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Sauteéd Mushrooms Recipe

Sauteéd Mushrooms

Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes

This recipe for sautéed mushrooms can be served on its own, as a side, or over beautifully sautéed chicken, as the two flavors complement each other well. Adapt it as you will: add small amounts of chopped herbs (rosemary, say, or tarragon) or add lemon juice and capers to the pan sauce to make a version of a piccata (we make it this way a lot at home).

by Catherine Newman

What you'll need

  • 3/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup wine (or broth)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • salt
  • pinch of thyme and a bit of chopped shallot (optional)

Notes:

Serves 4-5

How to make it

  1. In a cast iron pan, or another wide pan that's not non-stick, melt the butter over high heat. When it is very hot, add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt, and give them a toss and a stir to coat all the slices with butter. Now leave them alone for a few minutes while they begin to cook and release a lot of juice.
  2. Stir them occasionally as the liquid begins to cook off and, after ten or so minutes, the limp mushrooms will be back to frying again, turning nice and golden and brown in the pan. At this point, add the optional thyme and shallot and a bit more salt as you see fit, and, when all is very browned and fragrant, pour in the wine or broth which will sizzle and steam furiously.
  3. Stir the pan as the liquid evaporates, then serve the perfect mushrooms to anyone sane enough to love them.

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Bacon and Leek Quiche Recipe

Bacon and Leek Quiche

Prep Time 25 minutes Cook Time 1 hour

Quiche is perfectly portable, perfectly make-ahead and perfectly delicious. Serve it for breakfast, lunch or even dinner. Bring it to a pot luck or as give as a hostess gift - who wouldn't love a slice of cheesy goodness?

by Alison Needham

What you'll need

  • 1 frozen pie crust, thawed (or use your own single-crust recipe)
  • 1/4 lb. Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 leek
  • 8 ounces turkey bacon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Notes:

Serves 6

Variations:

Turkey bacon is a flavorful and lower-fat alternative to conventional pork bacon. But feel free to use pork bacon if you prefer it.

How to make it

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Unfold crust and roll to 12-inches in diameter. Gently lower into a 9-inch pie plate, taking care not to stretch the dough. Trim edges so it overhangs the rim of the pie plate by one half inch. Fold edges under, and crimp decoratively if desired.
  2. Prick bottom of crust all over with the tines of a fork. Line crust with foil and fill with dried beans, rice or pie weights. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, discard foil and set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 350° F.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare leek. Cut off root end, peel away outer leaves. The only part you will be using is the white and light green part so trim any dark green ends. Cut the leek lengthwise and wash all of the sand and grit out of the layers. Slice thinly and set aside.
  4. Brown turkey bacon in a skillet over medium heat until not quite crisp. Remove from pan, cut into small pieces and set aside. Melt butter in same skillet over medium-low heat, add leeks and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Spread mustard on the bottom of the pre-baked pie crust. Fill with cheese, and sprinkle with bacon and leeks. Whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour over cheese mixture in the crust. Return quiche to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until middle is set and top is puffed and golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Asparagus Rafts Recipe

Asparagus Rafts

Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes

Turn fresh asparagus into tasty, golden rafts with this playful recipe.

by Diane Forley Otsuka

What you'll need

  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, beaten with a fork
  • 16 small to medium asparagus stalks, trimmed and cooked*
  • Toothpicks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt (optional)

Notes:

* How to cook it: Boil asparagus in salted water until the stalks are just tender, about 4 minutes, then chill them.

How to make it

  1. Measure out bread crumbs, cheese, and thyme into a large shallow bowl. Put flour on a plate. Put egg into a wide shallow bowl. Line up 4 asparagus stalks side by side on a cutting board. Skewer 4 toothpicks into the set of 4 stalks at about 1-inch intervals to hold asparagus together like a raft. Repeat with remaining asparagus.
  2. Dip each asparagus raft in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs, patting crumbs evenly, and transfer to a plate. In large nonstick skillet, heat oil until just hot, then gently slide in asparagus rafts and cook over medium heat until golden, about 3 minutes. Turn rafts over and cook other side until golden, about 3 minutes more. Sprinkle with salt if you want. Slice each raft crosswise between the toothpicks, then remove sticks.

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Salisbury Steak Recipe

Salisbury Steak

Prep Time 10min Cook Time 45min

The perfect comfort food, this one is made thicker than most and is so moist you'll want more than seconds. Cut the onions to your liking, my kids will only eat finely chopped. If you have onion-haters all around, try onion powder for flavor.

by Anne Coleman

What you'll need

  • 1 Tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1/2 c onion or shallots, minced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups prepared bread crumbs
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 4 Tablespoons fat from cooking or 4 Tablespoons cooking oil
  • 4 Tablespoons flour
  • salt and pepper to taste

Notes:

Yields 6 servings

How to make it

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Heat a large oven-proof frying pan over medium-high heat and add one Tablespoon oil. Cook onion and garlic until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Combine ground beef with bread crumbs and eggs, mixing well after each egg.
  4. Add in onion and garlic mixture, 1 Tablepsoon Kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Mix until well combined and form into 6 thick oval patties.
  5. In the same frying pan, brown both sides of patties, about 3-5 minutes each side. Remove from pan and set aside.
  6. Again in the same pan, measure out fat from cooking or add oil to make 4 Tablespoons. Add flour and whisk together until smooth.
  7. Pour in stock and whisk until a smooth gravy forms. Salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Add steaks back into pan and bake for 45 minutes.

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Antipasto Pasta Recipe

Antipasto Pasta

Prep Time 10min Cook Time 10min

Just because it's "antipasto" doesn't mean it can't have pasta. This quick and easy take on the classic Italian opening course includes rotini pasta atop the traditional ingredients: salami, red peppers, mozzarella, artichokes and black olives.

by Anne Coleman

What you'll need

  • 1 pound rotini pasta cooked according to package directions until al dente
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cut into 1/2-inch cubes or 8 ounces small bocconcini
  • 8 ounces hard salami cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes cut into quarters
  • 1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers diced
  • 1 jar marinated artichoke heart quarters - cut up and marinade reserved
  • 1 cup black olives, halved
  • 2 Tablespoons each fresh basil and Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

Notes:

Yields 6-8 servings

How to make it

  1. Place all ingredients except pasta, artichoke heart marinade and herbs into a large bowl. Stir to combine.
  2. Put hot pasta on top of all ingredients and add marinade and herbs. Toss well to blend.
  3. Serve hot.

