Roasted Strawberry Margaritas with Aquafaba Whip
Aquafaba, the viscous fluid from canned chickpeas, is the surprising key to making a plant-based whipped topping. The process is pretty miraculous: The liquid whips up to a thick, fluffy foam that mimics whipped cream. Just be sure to use the liquid from unsalted chickpeas for the best results (we like Eden brand).
Simple and easy to make ahead—this twist on the apple crumble is unbelievably good. With cinnamon-sugar butter between the layers, a crispy streusel sprinkle, and a dollop of ice cream on top, there’s no doubt this will be a hit with your friends and family.
Smoky Carrot Dogs with Nacho Sauce
We've embellished the humble carrot to mimic the smoky taste and snappy texture of a hot dog. To lend a dairy-free cheesy flavor to plant-based nacho sauce, we use nutritional yeast; look for it in health food stores or well-stocked specialty grocers. Our recipe saves 8g saturated fat over standard cheese dogs without losing any of the flavor.
Jackfruit is a nutrient-rich, tree-borne fruit that easily shreds to mimic the texture of pulled pork. It's gluten-free and a favorite ingredient for vegetarians. Look for young green jackfruit found canned at Asian supermarkets.
Grilled Pineapple Lemonade
This twist on classic lemonade is the divine union of fruity and smoky flavors. Naturally sweet pineapple goes into the drink, allowing us to use less added sugar. We use an indoor grill pan, but if your outdoor grill is already fired up, use it to lend extra smoky depth. Add a boozy spin with a dash of rum or tequila.
Waffle Iron Hash Browns
For hash browns that are crisp on the outside and buttery on the inside, look no further than your multifaceted waffle iron—this works with both Belgian and traditional waffle irons. Serve as is, or try with Greek yogurt and chives.
Retro Triple-Layer Parfaits
Our take on a popular boxed-gelatin dessert from the 1970s has way more layers of flair.
Nutty Carrot Flatbread
We were so inspired by the vegetable flatbread made by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl of greenkitchenstories.com, we decided to create our own hearty, seed- and nut-packed version. The gluten-free slices are perfect for sandwiches. Pop slices into the toaster oven for crispy edges. Or wrap in foil for soft, warm slices.
Acorn Squash Egg-in-the-Hole
Remember that childhood breakfast favorite, a piece of toast with an egg cooked into its cutout center? Well, try this stunning grown-up twist that replaces the bread with baked slices of acorn squash. Mornings are looking sunny-side up!
Sea Salt and Vinegar Zucchini Chips
Crunchy and salty, while being slightly addictive, these chip recipes can curb you off the store-bought stuff while exploring the various veggies and seasonings that make the perfect chip. Light, crisp, and just as good as their junk-food counterparts, these zucchini chips are a revelation. Malt vinegar is made from fermented ale and is mildly sweet. If you prefer a sharper flavor, substitute cider vinegar or white vinegar. The best way to get uniform slices? Use a mandoline.
Hasseltots with Crème Fraîche and Caviar
This two-bite, no-fork-required appetizer is perfect for parties where guests will be juggling drinks and nibbles. Choose a sustainable, budget-friendly roe. Depending on what kind you choose, it can be affordable or break the bank. Make note of the origin to be sure you aren't buying caviar or roe from endangered fishing areas or species. We suggest Classic American White Sturgeon Caviar ($85/oz.), Paddlefish Caviar ($44/oz.), Salmon Roe ($8/oz.), and Masago ($5/oz.). Store opened caviar on ice, and use within one to two days. In a pinch, sour cream can stand in for the crème fraîche.
Flavored Finishing Salts
These are no ordinary seasoned salts. Sprinkle on food right before serving to add concentrated flavor and a crunchy, briny taste of the sea. Try our Olive Salt on fresh tomatoes, our Tomato Salt on deviled eggs, and our Porcini Salt on grilled steak.
