See Also: Red Hot Sriracha Sauce Roundup
When you're a poor college student, a broke recent grad, or if you just "accidentally" spent your paycheck on a new pair of Frye boots instead of buying actual adult food, your eating choices are limited -- food's expensive. Especially food that tastes good.
Unless you have a bottle of Sriracha. That lovely red bottle of spice and awesome can turn pretty much any meal into a culinary delight. Especially these seven super cheap grocery store items.
Totino's Party Pizzas -- "America's Number One Selling Frozen Pizzas" are all right on their own but top them off with a couple squirts of Sriracha and you can create a wonderful Asian fusion meal. Eat the whole thing yourself with a nice bottle of Two Buck Chuck or cut it into small squares and pretend it's a fancy appetizer.
Ramen -- Attention brand new college students and the freshly unemployed -- Ramen is soon going to be your new best friend. Sounds depressing, I know, but your new food buddy doesn't have to suck. Splurge on the giant bottle of Sriracha (it's like $3 and you're going to need it) and spice up those sodium packed noodles. And if you have some peanut butter laying around, check out this recipe for even fancier ramen noodles.
Grocery Store Sushi -- It's a bit of a splurge, but sometimes you need something quick and healthy and the pre-made sushi section at the grocery store is usually your best bet. Too bad it doesn't taste anywhere near as good as the fresh-made stuff. Mask the bland taste of your not-so-good-brown-rice-filled-seaweed-rolls with a generous dose of the sweet and snappy sauce. The Vietnamese-style hot sauce is used in a lot of your favorite sushi recipes anyways so it's kind of a no brainer. This cover-up also works nicely if you need to whip up a fancy meal for someone but cooking isn't exactly your thing.
Popcorn -- The Oatmeal may have packaged the stuff and put a funny sticker on it, but we've been putting Sriracha on our popcorn for years -- and it never cost us $6 (plus the stuff is currently on back order so you might as well make your own while you wait 7-10 business days for you bag of Oatmeal popcorn to arrive at your door step). All you have to do is pop a bag of popcorn, add the desired amount of Sriracha to the bag, shake, and pour into a bowl. OR you can mix the Sriracha into melted butter and drizzle over the top of the popped kernels. It's a little messy but it's still a "firestorm for your face". We swear.
Cheap Spaghetti Sauce -- No, you don't have to eat spaghetti sauce exactly how it is out of the can. You can doctor that cheap stuff up! Dump a bunch of the fragrant pepper sauce and, if you want, one chopped up zucchini (less then a dollar), maybe a shredded carrot if you have one laying around, heat the mixture up and by the magic of the red bottle you now have a healthy, veggie filled Arrabbiata sauce. Delicious!
Boxed Mac & Cheese -- The comforting combination of elbow (or spiral) macaroni and neon orange processed cheese powder is a food staple that we'll never outgrow. Ever. But we aren't tiny children anymore so we have to make it just slightly more adult-like. Sriracha accomplishes this task by added it's extra spicy kick to the "cheese" wrapped noodles.
Jar of Mayonnaise -- By itself, mayo is just a boring fat-filled condiment used by mostly white people on bland turkey sandwiches and as a filler for tuna salad. Add Sriracha and all of a sudden it becomes spicy aioli which sounds totally exotic and fancy! Use this sauce on sandwiches and hamburger, as a dip for french fries and chicken strips, or on anything else that needs to be fancified by aioli.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.