Get Inspired: Creative Recipe Ideas

Get inspired in the kitchen with a variety of quick and easy snacks, desserts and drinks perfect for any gathering or holiday.

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Holiday Cocktails: Shake It Up!


A trio of festive cocktails.

Blood Orange Whiskey Sour
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in 2 oz bourbon, 1 oz blood orange juice (freshly squeezed or bottled, such as Italian Volcano), 1 tsp sugar and 1 pasteurized egg white. Shake 15 seconds, until cold and foamy. Pour through a strainer into a glass. Garnish with a blood orange slice. Serves 1.

Sparkling Pear Cocktail
Place a pear slice inside a Champagne flute. Pour in 2 oz chilled pear nectar, then top with 3 oz chilled sparkling wine. Serves 1.

Hot Brown Buttered Rum
Melt 1 stick unsalted butter over medium heat and cook several minutes, until it starts to brown (be careful not to burn). Stir in ½ cup packed dark brown sugar, ½ tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp nutmeg and
⅛ tsp ground cardamom. Transfer mixture to a 4-cup heat-proof measuring cup. Stir in 2 cups boiling water and mix until most of the sugar is dissolved. Stir in 6 oz spiced rum. Pour into 4 glasses and serve warm. Garnish with a cinnamon stick. Serves 4.

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Condiment Deluxe


Next-day turkey sandwiches rise above mere leftovers with these easy-to-make spreads.

Spicy Sweet Pepper Relish: Dice 1 cup jarred roasted red peppers and 1 seeded jalapeño. Mix with 1 tsp each sugar and cider vinegar and 1/4 tsp salt.

Truffle Mayo: Stir together 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 tsp truffle oil and 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper.

Chestnut and Thyme Mustard: Combine 3 tbsp finely chopped chestnuts, 1/3 cup Dijon mustard and 1 tsp chopped thyme.

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Greek Yogurt Breakfast Ideas


Boost the protein in your favorite breakfasts by adding Greek yogurt. 

Morning Scramble: Crack 4 eggs into a bowl and whisk in 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt. Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat in 2 tsp olive oil. Top with a little shredded cheese, some diced tomatoes and chopped chives. Serve in Old El Paso flour tortilla bowls

Power Parfait (Gluten-Free): Layer plain Greek yogurt with sliced strawberries and a mixture of sunflower and sesame seeds. Repeat twice. Drizzle with honey

Superior Smoothie (Gluten-Free): Blend 1/2 cup flavored Greek yogurt, 3/4 cup frozen blueberries, 2 tbsp almond butter, 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 2 tsp sugar and 1/2 cup skim milk

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Summer Smoothies


The Blender Girl, Tess Masters, lets users of her new app punch in their mood (say, “sluggish”), their need (“detox”) and what they crave (“clean and green”). The results are a choice of 100 recipes, each with three optional boosters. Here’s what we tried (each makes 2 servings).


Strawberry-Kiwi: For Energy- In a blender, combine 11/4 cups freshly squeezed orange juice, 3 medium ripe kiwis, peeled and chopped, 3/4 cup plain or vanilla-flavored yogurt and 2 cups frozen strawberries. Blast on high for 30 to 60 seconds, until smooth and creamy. Boosters: 1 tbsp finely chopped basil; 1 tsp flaxseed oil;1 tsp camu powder

Apple Alikalaid: For Weight Loss- In a blender, combine 1/2 cup coconut water or water, 2 green apples, cored, seeded and roughly chopped (grated for conventional blenders); 1 cup loosely packed spinach; 1 lemon, peeled, quartered and seeded; 1 cup chopped cucumber and 5 drops alcohol-free liquid stevia. Blast on high for about 1 minute until smooth. Add 1 cup ice and blast for a few more seconds until drink is chilled. Boosters: 1 tsp minced ginger; pinch cayenne; 1/2 tsp wheatgrass powder

Chai Tai: For Relaxation/Stress Relief- In a blender, combine 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or other nut, grain or seed milk, 1 cup coconut water, 1/4 cup chopped pitted dates (soaked, if using a conventional blender), 1 tsp natural vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp each ground nutmeg and ground cardamom, pinch ground cloves, pinch salt (optional, to bring out flavors), 2 medium frozen sliced bananas and 1 cup ice cubes. Puree on high for 30 to 60 seconds, until smooth and creamy. Boosters: 1 tbsp blanched raw almonds, soaked; 1 tbsp chia seeds; 1 tbsp flaxseed oil

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Family Circle Office Favorite: Super Salad