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Cheesy Beef Enchiladas Recipe

Cheesy Beef Enchiladas

Prep Time 40 minutes Cook Time 20 minutes

Get the fiesta started with these cheesy enchiladas! A real crowd pleaser, these Tex-Mex favorites are packed with loads of flavor and are well worth the multiple steps to assemble them. I like to put them together in the morning, so I can just pop them in the oven at dinnertime, saving me a last minute rush. Substitute the ground beef for ground turkey, or if you prefer, make a vegetarian version with a couple of shredded zucchini and a cup of frozen corn (see Recipe Tip below). Either way, your family will be clamoring for seconds (or thirds).Vegetarian version: Mix 2 grated zucchini, 1 cup of chopped green onions, 1 cup of corn kernels (frozen is fine), and 2 (4 ounce) cans of diced green chiles in a large bowl. Use instead of the meat mixture to fill the enchiladas, along with 1 tablespoon of grated cheese and chopped olives, if desired.

by Alison Needham

What you'll need

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 12oz jar or can red enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 medium yellow onion - chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 4oz cans diced green chiles
  • 1 6oz can pitted black olives, chopped
  • 1 8oz bag shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • oil for frying

Notes:

Yields 6 enchiladas

Variations:

Vegetarian version: Mix 2 grated zucchini, 1 cup of chopped green onions, 1 cup of corn kernels (frozen is fine), and 2 (4 ounce) cans of diced green chiles in a large bowl. Use instead of the meat mixture to fill the enchiladas, along with 1 tablespoon of grated cheese and chopped olives, if desired.

How to make it

  1. Whisk oil and flour together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until combined. Let it cook for one minute, then whisk in the enchilada sauce and chicken stock and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile prep all ingredients. Chop yellow onions, olives, green onions and cilantro. Place the olives and green onions in small bowls near the area where you will assemble the enchiladas.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef and chopped yellow onion (not the green onions), and cook until browned. Drain fat if necessary and stir in salt, pepper, and diced green chiles. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In another skillet, heat a thin layer of canola oil. Fry each tortilla for 10 seconds per side until soft, do not let them crisp. Set them on a plate lined with paper towels to cool slightly.
  5. Set a large rimmed baking sheet next to the stove. Dip each tortilla in the enchilada sauce mixture and place on the baking sheet. Reserve the remaining sauce.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350° F and begin assembling the enchiladas. Place a scant quarter cup of meat mixture down the middle of a tortilla. Top with 1 tablespoon of grated cheese, 1 tablespoon of the chopped green onion, and 1 tablespoon of the chopped olives. Carefully roll up and place seam down in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. You may need to squish them together so that they all fit in the pan. Save any leftover meat mixture as a topping for nachos or filling for quesadillas.
  7. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and remaining shredded cheese and bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and enchiladas are heated through.
  8. Garnish with leftover sliced green onion and the chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.

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Cheesecake Snacks Recipe

Cheesecake Snacks

Prep Time 5 minutes

Graham crackers are a terrific source of "hidden" whole grains. Kids don't have any idea they're good for them and topped with fruit spread and low fat cream cheese they have just the right combination of whole grain and protein to make the perfect after-school snack.

Use whichever fruit spread you like and complement it with fresh fruit of the same type, or switch it up by adding a different fresh fruit to the top.

by Anne Coleman

What you'll need

  • 6 whole graham crackers - split in half
  • 4 ounces low fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup strawberry or other all-fruit spread
  • sliced fresh fruit, optional

Notes:

Serves 4

How to make it

  1. Combine cream cheese and fruit spread and stir until smooth.
  2. Spread on graham cracker halves and top with fresh sliced fruit if desired.
  3. Refrigerate for up to 1 hour, lightly covered.

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Spinach-Dip Bread Bowl Recipe

Spinach-Dip Bread Bowl

Prep Time 45 minutes

Okay, we secretly call this "80s Potluck Dip." Remember? With that sweet Hawaiian bread? And the Knorr soup mix? Yum. This version is healthier - with wheat bread, no MSG, extra spinach, and yogurt and cottage cheese swapped in for some of the mayo - but it's still totally scrumptious. If your children are repulsed by spinach, then don't let them wring it out - a process whereby a large soupy packet of vegetable turns into a fist-size ball of green dryer lint - but otherwise, this is a fun job. As is hollowing out the loaf, since the fact that the bowl is really bread - and you can tear it up and eat it afterward - will blow your kids away. Dinner's a party when appetizers become the main course.

by Catherine Newman

What you'll need

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • cup plain Greek 2 percent yogurt (if you can't get the Greek kind, then drain regular plain yogurt in a coffee-filter-lined sieve for a couple of hours so it gets nice and thick)
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 10-ounce box frozen spinach, thawed, drained, then squeezed dry by the handful
  • 1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts
  • coarsely chopped black pepper
  • Lemon
  • 1 round loaf bakery wheat bread, the top sliced off and diced into 1-inch cubes, and the inside torn out and cut or pulled into pieces

How to make it

  1. Heat oil in a wide frying pan over medium heat and saute onion with salt, stirring frequently, until it's very nicely browned, about 15 minutes. Add garlic right at the end, and saute, stirring, another minute before turning off the heat.
  2. Meanwhile, in a food processor whir together yogurt, cottage cheese, and mayonnaise until smooth. Add the slightly cooled onion mixture and spinach, and whir until nearly smooth.
  3. Scrape dip into a bowl, stir in water chestnuts, then season to taste with pepper, a squeeze or two of lemon juice, and more salt.
  4. Scoop into the hollowed loaf or - good-bye germs! - individually hollowed-out rolls, and serve with raw veggies and the bread innards, or try Homemade Tortilla Chips.

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Cheeseburger Pie Recipe

Cheeseburger Pie

Prep Time 15min Cook Time 15min

The holiday rush is on and before you rush off to grab dinner at a not-so-cheap-or-healthy food joint, consider this quick and easy pie. Not only does it taste just like a burger from the local drive-through, it also happens to cost less per person; about $1.10 per serving. This was a winner with my entire family as long as I used the onion powder option over the real onion. Add a green salad rather than fries and a homemade milkshake for a dinner that's both fast and economical - and healthier than the alternative.

by Anne Coleman

What you'll need

  • 1 can crescent rolls
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion, OR 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/3 cup chopped dill pickle slices
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons dill pickle juice
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 cups shredded American cheese, divided

Notes:

Yields 6 servings

How to make it

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Unroll crescent rolls and press into the bottom and up the sides of an 8 inch pie pan.
  3. Cook ground beef in a skillet until browned. Drain well.
  4. Stir in onion, chopped pickle, ketchup and mustard.
  5. Sprinkle with flour and add pickle juice and milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
  6. Remove from heat and add 1 cup of shredded cheese.
  7. Pour into the prepared crust and bake for 15 minutes, or until edges of crust are golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven and top with remaining cup of cheese. Let stand until cheese melts.
  9. Garnish with extra ketchup, mustard and pickle slices.

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A Farmer's Market Find: Spinach and Mushroom Quesadilla

A Farmer's Market Find: Spinach and Mushroom Quesadilla

Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 8 minutes

When spring rolls around, there's so much to choose from at the farmer's market. It's also a time where I can expose my family to fresh healthy foods and teach my child about where food comes from. Last week when we were at our local market my daughter became so enthralled by the mushroom stand and talked endlessly to the farmer about how mushrooms were grown. I then had a genius moment and gave an assignment and five dollars to get ingredients for a quesadilla. It could be created with whatever she wanted. When she returned she had a garlic bulb that a farmer gave her for free, fresh baby spinach, and a bag of - you guessed it - mushrooms. I actually wasn't sure she was going to eat a quesadilla filled with that many vegetables, but to my surprised she was not only proud of her creation - she licked the plate clean.

