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Chicken on a Stick with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Chicken on a Stick with Peanut Dipping Sauce

by Alison Needham

These Asian inspired skewers are usually the hit of the party. They are wonderful served with the peanut sauce alone, but also make a fantastic lettuce wrap. I often find it necessary to double the recipe when feeding a crowd.

Yield: 12

What you'll need

  • Juice of one large lemon
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds of chicken tenders
  • 12 wooden skewers
  • Peanut sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger root (either finely minced or grated)
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of minced cilantro
  • Pinch of sugar

How to make it

  1. Place soy sauce, honey, oil, and garlic in a large zip-top bag and squish to combine. Add chicken, seal bag and shake to coat. Refrigerate for one hour or overnight.
  2. Make the peanut sauce. Whisk peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar and water until smooth. Stir in ginger, scallion, garlic, cilantro and a pinch of sugar. If the sauce still seems too thick add a bit more water until you get your desired consistency. Cover and refrigerate.
  3. Place a cooking rack about 4-6 inches from the flame on your oven broiler. Cover a broiler pan with foil and place chicken tenders on the pan. Broil for 3-4 minutes on each side or until tenders are golden brown and cooked through.
  4. Insert the skewers lengthwise through the chicken tenders. Serve warm or at room temperature with the peanut dipping sauce.

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Cauliflower Rice Recipe

Cauliflower Rice

Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 5 minutes

Chef Helen Cavallo shares her secret to getting your kids to eat their veggies with her recipe for cauliflower rice. A recipe so easy, you'll be laughing! See Helen turn the sterotypically bland cauliflower into a delicious dish here.

by Helen Cavallo

What you'll need

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 dab of butter
  • 1 sprinkle of Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pinch kosher salt

How to make it

  1. Chop cauliflower into florets and pulse in food processor until the cauliflowe resembles little "grains."
  2. Drizzle olive oil in saute pan.
  3.  Add "grains" to pan and stir so that they are coated with olive oil.
  4. Place on stove over medium heat, add the water and mix.
  5. Once the "grains" are fluff and soft to the taste... you're done! Plate it and add a little butter and parmesan cheese to your liking. Enjoy!

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Citrus Salad Recipe

Citrus Salad

Prep Time 20min

This colorful "salad" is perfect on weekend mornings. The fresh, bright flavors of the oranges and grapefruit awaken the senses and put everyone in a festive mood. Perhaps the best part about this dish is that all it requires of me in the morning is taking it out of the fridge.

by Alison Needham

What you'll need

  • 6 navel oranges
  • 3 grapefruits
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • juice from 1 lime
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • zest from 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons raw (turbinado) sugar

Notes:

Serves 6-8

How to make it

  1. Cut off orange peel of 5 oranges with a sharp knife, including all the white pith, leaving behind just the flesh of the oranges. Cut oranges into thin slices and arrange onto a platter.
  2. Cut off grapefruit peel in same manner and cut fruit into "supremes" or segments, leaving behind the white membrane. Arrange over orange slices.
  3. Finely grate the zest from the lemon and lime and place in a small bowl. Squeeze the juice from the remaining orange into the bowl as well as the juice from the lemon and lime.
  4. Drizzle juice mixture over the oranges and grapefruit and sprinkle with raw sugar. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, preferably overnight.

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Grilled Turkey with Black Bean Salsa Recipe

Grilled Turkey with Black Bean Salsa Recipe

Quick grilling treat.

What you'll need

  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 lb. turkey tenderloins
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • One 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • One 8-3/4 oz. can corn, drained
  • 1/3 cup chopped tomato
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime

How to make it

  1. In small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper; sprinkle one half of mixture over turkey. Preheat charcoal grill for direct-heat cooking. Grill 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, or until meat is no longer pink in center and meat thermometer reaches 160 degrees. Allow tenderloins to stand 10 minutes before serving.
  2. In a medium non-stick skillet, over medium-high heat, saute the onion and jalapeno pepper in oil 2 to 3 minutes or until onion softens. Add beans, corn, tomatoes, remaining chili powder, cumin, salt, cayenne pepper and cilantro. Cook 25 to 30 minutes or until mixture is heated throughout. To serve, squeeze lime wedge over each serving. Serves 4.

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Grilled Salmon Tacos with Lime Slaw and Mango Salsa

Grilled Salmon Tacos with Lime Slaw and Mango Salsa

Prep Time 20 minutes Cook Time 30 minutes

Believe it or not, of the few foods my pickiest child will eat, salmon tops the list! Because it is so rich, salmon takes especially well to the subtle heat from this spice rub, and grilling gives it just the right amount of smoky charred flavor. The slaw and salsa take only moments to prepare, and are the perfect accompaniments to these zesty tacos. But if you're short on time, fresh mango salsa is available at many grocers.

by Alison Needham

What you'll need

  • 1 1/2 pound salmon filet with skin on
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced

FOR THE SLAW

  • 1 bag shredded cabbage, or 10 ounces
  • Handful chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, from 1-2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Pinch salt and chile powder

FOR THE SALSA

  • 1 mango, skinned and cut into small dice
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • Handful chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 juice lime
  • Pinch salt

Notes:

Yield: 4 servings

How to make it

  1. Pat the salmon dry. Combine the chile powder, sugar, salt and cumin in a small bowl and sprinkle over the surface of the flesh-side of the salmon. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the slaw. Whisk mayo with lime juice, sugar, salt and chile powder in a large bowl. Add the cabbage, cilantro and onions and toss well to coat with the lime dressing. Cover and refrigerate.
  3. Prepare the salsa. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Taste for seasoning, cover and refrigerate.
  4. Spray the grill with cooking spray and light a medium-hot flame. To test heat on a charcoal or gas grill, hold your hand about 5 inches over the flame. You should only be able to keep it there for 3-4 seconds.
  5. Place salmon skin side down on the grill, cover and cook for about 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish (cook fish about 10 minutes per inch of thickness). Flip salmon over, peel off the skin and cook for 3 minutes more, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove from heat and place it pink flesh up on a plate. (The underside of the skin will be an unattractive gray color).
  6. Place the corn tortillas on the grill for a few seconds a side to warm up. Flake fish and divide evenly between the tortillas. Top with lime cilantro slaw and mango salsa. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

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Grilled Pound Cake Sandwiches with Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread

Grilled Pound Cake Sandwiches with Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread

Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 1 minute

Warm, gooey, fresh! What could be better than this unbeatable combination of juicy summer berries and chocolate sandwiched between toasted cake slices?

What you'll need

  • 8 slices pound cake 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread, such as Nutella
  • 1/2 pint raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Helpful Tip:

Make it Faster: If you are making these for a crowd, instead of slicing the pound cake vertically, slice it horizontally. Grill the long rectangular sandwiches and cut them after grilling.

Variations:

Substitution(s): Use sliced bananas in place of the raspberries.

How to make it

  1. Heat grill to medium. On one side of two slices of pound cake spread about 1-1/2 teaspoons chocolate-hazelnut. Top one slice with one quarter of the raspberries and the second piece of pound cake, spread-side down. Brush butter on outside faces of the sandwiches. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
  2. Grill 1 minutes turning half-way through.