Sheet Pan S'mores
This summertime treat is perfect for a potluck. They are great served at room temperature, but if you want, pop the pan into a warm (250°) oven for 2 minutes just until the chocolate softens for the full gooey experience. For a fruity twist, place thinly sliced bananas over the chocolate layer before adding the meringue.
It’s hard to believe there’s anything you can do to make a creamy French cheese any better than it already is, but we found a new way to take it to a new level. As the summer beats on, you can still keep this party starter on the roster—just exchange the cherries for the most seasonal fruit: nectarines, plums, peaches, and blueberries all make a delicious pairings.
Chamomile-Strawberry-Orange Cold-Brewed Tea
Fruit adds sweetness to this refreshing drink. If you wish, substitute raspberries for the strawberries, or drop in a sprig of lemon verbena to boost the aromatic citrus.
While tomato season is at bay, turn to strawberries to make this refreshing version of the classic Spanish chilled vegetable soup.
Butternut Squash Queso Fundido
Butternut squash adds distinct flavor (and color) to this satisfyingly cheesy dip. To make it vegetarian, sub vegetable stock for the chicken stock. If you prefer, you can roast a halved, seeded butternut squash at 350° for 45 minutes or until soft. Scoop 10 ounces of flesh, and use in place of the puree.
Old-Fashioned Popcorn Balls
Guess what? This is a whole-grain dessert. To keep the stickiness at bay, wear latex gloves coated with cooking spray as you shape the popcorn balls.
The Quickest Holiday Dessert
This season, there's no need to stress or spend hours in the kitchen. Serve this simple sweet treat at your next party or wrap it up beautifully for your friends. The first ingredient in this dark chocolate bark (psst, it’s quinoa) gives this treat loads of crunch. It’s a whole grain, which definitely makes this sweet even sweeter.
Maple Pumpkin Pie with a Message
To use up the leftover pumpkin, try adding some to a breakfast smoothie, or stir into pancake batter. Or combine with a splash of half-and-half, season with sage, and toss with pasta.
Grilled Watermelon Pizza
Both kids and adults will enjoy stretching the honey into taffy, and the longer you stretch the honey, the easier and more pliable the taffy becomes. To avoid a sticky situation, make sure any surface you set the taffy on is thinly coated with cooking spray. You can also wear latex gloves (coated with canola oil) to make the pulling a little easier.
We thought we had explored every way to enjoy the buttery-rich yumminess of avocados. But then we swooned over a photo of the breaded avocado fries in chef Hans Röckenwagner‘s latest cookbook, Das Cookbook. Inspired by the photo, we created our own lighter version, and the results were even more delicious than we’d imagined: When you coat creamy avocado wedges with a crisp breadcrumb crust, that contrast of textures makes the avocado seem doubly silky-rich.
Smoked Salmon Bites
If you're looking for an appetizer that will delight your guests with its gorgeous presentation and rich, delicious taste, the search stops here. These beautiful canapés start with a base of candy cane (or Chioggia) beet squares, whose alternating ruby and white rings are stunning. (You can add more color to the platter by alternating candy cane beet and golden beet slices.) The beet stays raw, so the slices are crunchy and sweet and hold up nicely. Strips of smoked salmon get folded and layered on the beet base with a tasty filling of cream cheese, shallots, and lemon rind. The result looks similar to old-fashioned ribbon candy. The jewel-like topping of easy-to-find salmon caviar turns what's truly a simple make-ahead nibble into an absolute work of art that'll make you the talk of your social circle.
Hasselback Sweet Potatoes
Here’s a great way to rev-up your typical baked sweet potato: Turn it into a gorgeous hasselback sweet potato, and drizzle it with smoky chipotle cream. The accordion-like cuts give the potato some crispy outer edges, keeping the insides moist and soft. They also turn it into a pull-apart dish that’s super fun to eat. You can bake just one for yourself for lunch or dinner, or cook up a bunch at a time (perfect for dinner parties or holiday entertaining).
