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5 Spicy, savory dinner recipes

Kristin Chessman is a freelance writer, editor and mom from Southern California with a passion for travel, fashion, Disney, the beach, Italian food and all-things celebrity. Follow Kristin on Twitter @KristinChessman.

Turn up the spice!

Are you tired of the same old bland and boring recipes? Then it’s time to branch out and bring on the flavor! Heat up your family’s dinner experience with the help of these spicy and savory dinner recipes.

Harissa Rubbed Grilled Chicken

"A well-prepared, spicy dish is like a shot of adrenalin to the taste buds," Chef Betty Fraser, co-owner of Hollywood restaurant Grub and As You Like It Catering, explained. "I like working with fiery spices as much for their versatility as for their ability to take dishes from 'good' to 'wow'!"

From tropical spicy recipes to sweet and spicy meals to spicy salads, there are plenty of ways to delight your taste buds with bursts of flavor. Get fired up with these flavorful and fun dinner recipes.

1Harissa Rubbed Grilled Chicken

Fraser's spicy harissa-rubbed recipe will knock their socks off! Serve over plantain black beans and Spanish rice topped with smoky pineapple and avocado.

Serves 4

Exper tips

After you've mastered this recipe, Chef Betty Fraser recommends experimenting with other proteins, too.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup Harissa Paste (see recipe below)
  • 4 slices of fresh pineapple, cored and skin removed
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro leaves, washed and patted dry
  • 1 fresh lime, quartered

Harissa Paste Ingredients

  • 6 dried chile de arbol (found in grocery stores or online)
  • 1 teaspoon dried red peppers (adjust to taste; if you like it hotter, add more)
  • 6 dried ancho chilies or guajillo chilies
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus additional for brushing
  • 6 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, stems removed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, stems removed
  • 1 teaspoon dried ground coriander
  • Kosher salt

Harissa Paste Directions

  1. Remove stems and seeds from dried chiles.
  2. Roughly chop into 2 to 3-inch pieces, lightly toast in a skillet.
  3. Soak the dried chilies in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain.
  4. In a food processor, combine chili peppers, garlic, thyme, oregano, coriander, salt and olive oil, blend to a paste.

Chicken

  1. Coat rinsed and dried chicken thighs in marinade in bowl and cover with saran. Refrigerate 2–4 hours. Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry.
  2. Heat grill to medium hot and brush grill with oil. Lay chicken pieces onto grill and grill each side for about 5 minutes (check center to ensure it's cooked).
  3. Remove chicken from grill and tent for about 5 minutes.
  4. While chicken is resting, brush grill again and grill pineapple for about 2 minutes on each side.
  5. Serve chicken thighs over black beans and rice, then top with grilled pineapple, sliced avocado and fresh cilantro. Add a lime wedge to the plate.

2Chili Lime Glazed Pork

Chef Jim Matteson, executive chef at Zed's in Austin, Texas, promises to please your palate with this mouth-watering, flavorful recipe.

Ingredients

  • Pork chop or pork tenderloin
  • Cilantro bunch (stems and leaves)
  • Zest of 3 limes
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup salad oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons red chili flakes

Directions

  1. Place all in a container and mix with immersion blender.
  2. Marinate pork for 4 – 6 hours.
  3. Brush pork with glaze and cook to desired temperature.
  4. Reserve the remainder to brush on cooked pork or to use for dipping.

3Chorizo Fundido

This easy-to-make dish is sure to become a family favorite! Tim Spinner and Brian Sirhal, owners of Fort Washington, Pennsylvania contemporary Mexican restaurant Cantina Feliz, share their spiced-up fundido recipe (think Mexican fondue). Happy eating!

Serves 2 - 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chorizo sausage, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, small diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (small)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and julienned
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and julienned (if you can't find poblano, substitute green bell pepper)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Corn tortillas or tortilla chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a skillet, use medium heat to cook chorizo, onions and garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil (about 8 – 10 minutes). Drain excess oil and transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, in another skillet, saute jalapeno, poblano and red peppers in 1 tablespoon olive oil until tender (about 5 minutes).
  4. Combine the chorizo, peppers and cilantro in the bowl and mix well. Season with salt. Transfer to a medium baking dish and top with cheese. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes in the oven until cheese is melted and lightly brown. Serve with warm corn tortillas or tortilla chips.

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