Cooking Light Crave!

Give in to your cravings and sink your teeth into these All-American comfort foods. Rated for both quality taste and nutrition, these recipes are the shining stars from our latest cookbook: Cooking Light Crave!

Healthy Eating Means Balance

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Healthy Eating Means Balance

Instead of banishing foods we love, we enjoy them in moderation. And when we go for what we crave, we want real cheese. Juicy meat. A decent slathering of mayo. Intense chocolate. Creamy, thick shakes. Buttery cookies. We want food that satisfies, not pale substitutes.

All the recipes have been perfected in our Test Kitchen to make sure they hit all the right notes: crispy pizza crusts, juicy burgers, oozy cheeses, irresistible fries, and desserts that make you want to sing a sweet aria. Our staff registered dietitians have made sure every recipe meets the same nutrition guidelines we use in Cooking Light magazine.

Bottom line: The next time a craving strikes, give in—with Cooking Light Crave!

Buy the book!

Out-n-In California Burger

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Out-n-In California Burger

Here is a crave-worthy, reasonable version of a fast-food icon. With a similarly addictive sauce, this tasty handful is made healthier with lean ground sirloin and lower-sodium, lighter cheese.

View Recipe: Out-n-In California Burger

BBQ Chicken and Blue Cheese Pizza

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BBQ Chicken and Blue Cheese Pizza

This pizza is a classic crowd-pleaser and a beloved family favorite. For a kid-friendly pie, substitute fresh mozzarella for the blue cheese, and choose a sweeter barbecue sauce over a bold and spicy sauce.

View Recipe: BBQ Chicken and Blue Cheese Pizza

Mushroom and Provolone Patty Melts

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Mushroom and Provolone Patty Melts

Your family won't believe this comforting sandwich is light. For the kids, use beef broth instead of beer, and try mild wheat bread.

View Recipe: Mushroom and Provolone Patty Melts

Garlic Fries

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Garlic Fries

Tossing the fries in a small amount of butter and garlic after cooking makes them unbelievably rich, yet still lower in fat than fast-food fries.

View Recipe: Garlic Fries

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

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Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

This soft, moist, and super delicious Chocolate Buttermilk Cake can cure even the strongest chocolate cravings. Perfect for any occasion, this cake never fails to satisfy.

View Recipe: Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

Smothered Steak Burgers

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Smothered Steak Burgers

Sautéed mushrooms, steak sauce, and Worcestershire sauce create robust flavors in this knife-and-fork burger.

View Recipe: Smothered Steak Burgers

Artichoke and Arugula Pizza with Proscuitto

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Artichoke and Arugula Pizza with Proscuitto

With artichokes, arugula, pesto, prosciutto, and Parmesan, this pizza has intense, addictive flavor. Splurge and try it with homemade pesto.

View Recipe: Artichoke and Arugula Pizza with Prosciutto

Open-Faced Pimiento Cheese BLTs

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Open-Faced Pimiento Cheese BLTs

Pimiento cheese is a Southern tradition. A little Parmesan added to the standard cheddar-mayo mixture creates extra savory depth. You can make the pimiento cheese ahead of time. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

View Recipe: Open-Faced Pimiento Cheese BLTs

Parmesan-Crusted Zucchini Fries

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Parmesan-Crusted Zucchini Fries

These savory Parmesan-Crusted Zucchini Fries are less than 100 calories each, so go ahead and splurge on their cheesy, garlicky goodness.

View Recipe: Parmesan-Crusted Zucchini Fries

Fresh Cherry Cheesecake Bars

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Fresh Cherry Cheesecake Bars

With their combo of shortbread-like crust, creamy cheesecake, and fresh summer cherry goodness, these bars will make you the hit of the picnic.

View Recipe: Fresh Cherry Cheesecake Bars

Grilled Turkey Burgers with Goat Cheese Spread

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Grilled Turkey Burgers with Goat Cheese Spread

A small amount of tangy goat cheese flavors the creamy spread. Double the spread and use it on grilled chicken or turkey sandwiches.