Nutritional Information

Servings per Recipe: 4

Amount Per Serving: 1 sandwich

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Banana Dog in a Bun Recipe

Banana Dog in a Bun Recipe

This is the coolest lunch ever, not to mention the easiest, and will be the envy of your kids' classmates. If peanut butter is off limits at your child's school, use cream cheese as a spread instead.

by Lucy Schaeffer

What you'll need

  • 1 hot dog bun (whole wheat, if possible)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (or cream cheese)
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry or other jam (or honey, if preferred)
  • 1 whole banana
  • Raisins, shredded coconut or chopped peanuts

How to make it

  1. Spread one inner surface of a split hot dog bun with peanut butter or cream cheese. Spread the other side with jam or honey. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in your child's lunch bag. Also, pack a whole banana (in the peel) and a small container of toppings, such as raisins, coconut, peanuts or whatever else you can think of.
  2. At lunchtime, your child can peel the banana and place it in the bun, sprinkle on the toppings and eat.

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Clone Trooper Cakes

Clone Trooper Cakes

Celebrate your love for cupcakes and clone troopers with these tasty treats! They are easy to make and even easier to eat! Decorate them ahead of time or let your party guests customize their own clone trooper! Find this recipe and many more in The Star Wars Party Book by Mikyla Bruder from Chronicle Books.

this came from from our provider Lucasfilm

What you'll need

  • 1 box white or yellow cake mix
  • 48 white mini-cupcake paper shells
  • 1 mini-cupcake baking pan
  • 2 cans vanilla icing
  • 1 tube chocolate icing
  • 1 table knife
  • 1 small pastry tip (#3)

How to make it

  1. Follow the instructions on the cake mix box to prepare the batter.
  2. Place the mini-cupcake paper shells in the mini-cupcake baking pan. Fill the shells 2/3 full with the cake batter.
  3. Bake according to the directions on the box. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
  4. Scoop one heaping tablespoon of vanilla icing onto the top of a cupcake. Place the knife in the hot water. Remove the knife, wipe off any excess water and use the knife to spread the icing into a dome shape. Repeat for all the cupcakes.
  5. Put the round pastry tip on the tube of the chocolate icing and draw clone trooper helmet features, as pictured, onto each cupcake.Makes 48 cupcakes!

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Carrot Cole Slaw Recipe

Carrot Cole Slaw Recipe

Carrots steal the show in this easy-to-make cole slaw.

What you'll need

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

How to make it

  1. Combine olive oil, vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  2. In another medium sized bowl, combine carrots, parsley and golden raisins. Pour dressing over carrot mixture and toss.
  3. Let chill for one hour. Toss again before serving.

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Tiana's Heart-to-Heart Cookies Recipe

Tiana's Heart-to-Heart Cookies

Being the proprietress of one of New Orleans favorite restaurants, it's only fitting that Princess Tiana would serve an extra sweet treat on Valentine's Day. These heart-shaped sandwich cookies, filled with frosting and topped with sparkly pink sugar, are sure to please anybody's prince charming - even if he happens to be a frog.

by Cindy Littlefield

What you'll need

  • Batch of sugar cookie dough, homemade or store-bought*
  • Rolling pin, spatula, and cooling rack
  • Heart-shaped cookie cutter (a 2 1/4-inch-wide cutter works well)
  • Pink colored sugar
  • White or pink cookie icing
  • Butter knife
  • A few pieces of pink taffy or pink Star Burst candies
  • Waxed paper
  • Kitchen scissors or a kitchen knife

Notes:

* Note: if you're using store-bought dough, you may have to add some flour to stiffen it so the cookies will hold their shape while baking.

How to make it

  1. Roll out the cookie dough and cut out an even number of heart-shaped cookies. Sprinkle half of the cookies with colored sugar. Bake the cookies according to the recipe or package directions.
  2. Transfer the baked cookies to a rack to cool.
  3. Turn one of the plain cookies upside down so that the flat bottom faces up. Spread on cookie icing and then set one of the sugar-topped cookies down on top of it. Repeat this step until you've assembled all of the sandwich cookies.
  4. Now it's time to crown off the cookies with Tiana's special valentine emblem. Use the rolling pin to roll the taffy or Star Burst candies between waxed paper until it is very thin. (If the candy is too hard to roll, you can soften it in the microwave for 4 to 5 seconds.) Then use kitchen scissors or a knife to cut out a small candy crown for each cookie (a parent's job).
  5. Top each cookie with a candy crown, using a small dab of cookie icing to hold it in place.

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Fish In Foil Recipe

Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 30 minutes

There are also lots of instant-ish one-pot dinners you can make over a camp stove, if you can't wrangle a fire into flames in the rain. But here I'm going to try to offer you recipes here that might be useful even if you're not camping - recipes that could be made at home during normal life, where every trip to bathroom is not an adventure in entomology and arachnophobia. Yay. Even if you are not camping (in the pouring rain), try cooking fish this way on your charcoal or gas grill: the fish absorbs some of the smoky flavor while remaining deliciously moist and tender.

by Catherine Newman

What you'll need

  • 1 fillet of fish, very fresh
  • 1 lemon, very thinly sliced
  • butter
  • finely chopped herbs, (we usually use parsley)
  • salt and pepper
  • finely chopped garlic, (optional)

Notes:

Serves 4

How to make it

  1. Butter a large piece of foil, preferably heavy duty, and lay the fish in the middle of it.
  2. Salt and pepper it, arrange the lemon slices over the top, sprinkle with garlic, if you like, and dot with 3 or 4 tablespoons of butter.
  3. Now bring the long sides of the foil together at the top and fold over to seal, folding over and over until you are more or less flush with the fish, then pinch and roll the sides to seal.
  4. Cook the fish over hot coals for 7 to 30 minutes, just until it flakes with a fork. I know that's a huge range, but different types and thicknesses of fish and different heat of the coals are significant variables.
  5. Garnish the cooked fish with parsley and serve.

