Spicy Caramelized Fennel Rigatoni Carbonara

Spicy Caramelized Fennel Rigatoni Carbonara. Tabasco, caramelized fennel, ciabatta breadcrumbs, mozzarella, and a rich, eggy sauce make this pasta one you've got to put on your dinner menu! | hostthetoast.com

Aaaaand we’re at the finish line here for the Tabasco 10 Challenge of 2015. The bittersweet end. On one hand, I’m excited to go back to incorporating other ingredients into my recipes (dear spice cabinet, I have not forgotten you), but on the other hand, this was surprisingly fun and some seriously delicious recipes came out of it. I love a challenge, so maybe I’ll just start inventing my own to keep the momentum going. Got any suggestions?

Speaking of challenges, aside from the 10-ingredient limitation this week, I decided to make recipes for all times of day, and to use every ingredient at least once. Breakfast was Spicy Egg Clouds in Ciabatta Boats, lunch was Chipotle Chicken Fried Rice, snack was Crispy Tabasco Zucchini Chips, appetizer was Jalapeno-Honey Glazed Cheesy Chicken Poppers, and now, now we’re finally at dinner– the grand finale. And boy, do I have something special to share with you: Spicy Caramelized Fennel Rigatoni Carbonara!

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Jalapeno-Honey Glazed Cheesy Chicken Poppers

Jalapeno Honey Glazed Cheesy Chicken Poppers. These itty bitty chicken meatballs are stuffed with mozzarella and brushed with sweet and spicy glaze for an awesome appetizer! | hostthetoast.com

We’re at the latter half of the Tabasco 10 Challenge now, with plenty of deliciousness still to come. As I’ve mentioned earlier in the week, I decided to make recipes for all different times of day (and to use every ingredient at least once) so I could get the most out of the challenge. On Monday, I shared the breakfast recipe: Spicy Egg Clouds in Ciabatta Boats. Tuesday was the lunch recipe: Chipotle Chicken Fried Rice. Yesterday was the snack: Crispy Tabasco Zucchini Chips. And today, we’re talking appetizers with some Jalapeno-Honey Glazed Cheesy Chicken Poppers.

The recipe name says it all.

They’re spicy, they’re sweet, they’re cheesy, and they’re begging you to make them to munch on as soon as you can.

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Crispy Tabasco Zucchini Chips

Crispy Tabasco Zucchini Chips | These baked zucchini chips are crunchy, spicy, and a great easy snack! | hostthetoast.com

I’m a snacker. I could eat the most amazing meals all day long but still feel lost without something salty to munch on in-between. This, unfortunately, does not always make it easy to stay in the same pant size, if you know what I’m saying. I have a tendency to blissfully eat an entire bag of chips at times before stopping to think “I will probably regret this a lot”.

So what do I do to prevent myself from spiraling into post-snacking shame? I make healthier snacks without sacrificing any flavor, because let’s be honest, if they’re not delicious, I’m not eating them. My new favorite is Crispy Tabasco Zucchini Chips, which are brushed with spicy Tabasco and baked– yes, baked– until crunchy and browned. They. Are. Delicious.

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Chipotle Chicken Fried Rice

Chipotle Chicken Fried Rice. This switched up version of the Chinese takeout staple will have you head over heels in love with lunch. | hostthetoast.com

I have a weakness for Chinese takeout, especially with a heaping side of soy sauce-drenched fried rice. In fact, I always order extra so that I can eat the leftovers for lunch the next day… or two… or three. What can I say? I really like fried rice.

So when I was asked to participate in the Tabasco 10 Challenge this year and I saw that chicken, eggs, and rice were among the 10 ingredients I was allowed to use, I thought Oh, you know that I’m about to get my fried rice on.

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Spicy Egg Clouds in Ciabatta Boats

Spicy Egg Clouds with Ciabatta Boats! This stuffed-bread egg bake is so delicious and easy for breakfast! | hostthetoast.com

Did I mention that I was going on vacation to Lake George?

And that I went, came back, and have been home for about a week now (but still have not snapped back from “I need to be out in a cabin in the mountains” mode)?

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