View Recipe: Grilled Turkey Burgers with Goat Cheese Spread

Chicken and Herb White Pizza

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Chicken and Herb White Pizza

Béchamel is often used in lasagna or as the base for a mac-and-cheese sauce. Here, it's flavored with galic and cheese, and replaces tomato sauce to make a delicious pizza.

View Recipe: Chicken and Herb White Pizza

Oven-Fried Catfish Sandwiches

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Oven-Fried Catfish Sandwiches

This perfectly-seasoned catfish sandwich is ideal for when you are craving something fried and fishy. Set atop a hoagie roll with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise, it's one hearty and satisfying meal.

View Recipe: Oven-Fried Catfish Sandwiches

Tex-Mex Beef and Bean Dip

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Tex-Mex Beef and Bean Dip

Here's a great game-day party dip: You can make it ahead and reheat it when you're ready to serve. Chipotle chile powder is spicy, so adjust the amount to suit your taste.

View Recipe: Tex-Mex Beef and Bean Dip

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

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Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

If you're a fan of the classic flavor combination of chocolate and peanut butter, you'll love these Peanut Butter Cup Blondies. Blondies generally have the same dense texture as brownies, but without chocolate or cocoa in the base batter.

View Recipe: Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

Mushroom Burgers with Fried Egg and Truffle Oil

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Mushroom Burgers with Fried Egg and Truffle Oil

Between the beef, egg, cheese, mushrooms, and truffle oil, this burger is an absolute umami bomb, exploding with meaty, savory flavor. Chopped, sautéed mushrooms in the burger mixture add low-fat moisture to the lean beef as it cooks.

View Recipe: Mushroom Burgers with Fried Egg and Truffle Oil

Pizza Supreme

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Pizza Supreme

Brighten a homemade version of a take-out favorite wth two different colors of bell peppers. Use your own color combo or any bell peppers you have on hand.

View Recipe: Pizza Supreme

Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

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Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

Good barbecue doesn't require hours over the grill. Our chicken sandwich starts with a rotisserie chicken and super easy homemade barbecue sauce. This sandwich is the perfect solution for those busy weeknights.

View Recipe: Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Roasted Jalapeno Butter

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Grilled Corn on the Cob with Roasted Jalapeño Butter

This easy, five-ingredient grilled corn gets its flavor from jalapeño peppers that are roasted, chopped, and stirred into honey butter.

View Recipe: Grilled Corn on the Cob with Roasted Jalapeño Butter

Cherry-Almond Crisp

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Cherry-Almond Crisp

This heart-warming cherry crisp is full of tasty flavors that are sure to leave you begging for seconds. Serve warm with a small scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt for a creamy-crunchy dessert.

View Recipe: Cherry-Almond Crisp

Caramelized Onion-and-Blue-Cheese Mini Burgers

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Caramelized Onion-and-Blue-Cheese Mini Burgers

Small but loaded with flavor: Caramelized onions, blue cheese, arugula, and sirloin fill your mouth with sweetness and pungency.

View Recipe: Caramelized Onion-and-Blue Cheese Mini Burgers

Four Cheese Pizza

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Four Cheese Pizza

Premium ricotta—like Calabro brand, which has a creamy texture and rich, full flavor—makes a big difference in this recipe.

View Recipe: Four-Cheese Pizza

Dagwood Sandwiches

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Dagwood Sandwiches

A Dagwood sandwich, popularized by the comic strip character Dagwood Bumstead, is characterized by layers of sodium and fat-laden meats and cheeses. We've slimmed ours down by using no-salt-added and lower-sodium deli meats and lower-fat cheeses held together with a tasty homemade spread.