Farmer's markets are not only a way to spend time together while getting fresh groceries but a way to teach the next generation about healthy foods while creating a relationship with our local farmers. If you're brave enough to allow your kids to figure out dinner, give them a little change and ask them to find ingredients for a meal. It doesn't have to be a quesadilla, I just picked that because it was simple for her to understand. Maybe next time I'll ask her to find ingredients for lasagna.

Earthy mushrooms and bright garlicky spinach combine to create a cheesy meal that is packed with nutritious ingredients in this delicious quesadilla.

by Meredith Steele

What you'll need

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 2 to 3 cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup packed baby spinach
  • 2 whole grain or whole wheat tortillas
  • 1/3 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • Salsa, if desired

How to make it

  1. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and spinach and saute until the mushrooms are golden and the spinach has wilted. Add a pinch of salt to season. Remove to a plate.
  2. Place 1 tortilla in the same heated pan. Sprinkle half of the cheese on the tortilla evenly; add spinach and mushrooms. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on spinach and mushrooms and place the remaining tortilla on top. 
  3. Using a spatula, flip the quesadilla and continue to cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes until the bottom tortilla is golden and crisp. Transfer to a plate and slice. Serve with salsa, if desired.

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Cheese and Tomato Mini Quiches Recipe

Cheese and Tomato Mini Quiches

Cherry or grape tomatoes add a bite of sweetness to the cheesy filling in these savory little quiches. For smaller children, or appetizer-sized bites, cut the quiches into quarters.

Prep Time 20 minutes Cook Time 20 minutes

this came from from our provider by Annabel Karmel

I like to use cherry or grape tomatoes in these little quiches as they are nice and sweet and complement the cheesy filling well. For smaller children you can serve the quiches cut into quarters.

What you'll need

  • 1 7 1/2 ounce store-bought refrigerated pie crust
  • 8 cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon cream, or extra milk
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grate parmesan
  • scant 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar

How to make it

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Use a 3 1/2 inch round cookie cutter to cut out 8 pastry circles (re-roll trimmings if necessary) from the piecrust. Press the pastry carefully into 8 cups of a regular muffin tin and chill for 10 minutes. Alternatively you can make these in mini quiche pans.
  3. Cut each cherry tomato into quarters and set aside. Beat together the egg, milk, cream and Parmesan and season with a little salt and pepper. Put 4 tomato quarters in the base of each crust. Spoon in the egg mixture (approx. 1 tbsp per quiche), then top with the Cheddar.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the filling is set. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of each tart and gently ease out of the tin. Serve warm or cold.
  5. Recipe Tip: Can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days. Suitable for freezing. Reheat for 20-30 seconds in in an oven preheated to 300 F.

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Spinach and Feta-Topped Pork Chops Recipe

Spinach and Feta-Topped Pork Chops

Cook Time 25min

The classic Greek flavors of spinach and Feta cheese combine to make a delicious topping for these pork chops. Ready in 25 minutes and pretty enough to wow any table.

by Anne Coleman

What you'll need

  • 4 boneless center-cut pork chops 3/4-inch thick
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 - 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Feta cheese
  • 1 ounce low-fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt or 1/4 teaspoon table salt

Notes:

Yields 4 servings

How to make it

  1. Preheat broiler to HIGH and set rack to 6 inches below broiler.
  2. Combine flour with salt, pepper, oregano and garlic powder. Blend well.
  3. Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Dredge pork chops in flour mixture and brown in oil, 8 minutes per side. Remove from pan and keep warm on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  5. Add remaining Tablespoon olive oil to the same pan and add spinach and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until spinach is nearly dry.
  6. Stir together cream cheese, Parmesan and Feta. Add hot spinach to the cheese and mix well.
  7. Mound spinach and cheese onto each pork chop - about 1/3 cup each and place under broiler for 5 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from oven and serve.

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Cheese and Ham Crepes Recipe

Cheese and Ham Crepes

Crepes filled with savory fillings, and a simple green salad, make a delicious and quick supper. For a vegetarian option, use 1/2 a pound of thinly sliced mushrooms that have been sauteed in butter.

this came from from our provider by Annabel Karmel

Crepes filled with savory fillings make a delicious and quick supper (with a crisp green salad) and are a good way to use up any leftover crepes. Swap the ham for bacon if you have some in the refrigerator. Use your own favorite recipe for making the crepes or, if you want to use store-bought ones, make sure they are the savory type and not sweetened.

The cheese sauce does need to be quite thick (otherwise it runs out the sides of the crepe too much), and also you need good quality ham as the ones that have added water tend to weep a bit when baking. Vegetarians could substitute the ham with 1/2 pound thinly sliced mushrooms that have been sautéed in butter.

What you'll need

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 heaping tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • generous 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard, optional
  • 1/3 cup grated gruyere cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated sharp cheddar
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 4 crepes, approx. 8 inches in diameter
  • 4 slices (approx. 1/4 pound) good quality ham (not one packaged with extra water), cut into strips
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

How to make it

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, remove from the heat and stir in the flour to make a roux. Stir or whisk in the milk, a little at a time, then return the pan to a medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, for approximately 5 minutes, until the sauce is thick and smooth.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the mustard (if using) along with the gruyere, cheddar, and 2 tbsp of the Parmesan. The sauce should be quite thick. Season to taste with pepper and a very little salt (remember that the ham will be quite salty).
  4. Lay the 4 crepes out on a clean, flat surface and spoon a quarter of the sauce in a line down the centre of each pancake. Scatter the ham over the sauce then roll up each crepe to make a fat sausage shape. Carefully transfer the filled crepes to the prepared cookie sheet, putting them seam side down on the parchment paper.
  5. Scatter the remaining Parmesan carefully over the top of the crepes and bake for 15 minutes, until the crepes are crisp and brown on the edges and the base. Transfer to plates using a spatula and cool slightly before serving.

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Cheese and Cracker Snacks Recipe

Cheese and Cracker Snacks

Prep Time 20 minutes

An old snack standby in our house is packets of cheese and crackers. The kids love them but they can get expensive and there are usually too many preservatives for my liking. Making my own is not only economical, but healthier as I can control the fat content and the amount of preservative the kids are getting. Whip up the cheese ahead of time and spread it for the kids or let them do it themselves with a safe knife.

by Anne Coleman

What you'll need

  • 4 ounces low fat or fat free cream cheese
  • 1 cup low fat cheddar cheese - shredded
  • 96 snack crackers, 1 1/2 to 2 inches in size
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

Notes:

Makes 8 servings of 6 crackers each.