To make up for all the recipe tastings, our food department eats a salad for lunch nearly every day. We try to incorporate the most nutrient-dense ingredients possible — that's how we came up with this winning combination. — Regina Ragone, Food Director, and Julie Miltenberger, Executive Food Editor


  • In a large bowl, toss 1 bunch watercress (tough stems discarded), 1 bag (5 ounces) baby spinach, 2 cups strawberries, trimmed and halved, and 1 small sweet red pepper, cored and cut into strips.
  • In a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 2 teaspoons honey, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. While whisking, pour in 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Mix in 1/2 teaspoon snipped fresh chives, if desired. Pour over salad and toss. Transfer to a platter, top with 1/2 cup walnuts and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

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Spice of Life: Turmeric


Turmeric — the vibrant yellow root that's typically sold dried and ground — is a powerful antioxidant touted for its anti-inflammatory properties. Here's what's golden about it: Studies have shown that adding turmeric to your daily diet is helpful in preventing Alzheimer's, cancer and arthritis. Got to get it into your life? Try these recipes.

Indian Roasted Cauliflower Cut 1 head cauliflower into florets. Toss on a rimmed baking sheet with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon each ground turmeric and salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1/8 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and cayenne. Roast at 400°F for 25 minutes, until tender.

Turmeric Coconut Tea Bring 2 cups unsweetened almond-coconut milk, one 1-inch piece peeled and grated ginger and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric to a simmer in a small pot. Cover, remove from heat and steep 3 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon honey and pour through a fine-mesh strainer into 2 mugs.

Golden Rice Pilaf In a small pot, stir 2 cups water, 1 cup brown jasmine rice, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots, 4 cloves garlic, chopped, and 1 teaspoon turmeric; cook 2 minutes. Stir into cooked rice.

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Do the Twist: Sweet Potato Noodles


Spiralizing transforms vegetables such as zucchini, sweet potatoes and butternut squash into long, coiled strands, which can be blanched or sauteed. The results look just like pasta, sans gluten. Here's our take on the trend. Go ahead — give it a spin.

Product note: We like Paderno Spiralizer (, $50) for its four blade options and crankability.


  • Whisk 1 teaspoon cornstarch into 1/2 cup milk, then add to another 1 cup milk in a large skillet. Gently heat just until bubbles form around edge of pan.
  • Whisk in 8 ounces soft goat cheese.
  • Stir in 2/3 cup chopped pecans, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • Use the medium blade to spiralize 2 pounds sweet potatoes; blanch in salted water for 1 to 2 minutes, being careful not to overcook.
  • Transfer noodles to skillet and gently toss in sauce. Season with cracked black pepper.

Serves 4.

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Spread the Love: Compound Butters


Compound butter — merely a mixture of butter and other sweet and savory ingredients — is a simple but sublime way to elevate any meal. Each recipe below begins with one softened stick of the unsalted variety. Poke around your pantry, then churn up something special.

Sriracha-ScallionAdd some heat to sauteed shrimp: 1/3 cup sliced scallions + 4 teaspoons sriracha + 1/4 teaspoon salt.

HerbParsley, sage, rosemary and thyme are poultry's best friend.

Blueberry-MaplePancake-perfect topping: 1/4 cup thawed wild blueberries + 2 tablespoons maple syrup + 1 tablespoon blueberry preserves + 1/8 teaspoon salt.

CurrySpread some joy on a chicken sandwich: 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger + 1 teaspoon curry powder + 1/2 teaspoon salt + 1/4 teaspoon turmeric. (Toast curry powder and turmeric in a skillet for 2 minutes.)

Honey-CardamomRatchet up a basic biscuit: 2 tablespoons honey + 1 teaspoon lemon zest + 1/2 teaspoon cardamom + 1/8 teaspoon salt.

Smoky BaconBuild a better BLT: 1/3 cup chopped cooked smoked bacon + 2 teaspoons brown sugar + 1 teaspoon cider vinegar + 1/2 teaspoon each smoked paprika, sweet paprika and chili powder (toasted 2 minutes in a skillet) + 1/2 teaspoon each mustard powder and salt.

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In a Jam: Tangy Tomato Jam

Tangy Tomato Jam
Makes 6

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Sweeten Up: Homemade Ginger Ale

Homemade Ginger Ale

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A Little Bit Corny: Spicy Corn


Corn is one of summer's most delicious staples, especially when it's at peak flavor. Leave the butter behind and spice things up with this simple side dish.


