipe, just a generous dose of cinnamon to add a pleasant spiciness to perk up a ho-hum cup of hot chocolate. You might even give your kids a cinnamon stick to use as a stirrer or finish off each mug with a bit of whipped cream dusted with cinnamon powder.