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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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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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You Won’t Need the Luck of the Irish with These St. Patrick’s Day Party Ideas

There are very few holidays that revolve solely around drinking — no, Christmas doesn’t count — so when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around, you have an excuse to double (or triple) down on booze. But to host a St. Paddy’s party that will make even leprechauns green with envy, you can’t have an all-liquid buffet.

Plan your shindig around our St. Patrick’s Day recipes like corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread and much more to soak up the alcohol from all those whiskey shots and big mugs of green beer. Get your game plan below.

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Eat Your Feelings with a Comfort Food-Filled Oscars Party

It’s award season, and the biggest event is just around the corner. When planning an Oscars party, it’s always fun to have a theme, but if you design yours around the 2016 Best Picture nominees, you’ll just have one big bummer after the next.

If the heavy material in the nominated films — The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Room and Spotlight — is too much to bear, we give you full permission to eat your feelings on Feb. 28. Round up some friends and break out some comfort food as heavy as the films’ content. That means extra cheese, please, lots of decadent chocolate desserts, and, of course, drinks on drinks on drinks. Check out our comforting menu below.

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Souper-Easy Lunch Recipes That Will Keep You Warm at Work

The weather has been a fickle mistress this winter, but now that temperatures are cooling down across the States, it’s time to think about ways to keep warm. Whether your office blasts the heat or you’re stuck shivering next to the window, warming yourself from the inside out with comforting soups and stews is never a bad idea.

Transport yourself to a warmer place instead of Elsa’s Frozen tundra with easy soup recipes like Chuck Hughes’ Creamy Tomato Soup, pictured above, which is just waiting for a grilled cheese dipper that you can crisp up quickly in the office toaster oven.

When You’re Fighting Off a Cold: Chicken Noodle Soup

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