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5 Ways to Make Your Picnic Slawsome

Grab your picnic basket and cabbage of choice — it’s slaw season! Nothing is better than a refreshing salad on a summer day. Make an unbeetable slaw with roasted cumin seeds and cilantro dressing (picture above) or fire up the grill for slaw with a smoky kick.

Check out four more picnic picks below, which are just a handful of our favorite summer side dishes.

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Fuel Up for Summer with 4 Protein-Packed Grilled Chicken Skewers

To kick off summer, put down the chips and pick up the chicks. Fire up the grill for some quick grilled chicken skewers with grapes (pictured above), light Indian-spiced bites and more grilled chicken skewer recipes.

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Red, White and Blue Sides for a Patriotic Memorial Day Picnic

We’ve found the key to being patriotic inside and out: eating the combo of red, white and blue, as well as wearing it. You don’t need to break out food dye to make Sunny Anderson’s red, white and blue mashed potatoes (pictured above) with bacon, Gorgonzola cheese and garlic, or an equally colorful side dish like blueberry and pomegranate salad.

Check out four more of our favorite red, white and blue side dishes below, perfect for a Memorial Day picnic.

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Pasta Salads That Go Beyond Mayonnaise

It’s time to reinvent the pasta salad. Use your noodle to think outside the mayonnaise bottle for your next picnic, with interesting flavor combinations like Giada De Laurentiis’ orecchiette with mixed greens and goat cheese (pictured above) and zesty green-onion dressing tossed with bowtie pasta.

Check out four more of our favorite pasta salad recipes below — only one of which uses mayonnaise for creaminess — and get more camping recipes and picnic ideas here.

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Beat the Clock with Easy, Under-15-Minute Side Dishes

If you’re always running around your kitchen to get dinner together after a hectic day at work — hopefully not while holding a knife — sit down. We have six timesaving recipes for you.

Check out our favorite easy side dishes that can be made in 15 minutes or less, including a Roasted Peanut Slaw (pictured above) and a lightning-fast fried rice.

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6 Twists on Mashed Potatoes That’ll Have You Dancing in the Kitchen

It’s time to do the mashed potato. No, we don’t mean breaking out your ’60s moves, but these new twists on the humble spud may inspire you to dance around the kitchen.

It’s not hard to learn how to make mashed potatoes — boil, drain, take out your aggression with a masher or ricer, and season — but sometimes it’s tough to get out of a food rut. Reinvent the classic side dish with a mix of vegetables, like Chuck Hughes’ root vegetable mash (pictured above), in which potatoes pair well with carrots, parsnips and salsify — or completely swap out taters for sweet potatoes instead.

Check out five more of our favorite spins on mashed potatoes below.

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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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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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