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Squash Frittata Recipe

Squash Frittata

Prep Time 30min

Veggie-filled frittatas are delightfully quick, versatile, and inexpensive. Here, cheerful summer squash is paired with the summery flavors of pesto - basil, parmesan, and pine nuts - though you could substitute a spoonful of prepared pesto if you have some handy. If your garden or market is spilling over with other vegetables, use them instead, cooked and added to the eggs with an herb and cheese of your choice.

by Catherine Newman

What you'll need

  • 1 pound green (zucchini) or golden summer squash, scrubbed and trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
  • kosher Salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 ounces freshly grated parmesan (1/2 - 1 cup, depending on your grater)
  • 2 tablespoons finely slivered basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

How to make it

  1. Slice the squash diagonally into very thin slices, then stack the slices and slice them into skinny matchsticks (if you're pressed for time, you can quarter the squash lengthwise and slice them).
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat, and add the squash with 1/2 teaspoon salt (less if you're using table salt). Sauté the squash, stirring and flipping occasionally, until they are wilted and browning, around 10 minutes.
  3. While the squash cooks, beat the eggs in a bowl, then beat in the parmesan, basil, pine nuts, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Scrape the cooked squash into the eggs, then return the pan to low and add the butter and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. Quickly pour in the eggs, then cover the pan and cook as slowly as possible, covered, until the eggs are mostly set -- around 10 minutes. If your skillet is oven-proof, slide it under the broiler for a minute or two to set the top; if it's not, slide the frittata onto a plate, flip it onto another plate, and slide it back into the pan to finish cooking for a minute or two.
  5. Meanwhile, in a very small pot or pan, boil the vinegar over medium-high heat with 1/2 teaspoon salt until it is reduced to a syrupy tablespoon (around 5 minutes). Brush this glaze over the finished frittata and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

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Bacon Hummus Recipe

Bacon Hummus

Prep Time 10 minutes

My husband is usually not a hummus fan, but when I made this version with bacon, I suddenly found myself with a half-empty bowl when I left the kitchen for ten minutes!

by Janssen Bradshaw

What you'll need

  • 4 slices bacon, cooked
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (with liquid set aside)
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon bacon grease
  • 2 Tablespoons reserved chickpea liquid
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

How to make it

  1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients except bacon. Process until smooth. 
  2. Crumble the bacon and set aside 2 Tablespoons. Add the rest to the food processor and pulse briefly to combine. 
  3. Scoop the hummus into a serving dish and top with the reserved bacon. Serve with chips, pitas, or veggies.

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Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Prep Time 45 minutes (plus 30 minutes refrigeration time) Cook Time 45 minutes

You can make the most of delectable strawberries and rhubarb by baking them in a pie. The bright red color, not to mention the taste, pleases any crowd.

What you'll need

Crust

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons ice water

Filling

  • 4 cups sliced strawberries
  • 2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 egg

Notes:

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

How to make it

  1. Place the flour, sugar, salt, butter and shortening into the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor. Blend until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the ice water, a tablespoon at a time. When the dough sticks together, remove it from the mixer or processor. Divide it in half and place on waxed paper. Pat each half into a pancake, wrap, and refrigerate for half an hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Mix the strawberries and rhubarb with the sugar, flour and orange zest in a large bowl. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the pie dough to a 1/8-inch thickness. Fold it into quarters, set it in a 9-inch pie plate, then unfold. Snip the edges evenly, allowing a slight overhang. Add the filling and dot with butter.
  3. Roll out the remaining dough and use a pastry wheel or knife to slice it into 3/4-inch wide strips. Weave the strips over the filling and flute the edges. Beat the egg in a small bowl, then brush the wash over the top of the pie. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the filling bubbles and the crust slightly browns. (If the crust browns too quickly, lightly cover it with foil.)

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Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp Recipe

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

Prep Time 15min Cook Time 1h15min including cooling time

A crumbly, delicious way to use that summer rhubarb, this sweet crisp is an easy-to-makel, decadent dessert.

What you'll need

For filling:

  • 1 1/4 pounds fresh rhubarb, stalks cut crosswise into 1-inch slices (4 cups)
  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries (10 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca

For topping:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

Notes:

Yields 10-12 servings

How to make it

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. For the filling: In a bowl, stir together rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, and tapioca and let stand 1 hour at room temperature, stirring occasionally, so the tapioca can soften. Pour mixture into a 9-inch glass pie plate.
  3. For the topping: In a bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or a fork, then stir in milk. (Topping will be crumbly, with some clumps).
  4. Crumble topping over rhubarb mixture, then put pie plate on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake crisp until fruit is bubbling and top is lightly browned, about 55 minutes. Serve warm, with ice cream.

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Strawberry Mint Lassi Recipe

Strawberry Mint Lassi

Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 5 minutes

A lassi is a chilled yogurt drink common in India. Served to help temper the heat in spicy curries, it was originally a savory, even salty beverage. However, in recent years, the sweet variety has become increasingly popular, and it is common to find mango lassis served at Indian Restaurants. Since strawberries are abundant at the farmers' markets right now, and my garden is over flowing with mint, I decided to try them together. This unique beverage is perfect for sipping on a hot afternoon, or served as a light dessert. Feel free to experiment and use other seasonal fruits such as raspberries, bananas, or peaches.

by Alison Needham

What you'll need

  • 1 16 ounce container low-fat Greek-style yogurt
  • 16 ounce container low-fat Greek-style yogurt 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 4 tablespoons raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup ice

Notes:

Yield: Serves 4

How to make it

  1. Layer yogurt, strawberries, mint, sugar, milk and ice in a blender. Cover and pulse until smooth. If necessary, remove lid and use a spatula to scrape down the sides and immerse the berries (while blender is off).
  2. Pour into glasses and serve immediately, garnished with additional strawberries if desired. 

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Strawberry Granola Wrap Recipe

Strawberry Granola Wrap

Prep Time 15 minutes

The other day I took my girls strawberry picking. We picked 3 big buckets of perfectly ripe strawberries. I made this wrap for lunch and it instantly became a favorite of ours. 

The basil and strawberries are so refreshing and the granola adds an unexpected crunch. This strawberry granola wrap is a delicious choice for breakfast, lunch, or picnics!

by Helen Bird

What you'll need

  • 4 medium 8" flour tortillas
  • 16 strawberries, cut into slivers
  • 8 tablespoons of whipped cream cheese
  • 8 tablespoons of granola
  • 4 teaspoons of fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons of honey

How to make it

  1. Spread 2 tablespoons of cream cheese onto each tortilla. 
  2. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of granola onto each tortilla.
  3. Place 4 slivered strawberries in a horizontal row down the center of each tortilla. 
  4. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of fresh basil over the strawberries. Drizzle honey over the basil.
  5. Fold the two ends in, and roll each tortilla tightly. If you are going on a picnic, wrap the tortilla in wax paper and  twist the ends to secure.

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Strawberry Frozen Yogurt Recipe

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Prep Time Overnight Cook Time 1-2 hours freezing time

Frozen yogurt is one of those treats that everyone loves to eat, but think they need specialized equipment to make. But with this simple recipe you can make delicious, creamy frozen yogurt at home - without an ice cream maker.

The secret is removing as much water from the yogurt as possible. Water freezes solid, but the milk proteins and lipids freeze into the creamy confection that we all know and love. Once you perfect the technique of straining yogurt, you can use it to make any flavor you can come up with!

What you'll need

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries
  • 8 ounces nonfat French vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey, sugar, or sweetener of your choice

How to make it

  1. Freeze 2 cups fresh strawberries overnight. Strain yogurt overnight refrigerator through a superfine sieve or cheesecloth.
  2. Combine the berries with  yogurt in a food processor, then blend until smooth.
  3. Freeze blended yogurt for 1-2 hours before serving.

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Strawberries & Cream Icebox Cake Recipe

Strawberries & Cream Icebox Cake

Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time 9 hours

by Anne Coleman

Just four ingredients make this cake a real treat, in more ways than one. Fresh strawberries combine with rich sweetened condensed milk and cake for a delicious dessert. The necessary make-ahead prep makes it perfect to take along for picnics and summer parties.