How to make it

  1. Combine cream cheese and cheddar in a blender with milk and pulse until very smooth.
  2. Stir in salt and paprika to taste.
  3. Spread evenly on 48 of the crackers. Top with remaining crackers and push down lightly.
  4. Serve immediately or store cheese covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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Cheese and Chile Potatoes with Squash

Cheese and Chile Potatoes with Squash

Potatoes are one of those breakfast foods that can pair perfectly well with eggs and vegetables. Add a sprinkle of your favorite cheese and you've got yourself a hearty breakfast or brunch side that completes any meal. For a quick shortcut, use ready-made salsa or pico de gallo.  

by Ericka Sanchez

What you'll need

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 garlic clove
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 serrano chile, top removed
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large Yukon potato, finely chopped
  • 2 Mexican squash, chopped in small pieces
  • 5 cilantro sprigs, chopped
  • 1 cup queso fresco, in large crumbles

How to make it

  1. In a medium stock pot, boil Roma tomatoes, serrano chile, garlic and 1/2 the onion until the tomato skins burst through their skin. Remove, set aside and let cool for 15 minutes.
  2. Chop the remaining 1/2 onion in strips. In a large skillet, heat oil and add potatoes. Cook for 10 minutes and add onion strips. Cook on medium-low heat until potatoes and onions are tender.
  3. In a blender, blend boiled tomatoes, onion, Serrano chile, garlic, cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 cup of water used to boil vegetables in. Blend until smooth.
  4. Pour salsa into cooking potatoes, add squash, adjust salt if needed, cover and cook for 10 minutes until squash cooks. Sprinkle with queso fresco, cover and set aside for cheese to melt;  approximately 5 to 10 minutes.

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Spinach and Cheese Egg-wich Recipe

Spinach and Cheese Egg-wich

Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes

You can feel great about every ingredient in this breakfast sandwich. It's so cheesy and delicious, you will never eat one from a drive-thru again.

by Christina Stanley-Salerno

What you'll need

  • 4 whole-wheat English muffins, toasted
  • 1 cup spinach, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 pieces of mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Helpful Tip:

Add Canadian bacon to this sandwich

Notes:

Yields 4 sandwiches

How to make it

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add in garlic and chopped spinach and cook until spinach is just wilted, about 1 minute. Set spinach aside in a small bowl and wipe out pan with a paper towel.
  2. Place the same skillet back over medium-low heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet and crack eggs gently into pan. Cook eggs until whites are almost completely set, about 2 minutes. Gently flip eggs over and top each egg with some spinach and a slice of cheese. Place the lid onto the skillet. Cook until cheese is starting to melt, about 30 seconds. Place each egg onto a toasted English muffin. Serve immediately.

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Cheddar Cheese and Chive Crackers

Cheddar Cheese and Chive Crackers

Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time 15 minutes

Curb snack time cravings with these simple and irresistible homemade Cheddar Cheese and Chive Crackers!  In just 3 easy steps you can have warm and crunchy homemade crackers that are better than any store-bought brand.

by Meredith Steele

What you'll need

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 1/2 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 5 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

How to make it

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a food processor, combine flour, cheese, butter, and salt. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add chives and pulse once to combine. Next, add water and pulse a few more times until the dough comes together and can be pinched together with your fingers.
  2. Place dough on a floured work surface and gather it into a disk with your hands. Sprinkle a little more flour onto the dough and roll it with a rolling pin until it is 1/8" thick. With a knife cut the dough into 1"x1" squares or use a small round pastry cutter.
  3. Place crackers onto a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until slightly golden. Allow to cool to the touch before serving.

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Spinach and Arugula Salad Recipe

Spinach and Arugula Salad

Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time 12 to 16 minutes

Two refreshing greens, cheese, pears, and crunchy walnuts combine to create a summery salad. Serve it as a side dish or a main course.

by Chef Eddie Blyden

What you'll need

  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 pears, cored and cut in 1/8ths
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, Reggiano or Grana Padano, shaved

Helpful Tip:

Make it Faster: To save time, buy pre-washed arugula and spinach.

Use a melon baller to core pears.

Shake the dressing in a mason jar instead of whisking.

Notes:

Servings: 4

How to make it

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place walnuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. When ready, remove from oven, and let cool.
  2. While the walnuts are toasting, combine 3/4 cup olive oil, red wine vinegar, shallots, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk everything together in a mixing bowl until smooth, or shake vigorously in a mason jar for approximately 15 seconds.
  3. Toss the pears in 1 tablespoon olive oil and grill in preheated grill pan for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Turn more if needed.
  4. In a large bowl combine spinach, arugula, toasted walnuts, grilled pears, half the Parmesan cheese, 1/3 cup vinaigrette, and a pinch of salt and pepper; toss gently. Divide into four salad bowls and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese.

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Cheddar and Walnut Bread Recipe

Cheddar and Walnut Bread

Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time 1 hour

by Anne Coleman

I've heard tell of those who find the football game secondary to the tailgate party. I'm one of those people. Don't get me wrong; I love a good football game, but the fun had with others on a crisp fall day sharing our favorite hearty fall foods just can't be beat.

What you'll need

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups finely shredded cheddar, I like sharp cheddar
  • 1 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Notes:

Makes 2 loaves

How to make it

  1. Mix butter and sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add eggs one at a time, blending after each addition.
  3. Sift together flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add to egg mixture alternately with milk. Mix well.
  4. Add cheese and nuts and blend until combined.
  5. Spoon into two greased and floured 9x5 loaf pans.
  6. Bake at 350° F for 1 hour until a toothpick inserted in the center of each loaf comes out clean.

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Chocolate Dump Cake Recipe

Chocolate Dump Cake Recipe

Prep Time 10min Cook Time 45min

by Anne Coleman

My husband is just as much a coffee lover as I am. Since we're also chocolate lovers and nothing goes better with coffee than chocolate, I like whipping up this super easy cake -- I don't have time for more right now!

What you'll need

  • 1 (5 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding
  • 2 1/3 cups milk
  • 1 (18.5 ounce) package chocolate cake mix, any brand
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Notes:
  • Yields 1 9x13 inch cake

How to make it

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease one 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
  3. Combine chocolate pudding and milk in a bowl and stir until thickened.
  4. Add dry cake mix and stir together well.
  5. Pour into the baking pan.
  6. Evenly spread the chocolate chips over the top of the cake.
  7. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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Carrot-Peach Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot-Peach Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time 20 minutes Cook Time 25-35 minutes

A few weeks ago, I was making cupcakes for a weekend dessert and discovered I had no pineapple. Since I desperately wanted to avoid an extra trip to the grocery store, I started poking around in my fridge.

Lo and behold, there were two over-ripe, sad looking peaches. I peeled them, tossed them in the blender, and used the puree instead of the pineapple, crossing my fingers that it would work. 

And it did! These cupcakes had an extra-summery flavor, I saved my fruit from ending up in the trash, and my carrot cake cupcakes didn't have the stringy bits of pineapple you sometimes end up with. If your end-of-summer peaches are looking less than perfect, this might be the ideal way to use them up!

by Janssen Bradshaw

What you'll need

CUPCAKES:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup peeled and pureed peaches
  • 1 cup finely grated carrots
  • 1/4 cup sweetened and shredded coconut

FROSTING:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Variations:

Sprinkle a little ground cinnamon on top for a special touch.

How to make it

  1. FOR CUPCAKES: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, bakign soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.
  3. In a larger mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, both sugar, oil, peach puree, and vanilla, until very well combined. Fold in the flour mixture and, when mostly combined, add the carrots and coconut. When everything is mixed, fill cupcake tins 3/4s full (you may have a bit extra batter). Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out cleanly. Let cool completely before frosting.
  4. FOR FROSTING: Beat the cream cheese and butter together with an electric mixer until very smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sifted poweder sugar and mix until well combined. Stir in the vanilla. Frost cooled cupcakes.