View Recipe: Dagwood Sandwiches

Heirloom Tomato, Watermelon, and Peach Salad

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Heirloom Tomato, Watermelon, and Peach Salad

This summer salad features seasonal tomatoes, watermelon, and peaches to create a sensationally delicious side dish that's appropriate for any occasion.

View Recipe: Heirloom Tomato, Watermelon, and Peach Salad

Mocha Banana Split

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Mocha Banana Split

On a hot summer day, there's nothing better than a creamy and deliciously sweet Mocha Banana Split. Make sure you love a kick of coffee flavor!

View Recipe: Mocha Banana Split

Salmon Burgers

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Salmon Burgers

It's no surprise that these Salmon Burgers are seething with delicious flavors. The Dijon mustard adds a creamy touch, while the sliced red onion adds a nutritious crunch.

View Recipe: Salmon Burgers

Fresh Tomato-Feta Pizza

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Fresh Tomato-Feta Pizza

This pizza is fresh, tasty, and a clear winner if you are a big fan of tomatoes and cheese. If olives are a deal breaker, leave them off; the pizza is still yummy.

View Recipe: Fresh Tomato-Feta Pizza

Reuben Sandwiches

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Reuben Sandwiches

With sauerkraut, corned beef, and rye bread, sodium is a serious issue in a traditional Reuben. Add dressing and cheese, and the saturated fat and calories start to climb, too. Not to fear: Our lighter, lower-sodium version is just as delicious. Chili sauce is a ketchup-based sauce. If you can't find it, substitute ketchup.

View Recipe: Reuben Sandwiches

Adobo Chips with Warm Goat Cheese and Cilantro Salsa

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Adobo Chips with Warm Goat Cheese and Cilantro Salsa

When you're tired of the same ol' queso and chips, try these smoky adobo chips with some warm goat cheese and a zesty cilantro salsa.

View Recipe: Adobo Chips with Warm Goat Cheese and Cilantro Salsa

Roasted Banana Pudding

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Roasted Banana Pudding

Many folks say banana pudding is best the next day, after the cookies have softened and the flavors have mingled overnight.

View Recipe: Roasted Banana Pudding

Cast-Iron Burgers

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Cast-Iron Burgers

These top-rated Cast-Iron Burgers prove that you don't have to own a grill to enjoy juicy, amazingly flavorful hamburgers.

View Recipe: Cast-Iron Burgers

Roasted Vegetable and Ricotta Pizza

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Roasted Vegetable and Ricotta Pizza

Slice-by-slice this yummy roasted vegetable pizza will disappear before your eyes. Ingredients like ricotta cheese, cremini mushrooms, and fresh zucchini will keep you from ordering for delivery every again.

View Recipe: Roasted Vegetable and Ricotta Pizza

Chicken Souvlaki Pitas with Tahini Sauce

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Chicken Souvlaki Pitas with Tahini Sauce

If you can't find tahini, substitute an equal amount of peanut butter to make the sauce for these Middle East-inspired sandwiches. You can prepare the sauce and chicken ahead of time and stuff the pitas when you're ready to eat.

View Recipe: Chicken Souvlaki Pitas with Tahini Sauce

Barbecue-Flavored Onion Rings

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Barbecue-Flavored Onion Rings

Regular yellow onions will work in this recipe, but sweet onions have a milder flavor. Coating the onion rings with breadcrumbs in batches keeps the crumbs dry for maximum crispness. Rotate pans during cooking for even browning.

View Recipe: Barbecue-Flavored Onion Rings

Lemon Cream Pie

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Lemon Cream Pie

This lightened cream pie classic is sweet-tart perfection and a delicious lemon ending to any meal. You'll love the make-ahead convenience. Brush edges of crust with egg wash for nice browning.

View Recipe: Lemon Cream Pie

Southwest Salsa Burgers

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Southwest Salsa Burgers

Chipotle chiles and fresh salsa give these burgers a Southwestern kick that will heat up the dinner table in just 20 minutes.