What you'll need

  • 1 boxed white cake mix
  • 1 pound strawberries
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tub (16 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed

How to make it

  1. Bake cake in a 9x13 pan according to directions. Cool.
  2. Poke holes in cake with a wooden spoon handle or clean chopstick.
  3. Pour contents of condensed milk can over cake.
  4. Wash strawberries and hull. Slice over top of cake.
  5. Cover cake and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
  6. Remove cake from refrigerator and top with whipped topping.

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Meatless Quesadillas Recipe

Meatless Quesadillas Recipe

A vegetarian main dish that will even please meat eaters.

What you'll need

  • 8 flour or corn tortillas
  • 1 15-oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 plum tomato, diced
  • Optional toppings: plain yogurt, cheddar cheese, diced jalapeño peppers, salsa

How to make it

  1. Lay out 4 tortillas on a flat surface.
  2. In a bowl, mash together kidney beans and ricotta cheese. Spread some on each of the tortillas. Scatter diced peppers and tomatoes on top of the bean-cheese spread, and cover with the remaining 4 tortillas.
  3. Spray a 10-inch skillet with nonstick spray and heat over a medium flame. Cook the quesadillas, one at a time, for 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until the tortilla begins to brown and become crisp. Cut each quesadilla into quarters and serve with optional toppings. Makes 4 servings.

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Slow-Cooker Orange Chicken

Slow-Cooker Orange Chicken

With few ingredients and a very short prep time, this recipe is perfect for busy days. Throw everything in the slow cooker and go about your day. Using chicken thighs is a more affordable option than other chicken parts. The use of the slow cooker cuts out any frying, making this a healthier choice as well.

by Anne Coleman

What you'll need

  • 4 skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons ketchup
  • Flour for dredging

Variations:

Boneless and skinless thighs may be used. Do not use thighs with the skin still intact, it will create too much grease in the sauce and chicken may burn.

How to make it

  1. Remove visible fat from chicken thighs and roll each in flour until well coated. Set chicken thighs in the bottom of a slow cooker.
  2. Combine orange juice, marmalade, soy sauce, garlic and ketchup in a small bowl. Stir until well blended.
  3. Pour sauce over chicken thighs and lid the cooker. Cook on LOW setting for 4 hours.
  4. Remove thighs from slow cooker and stir sauce well. Top thighs with extra sauce.

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Slow-Cooker Chocolate Fondue

Slow-Cooker Chocolate Fondue

Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 1 hour

When I have guests over during the holidays, one of the simplest (and I do mean simplest) desserts to serve is slow-cooker chocolate fondue. Sweet and rich, this dessert not only feeds a crowd with little effort but is entertaining as well. Simply pour a few ingredients in a slow cooker one hour before you need to serve, chop up some dippers (like fruit, pound cake, or even homemade marshmallows), and in a snap people can make their own desserts! Perfect for parties or a family fun night at home, this fondue recipe is great to have on hand!

by Meredith Steele

What you'll need

  • 12 ounces good quality chocolate chips (semi-sweet or dark)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • dipper suggestions: orange slices, strawberries, sliced bananas, pretzels, cubed pound cake, cubed angel food cake

Helpful Tip:

Twist things up a bit for the adults by stirring in 2 tablespoons of Irish cream, bourbon, or a flavored liqueur just before serving.

How to make it

  1. In a slow cooker, stir to combine chocolate, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and salt. Cover and set the slow cooker on low for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Once the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, reduce heat to "warm" and serve. Serve with bamboo skewers for skewering fruit and cake to make dipping easier. The fondue can be kept warm on the warm setting for up to 2 hours.

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Fiesta Rice Salad Recipe

Fiesta Rice Salad

Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time 15 minutes

This zesty rice salad, chock full of brown rice, black beans and veggies, could easily be a main dish, or served alongside your favorite grilled foods. Lime dressing infuses the salad with its bright flavor and colorful chopped peppers and tomatoes make it look like a party in a bowl. To ease preparation, look for pre-packaged, frozen brown rice at your grocery store.

by Alison Needham

What you'll need

  • 2 cups brown rice, cooked and hot
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1 can black bean, rinsed and drained
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

How to make it

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add corn kernels and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown (about 8-10 minutes). Stir in black beans, remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together lime juice, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper. Stir in hot rice, making sure each grain is coated with the dressing. Add the corn and bean mixture and toss to combine. Let cool to room temperature.
  3. Add bell pepper, tomatoes, jalapeno, red onion and cilantro to the rice mixture and toss well. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately, or refrigerate for later. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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Slow-Cooker Honey Almond Chicken

Slow-Cooker Honey Almond Chicken

When I'm busy and know I might not be able to cook dinner, I break out my slow cooker and let it do all the work. Unfortunately, slow-cooker meals can be a bit on the boring side. This slightly sweet recipe with an Asian flair is so flavorful and easy that everyone in my family asks for seconds. It tastes like take-out with all of the flavor but it's all homemade and much healthier than ordering in!

by Meredith Steele

What you'll need

  • 4 chicken breasts cut into large pieces
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 cup snow peas
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Cooked brown or white rice for serving

Notes:

serves 4 to 6

How to make it

  1. Place chicken breasts and 1/4 cup almonds in a slow cooker.
  2. In a bowl, whisk to combine soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, and oil. Pour over chicken and stir. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or 8 hours on low. Fifteen minutes before finished, remove the chicken to a plate. Whisk cornstarch into the remaining cooking liquid in the slow cooker. Return the chicken along with snow peas to the slow cooker and finish cooking for 15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Serve over rice and garnish with almonds.

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Fiddlehead Quiche Recipe

Fiddlehead Quiche Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 30 minutes

Perfect for a Mother's Day brunch - hint, hint, Dads and kids! - this scrumptious quiche boasts the flavors of the fiddlehead along with savory Swiss or Gruyere cheeses. Fiddlehead refers to the furled leaves of a young fern and is something of a French staple when it comes to quiche. Fiddlehead ferns (also called ostrich ferns) are a seasonal plant that are typically found in the Northeast United States in the Spring. You can find them at farmer's markets or have them shipped from specialty sellers online.

by Anne Coleman

What you'll need

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup grated cheese, Swiss or Gruyere
  • 18 fiddlehead crosiers, cooked
  • 2 slices ham, chopped
  • grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 1 8" pastry shell, unbaked

Notes:

Serves 6 to 8

How to make it

  1. Beat milk, cream and eggs well. Add salt, pepper, garlic and onions.
  2. Sprinkle half of the cheese in the bottom of the pastry shell.
  3. Arrange fiddleheads and ham over the cheese.
  4. Pour in the egg mixture, add the remaining cheese, and grate fresh nutmeg over the top.
  5. Bake at 375° F for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

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Slow-Cooker Chicken Tacos Recipe

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tacos

Prep Time 5min Cook Time 8h

What family doesn't love tacos, and what mom doesn't love a good slow cooker recipe? This recipe is the best of both, and as a bonus, calls for less expensive chicken thighs that can withstand hours of slow cooking without losing their texture.

by Alison Needham

What you'll need

  • 1 can Green chiles, diced
  • 1 jar salsa, (about 12 ounces; mild or spicy to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Ground cumin
  • 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Taco shells, flour or corn tortillas depending on taste

How to make it

  1. Place chicken in the bowl of a slow cooker. Top with salsa, diced green chiles, cumin, onion and garlic. Cover and set on low. Cook for 8 hours.
  2. Remove chicken from pot, shred, and return to juices.
  3. Spoon chicken into taco shells, with whatever toppings your family likes. Or use the meat to make burritos, tostadas or as a filling for enchiladas.

