If you’re getting the feeling your family is starting to catch on to your culinary wiles, try throwing them off the scent using a little pepper. Hot spices like ground red chili pepper, cayenne pepper and other peppers are great ways to breathe new life into classic recipes.
First, a little history: The University of Maryland Medical Center says that Native Americans have been utilizing cayenne for 9,000 years for both food and medicinal purposes. The health benefits of cayenne pepper are quite impressive. Here are just a few:
- Cayenne has been shown to ease stomach aches, ulcers, sore throats and diarrhea.
- Cayenne pepper helps break up the congested mucus.
- Cayenne has been shown to relieve migraine symptoms.
- Cayenne is known to be a valuable ally for your body’s digestive system. The pepper stimulates the intestines peristaltic motion.
- Cayenne peppers help with weight loss. According to a study at Laval University in Quebec, participants who had cayenne pepper for breakfast were found to have decreased appetites, which lead to lower caloric intake and increased metabolism. Higher metabolism + less caloric intake is the stuff that diet dreams are made of.
If you’re wondering how exactly to work cayenne pepper into your normal culinary routine, the possibilities are pretty much only limited to your imagination. This versatile pepper can be added to many classic dishes such as scrambled eggs, tortilla soup and jambalaya. Here is a fresh take on macaroni and cheese that includes our new spicy friend:
8 ounces elbow macaroni
1.5-2 cups cheddar cheese
3 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
0.125 teaspoon cayenne pepper
0.5 cup milk
0.5-1 cup butter fresh bread crumbs
Follow the directions on the macaroni box when boiling. Drain under cold water. Cover the bottom of a 2-quart baking pan with macaroni then cheese, then pinches of butter, salt and pepper. Continue in this pattern until all the elements have been used up. Whisk the milk and egg together and pour that over the whole mixture. Pour breadcrumbs on that and place in a 350F oven to bake for 25-35 minutes. This will serve 4-6 hungry mouths.
A little cayenne pepper goes a long way. You can buy a shaker of this valuable little spice and not have to return for more for a few months depending on how often you use it. In addition to being economical, it will give all your classic dishes a brand new twist that will keep your family worshipping you as the culinary master you are.
- “Cayenne”, University of Maryland Medical Center
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