View Recipe: Southwest Salsa Burgers

Bacon, Onion, and Mushroom Pizza

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Bacon, Onion, and Mushroom Pizza

Add bacon to anything and it becomes instantly irresistable–like this pizza. The refrigerated French bread dough used as the crust is quick, but it's also delicate. To work with it, find the seam in the dough and carefully unroll.

View Recipe: Bacon, Onion, and Mushroom Pizza

Mini Falafel Pocket Sandwiches

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Mini Falafel Pocket Sandwiches

This traditional Middle-Eastern meal is a healthy and hearty choice for lunch or a heavier snack. The tahini-yogurt sauce drizzled overtop the falafel and the veggies adds a creamy texture and appetizing flavor.

View Recipe: Mini Falafel Pocket Sandwiches

Creamy Potato Salad

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Creamy Potato Salad

Serve this classic favorite alongside your favorite barbecue dish or just enjoy it plain. This simple side is chocked full of flavor and will bring happiness to anyone's taste buds.

View Recipe: Creamy Potato Salad

Peach Melba Shake

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Peach Melba Shake

Whether you're craving an afternoon snack, or a smooth, creamy, and fruity dessert, this shake will hit the spot. Put the ice cream in the blender last to easily make a smooth shake.

View Recipe: Peach Melba Shake

Grilled Lemon-Basil Tofu Burgers

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Grilled Lemon-Basil Tofu Burgers

Marinated tofu slices acquire a golden crust when grilled; the olive-garlic mayonnaise on the sandwich adds a Mediterranean flavor. Serve with grilled asparagus for a simple side.

View Recipe: Grilled Lemon-Basil Tofu Burgers

Cobb Salad Pizza

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Cobb Salad Pizza

Add quick-cooking chicken cutlets and refrigerated pizza dough to a mix of fresh vegetables for a light and lovely superfast meal.

View Recipe: Cobb Salad Pizza

Steak Baguettes with Pesto Mayo

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Steak Baguettes with Pesto Mayo

Piled high with steak and veggies, the real treat on this sandwich is the sauce, a pesto mayonnaise. Use sirloin for a more tender bite than you get with cuts like flank steak.

View Recipe: Steak Baguettes with Pesto Mayo

Warm Caramelized Onion Dip

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Warm Caramelized Onion Dip

Forget the boxed mixes and chilled store-bought versions: This warm onion dip is on a deliciously different level. Serve it with hearty crackers or slices of French bread.

View Recipe: Warm Caramelized Onion Dip

Chocolate Cookie Ice-Cream Sandwiches

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Chocolate Cookie Ice-Cream Sandwiches

If you've ever bitten into an ice-cream sandwich only to feel cheated of cookie, these little rounds deliver what you've been missing.

View Recipe: Chocolate Cookie Ice-Cream Sandwiches

Chicken Parmesan Burgers

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Chicken Parmesan Burgers

Get out of your burger rut with these grilled ground-chicken burgers that are a twist on a popular Italian-American dish. Serve on ciabatta rolls and top with marianara sauce and mozzarella.

View Recipe: Chicken Parmesan Burgers

Apricot and Prosciutto Thin-Crust Pizza

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Apricot and Prosciutto Thin-Crust Pizza

Look for apricots that are slightly underripe so they'll stand up to the heat, or you can substitute two medium peaches. We like the smooth texture and intense flavor of imported Parma prosciutto in this dish.

View Recipe: Apricot and Prosciutto Thin-Crust Pizza

Sloppy Joe Sliders

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Sloppy Joe Sliders

Serve up mini versions of a weeknight favorite. Make the sauce ahead of time, if you like. Just reheat it and toast the buns to finish the sliders.

View Recipe: Sloppy Joe Sliders

Cabbage Slaw

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Cabbage Slaw

Get back to the basics with this easy slaw featuring thinly sliced radishes and fresh mint. Instead of a creamy dressing, it’s tossed with a citrusy vinaigrette. This easy slaw is just the side to serve with hamburgers, fish, sandwiches, hot dogs, or pulled barbecue.

