Kicked-Up Mac and Cheese
We gave uber-creamy mac and cheese a Southwest kick by adding tortilla chips, green chiles, and homemade taco seasoning. Yes, it’s great for a weeknight, but it’s also festive enough to serve at a party. If you want to take this dish to an even spicier place, add some jalapeños or throw in a pinch more seasoning. To make it a complete meal, add some chopped bell peppers and onions, or fold in chicken or beef. Use whatever tortilla chips you have on hand, be it scoops, blue corn, or restaurant style. The idea here is just to add some salty crunch.
These juicy burgers are made even better with all the toppings. Thanks to a touch of adobo sauce, the mayo has a nice smoky flavor, while the sliced avocado and tender Bibb lettuce leaves add freshness. (If you don’t have a can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, use hot sauce instead). For a fun family burger night, spread out the toppings and let everyone assemble their own burgers. Looking to use up even more of your homemade taco seasoning? Toss french fries in the seasoning and serve alongside the burgers, or rim beer glasses with seasoning and make Micheladas.
Cheddar and Dill Irish Soda Bread
Switch up your Irish soda bread offering this year with a cheesy, herb-packed soda bread reminiscent of Red Lobster cheddar biscuits (without the buttery top). This flavorful loaf has a golden, crunchy exterior and a soft, biscuit-like center that will have you wondering why you don’t make Irish soda bread all year round. The cheese and herbs brighten the easy stir-together loaf, and though it’s a savory bread, a pinch of sugar deepens the flavor for a rich result. Serve toasted with butter and topped with an over-easy egg for breakfast, or warm from the oven with applesauce on the side.
Italian Easter Pie
If you’re looking for a classic Italian Easter Pie recipe (also called Pizza Rustica), the search is over. This baby is packed with more than two pounds of meat, including sweet Italian sausage, salami, hot capicola, smoked ham, and prosciutto. The buttery homemade crust sandwiches the filling, which oozes with melty pockets of mozzarella cheese. The addition of roasted red peppers adds a nice bright flavor to this rich Italian Easter Pie pie. The pie needs to sit for at least 3 hours after it’s baked before you can slice into it, so we suggest making it the day before, then heating in the oven before serving.
The taco seasoning packets that come with grocery store taco kits are often, unfortunately, filled with more than just spices (some contain MSG). Luckily, it’s easier and way tastier to make your own taco seasoning blend, and ours is salty, sweet, spicy, and a little bit smokey. It tastes just like the taco seasoning you can get at the store, so make a large batch to have on hand. Great for tacos, of course, but think outside the shell: use it to spice up mac and cheese, hamburgers, or even bacon.
While there’s certainly nothing wrong with traditional bacon, this bacon upgrade is a supremely flavorful way to switch up the Sunday morning staple. Serve the spicy, smoky, slightly sweet bacon alongside eggs, with a Bloody Mary, or crumbled onto dips, salads, or loaded baked potatoes. Because the bacon cooks and crisps in the oven, you don’t have to hover over a skillet or worry about grease splattering. But be warned: the spicy-sweet bacon is slightly addictive. You may wind up making it every time you buy bacon—but if that’s so wrong, we don’t want to be right.
Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Brownies
Not for the faint of heart, this trifecta was made with the brownie, cheesecake, and Oreo lovers in mind. The rich brownie batter has a layer of creamy cheesecake mixture, which is then topped with whole Oreos. More thick, chocolaty batter is spread on top and finished off with a cheesecake swirl. Work quickly on this one before the brownie batter sets—it’ll make swirling the cheesecake mixture much easier. Because these are super fudgy brownies, let them cool completely in the pan before trying to cut. Enjoy with a tall glass of cold milk.
Cheesy Asparagus Gratin
This family-friendly side dish is a delicious new take on potatoes au gratin. Yes, it’s still cheesy comfort food, but the fresh asparagus means it won’t leave you in a food coma. If you’ve ever made homemade macaroni and cheese, this technique will be familiar: you’ll make a bechamel sauce and top it with buttery breadcrumbs. In fact, you could double the sauce, toss it with pasta, stick it in the freezer and have mac and cheese ready to go whenever you need a quick dinner. For this dish, look for thick asparagus spears (not the pencil-thin ones) which will hold up better when served.
Crispy Potato Omelet With Smoky Aioli
A taste of this omelet and you’ll be transported to Spain. There are patatas bravas-inspired potatoes, crisped up for maximum deliciousness, salty serrano ham, manchego cheese, and paprika-spiked aioli. If you’re serving these omelets for brunch, why not pair with classic Spanish drinks? A dry cider or a crisp, effervescent Txakoli from the Basque region would both taste fantastic. A note to nervous first-time omelet makers: use your small nonstick skillet, if you have one. It’ll make the eggs easier to slide out!
Crispy Potato Crust Quiche with Kale-and-Fontina
This quiche is super creamy and cheesy, but the kale keeps it from being too indulgent. The crispy potato edge tastes like homemade potato chips—the perfect complement to the filling. Melting half the cheese over the potatoes helps the slices hold their shape, and makes for an extra delicious crust. Look for mild fontina (or substitute gruyere), unless you’re going for that funky cheese taste. Be sure to begin broiling the quiche when the center is just set. If you wait until it’s too firm in the center, it will be overcooked.