Family meals with Chillies

Family meals. Spicy lasagne

A great selection of meals that your family will adore. The quantity of Chillies you add to these recipes will depend very much on your families' heat tolerance levels. Be that high or low; I am sure that these are recipes that will love and ask for over and over again.  Best wishes to the family and I  hope they will enjoy!

Recipes for family meals with Chillies

Chinese Chilli chicken
Stuffed peppers
Chili dogs

What's for dinner ?

cooking with Chillies. Main courses

Family meals with Chillies

With most people going out to work and children going to school, the only meal where the family can usually get together for a meal is dinner. It is a meal that has many requirements to meet. The children have to be kept happy, and at the same time, adults want to eat something they enjoy. So it is a bit of a balancing act.

Particularly in the  Western world, unless they have been brought up with it, very spicy food is not commonly enjoyed by children. Especially if the food is particularly pungent. One would think this would result in Chillies being a non-starter for a family meal. However, this is not the case by any sense of the imagination.

Some  Chillies, among those generally accepted as being for eating, contain zero heat, and others over 400000   Schoville heat units. Bell peppers,  at the lower end of the scale,  contain no capsaicin, whereas  Habaneros or Scotch Bonnets are in the region of 100000 to 400000 SHU range. Within these limits, there is a wide variety of choice. When considering whether you use a mild Chilli or something with more heat for your cooking is in your hands, there is plenty of space for family meals using Chillies.

What are the options?

Chicken dishes

Chicken is always a family favourite.  Try dishes like Pollo ala Brasa, Peri-Peri Chicken, Jamaican jerk chicken and crispy fried chicken. With these meals, you have the choice whether to tone the heat factor up or down. Pollo al Brasa, Peri-Peri and Jamican jerk chicken are all great for barbequing.   And as we know, children will rarely turn down a barbeque. Chicken is also good in stir-fries  like Pad Thai and mild curry dishes like chicken Korma.  Another winner for the family using chicken is grilled chicken with satay sauce.

Chili and Chile Con carne

These  dishes are once again, good family fare, with just a touch of heat added through Chillies. If needs be, simply substitute The  Chllies called for in the recipe with mild Chillies like Jalapenos or, for that matter, Aleppo flakes ( with a heat rating above that of Jalapenos ) or rehydrated Kashmiri Chillies. Slow cooking these  dishes   means that the flavour of the Chillies will be allowed to concentrate , adding a special dimension to the meal.

Stuffed peppers

Bell peppers and similar mild Chillies like Poblanos, Jalapenos, Cubanelles  Anaheims can be stuffed with various stuffings.Family meals. Stuffed peppers These stuffings may include meat, poultry, vegetables, cheese and rice ( or even a combination of these). These stuffed peppers are also sometimes dipped  in an egg batter and then fried, as in the case of Chiles Rellenos

Meatballs, burgers and meatloaf

Meat balls made with a spicy tomato sauce is another family favourite that pleases everyone. Similarly, Frikadellen ( Spicy meatballs from Germany)  and meatloaf are dishes that will have your family begging for more. Burgers can be made using pickled Jalapenos

Baked Dishes with Chillies

Mild Chillies can be added to dishes like Babotie ( baked mince and egg ) or Lasagne (baked pasta and cheese).  Both these are family favourites that most children enjoy. The pungency added to these dishes by adding Chillies only serves to provide an extra touch of spiciness that otherwise would not be there. Even those with an aversion to spicy foods will find this agreeable

Chilli flakes,  oils and hot sauces Family meals. Spicy pizza

Using Chilli flakes is a good way of catering for both ends of the scale.. For those who cannot take any heat of all, leave the Chillies out of the dish, but have a Grinder on the table with Chillies. In that way, those that want spicy food can simply grind some Chilli flakes  onto their meal. Examples of this include pizzas where the topping can be made spicy with ground Chillies. Chilli oil is another way of doing this, as are hot sauces. Desserts like grilled pineapple can be made with the Chilli flakes left off for those not wanting heat.

Curries, biryanis and stews

Curries do not have to be hot. It is the combination of spices that brings out the flavour, not the pungency of the Chillies. Mild curries can be made with Kashmiri Chillies, which provide excellent colour and add to the taste substantially. Similarly, Biryanis can be made in the same way.

Spicy Stews like Hunkar Begendi can be made without Chillies in the stew. Make it using Aleppo flakes, for its eggplant puree  These are used more for the flavour they provide, rather than for pungency. Traditionally, Feijoada (a family favourite in Brazil) is not made using Chillies (our recipes does, however, include them).  Chillies can be left out of the dish while making it. Hot sauce, however, will then definitely need to be provided when the Feijoada is served.  Serving hot sauce with Feijoada is very traditional

Final thoughts

This list is hardly complete. There are many more examples where Chillies can be incorporated into family meals and keep everyone happy.  All it takes is to know what your family's tolerance to heat is and what types of food they like. From there, it becomes easy.