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4 Sweet New Spins on Classic Desserts

Think about the last dessert you made at home. It was probably chocolate chip cookies or a pan of brownies, right? As much as we love the classics, it’s time to step outside the box — and we don’t mean just boxed mixes, but toss those, too — and throw some new ingredients into the bowl.

Instead of making plain ol’ crispy rice treats, mix in some Oreos, pretzels and potato chips for an “everything but the kitchen sink” version, or add some spice to your next batch of fudge with cayenne pepper. Check out those ideas and more of our best dessert recipes below, and get ready to blow your friends’ minds with inventive sweets.

Compost Crispy Rice Treats

Momofuku Milk Bar in New York City has a Compost Cookie featuring mix-ins like potato chips, pretzels and Oreos, and Zoe Francois gave the same treatment to crispy rice treats. Heart shapes are optional, but why not have some extra fun with your food?

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Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice: 5 Things We’re Falling For This Autumn

After months of balancing beach time and blasting air conditioning, summer is ending. Now that you’ve scrambled to cook all the best warm-weather produce and fired up the grill a final few times, let’s give a (slightly less) warm welcome to the greatest season of all: fall.

Now, we understand that fall may not be everyone’s favorite time of year, but it does have some of the best foods and flavors (two words: pumpkin spice) plus cardigan-wearing-temperature weather. Just try to go apple picking while surrounded by colorful falling leaves without grinning from ear to ear. Here are five things we’re excited about this autumn, including finally giving that Dutch oven some lovin’.

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Healthy, Kid-Friendly Recipes That Make Food Disappear Faster Than Houdini

We’ve cracked the code to healthy, kid-friendly dinners that will have your whole family running to the table. Are you ready to get in on the secret? It’s easy (and sometimes cheesy): Just go for the classics. No one can say no to creamy mac and cheese or chicken nuggets, and they’ll never know that there’s butternut squash and Greek yogurt hidden in that cheese sauce or that the pretzel-coated chicken was baked instead of fried.

Check out five of our favorite recipes below that will satisfy kids and adults alike.

Crispy Mac-and-Cheese Cups

Bobby Deen uses homemade butternut squash puree to bulk up his cheese sauce while slimming down the calories. All your kids will taste is cheesy pasta and crunchy breadcrumbs — and dishing up single servings is always more fun.

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Top Restaurants Share Their Best Recipes

Picture this: You’re sitting in your favorite restaurant after devouring an incredible meal, already imagining when you’ll have it next. If you’re lucky, this happens pretty regularly, but not everyone can bankroll a daily trip out for the best steak or decadent brunch. Thankfully, some top restaurants have given us their famous recipes, from an epic Monte Cristo sandwich in Portland, Ore., to a buttery coconut cake from Asheville, NC.

Check out seven secret recipes below from Chuck Hughes’ adventures across the country, and for more, watch Chuck’s Eat the Street on Sundays at 10:30am ET.

Monte Cristo

DIY a jaw-dropping brunch with this French-toast breakfast sandwich from Sunshine Tavern in Portland, Ore. But instead of putting a bird on it as they do on Portlandia, put an egg on it!

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Last Call! 6 Ways to Devour Fresh Summer Produce Before Labor Day

Parting is such sweet sorrow, but the time has come to bid farewell to fresh summer produce. After months of eating piles of fresh corn on the cob, watermelon and other in-season fruits and vegetables, it’s time to move on to apples, squash, Brussels sprouts and more fall fare.

Before Labor Day rolls around, start a mini bucket list of things to cook with your farmers market favorites. Whether you enjoy baking a bubbling stone fruit cobbler or biting into a fresh tomato like it’s an apple, the countdown starts now. Get it all out of your system now so when fall comes on Sept. 23, you’ll have some closure, having given warm-weather produce a proper sendoff. Here are six ideas to get you started with your goodbyes.