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Fat-Free Baked French Toast Recipe

Fat-Free Baked French Toast Recipe

Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes

This recipe from 500 Fat-Free Recipes shows how healthy weekend breakfasts can be.

by Sarah Schlesinger

What you'll need

  • 4 1/2-inch-thick slices nonfat whole grain or French bread
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg

Notes:

Serves 2

How to make it

  1. Preheat oven to 450° F.
  2. Combine milk, egg whites, vanilla and nutmeg in a shallow bowl.
  3. Dip the bread into the milk mixture, coating both sides.
  4. Spray a baking sheet with vegetable cooking spray or line with a nonstick baking liner. Arrange bread on baking sheet in a single layer.
  5. Bake for 6 minutes or until French toast is lightly browned. Turn bread over and bake for 5 minutes more, or until lightly browned. Makes 4 servings.
  6. Nutritional Information
  7. Calories Per Serving: 79 • Fat: .05 g • Cholesterol: .5 mg • Protein: 6 g • Carbohydrates: 13 g • Dietary Fiber: 0 g • Sodium: 161 mg

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Shish Kebobs Recipe

Shish Kebobs Recipe

This is just an outline of possibilities, but customize yours to fit you perfectly!

What you'll need

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1-1/2 lb. boneless lamb, cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 12 small white onions
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 12 mushrooms
  • 1 green pepper, cut into 1-1/2 inch squares

How to make it

  1. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium-size bowl. Toss in the lamb cubes, cover, and refrigerate overnight. (You can also mix up the marinade in the morning and let the lamb marinate all day.)
  2. Prepare the coals for grilling or preheat your broiler. Pierce the meat and vegetables, alternating, on skewers, leaving about 2 inches of space at the ends. If you pack the meat tightly, you will get rarer meat; leave more space for well done. Grill or broil about 3 inches from the heat for 5 minutes on each side and serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

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Fall Foliage Salad Recipe

Fall Foliage Salad

Serves: yields 1 kid-sized salad

Can a salad be not only fun but a treat too? Seriously? The answer is YES! Especially when you take the time to cut the veggies into fun, whimsical shapes like the leaf shapes here.

Now, I know what you're thinking: this is way too complicated to make for a fast school lunch. I hear you! I thought that too-especially when I saw some of the fun and funky lunch boxes people put together. But I have to tell you: making a fun salad like this isn't nearly as complicated as it looks. Turning veggies into leaf shapes adds mere minutes to the process, and the payoff (happy kids!) is too fabulous to pass up.

This simple, tasty salad combines sweet bell peppers with creamy, sharp cheddar cheese, and leftover chicken or turkey. Choose a salad dressing that your child loves and give your child a heads up that it's coming, so she knows to be careful when opening and dressing the salad.

For a well-rounded lunch, pack this with a carb such as crackers or a slice of bread, and a drink for hydration.

This also makes a healthy and fun after-school snack!

What you'll need

  • 3 leaves Boston Bibb lettuce ¼ orange bell pepper, in 1 piece (you can substitute red or yellow)
  • ¼ green bell pepper, in 1 piece
  • 3 ¼-inch thick slices sharp cheddar
  • ½ carrot
  • 2 ounces cooked, sliced turkey or chicken
  • 1 tablespoon salad dressing of your choice fall leaf-shaped fondant cutters (they look like mini cookie cutters)

Helpful Tip:

1. Fondant cutters look like miniature cookie cutters and can be purchased at craft stores and some kitchen-supply stores. 2. For older kids, this can also make a fab lettuce wrap. Don't tear the lettuce. Instead split the peppers, cheddar, carrots and turkey or chicken evenly among the three leaves of lettuce. 3. This recipe would also work with cheeses like Swiss and mozzarella. For the veggies, cucumbers are also great in this. 4. What about the remnants from the peppers and cheese? Save them to sprinkle in salad at dinner time. Or eat them as a midday snack. Either way, they won't go to waste.

How to make it

  1. Wash the lettuce leaves under cool water. Then, place on a paper towel to dry.
  2. Remove curved edges from the peppers, so that you have just a flat portion. Using the fondant cutters, cut leaf shapes from the peppers. For best results, cut through the skin first and into the flesh. Set aside.
  3. Use the fondant cutters to cut leaf shapes out of the cheese. Set aside.
  4. Wash and peel the ½ carrot. Slice it into thin discs.
  5. Tear your dried lettuce into bite-sized pieces.
  6. Assemble your salad in a reusable container for school: Start with the lettuce on the bottom. Arrange the peppers, cheddar, carrot, and turkey or chicken on top. Cover and chill until its time to send to school.
  7. Package the salad dressing in a separate container.

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Shamrock Soup Recipe

Shamrock Soup

Prep Time 20min Cook Time 15min

A great way to pour one more serving of milk to help you and your family get key nutrients you need.

What you'll need

  • 1/2 cup each: chopped onion, carrot and celery
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup dry split peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (13 3/4 ounces) chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups fat free skim or lowfat milk, divided
  • 4 cups washed and dried fresh spinach leaves
  • 4 tablespoons diced fully cooked ham
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Pinch of freshly grated or ground nutmeg

Notes:

Yields 4 servings

How to make it

  1. In a medium saucepan, saute onion, carrot and celery in butter until onion is softened.
  2. Add split peas, chicken broth and half of milk. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until split peas are tender. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
  3. In blender or food processor, puree split pea mixture with spinach.
  4. Return mixture to saucepan. Stir in enough remaining milk to give desired consistency.
  5. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture comes to a simmer.
  6. Season to taste with salt, freshly ground pepper and nutmeg.
  7. Ladle into bowls; sprinkle with ham.

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Shamrock Drops Recipe

Shamrock Drops

Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time 40 minutes, including cooling time

These fun cookies are a version of my grandmother's. They originally call for shortening, but in the face of all that is known about trans fats these days, I opted for butter this time. We usually make these cookies pink, which makes them the best complement for ice cream. I think chocolate chip mint or pistachio would be great for St. Pat's.

by Anne Coleman

What you'll need

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon mint extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 oz confetti candy (multi-colored non-pareils)
  • green food coloring
  • powdered sugar

Notes:

Yields 2 dozen cookies

Variations:

Variations: For a different flavor, substitute 1 teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract for the mint extract.