View Recipe: Cabbage Slaw

Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce

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Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce

The layer of sauce in the middle of the pudding is the secret to the velvety-rich interior. It's a decadent pairing, but if you want to gild the lily, add a small dollop of whipped cream.

View Recipe: Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce

Spicy Poblano Burgers with Pickled Red Onions and Cream

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Spicy Poblano Burgers with Pickled Red Onions and Cream

A poblano chile is the perfect mix of fruity flavor with a little bit of heat. Leave the seeds in your poblano if you want more fiery flavor.

View Recipe: Spicy Poblano Burgers with Pickled Red Onions and Chipotle Cream

Smoked Salmon Thin-Crust Pizza

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Smoked Salmon Thin-Crust Pizza

The crisp cracker crust of this pizza makes a pleasing contrast to the velvety soft salmon.

View Recipe: Smoked Salmon Thin-Crust Pizza

Eggs Benedict Waffle Sandwiches

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Eggs Benedict Waffle Sandwiches

Two breakfast classics merge in this dish, perfect for weekend brunch or a light dinner. Toss any leftover hollandaise sauce; because it is made with egg yolks, it doesn't keep well.

View Recipe: Eggs Benedict Waffle Sandwiches

Baked Mozzarella Bites

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Baked Mozzarella Bites

Serve this quick after-school snack to your kids as an alternative to traditional fried cheesesticks.

View Recipe: Baked Mozzarella Bites

Chocolate Turtle Brownie Sundaes

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Chocolate Turtle Brownie Sundaes

Decadent, warm, and gooey turtle brownies meet creamy vanilla frozen yogurt drenched in a drool-worthy fudge sauce. Licking your screen yet? This dessert is perfect for any occasion and will always leave you begging for seconds.

View Recipe: Chocolate Turtle Brownie Sundaes

Lamb and Turkey Pita Burgers

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Lamb and Turkey Pita Burgers

Cinnamon, ginger, and cumin give these burgers the warm, spicy flavor of the eastern Mediterranean. The burgers would pair nicely with a simple cucumber or cucumber-tomato salad.

View Recipe: Lamb and Turkey Burgers

Pepperoni, Onion, and Olive Pizza

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Pepperoni, Onion, and Olive Pizza

We're jazzing up a classic pizza favorite by adding olives and thinly sliced sweet onion to the pepperoni.

View Recipe: Pepperoni, Onion, and Olive Pizza

Picnic-Perfect Lobster Rolls

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Picnic-Perfect Lobster Rolls

This classic New England sandwich comes together in a snap if you purchase lobster tails and have them steamed at the fish counter. You can make the lobster salad a few hours in advance; fill the sandwiches right before they're served.

View Recipe: Picnic-Perfect Lobster Rolls

Bourbon Baked Beans

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Bourbon Baked Beans

Bacon, bourbon, and maple syrup make this American classic special. Check your beans 10 to 15 minutes ahead of time to make sure they're not drying out.

View Recipe: Bourbon Baked Beans

Hello Dolly Bars

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Hello Dolly Bars

These bar cookies are also known as seven-layer bars. Dress them up by replacing the flaked sweetened coconut with toasted shaved fresh coconut.

View Recipe: Hello Dolly Bars

Cheddar Cheeseburgers with Caramelized Shallots

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Cheddar Cheeseburgers with Caramelized Shallots

Tender, golden shallots lend a lovely sweetness to this classic cheeseburger. Don't be afraid to cook the shallots to a deep golden brown: It will improve their flavor.

View Recipe: Cheddar Cheeseburgers with Caramelized Shallots

Sunny-Side-Up Pizza

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Sunny-Side-Up Pizza

Enjoy your eggs sunny-side up on a pizza that bears the same name. Mâche, red onion, and Parmesan cheese join these savory eggs for an outstanding, savory Sunny-Side-Up Pizza that's perfect for brunch or a light supper.