Tomatoes: Heirloom Tomato Caprese

Fresh heirloom tomatoes are so juicy that you may want to take a bite of one without bothering to even slice it up. But if you want to be a little less of an animal, make a simple caprese salad with Burrata cheese, basil and olive oil.

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Take Your Own Taco Trip with 5 Unique Twists on the Mexican-Food Favorite

It doesn’t have to be Tuesday to have a taco party. If we had it our way, every day of the week would be filled with different variations on the Mexican staple, whether it’s classic childhood fare — aka ground beef stuffed in hard-shell corn tortillas — or upscale twists like braised pork belly or fresh lump crabmeat.

Even if you don’t have time to travel across the country in search of the best tacos, you can still make your own taco trip at home. Check out five of our favorite unique taco recipes, then tune into the premiere of Taco Trip with host Aarón Sánchez on Tuesday, August 25 at 10pm ET for more new takes on Mexican fare.

Mexican Pot Roast Tacos

Reinvent your fast-food favorite with two easy swaps: slow-cooked beef shoulder instead of ground beef and freshly fried corn tortillas instead of mass-produced hard shells. Homemade guacamole and salsa don’t hurt, either.

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Meet the Easiest (and Cheesiest) Summer Meal of Your Dreams

The lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are almost over. Soon we’ll be sipping pumpkin spice lattes and slow-braising meat as the leaves start to fall. Until then, let’s set a final goal for the warm months: eat more pizza. The Italian staple is one of the fastest and most endlessly customizable meals, and it’s even better when you throw it on the grill.

Whether you make your own dough or cheat and pick some up at a local pizzeria or grocery store, it’s a crowd-pleasing, easy and deliciously cheesy way to get dinner on the table quickly. While anything can go on a pizza — that dough is just a vessel for all of your favorite foods — here are four foolproof recipes below.

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Bake Doughnuts, Not Cupcakes!

If you’re looking for something other than cupcakes to contribute at your next birthday party, may we recommend Ina Garten’s Cinnamon Baked Doughnuts? For a festive twist we added sprinkles to the batter, then replaced Ina’s cinnamon sugar topping with frosting and sprinkles. To make the frosting we mixed confectioner’s sugar, heavy cream, 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract and blue food coloring until we got a thick, smooth consistency (we went with electric blue in honor of the birthday girl’s favorite color). So, just like plain cupcakes, doughnuts are a great canvas for personalizing decorations.

More Reasons We Loved This Recipe (Plus Photos):

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Squash Boring Dinners with Zucchini as Your Main Dish Tonight

When you head to the farmers market or the grocery store this summer, there are plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables to choose from, but sometimes it’s easier to stick to tried-and-true produce for quick meals. One of the most abundant and popular veggies of the season is zucchini, which is at its peak and always manages to sneak its way into your basket.

If you’re bored of just roasting, grilling or sauteing, we have some great zucchini recipes that will make you want to gorge on gourds. Check out these six ideas for using squash as your main dish, from a breakfast-for-dinner frittata to meatless meatballs.

Risotto-Stuffed Peppers and Zucchini

Play with your food when you hollow out little zucchini boats (and/or red peppers) and fill them with creamy risotto. You won’t miss the meat in this hearty dish.

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These Slow-Cooker Recipes Are the Closest Thing to a Robot Cooking for You

It’s 2015 and robots that cook for you still haven’t been invented yet*, so we have to settle for the next best thing: a handy-dandy slow cooker, which you can pretend is actually Rosie from The Jetsons.

A slow cooker can make fall-apart-tender meat for tacos or macaroni and cheese while you’re at work, and save you from turning on your oven until the world cools down. So get ready to do some easy prep, turn on that magical machine and come home to a delicious meal with six slow-cooker recipes perfect for the sweltering summer.

Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches with Blue Cheese Aioli

Pulled pork is a slow-cooker staple, but there’s another meat you should try going low and slow with: chicken. Kelsey Nixon’s easy recipe gives you everything you love about chicken wings — spicy sauce, blue cheese and a crunch from celery — all tucked into a sandwich.

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