How to make it

  1. Mix butter and sugar until fluffy.
  2. Blend flour and salt and add alternately to butter mixture with milk and extract. Add food coloring to milk so it gets into dough evenly.
  3. Add in confetti and mix well. Dough will be stiff.
  4. Roll into 1" balls and flatten slightly.
  5. Bake on greased cookie sheets at 350° F for 15 minutes. Do not let them brown.
  6. Cool and roll in powdered sugar.

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Fabulous Fajitas Recipe

Fabulous Fajitas

These tasty fajitas are food and entertainment all rolled into one delicious dinner. Serve a selection of favorite toppings, such as sour cream, guacamole, olives, salsa, shredded cheese, and veggies, and let everyone create their own masterpieces.

by Stella Zedman | Lucy Schaeffer

What you'll need

  • 1 lb. (500 g) beef flank steak or boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) lime juice
  • 3 tbsp. (45 mL) olive or vegetable oil (divided)
  • 1 tsp. (5 mL) crumbled dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, squished
  • 2 tsp. (5 mL) ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. (5 mL) black pepper
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 medium green or red peppers, sliced
  • 8 to 10 small (6-inch/15-cm) flour tortillas
  • fajita toppings (such as sour cream, guacamole, chopped avocado, shredded cheese, salsa, chopped tomatoes and shredded lettuce)

How to make it

  1. Slice the beef or chicken breasts thinly across the grain of the meat. Place in a zip-top plastic bag. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, 2 tbsp. (30 mL) of the oil, oregano, garlic, cumin and pepper. Mix well, then pour into the bag with the meat. Press out as much air from the bag as possible and zip the top closed. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours (or overnight).
  2. Wrap tortillas in foil and place in a 250° F (120° C) oven to warm while you prepare the filling.
  3. When you're ready to cook, heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the remaining 1 tbsp. (15 mL) of oil to the skillet and throw in the sliced onions and peppers. Stir-fry, tossing constantly, until the vegetables soften and are beginning to brown lightly. Remove from skillet, leaving any oil behind.
  4. Remove the meat from the marinade and, with the skillet still over high heat, add the meat to the pan, tossing constantly until just cooked through. Return the onions and peppers to the skillet, stir to combine and then transfer to a serving platter. (If your kids prefer their meat not to touch their vegetables, simply skip this last step and don't combine the meat and veggies before serving.)
  5. Serve with warmed tortillas and a selection of toppings.
  6. Note: If you prefer to cook the meat on the barbecue grill, don't slice it before marinating. Grill the beef or chicken breasts whole until cooked through, then slice and combine with the stir-fried onions and peppers just before serving.

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Seven Layer Dip Recipe

Seven Layer Dip

Prep Time 10 minutes

Seven layers add up to one delicious dip that is a favorite everywhere. The best part of this recipe is that you can substitute any fat percentage in the beans and dairy products without affecting the flavor of the finished product.

by Anne Coleman

What you'll need

  • 1 can (16 ounce) refried beans
  • 1 packet (1.25 ounce) taco seasoning mix
  • 1 1/2 cups prepared guacamole
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup each shredded Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese
  • 1 can (4 ounces) sliced black olives - drained
  • 1 cup sliced green onion tops only

How to make it

  1. Combine refried beans with taco seasoning and blend well. Set aside.
  2. Mix together sour cream with lime juice and cilantro. Set aside.
  3. In a 10-inch pie plate or 9x9 baking dish, spread refried beans and top with guacamole, sour cream mixture, salsa, shredded cheeses, sliced olives and green onion.
  4. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until serving time, or serve immediately with corn chips.

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Delicious & Nutty Not-Too-Sweet Granola

Delicious & Nutty Not-Too-Sweet Granola

Want a granola recipe that is crunchy, nutty, flavorful, and a little sweet (but not too sweet)?

This is it!

My secret is a touch of salt in addition to the honey and brown sugar, which really brings out all the flavors.

by Jillian Tohber Leslie

What you'll need

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (if you love coconut, add 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

How to make it

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees (120 celsius).
  2. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients: oats, nuts, flax seeds coconut, salt, and brown sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients together: honey and oil.
  4. Combine both mixtures together.
  5. Pour the granola onto a cookie sheet. Spread evenly.
  6. Bake for an hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to brown evenly.
  7. Delicious as cereal or as a topping for yogurt, fruit, or ice cream! Enjoy!

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Deconstructed Caramel Apples Recipe

Deconstructed Caramel Apples

Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 30 minutes

Here, an addictively delicious caramel sauce stands in for the usual candy coating, and you eat the apples fondue-style, with no messy unwrapping of store-bought caramels, and no apples abandoned with their coating bitten off. You will be hooked - especially since leftover sauce can be refrigerated and reheated to drizzle over ice cream, bananas, or pound cake. Just take care making the caramel: you'll want to be sure to use a deep pot, as the cream bubbles quite furiously when it hits the hot sugar.

by Catherine Newman

What you'll need

  • 4 apples, cored and cubed
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Notes:

Serves 8

How to make it

  1. In a heavy saucepan, bring the cream to a boil over medium-high heat, then remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and salt.
  2. In a different deep, heavy saucepan (light-colored, since you'll need to see the color of the caramel as it cooks), stir together the sugar, water, and corn syrup, then bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook without stirring until it starts to turn golden around the edges (5-8 minutes). Now continue cooking, swirling the pan by the handle, until the sugar turns a deep amber (around 10-15 more minutes), watching to be sure the caramel doesn't burn.
  3. Turn off the heat and add the hot cream. Be very careful: it will froth up very high and steam at first, but will settle down as you stir it. When the caramel is nice and smooth, pour it carefully into a bowl and allow it to cool for fifteen minutes or so before eating with apples and toothpicks for dipping.

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Say Cheese! Ravioli Recipe

Say Cheese! Ravioli

Because it's so easy to make, fresh pasta is a great family cooking project. Plus, it has a wonderfully delicate texture you just can't find in store-bought varieties.

If you plan to make fresh pasta on a regular basis, you can't beat a pasta machine, which allows you to crank the dough though the rollers to just the right thickness. The result is a fine sheet of tasty pasta that can be cut into numerous shapes and filled as we do here. Of course, if you don't have a pasta machine, you can always roll the pasta by hand. Simply dust the dough lightly with flour and roll it as thinly as you can. Go easy, though, because too much flour will dry out the pasta. Either way, you'll need a clean, uncluttered work surface.

by Ken Haedrich

What you'll need

PASTA:

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus 2 teaspoons for the cooking water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon for the cooking water
  • 1 quart tomato sauce, heated

FILLING:

