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A Make-Ahead Game Plan for the Ultimate Cinco de Mayo Fiesta

This Cinco de Mayo, give your friends something to taco ’bout with a festive Mexican fiesta. Unlike a Thanksgiving turkey or an Easter ham, the food for this holiday doesn’t take all day to cook — in fact, you can even start to prepare the feast a few days in advance.

Check out our game plan for an easy Cinco de Mayo party with the best Mexican recipes, from tangy margaritas to creamy guacamole.

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Alternative Fries That Will Make Everyone Want to Eat Their Vegetables

TGIF isn’t only for kicking off the weekend — any day can be fryday if you put your mind to it. Classic french fries are deep-fried until crisp, sprinkled with salt and devoured instantly, but other vegetables can be made equally craveworthy for side dishes with less guilt.

Check out five of our favorite alternative fries, like Tia Mowry’s zucchini sticks with ranch dip (pictured above) — which are still fried, but made of squash instead of potatoes — and oven-fried potato wedges that may convert you from your fast-food favorites. They’re also a great way to coax your kids into eating vegetables without even realizing what’s under the crunchy batter. Ladies and gentlemen, start your ovens.

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Feast Your Eyes on 4 Roasted Carrot Recipes

Roasting is usually associated with the cold winter months, but as the temperature fluctuates and spring showers have us staying inside, it makes sense to crank up the oven. Bring out the natural sweetness in vegetables like carrots with a slow roast in the oven, allowing them to get tender and crisp while you save time preparing meals for the week.

An easy starter recipe is Tiffani Thiessen’s Honey-Roasted Carrots with Sesame Seeds (pictured above), which are coated with honey so they blister and get a little sticky in the oven, and then are tossed with soy sauce and sesame seeds for great umami flavor.

Check out more of our favorite ways to use roasted carrots below.

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What Would the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Cast Eat If Trapped in a Bunker?

Kimmy Schmidt is alive, dammit, and after breaking out of the bunker in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s first season, she’s ready for more New York City adventures.

Ahead of the Season 2 premiere (all episodes stream on Netflix beginning April 15), we caught up with the cast members to find out what they would eat if they were trapped in a bunker for 15 years and where they go to chow down in NYC.

“If this is my fantasy, it would be Levain chocolate chip cookies,” Ellie Kemper (aka Kimmy Schmidt) said. “If I were in the bunker, those chocolate chip cookies. I mean, I might not survive that long. But the thing is, doesn’t chocolate release endorphins? I think that’s why I’m leaning towards the cookies. There’s nuts in those cookies, so lots of protein.”

Check out the rest of the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt cast’s dream bunker foods and favorite NYC restaurants here.

25 Ways to Use Asparagus

Asparagus season is in full swing, but before you go grabbing bunches of it at the farmers market, take a look at some of our favorite recipes for inspiration. Asparagus is one of the most versatile vegetables, because you can eat it shaved raw in salads, chopped and cooked in brunch or pasta dishes or even roasted on its own (sometimes with a little bacon). If you don’t wrap it in a blanket of pork, it’s low in calories — about 4 calories per spear — and it’s a source of fiber and potassium. Asparagus also contains glutathione, a powerful anticarcinogen and antioxidant.

So make use of your local green market’s plentiful asparagus stock with these 25 fantastic uses of asparagus.

  1. This basic Roasted Asparagus with Orange Glaze recipe from Tiffani Thiessen is a good place to start your asparagus adventures.
  2. Spaghetti With Asparagus, Smoked Mozzarella and Prosciutto from Giada De Laurentiis is luscious and rich but takes only a few minutes to prepare.
  3. White asparagus is grown under soil to prevent photosynthesis from turning the stalks green. Just remember to peel the stalks before you cook them. Try it in Emeril Lagasse’s Fried Soft Shell Crab, White Asparagus and Wild Sorrel With a Grilled Ramp Dressing.
  4. Creamy Farfalle With Cremini, Asparagus and Walnuts from Giada is a creamy crowd-pleaser.
  5. Wrap asparagus in almost anything. Rachael Ray wraps it in bacon, Kelsey Nixon tucks prosciutto around hers, Giada goes for smoked salmon (pictured at top), Tia Mowry uses Asian-marinated grilled beef and Ellie Krieger tries smoked turkey.