View Recipe: Sunny-Side-Up Pizza

French Toast Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

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French Toast Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

What kid (or grown-up, for that matter) wouldn't love this ooey-gooey sandwich? Serve the souped-up PB&Js with fresh fruit.

View Recipe: French Toast Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

Macaroni Salad

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Macaroni Salad

Macaroni Salad pairs well with just about anything. Cut back on the black pepper for a more kid-frendly version of this cookout staple.

View Recipe: Macaroni Salad

Blueberry-Peach Cobbler

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Blueberry-Peach Cobbler

Use fresh blueberries and peaches that aren't super ripe for this cobbler recipe so they'll hold their shape when cooked. To prevent spills, place the baking dish on a foil-lined baking sheet before putting it in the oven.

View Recipe: Blueberry-Peach Cobbler

Asian Tuna Burgers

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Asian Tuna Burgers

This burger has some of the same flavors as a popular sushi roll. Be sure to process the tuna using quick pulses to prevent the meat from being overworked and overheated by the blade.

View Recipe: Asian Tuna Burgers

Roasted Garlic Pizza

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Roasted Garlic Pizza

A slice of this pizza makes a tasty hors d'oeuvre, or serve two slices with a tossed salad for supper. Roast the garlic a day ahead; cool, extract the pulp, and refrigerate until you're ready to assemble the pizza.

View Recipe: Roasted Garlic Pizza

Heirloom Tomato, Arugula, and Bacon Sandwiches

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Heirloom Tomato, Arugula, and Bacon Sandwiches

Try a slightly new interpretation of the classic BLT with a flavored mayo. You can prepare the mayonnaise mixture and cook the bacon up to one day ahead.

View Recipe: Heirloom Tomato, Arugula, and Bacon Sandwiches

BBQ Potato Chips

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BBQ Potato Chips

These less than 50-calorie BBQ Potato Chips will be a huge hit with your tastebuds and your waste line. To get perfectly thin slices, use a mandoline or the thin slicing blade of a food processor.

View Recipe: BBQ Potato Chips

Orange Cream Pops

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Orange Cream Pops

Cool off on a hot summer day with these Orange Cream Pops. They are a healthy choice for both kids and adults.

View Recipe: Orange Cream Pops

Garlic-Thyme Burgers with Grilled Tomato Recipes

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Garlic-Thyme Burgers with Grilled Tomato

Thyme, garlic, and Dijon Mustard give these burgers a French twist. Pan-grilled tomatoes enhance the already-juicy texture.

View Recipe: Garlic-Thyme Burgers with Grilled Tomato

Peach and Gorgonzola Chicken Pizza

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Peach and Gorgonzola Chicken Pizza

Ditch the tomato sauce and give pizza a makeover by topping with fresh peach slices and two types of cheese. A drizzle of tangy balsamic reduction perfectly balances the sweet summer fruit.

View Recipe: Peach and Gorgonzola Chicken Pizza

Herbed Chicken Salad Sandwiches

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Herbed Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Tarragon and rye bread make a classic chicken salad sandwich extra special. You can make the chicken salad ahead. If you're packing it to go, keep the salad cold, and make your sandwich right before you're ready to eat to keep the bread from getting soggy.

View Recipe: Herbed Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Marinated Asparagus-and-Carrot Salad

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Marinated Asparagus-and-Carrot Salad

Veggies bathed in balsamic vinegar are truly irresistible. This colorful vegetable medley pairs perfectly with just about any entrée.

View Recipe: Marinated Asparagus-and-Carrot Salad

Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Fudge

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Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Fudge

Make the combination of peanut butter and chocolate even better by stirring in instant coffee granules and topping the fudge with chopped peanuts.

View Recipe: Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Fudge

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