  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Pinch of nutmeg

How to make it

  1. Make the pasta: Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss well. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs, water, and 2 teaspoons of oil. Blend the liquids well with a fork. Then, using your hand, gradually mix the flour into the well by pulling it into the liquid with quick strokes. Don't worry if the dough sticks to your fingers; keep blending until it forms a firm, if somewhat shaggy, mass. On a surface lightly dusted with flour, knead the dough for 3 to 4 minutes. Place the dough in a plastic bag and set it aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Mix the filling: While the dough rests, combine all of the filling ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. After 20 minutes, remove the dough from the plastic bag and dust it with flour. Flatten the dough with your hand, then start feeding it through the rollers of a pasta machine. Start with the thickest setting, then decrease the thickness one notch with each progressive pass, until the dough is almost paper thin.
  3. Assemble the ravioli: Using a 2- to 2-1/4-inch biscuit or cookie cutter (or a clean tomato paste can), cut out as many circles as you can. Then reroll the scraps and cut out more. Loosely cover most of the dough with plastic wrap to prevent drying. Put a scant teaspoon of filling in the center of one circle, then lightly dampen the perimeter with a fingertip dipped in water. Dampen the edge of a second circle and place it atop the first one. Now carefully pick up the two circles and pinch the edges together to seal the ravioli. Continue making ravioli this way, setting each finished one on a flour-dusted baking sheet and keeping them loosely covered with plastic wrap until cooking time.
  4. To cook the ravioli, bring about 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 teaspoons of salt to the water. Add the ravioli and boil gently for about 4 minutes (fresh pasta cooks quickly). Carefully drain the ravioli (they will be fragile) and blot them lightly with paper towels. Serve at once with tomato sauce. Makes 4 to 5 servings.

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Salsa Verde Pork Stew Recipe

Salsa Verde Pork Stew

Prep Time 20 minutes Cook Time 57 minutes

Enjoy a south of the border treat with this savory pork stew. Fresh tomatillos, serrano chilis, and summer fresh vegetables come together in this slowly simmered one dish meal.

by Chef Eddie Blyden

What you'll need

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds pork, cut into cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 serrano chilis, minced
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1-1/2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed and quartered

Helpful Tip:

If you don't have fresh tomatoes, you can substitute for two (14-ounce) cans of diced tomatoes. If you don't have fresh oregano, use 1 tablespoon dried oregano.

Notes:

Servings: 4-6

How to make it

  1. In a medium casserole heat olive oil. Season pork with salt, pepper, and cumin and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally until brown, about 7 minutes.
  2. Add onions, celery, garlic, bay leaves and serrano chilis. Cook for another five minutes to sweat out vegetables. Add diced tomatoes, oregano, stock and tomatillos. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.

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Dalmatian Cupcakes Recipe

Dalmatian Cupcakes

You may think it impossible to keep track of 101 Dalmatians. But ask "Roger" and "Anita" and they'd likely tell you that each and every one of them claimed a special spot in their hearts. Here's an endearing canine valentine treat your kids are sure to find spot-on.

by Cindy Littlefield

What you'll need

  • Batch of chocolate cupcakes baked in paper cupcake liners
  • Scissors
  • Scraps of colored paper
  • Glue stick
  • Round silver sequins, about 3/4-inch in diameter (alternatively, you can cut circles from cardstock and use a pushpin to poke a hole in the top of each one)
  • Embroidery floss or thin ribbon
  • Vanilla frosting
  • Chocolate-covered raisins

How to make it

1. Spread 1/4 cup of sugar on your work surface. Set the puff pastry atop of the sugar.

Dalmatian Cupcakes step 2

2. Thread a 12-inch length of ribbon or doubled embroidery floss through the sequin and knot the ends together just above the tag, as shown. If the hole is too small, you can widen it with the tip of a toothpick. Or, you can use a piece of thin elastic thread to tie the sequin to the center of the collar.

Dalmatian Cupcakes step 3

3. If the hole is too small, you can widen it with the tip of a toothpick. Or, you can use a piece of thin elastic thread to tie the sequin to the center of the collar.

4. Wrap the collar around the paper cupcake liner, tie the ends together, and trim them short.

5. Generously frost the cupcake, and then top it with several randomly placed chocolate-covered raisins, gently pressing them into the frosting.

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Crunchy Caramel Popcorn Bars Recipe

Crunchy Caramel Popcorn Bars Recipe

Sweeten up movie night! Use Pop Secret® microwave popcorn to make Crunchy Caramel Popcorn Bars the whole family will love!

What you'll need

  • 1 bag Pop Secret® microwave popcorn, popped
  • 1 cup coarsely crushed peanut brittle (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 package caramels (14 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Helpful Tip:

Because microwaves cook differently, times are approximate. Tested in microwaves of 500 to 700 watts.

Notes:

Yields 25 bars

How to make it

  1. Butter rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches.
  2. Remove and discard unpopped kernels from popped popcorn.
  3. Mix popcorn and peanut brittle in large bowl.
  4. Place caramels and water in 4-cup microwavable measure.
  5. Microwave uncovered on high (100 percent) 2 to 4 minutes or until smooth, stirring every minute; stir in vanilla. Pour over popcorn mixture; toss until evenly coated.
  6. Press in pan with buttered hands. Let stand about 30 minutes or until set. Cut into about 2-1/2 x1-1/2 inch bars with wet knife. Makes 25 bars.

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Rio Grande Nachos Recipe

Rio Grande Nachos

It's hard to imagine that this kid-favorite appetizer was dreamed up in the Rio Grande region only 50 years ago. It was a hit then and still is today because it's easy to prepare. Just set out bowls of toppings (beans, grated cheese and veggies), and invite the kids to pile up the ingredients on a bed of tortilla chips before popping the nachos into the oven.

What you'll need

  • 1 16-oz. bag tortilla chips
  • 1 1/2 cups refried beans (canned or homemade; see recipe for Refried Frijoles)
  • 1 tomato, chopped (optional)
  • 1 onion, chopped (optional)
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • Salsa (store-bought or see recipe for Pico de Gallo)
  • Creamy Guacamole (recipe below)

Helpful Tip:

If you have leftover beans and salsa from your cookout, use them to make nachos for your child's after-school snack the next day.

Notes:

Serves 4 to 6

How to make it

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spread out the tortilla chips on a baking tray.
  3. Spoon the refried beans onto the chips. Add the vegetables, if desired. (Be sure not to rub your eyes after you've minced the jalapeños.).
  4. Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the chips and bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Serve with salsa and guacamole.

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Creamy Guacamole Recipe

Creamy Guacamole

The soft texture and bland flavor of guacamole make this all-purpose accompaniment a hit even with young children.

What you'll need

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup salsa

Helpful Tip:

Once you've done the peeling and chopping, turn the preparation over to your kids--they'll take pleasure in mashing up the ripe avocados.

Notes:

Yields approximately 2 cups

How to make it

  1. Peel and chop the avocados and place the pieces in a small mixing bowl. (Reserve one of the avocado pits.) Using a fork, mash the avocados until you have a creamy mixture. Stir in the fresh lime juice. Add the onion, garlic, pepper and salt, and mix well.
  2. If you'd like your guacamole to be mild, omit the salsa. Otherwise, add homemade or store-bought salsa to the avocado mixture to give the guacamole a bite. This is best served within an hour or so of making it, since it browns quickly. Put the avocado pit in the guacamole to slow this process.