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Chocolate Chip Mummy Cookies

Chocolate Chip Mummy Cookies

Prep Time 25 min Cook Time 10-12 min

Use Pillsbury® chocolate chip cookies to jump-start Halloween dessert fun. Just criss-cross them with ready-to-spread fluffy white frosting.

by Pillsbury®

What you'll need

  • 1 Roll (16.5 oz)  Refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 container (12 oz) fluffy white whipped ready-to-spread frosting
  • 20 candy eyes

Helpful Tip:

A pastry tip with a 1/2-inch-wide opening works best for piping the frosting on these cookies. Look for pastry tips at craft stores or online.

How to make it

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, knead cookie dough and flour with hands until well mixed.
  2. On floured surface, roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with floured 4-inch gingerbread man-shaped cookie cutter. On ungreased cookie sheets, place cutouts 2 inches apart. Reroll dough and cut additional cookies.
  3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool 5 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 20 minutes.
  4. Spread thin layer of frosting on each cookie. Spoon remaining frosting into decorating bag fitted with flat basket weave tip #45. Squeeze bag to pipe frosting in crisscross pattern over cookies to look like mummy bandages. Attach candy eyes. Let stand until set, about 20 minutes.

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Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies

Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time 20 minutes

The other night, I was at a birthday party and something caught my eye... the dessert table. Ok, well I'm not going to lie the dessert table always catches my eye but this one sparked a desire. There placed right next to each other was the most elegant carrot cake and the most scrumptious oatmeal cookies. Like a mad sale at the local culinary supply shop (or shoe store) I could not pick just one! On a normal day, I would have dived in and just had cake and cookies for dinner but I worked out like crazy that morning and couldn't bring myself to indulge. The skinny jeans are getting too tight these days, people! So, what did I do? Which one did I pick?

Neither - my kid, slipped, fell, probably hit her head on something, and we had to go home, cakeless and cookieless. Of course the next morning, I still could not shake the craving. Thankfully, I had carrots and I had oatmeal and 35 minutes later... I had carrot cake oatmeal cookies. It was fabulous and worth every bite.

by Meredith Steele

What you'll need

  • 1 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 2 cups shredded carrots (about 4 whole carrots)
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Notes:
  • makes 25 to 30 cookies

How to make it

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside until needed.
  3. In a stand mixer, combine butter and sugars. Beat with a paddle attachment on medium-high until the smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. With a spatula, scrape the sides of the bowl and add eggs and vanilla; beat until incorporated. Add flour and mix until just combined. Next, add oats, carrots, raisins, and pecans. On low, stir until combined.
  4. Using a spoon or a small ice cream scoop with a release, drop spoonfuls  of the dough 2 inches apart onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Place in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cookies are slightly golden and set. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, honey, and milk. Whisk until smooth. Place in a piping bag or a plastic food bag. With scissors, snip off a small corner. Squeeze the icing out and drizzle over cooled cookies. Store leftover cookies in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

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Chocolate Chip Ice Box Cake Recipe

Chocolate Chip Ice Box Cake Recipe

An icebox cake is a super fun party cake, and this recipe is my take on a classic. Chocolate chip cookie stripes appear when you slice into this delicious dish, which make it whimsical yet sophisticated. This is the perfect dessert for the kiddos (think frozen cookies and milk!), but elegant enough for a grown-up dinner party.

by Lucy Schaeffer

What you'll need

  • 2 ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 30 Chips Ahoy (or similar) cookies
  • ¼ cup shaved chocolate (optional)

Helpful Tip:

This cake will melt quickly! Place it back in freezer after serving to preserve it. The trick to making neat slices in any ice cream or ice box cake? Run sharp knife under hot water and wipe dry before cutting cake. Crush up some of the chips ahoy cookies and sprinkle over icing before freezing the cake for the final time. Add colorful sprinkles to the top of the cake for a more, festive, party look. Add 1 tablespoon of instant espresso powder or vanilla extract to the cream before whipping to add another level of sophistication to the dessert.

Notes:

If you plan on freezing for longer than 3 more hours, cover cake with plastic wrap or foil after cake has been in the freezer for about an hour and icing is set. This will ensure that cake does not pick up odors from your freezer.

How to make it

  1. Whip 1 ½ cups of the heavy cream with 2 tablespoons of the sugar with an electric mixer until soft peaks form to make whipped cream.
  2. Stack 6 cookies on top of each other, spreading about 1 tablespoon of your fresh whipped cream mixture in between each cookie. Repeat until you have 5 stacks of 6 cookies with cream centers.
  3. Position cookie stacks on their sides, next to one another on a baking or long platter sheet that's small enough to fit in your freezer. Carefully cover the stacks with foil or plastic wrap and freeze immediately until firm (at least 3 hours and up to 1 week).
  4. Combine the remaining 1 ¼ cups of heavy cream with the remaining sugar and whip in mixer until stiff peaks form to make whipped cream.
  5. After at least 3 hours, remove cookie stacks from freezer.
  6. Make sure stacks are lined up next to each other in an even row andspread the fresh whipped cream evenly over cookie stacks to form one long log/rectangle. Use an offset or rubber spatula to smooth out the cream.
  7. Place mini chips ahoy in a straight line down the top of the cake, and put cake back into the freezer, uncovered for at least 3 more hours or until completely frozen.
  8. Before serving, sprinkle with shaved chocolate, if desired.
  9. Slice cake into thin slices with a sharp knife and serve immediately after removing from freezer.

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Cauliflower Romesco Sauce Recipe

Cauliflower Romesco Sauce

Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 15 minutes

Don't let the exotic sounding "Romesco" intimidate you from trying out this super simple recipe that was passed down to Helen from her aunt Gom. Watch Helen whip up the dish on YouTube here

by Helen Cavallo

What you'll need

  • 2 cups chopped cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup San Marzano tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Pinch Kosher salt
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

How to make it

  1. Roast the cauliflower for 10 to 12 minutes at 450 degrees. 
  2. In a saute pan, saute the garlic in olive oil until it's golden brown. 
  3. Break the tomotoes apart with your hands, drop them in the pan with the browing garlic and let them reduce down. Add a half of a cup of water to help the tomatoes to break down. 
  4. Add the roasted cauliflower and tomatoes to the sauted garlic and mix the ingredients together.
  5. Once reduced, add a drizzle of the balsamic vinegar and the olive oil. 
  6. Pulse in a food processor until the mixture is creamy smooth and has a rich, orange color. Add a little bit more olive oil and salt until the taste of the mix matches your preference.