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Ali Khan’s 5 Favorite Cheap Burgers

#5: Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen

The Vitals
The burger: Schnipper Old Fashioned, a flat-top classic 5-ounce griddled patty topped with lettuce, tomato, pickle, house sauce, double cheese (American) and griddled onion
The bucks: $6.99
The coordinates: New York City

It’s not hard for many to simply call Schnipper’s a Shake Shack clone. Whatever you call it, you will be paying $7 for a near-perfect cheeseburger. There are a number of elements that make Schnipper’s such a damn successful burger, but none are more important than a uniformly well-browned exterior that comes from a masterful charring at the griddle. At Schnipper’s, the holy-burger-cold-topping-trinity of lettuce, tomato and pickle is alive and well, and the quality is up to the same standards as the beef. Many a Bang for Your Burger Buck has delivered standard-to-subpar lettuce, or a mealy tomato that was made passable thanks to a heavy dousing of burger sauce a la Thousand Island. No need to dunk the greens in pink stuff at Schnipper’s. Also, the more I revisit the pics, the more I am confounded by the magical act that was Schnipper’s melting the cheese underneath the burger. The sauce was applied with restraint, a technique to ensure that the all the flavors of the burger come out. These toppings are familiar territory, of course, but they were measured and layered with precision and were of quality. Many burgers have gotten away with less at this price point, so tip your cap. And come hungry, because that price includes a short wait. This is where Schnipper’s outdoes Shake Shack: It’s a more convenient experience. I’ll take a shorter line to a non-cloned burger any day.

Just as long as that clone isn’t trying to blow up the world or something.

Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen
570 Lexington Ave. (at 51st St.)
New York, NY 10022

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6 Protein-Heavy Salads to Make Your Desk Lunch Less Sad

To eat healthier, you don’t have to force-feed yourself green juice and rabbit food. Instead, try keeping yourself full and happy with protein-packed salads that are equally satisfying and healthy for desk lunches or dinners at home.

We’ve rounded up six of our favorite salad recipes — kicking off with the above Composed Mediterranean Chicken Salad filled with chicken, halloumi cheese, cucumbers and red peppers — and there’s plenty more where that came from with Cooking Channel’s other healthy lunch ideas.

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Crowd-Peasing Recipes Using 3 Varieties of Spring Peas

As the trees begin to bloom outside, it’s time to add more green to your plate, too. Instead of making a bunch of sad salads, embrace the abundance of spring fruits and vegetables with inventive, colorful dishes.

Not sure where to get started? Give peas a chance. Whether you reach for classic English peas, sugar snaps or snow peas, there are plenty of ways to transform them into simple side dishes and appetizers to complement any meal. Check out some of our favorite recipes, starting with Tiffani Thiessen’s party-starting Grilled Ciabatta with Ricotta and Snap Peas, brightened with three green herbs: chives, basil and mint.

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Have a Hoppin’ Easter with These Remixed Brunch and Dinner Dishes

Now that we’ve had a few months to recover from the winter holidays, it’s time to dive into Easter full force. When conceptualizing the perfect Easter menu, think outside the basket with interesting twists like cheesy strata for brunch, butterflied-and-stuffed roasted ham for dinner and Instagram-ready Easter Candy Bark (pictured above) for dessert.

Hop to planning with our favorite recipes below.

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Drink Pink for St. Patrick’s Day

Wild Irish Rose

by Ben Schaffer

This St. Patrick’s Day, like every year, the streets will run green with misguided alcoholic effluvia. But if we act fast, we still have a chance to rethink and update our strategy for the drinking holiday. Fortunately, the masterminds behind New York’s celebrated Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog, can show the way. This year, eschew kelly-colored plastic derby hats and bright-green buttons proclaiming your kissability. This year, pour yourself the Wild Irish Rose, which is undeniably, unashamedly pink.

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