Spooky Spider Cupcake Toppers
Halloween is a holiday for pulling out all the stops, for having fun with all kinds of ghoulish decorations. Here's a scary-good way to go big and give kids and grown-ups a thrill—3-D chocolate spiders that perch on top of cupcakes and definitely give you the creepy-crawlies. Dare you reach for a sweet treat, lest these spiders crawl onto your hand? The chocolate arachnids are frighteningly easy to make, requiring readily found craft-store ingredients and just a few steps. Any leftover chocolate can turn into eerie spiderwebs.
We have discovered a lovely way to spruce up your bread basket. With our herb lamination technique, you can turn your favorite biscuits into botanical works of art that are infused with the flavors of sage, parsley, rosemary, or thyme. They're great alongside soup or roast chicken at dinner or with a breakfast or brunch spread.
Grown-Up Jellied Desserts
If you’re looking to impress at your next dinner party but bristle at the idea of jumping through difficult culinary hoops, this idea is perfect. Our layered desserts are beautiful—and the fact that they’re made with goodies from the liquor cabinet gives them a decidedly grown-up edge and rather sophisticated flavor profiles. The contrast of creamy, rich pudding against light, bright gelatin is a delicious pairing of opposites. Our favorites pair silky vanilla pudding with Aperol, tangy citrus pudding with tequila, rich butterscotch pudding with aged rum, and bittersweet chocolate pudding with red wine.
Tropical Fruit Nachos
Who says nachos are solely meant for salty chips and oniony salsa? This sweet reinvention replaces tortilla chips with crispy cinnamon wontons, salsa with chopped tropical fruit, and the cheesy drizzle with silky coconut sauce. You can bake the chips ahead, cool, and place in an airtight container; store in a cool, dry place for up to three days.
Toppings Bar for Roasted Marshmallows
Campfire-roasted marshmallows are a summer classic, but there’s a fun way to step up your marshmallow game. Have a party and set out a toppings bar so folks can creatively embellish their toasty treats. Whether you prefer yours slow-cooked and creamy throughout or charred outside and firm within, our ideas make those marshmallows even more lip-smackingly good.
Turn regular pancakes into something way more fun: Flip them inside out so they become a portable, handheld breakfast on the go with hot, gooey interior. Here we place a filling of brown sugar, toasted pine nuts, and cinnamon inside regular whole-wheat pancake batter. The results are irresistible: The brown sugar melts to a yummy molten syrup as the cakes cook.
Easter Egg Baskets
Happy Easter from the Cooking Light family to yours! What better way to add panache to Easter brunch than with these adorably edible egg baskets? For best results use refrigerated shredded hash browns, but you can also match the pastel hues of Easter by mixing the hash browns with carrots, beets, or zucchini.
Rhubarb Jam Cheesecakes
Pull a cake out when you start making dinner, and it'll be ready for dessert. Now that's sweet!
We created sugars with zippy flavors and bright colors. Freeze-dried fruit makes gorgeous strawberry and blueberry sugar. We even perfected a quick microwave trick for drying herbs and citrus peel while preserving their bright, vibrant colors—and thus were born orange, basil-lime, and lemon mint sugars. Sprinkle over muffin batter, spoon over Greek yogurt, or rim cocktail glasses for extra-festive drinks.
Poached Pear Bread
Impress friends over coffee, or perhaps received a standing ovation at the breakfast table, with this stunning loaf. It offers a clue to its interior surprise when it comes out of the oven, but when you cut into it, the real magic happens. It’s remarkably easy to make, too.
Grilled Ice-Cream Sandwich
Made with cinnamon swirl bread and apple butter, our Grilled Ice-Cream Sandwich riffs on the flavors of America’s most patriotic dessert (apple pie!), right down to the classic bite of cheddar cheese. Meanwhile, it gives new jazz to the joys of the ice-cream sandwich: Warm, crunchy bread snuggles up to cold, creamy ice cream.