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Butternut Squash Pie Recipe

Butternut Squash Pie

Prep Time 1h Cook Time 1h

A delicious alternative to traditional pumpkin pie, this scrumptious squash creation is also a real kid-pleaser. Who says you can't pack vegetables into dessert?

by Betsy Block

What you'll need

  • Small (2-pound) butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 frozen deep-dish piecrust
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs

Notes:

Yields 12 servings

How to make it

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Halve the squash lengthwise, then let your helper scoop out the seeds. Line a baking pan with foil and put the squash in the pan, cut sides up. Rub the cut sides with oil, then bake until very soft, about 1 hour.
  2. Half an hour after you put the squash into the oven, take the piecrust out of the freezer; defrost until soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Have your sous-chef prick the bottom of the crust with a fork, then bake it next to the squash until the edges just start to brown, 5 to 8 minutes.
  3. Take the squash and piecrust out of the oven and set them on a rack to cool. Turn oven down to 375 degrees.
  4. When the squash has cooled a bit, let your helper scoop the flesh into a blender or the bowl of a food processor, then add the cream, sugar, spices, and eggs. Pulse, scraping down the sides as needed, until smooth.
  5. Put the cooled pie shell on a cookie sheet and pour in squash mixture. Bake until filling is set and crust is golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. (After 20 minutes, check the crust; if it's getting too brown, tent a large piece of aluminum foil over the pie while it finishes baking.)
  6. Cool pie for 15 minutes before serving; if you want to save it for later, cool it to room temperature (about 2 hours) and then store in the fridge. (Bring the pie back to room temperature before serving.)

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Vegetarian Cauliflower Ceviche Tostadas

Vegetarian Cauliflower Ceviche Tostadas

Prep Time 20 minutes

It's the new year and it's time to get those resolutions in gear. One of the most popular resolutions made when the year begins is eating more vegetables. By seasoning with flavorful spices and citrus juices, you can turn a colorful salad into a satisfying meatless meal. Similar to fish ceviche, this delicious salad is spicy, tangy and crunchy. My favorite way to enjoy it is on top of baked tostadas or wrapped inside a warm corn tortilla in a taco. Omit the diced Serrano chili for a mild version your kids will love.

by Ericka Sanchez

What you'll need

  • 4 cups spinach, rinsed
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets, chopped
  • 1 cup cucumber, chopped
  • 1 large mango, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 5 cilantro sprigs, chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 large Serrano chili, finely diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tostadas

How to make it

  1. In a medium bowl, toss all vegetables, mango, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper until well combined.
  2. Refrigerate for half an hour.
  3. To serve, scoop 3-4 tablespoons onto tostadas and serve.

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Carrot, Zucchini and Raisin Salad Recipe

Carrot, Zucchini and Raisin Salad

Prep Time 15 minutes

This salad bar staple gets an update with the addition of vitamin packed zucchini. Raw veggies never tasted so good.

by Christina Stanley-Salerno

What you'll need

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 6 medium sized carrots, shredded (enough to make 2 cups)
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Helpful Tip:

Add in chopped walnuts for a yummy crunch.

Notes:

Servings: 4

How to make it

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, salt, pepper, cumin, mayonnaise and milk.
  2. Dump in carrots, zucchini and raisins and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Serve.

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Cashew Chicken Stir-fry Recipe

Cashew Chicken Stir-fry

This nutty mix of veggie impostors is guaranteed to cause a stir!

by Cindy A. Littlefield

What you'll need

  • Fruit Roll-Ups, 2 to 3 green rolls and 1 red roll
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hulled sunflower seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups dried apple rings
  • 3/4 cup dried pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup cashews

How to make it

  1. First, make a bunch of pea pods. For each one, cut a 2 1/4-inch square from a green fruit roll. Arrange five or six sunflower seeds (for peas) on the strip in a vertical row, just off center. Fold the strip in half over the seeds and press the edges together to seal them. Use a butter knife or kitchen scissors to trim the sealed edges into a rounded pod shape.
  2. Next, cut the red fruit roll into thin pepper strips and the apple rings into bite-size chicken pieces. For the full effect, combine the pea pods, pepper strips, chicken pieces, pineapple chunks, and cashews in a frying pan. Or serve the mix on plates with chopsticks. Makes three cups.

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Beautifully Brined Turkey Recipe

Beautifully Brined Turkey

Prep Time Brine for one hour per pound (usually overnight)

Don't let brining intimidate you. You'll get great, savory flavor with these simple steps to the perfect bird.

by Helen Cavallo

What you'll need

  • 2 cups of kosher salt
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 gallons of water
  • 3 oranges cut in half
  • 4 lemons cut in half
  • 8 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 1 bunch of fresh herbs: thyme, rosemary, oregano
  • 7 lb bag of ice

How to make it

1. The night before you want to cook your turkey:

Add 1 gallon of water to a large stockpot with sugar and salt simmer over medium heat.  Allow sugar and salt to dissolve. Do not boil. Simply heat until hot, then let the water cool.

2. If your refrigerator is full, remember you can use a large cooler (don’t forget to line it with an unscented garbage bag) or whatever temperature-controlled vessel can hold your turkey.  Add all your aromatics and squeeze juice from the citrus in as well. Add half the bag of ice to brine and add turkey (giblets removed).  Then pour another gallon of water (or orange juice) to the mixture and submerge the bird.  Everyone’s turkey will want to float, so add a heavy plate to keep it submerged.  Place brine and turkey in the fridge (or cooler).

3. For day of dinner:

Remove turkey from brine, then pat it dry. Spread unsalted butter and sprinkle chopped fresh herbs all over the turkey.  Don’t forget to cook the bird; most turkeys come with roasting instructions relevant to the size of the bird and if it's stuffed or unstuffed.  Make sure the internal temperature of turkey reaches 165 degrees before serving.

Then relax. You’re going to knock everyone’s socks off!

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Caterpillar Bento Box

Caterpillar Bento Box

Prep Time 20 Minutes

Your hungry little caterpillar will love this butterfly themed bento box. Fruits and veggies are so much more exciting (and more readily eaten) when they are cut into fun shapes. Of course feel free to adapt the box to suit your child’s tastes, but remember that they may be willing to try new things when they are presented in such a fun way.

by Alison Needham

What you'll need

  • 1/4 cup cooked butterfly-shaped pasta (bowtie), tossed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt
  • 1 slice of lunch meat
  • 1 slice of yellow cheese
  • 1 slice of white cheese
  • Cantaloupe, sliced from the end of the melon
  • Apple, sliced through the midsection
  • Flower-shaped cookies
  • 10 slices of cucumber
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 radishes
  • 1 olive slice
  • Kale or lettuce, for garnish
  • Special equipment: 2 layer bento box or side-by-side compartmented lunch container, 4 silicone muffin cups, flower-shaped cookie cutter

How to make it

  1. Line a twp-section bento box with lettuce, if desired.  Roll the lunch meat into a cylinder and place in one section. Cut the yellow cheese slice in half, then cut each half into a wing shape using kitchen shears or a sharp knife. Cut the white cheese into small circles and use them as “dots” on the wings. Place the wings on either side of the lunch meat. Garnish with a sliver of cucumber skin that you’ve shaped or folded to look like an antenna. Place the cooked pasta in one of the silicone cups. Set that portion of the bento box aside.
  2. Nestle the remaining three silicone muffin cups in the kale in the empty layer of the bento box, two on the top corners and one in the bottom middle. Stagger the cucumber slices over each other in the remaining open space (over the kale or lettuce) so that it resembles a caterpillar. Use two small slices from the tip of one carrot for the eyes, and half a sliced olive (or a slice of celery) for the mouth. Use another sliver of cucumber to shape into an antenna.
  3. Press the flower-shaped cookie cutter into the melon and apple slices until you have enough flowers to fill one of the silicone cups. Using a knife, remove a notch down the length of the carrot and radishes. Repeat, spacing the notches evenly around the vegetables until they are notched all around. Cut the carrot and radishes into slices (they will look like flowers) and fill another of the silicone cups. Place the cookies in the remaining cup.