  • Heat a grill to medium.
  • Peel back husks on 4 ears of corn and remove silk; pull husks back over corn.
  • Grill 20 minutes, turning 3 times.
  • Peel back husks and spread 1 tablespoon mayo on each ear, roll in 1/4 cup cotija cheese (or queso fresco) and dust with cayenne.

Originally published in the August 2014 issue of Family Circle magazine.

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In the Loop


Soft pretzels — a hit at the ballpark — are easy to make at home, thanks to boxed mixes. Just follow package directions (we used Fleischmann's Simply Homemade). The finishing touches are up to you.

Everything Pretzels: Combine 3 teaspoons each poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried garlic and dried onion with 2 teaspoons coarse salt. Sprinkle on pretzels after boiling, then bake.

Salted Chocolate: Melt 4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips per package directions (thin with canola oil if necessary). Drizzle baked pretzels with chocolate and sprinkle with fleur de sel.

Cheddar-Bacon: Sprinkle each pretzel with 1 tablespoon grated cheddar and 1 teaspoon crumbled cooked bacon before baking.

Want to shape pretzels like a pro? Visit

Originally published in the June 2014 issue of Family Circle magazine.

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Video: Shape Pretzels Like a Pro

How to Shape Pretzels

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Pesto Chango: Homemade Pesto


Basil pesto? Been there, done that. Try these three ways to give a classic a fresh spin.

Kale-Walnut: In a food processor, combine 2 cups packed baby kale, 1 clove garlic, 1/3 cup toasted walnuts and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Blend until smooth while drizzling in 1/2 cup olive oil. Stir in 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.

Roasted Red Pepper: Combine 1 cup roasted red peppers, 1/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and 1/4 cup packed fresh parsley in a food processor; blend until smooth while drizzling in 1/3 cup olive oil. Stir in 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.

Corn-Cilantro: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add 1 cup fresh corn (cut off the cob). Cook 5 minutes; cool. Add to a food processor with 1/2 cup cilantro, 2 chopped scallions and 2 tablespoons lime juice. Drizzle in 1/3 cup olive oil, processing until smooth. Stir in 1/2 cup grated ricotta salata, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.

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Simply Smashing: Avocado Smash

Avocado Smash

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Video: All About Avocado Toast

Avocado Smash

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Ole! Sparkling White Sangria

Sparkling White Sangria
Makes 8

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Rise and Shine: Down-Home Biscuit Sandwiches

Down-Home Biscuit Sandwiches
Makes 4

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Green Goodness: Kale and Green Apple Juice

Green Goodness

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A New Leaf: Earl Grey Shortbread

Earl Grey Shortbread
Chill 30 m
Bake 18 - 20 m

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Give Peas a Chance: Bean-Based Salsa


The black-eyed variety, that is. Food editor Melissa Knific's family makes this chunky bean-based salsa every New Year's Eve, honoring the belief that the peas guarantee good fortune. Here's to a prosperous 2014!


  • Combine 1 can (15.5 ounces) rinsed and drained black-eyed peas, 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes, 1 cup sliced scallions, 1/3 cup chopped cilantro, 1 minced garlic clove, 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin and salt.
  • Serve over butter lettuce with tortilla chips.

Originally published in the January 2014 issue of Family Circle magazine.

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Fresh Start: Leafy Greens and Pine Nut Salad


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Get the Party Started: Quick Holiday Appetizers

Shrimp with Hot AND Spicy Orange Sauce
Grill 2 m
Grill perside

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The Fig Idea: Fig, Salami and Provolone Flatbread

Fig, Salami and Provolone Flatbread
Bake 13 - 15 m

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Delicious Duo: Bacon Chocolate Cupcakes

Bacon Chocolate Cupcakes
Bake 21 - 22 m
Bake or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean

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Jam Session: Gingered Peach Jam

Gingered Peach Jam
Makes 4

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Bliss on a Bun: Lobster Rolls

Lobster Rolls
Makes 4

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Refresher Course: Honeydew Melon Soup

Honeydew Melon Soup
Makes 4

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Refresh Yourself: Watermelon Granita

Watermelon Granita
Makes 6

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Berry Patriotic Kabobs

Berry Patriotic

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Fresh Blend: Spring Pesto

Spring Pesto

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Sweet Reward: Breakfast Crepes

Sweet Reward

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Green Day: St. Patrick's Green-and-White Cookies

St. Patrick's Day Green-and-White Cookies

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Pumpkin It Up: Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin-Spiced Whoopie Pies

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Confectionately Yours: Crunchy Chocolate Peanut Stix

Crunchy Chocolate-Peanut Sticks

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Warming Trend: White Peppermint Hot Chocolate

White Peppermint Hot Chocolate