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Chia Limeade Recipe

Chia Limeade

Chia limeade is a popular drink in Mexican restaurants and agua fresca stands throughout markets and town squares. High in fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds are considered and Aztec "superfood" and added to refreshing drinks for texture and health benefits. Chia seeds are great in breads and pudding but adding them to your beverage is the quickest way to incorporate them in your meals.  

by Ericka Sanchez

What you'll need

  • 6 cups cold water
  • 6 limes, juiced plus 1 lime sliced in rounds for garnish
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds

How to make it

  1. Combine water, lime juice and sugar in a large pitcher. Stir and test sweetness.  
  2. Add chia seeds and wait 10 minutes before serving over ice. Garnish with slices of lime.

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Roast Chicken and Roots Recipe

Roast Chicken and Roots

Prep Time 30min Cook Time 1h30min

Root vegetables are abundant in fall and winter, but they can be a little daunting: grubby and odd, and what on earth do you do with them? But roasting concentrates their sweetness, making them a natural for kids, even skeptical ones. Here, they roast below a whole chicken for an economical one-dish meal with the added benefit of soup later: just simmer the bones for a few hours with fresh carrots, onions, and celery, then strain, salt, and add a handful of pasta or rice.

by Catherine Newman

What you'll need

  • 1 4-pound chicken, preferably organically raised
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • kosher salt
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1 or 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or a large pinch dried)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
  • 1 onion, sliced thick
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 pounds root vegetables: carrots, parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, rutabagas, peeled as necessary and cut into 1-inch chunks. (Fennel is a nice addition, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices.)

How to make it

  1. Heat the oven to 450. Rinse the chicken, pat it dry with paper towels, then rub it all over with the butter. Using 2 teaspoons kosher salt (or half as much table salt), salt it inside and out, then pop the garlic and herbs into its cavity.
  2. Spread one tablespoon of the olive oil on a 12- by 17-inch rimmed roasting pan, and arrange the onion slices in the center. Rest the chicken on the onion and roast it for 15 minutes, then open the oven door and carefully pour the broth into the pan and roast for another 15 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the vegetables with the remaining tablespoon of oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Remove the chicken from the oven (it will have been roasting for half an hour, so far), and arrange the vegetables around it in a single layer, then return it to the oven and continue roasting.
  4. Turn the vegetables over after half an hour, add more broth if the pan is dry, and roast another 15-30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are browned and tender.
  5. Remove the chicken to a cutting board to rest before carving, remove the veggies to a heat-proof serving bowl and pop them back in the warm oven (turn the heat off), and, if you like, scrape the pan juices and onions into a small pot and reduce over medium heat to make a simple pan sauce (spoon the grease off first, if there's a lot).
  6. Carve the chicken and serve with the vegetables and pan sauce.

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Beef Fajitas Recipe

Beef Fajitas Recipe

The fajita was born when Mexican cowboys, the vaqueros, figured out how to cook a cut of meat called arracheras, or skirt steak, which their bosses had rejected because it was too tough. The cowboys grilled this cast-off meat over a very hot wood fire, bringing out its robust flavor. The citrus marinade, which tenderizes the meat, is adapted from Texas Home Cooking, one of five excellent books on Southwestern cooking by Cheryl and Bill Jamison (The Harvard Common Press).

What you'll need

MARINADE:

  • 1 orange
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/3 cup pineapple juice (or pineapple-orange juice)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 crushed garlic clove

MEAT:

  • 1 1/2 to 2 lbs. skirt or flank steak or chicken breast

TOPPINGS:

  • 2 green peppers
  • 2 onions
  • Vegetable oil
  • 8 to 10 flour tortillas (store-bought or from recipe for homemade flour tortillas)
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Grated Cheese (optional)

Helpful Tip:

Picky eaters might just want to wrap the meat in a tortilla and leave it at that, while the more adventuresome can stuff their tortillas with all the fixings.

How to make it

  1. To prepare the marinade, grate 1 teaspoon of zest from the orange and 2 teaspoons of zest from the lemons and transfer to a small bowl. Next, squeeze the juice from the orange and lemons and add to the zest. Add the remaining ingredients and stir the marinade until well combined; set aside.
  2. To prepare the meat, trim the fat and membranes from the skirt steak or remove the skin from the chicken breast; lay the meat in a shallow baking dish. Pour the marinade over the meat, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. 
  3. While the meat marinates, start your grill. Slice the peppers and onions into 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick rounds. After the meat has marinated for at least 1 hour (but not more than 2), drain the marinade and cook the skirt steak or chicken on the grill, 3 inches from the hot flame, for about 5 minutes on each side.
  4. Brush the peppers and onions with vegetable oil and place them on the edges of the grill. Cook until tender.
  5. When the meat is cooked to your liking, remove it from the grill and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Then thinly slice the beef diagonally across the grain.
  6. Set out the meat, grilled onions and peppers, tortillas, salsa, guacamole and cheese on your table, and let your family members choose their own fillings and wrap up their tortillas. Makes about 8 to 10 fajitas, enough for 4 people.

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Strawberry Cherry Quick Bread

Strawberry Cherry Quick Bread

Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 30 - 35 Minutes

This Strawberry Cherry Quick bread is the perfect snack on a winter afternoon. Bringing a hint of spring with a little tart and sweet warms your soul. Of course you can enjoy this anytime of year, as I usually make this when the fruit is in season, but I've made it several times with frozen and thawed friut with just as much delight from my son.

This simple recipe is easy enough to whip up on a weekend morning and can even be made into muffins if you'd like.

by Kim Demmon

What you'll need

  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil, or melted butter or margarine
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups Baking Mix
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup freshly cut Strawberries & pitted Cherries (frozen can be used)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar or sprinkles

Helpful Tip:

This recipe makes great muffins too!

Notes:

Fresh or frozen fruit works great. If you're using frozen, try not to add too much extra juice from the fruit.

How to make it

  1. Heat oven to 350°F
  2. Spray bread pan with cooking spray.
  3. In medium bowl, beat milk, oil and egg with wire whisk
  4. Stir in baking mix and sugar just until moistened.
  5. Fold in Strawberries and Cherries.
  6. Pour batter into pan. Sprinkle the top with 1/2 tsp sugar or sprinkles... or both.

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Crunchy Chicken Nuggets Recipe

Crunchy Chicken Nuggets Recipe

An all time favorite that even super picky eaters love. Offer a variety of dipping sauces and let them pick and choose.

What you'll need

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 cups crushed sour-cream-onion potato chips
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1-1/2 pounds chicken breast or thigh nuggets (40-48 pieces)
  • 2 tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

How to make it

  1. In a small bowl, place the milk and egg and beat lightly. On a piece of wax paper, place potato chip crumbs, thyme and pepper. Line a shallow baking pan with foil and spray with vegetable cooking spray. Dip each nugget of chicken in egg-milk mixture; then roll in seasoned crumbs and arrange in a single layer on foil-lined baking pan.
  2. Repeat until all nuggets are arranged in the pan. Let sit 15 minutes. Drizzle melted butter or margarine over the nuggets and place in a 425 degree oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the coating is crunchy and the chicken is cooked through. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

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