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Carrot Ribbons and Peas

Carrot Ribbons and Peas

Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 8 t0 10 minutes

Spring is the perfect time to introduce kids to vegetables, especially in-season carrots and peas. This simple recipe makes carrots more inviting by making them look like pasta. All it takes is a veggie peeler and a quick saute and you have yourself an irresistibly delicious side dish fitting for any meal.

by Meredith Steele

What you'll need

  • 4 carrots
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh herbs like parsley or thyme, optional

Notes:

makes 4 servings

How to make it

  1. With a vegetable peeler, peel the carrots into long ribbons.
  2. In a saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add carrot ribbons and saute until the carrots begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Next, add peas and saute for an additional 3 minutes or until the peas are cooked and are bright green. Add salt to taste and herbs, if using. Serve.

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Baked Brunch Eggs Recipe

Baked Brunch Eggs

Prep Time 15min Cook Time 45min

Make-ahead meals are a must during the busy holiday season. My mom understood that well when she started making this egg dish for Christmas morning many years ago. It gets lots of flavor from the addition of sautéed red bell peppers and mushrooms, and it's cheesy enough so that children love it as much as grownups do.

by Alison Needham

What you'll need

  • 6 cups grated jack cheese,, divided
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 ounces cooked ham, slivered
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsely
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives

How to make it

  1. Melt butter in a large skillet. Sauté onions and bell pepper with the mushrooms until veggies are tender and the liquid given off by the mushrooms has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Set aside and cool.
  2. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. Fill with half the grated cheese. Top with sautéed and ham, then sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove casserole from fridge and uncover. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs together with the flour, salt and pepper. Add the chives and parsley and mix well. Pour egg mixture over the cheese layers making spaces with a fork so the egg can settle to the bottom of the dish.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until puffed and golden and set in the middle.

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Campfire Meatballs Recipe

Campfire Meatballs Recipe

A modified Italian favorite that will make campfire chefs out of everyone.

What you'll need

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 3/4 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/2" slices
  • 2 cups prepared spaghetti sauce
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Garlic bread sticks (optional)

How to make it

  1. In medium bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, 1/4 cup water, garlic salt and pepper, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 24 meatballs.
  2. Cut four 18" x 12" long sheets heavy duty aluminum foil. Place equal amounts of meatballs and zucchini in center of each and top each with 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce. Bring shorter edges of foil together over the center; fold down loosely to seal, allowing room for heat expansion and circulation. Fold in open ends to seal.
  3. Place packets on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, uncovered, 16 to 18 minutes or until meatball centers are no longer pink and zucchini is tender, turning packets once.
  4. To serve, carefully unfold ends and tops of packets; sprinkle cheese over meatballs. Serve with garlic bread sticks to dip into sauce. Makes 4 servings.

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Burgers And Dogs On The Grill Cake Recipe

Burgers And Dogs On The Grill Cake Recipe

This Great Cake Contest entry was submitted by marcellag from Orefield, Pennsylvania: We had a friend over for burgers and dogs. I wanted a cake to go with the theme of the dinner. This was my first attempt at making a grill cake.

What you'll need

  • Cake Ingredients
  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • 1 package vanilla instant pudding
  • 1/2 C oil
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1/2 C rum
  • 4 eggs
  • Glaze Ingredients
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 C water
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/2 C rum
  • Frosting
  • 1 tub (8-ounces) Cool Whip
  • 1 small package chocolate instant pudding
  • 1/2 - 1 C milk
  • About 1 C powdered sugar
  • Black food paste
  • Decorating
  • Blackberry jam - homemade or purchased - optional

How to make it

  1. Cake: You can use any boxed cake mix you wish or your favorite cake recipe. I used a rum cake that we love. Rum Cake: Do not follow directions on the cake box. Grease and flour two or three 8" pans. Mix all cake ingredients as listed. Pour into pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 - 60 minutes or until tested done with a toothpick. Leave in pan and allow to cool before glazing.
  2. Glazing: Melt butter in pan. Add water and sugar; boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Then add Rum. Allow to glaze to cool slightly. With cake still in the pans, prick each cake layer with toothpick. Pour glaze over cake, allowing it to soak into the cake.
  3. Frosting: Mix milk with pudding. Slowly add pudding mixture into Cool Whip until you get the color you want. I used about 1/2 - 3/4 of the pudding mixture. Add powdered sugar to thicken up. Refrigerate to allow it to firm up.
  4. Assembling: Place 1 cake layer on serving platter - place a little jam on top, top with 2nd layer, a little more jam, then the 3rd layer.
  5. Decorating: Frost sides of cake with brown frosting. There should be some frosting left. Put about 1 cup into a small bowl. Add a very little bit of black food paste (use a toothpick) to get a nice gray color. Frost the top with gray icing. Use decorating gel to draw grate lines on top of the grill. I took the some of the candies apart so that I had individual hamburgers and hot dogs. I put a few on the grill along with some buns for toasting."

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Leftover Chicken Pesto Wraps Recipe

Leftover Chicken Pesto Wraps Recipe

The best parts of cooking a big meal for your family are the leftovers! Turn a roasted chicken into a delicious Chicken Pesto Wrap lunch; you can even make your own homemade pesto sauce. Adding cheese lends this simple recipe extraordinary flavor. These Chicken Pesto Wraps would also make great after-school snacks!

What you'll need

  • ½ - ¾ cup pesto sauce
  • ¾ pound roasted chicken, shredded
  • 1 small ball fresh mozzarella
  • 4 wraps (I love FlatOut flatbread wraps)
  • 1 roasted red pepper

Helpful Tip:

Using store-bought pesto is fine for this dish, but if you want the best flavor, make your own! It's easy, fast and fun… and the flavor can't be beat.

How to make it

Leftover Chicken Pesto Wraps step 1

1. Combine ½ cup of the pesto and chicken in a bowl and stir well to mix. Add more pesto, if desired, for a more intense flavor.

2. Slice the mozzarella into ¼ inch slices.

3. Lay out the wraps and place slices of mozzarella in one line down the center.

4. Chop the roasted red pepper to a ¼ inch dice. Divide evenly between the wraps, sprinkling on top of the mozzarella.

Leftover Chicken Pesto Wraps step 5

5. Divide the chicken mixture evenly among the wraps, spooning onto the cheese and red peppers.

6. Roll the wraps: start at one end and wrap around the filling. Continue to tightly roll until all the wrap has been used.

7. Cut in half and arrange on plates. Serve .

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Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

Prep Time 3 hours Cook Time 25-30 minutes

Cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite foods on earth. 

So with Easter approaching, it only made sense to make a carrot cake version. 

