Give this versatile mix in a decorative jar with instructions for making dip or dressing. Then tuck it into a gift basket along with a pretty serving bowl and snack crackers or chips.—Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, TX
When a recipe she wanted to try called for almond paste, Anne Keenan of Nevada City, California decided to make her own. "It saves the expense of the store-bought kind," she says, "and results in a lighter baked product."
Our Test Kitchen came up with this good-for-you alternative to high-sodium packaged bread crumbs, using garlic powder and a handful of dried herbs. The crumbs make a savory topping for casseroles and a crispy coating for pork, chicken and fish.
"My daughters love packaged oatmeal flavored with maple and brown sugar," explains Marcy Waldrop from Pasadena, Texas. "But because the oatmeal can be expensive, I created my own spice mix for oatmeal. The girls think it tastes better than the store-bought variety."
Myrta Sweet of Wildwood, Florida keeps this nicely flavored blend in a salt shaker on the back of her stove. "I use a teaspoon of it in almost everything I cook, from meat loaf to stew," Myrta comments. It's perfect for people on restricted diets as well as those who are simply cutting back on salt.
I like experimenting with different foods and adapting them to my own tastes. These hens are one of my specialties, an entree I concocted by combining a few different recipes. The moist meat has a pleasant grilled flavor that's accented with cloves and ginger.—David Baruch, Weston, Florida