"Our kids just love this and will sample a spoonful right from the slow cooker when they walk by," says Heidi Ferkovich of Park Falls, Wisconsin. "Sometimes I add cocktail sausages, sliced Polish sausage or cubed ham to the cheesy pasta for a hearty all-in-one dinner."
In Minneapolis, Minnesota, Mary Ann Kosmas cooks up this light and lemony rice dish flecked with pretty carrot shreds. "I have an herb garden, so I prepare this with fresh rosemary in summer," she jots. "The aroma is heavenly."
A sweet and spicy apricot sauce gives lots of flavor to the tender chicken in this dish from Diana Duda of Glenwood, Illinois. "It's especially fast because it's made with instant rice," she notes. "Serve it with crusty bread, fresh fruit and a green salad."
Cumin and curry powder give this chilled three-bean salad terrific zip. "I get a lot of compliments on it," says Howie Wiener, Spring Hill, Florida. Not only does it come together quickly, but at 70 cents a serving, it's economical, too.
Marinated artichoke hearts are an unusual addition to these impressive packed potatoes from Jennifer Andrzejewski of Grizzly Flats, California. Bacon, cheese, sour cream and broccoli round out the savory flavor.
No one will ever suspect that this rosemary-seasoned side dish starts with canned potatoes. "Fast ideas are a big part of my recipe file, and these buttery potatoes are a favorite," writes Jane Symens of Anchor Point, Alaska.
"I love combining different foods to see what I can come up with," writes Carolyn Wilson from Lyndon, Kansas. She puts last night's mashed potatoes to delicious use in these slightly crisp golden brown cakes.
"Adding ham to these veggie-topped potatoes makes them a complete meal-in-one," says Barbara Schindler from her home in Napoleon, Ohio. With plenty of cheese and a tasty sauce, too, they're sure to satisfy even the biggest appetites at dinnertime.
Carrots and green peppers bring extra color and crunch to this refreshing cucumber salad from Karla Hecht, Plymouth, Minnesota. The sweet dressing she creates is an ideal match for the crisp summer produce.
I jazz up zucchini, yellow squash and tomato with cheese and seasonings. The no-fuss skillet side dish is perfect for using summer's bounty. Plus, the veggies are great alongside grilled chicken, fish and most other warm-weather fare.—Chris Schmidt, Clarksville, Tennessee
In Frederic, Wisconsin, Tamara Ellefson prepares this comforting side dish with all of her holiday meals. "It's moister then corn pudding made in the oven, plus the cream cheese is a nice addition. It goes great with Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas ham."