The filling, stuffed with dried pineapple, coconut, and chopped pecans, was everything I could have hoped for.

Topped with a cream cheese drizzle, they were the idea Easter morning breakfast! 

by Janssen Bradshaw

What you'll need

DOUGH:

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk, room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup finely grated carrot (about 1 carrot)
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

FILLING:

  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup dried pineapple, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted

FROSTING:

  • 2 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2-4 Tablespoons milk or half-and-half

Variations:

If desired, add 1/4 cup raisins to filling

How to make it

  1. In a stand mixer, combine yeast, sugars, water, milk, vanilla and egg, whisking until well combined. Using the dough hook, add the flour, spices, and salt and mix on medium speed for about 5 minutes. It will be very wet. Add the shredded carrots, then turn themachine on and, while running, add the butter 1 Tablespoon at a time. Let mix for 5 more minutes. Add 1/4 cup more flour and let it knead another minute (it will still be sticky).  
  2. Place the dough into a greased mixing bowl, cover and let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. 
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
  4. Punch down the dough, then turn it onto a well-floured surface, and knead the dough, adding a bit of flour if needed to keep it from sticking. Cover and let rest for five minutes. 
  5. While the dough is resting, combine all filling ingredients except the melted butter, mixing well. Set aside.
  6. Roll the dough into a 12-inch square. Spread the melted butter over the dough, then sprinkle the filling evenly over the whole square. Roll tightly into a log, then slice into eight equal pieces. 
  7. Place the eight rolls into a greased 9" round pan and cover. Let rise for about an hour in a warm place. 
  8. Bake for 25-30 minute suntil the tops are browned. Cool about 20 minutes.
  9. For the frosting, beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth then whisk in the powdered sugar. Add the milk 1 Tablespoon at a time until it's at a thick, but pourable consistency. Drizzle over the mostly-cooled cinnamon rolls.

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Slow-Cooker Lamb in Yellow Mole Sauce

Slow-Cooker Lamb in Yellow Mole Sauce

Yellow mole sauce gets its name from the corn flour added to the sauce for thickness. Not really yellow in color, this sauce is reddish due to dried guajillo chiles, combined with tomatillo and oregano. Big pieces of vegetables are added to the simmering sauce near the end of the cooking process. A perfect complement to red meat.

by Ericka Sanchez

What you'll need

  • 4 pounds Shepherd's Pride Lamb shoulder chops, cut in bite size pieces
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 mint sprigs
  • 5 guajillo chiles, seeds and veins removed
  • 5 tomatillos, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons corn flour
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large Yukon gold potato, sliced in bite-sized pieces
  • 2 large carrots, sliced in bite-sized pieces
  • 2 Mexican squash, sliced in bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup fresh green beans, ends removed and chopped in thirds
  • lime juice and onion slices for garnish

How to make it

  1. Soak guajillo chiles in water for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Place soaked guajillo skins in a blender. Add tomatillos, corn flour, garlic cloves, cloves, black pepper, salt and two cups of the water guajillo chiles were soaked in. Blend until smooth.
  3. In a 5-quart slow cooker, combine meat, blended guajillo sauce, onion, oregano, garlic, salt and mint sprigs.  Add enough water to cover ingredients. Add potatoes and carrots.  Cook for 6 hours on low.
  4. Add squash and green beans and cook for 1-2 hours more until tender.

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Carrie's Beef Diablo Recipe

Carrie's Beef Diablo Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 8 hours

From the kitchen of Carrie Saxe in Kent, Washington, this recipe brings a little bit of heat and a lot of delicious flavor.

What you'll need

  • 2 to 3 potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 3- to 4-lb. beef pot roast, boneless
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

How to make it

  1. Place onions and potatoes in bottom of slow cooker. Place roast on top of onions and potatoes.
  2. Make a smooth paste out of flour, mustard, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and sugar. Spread paste over roast.
  3. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.

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Junior Mints Cupcake Recipe

Junior Mints Cupcake Recipe

These cupcakes have a very sophisticated look. I mean, who isn't a sucker for a mint garnish? And the black, white, and green make for quite a presentation! That's just the aesthetic; let's talk about what's really important: taste! The whipped-cream icing creates a light and airy contrast to the deep, rich, dark cake. Elegant and delicious, give these a try and I know they will become part of your entertaining repertoire!

by Lucy Schaeffer

What you'll need

  • 1 box Devil's Food Cake Mix (like Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe)
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon mint extract
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 18 junior mints
  • 18 mint leaves

Helpful Tip:

Add 1 ½ tablespoons of cocoa powder to the heavy cream before whipping for a delicious chocolate whipped cream icing. Add some vanilla extract to the whipped cream icing. Want a neat presentation but don't have a piping bag? Pipe on your icing using a Zip lock bag. Scrap icing into a large zip lock bag; twist the bag at the top to bring the frosting towards one corner of the bag. Then, just snip off a small piece of the corner and pipe away!

Notes:

Cupcakes can be made 1 day in advance and refrigerated. It's best to ice at the last minute but if you are pressed for time, you may ice the cupcakes up to 5 hours in advance and refrigerate (covered).

How to make it

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place heavy cream and sugar in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 20 minutes.
  4. Place 18 cupcake liners in two 12-cup cupcake pans.
  5. Combine cake mix, water, oil, eggs, and mint extract in a large bowl. Mix with an electric mixer on low, or mix by hand for 2 minutes.
  6. Pour batter into prepared cups, filling each about ¾ of the way.
  7. Bake your cupcakes for 18 - 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Remove cupcakes from the oven and allow them to cool completely in the pan for at least 20 minutes.
  9. Finish your icing: remove the bowl of heavy cream and sugar from the fridge (after it has chilled for 20 minutes).
  10. Pour the heavy cream and sugar mixture into the bowl of a standing mixer. Beat on high until stiff peaks form.
  11. When cupcakes are completely cool, place a tablespoon-sized dollop of icing on top of each cupcake.
  12. Garnish cupcakes with 2 junior mints and 1 mint leaf each.

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Judy's Cheese Bread Recipe

Judy's Cheese Bread

Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 35 minutes

There is nothing more wickedly delicious than a loaf of sourdough bread that's been spiked with half a pound of jack cheese and drizzled with butter. My mother-in-law shared this fantastic recipe with us, and we've found it's wonderful with soup, with chili, and even on its own as an appetizer. Because it is cut into chunks before baking, it's easy to pull it apart right at the table. Make two - and you might just have enough!

by Alison Needham

What you'll need

  • 1 loaf round sourdough bread, unsliced
  • 1/2 pound grated jack cheese (1 eight-ounce package)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, cut into thin slivers
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted

How to make it

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Cut bread into horizontal slices, about 1 inch apart, stopping before you cut through the bottom of the loaf.
  3. Cut bread in the opposite (vertical) direction in the same manner, creating diagonal shaped cubes, taking care not to cut through to the bottom.
  4. Carefully stuff the space in between each cube with cheese, onions and parsley, then drizzle with melted butter.
  5. Wrap in foil and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Unwrap the top of the loaf and bake for 15 minutes more, to crisp up the crust. Serve immediately.

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