I try to make special foods for my kids, especially on their birthdays. To transform plain old pancake mix, I add cake mix and sprinkles. Frosting closes the deal. —Dina Crowell, Fredericksburg, Virginia
Mary Shivers of Ada, Oklahoma, makes a knockout shredded pork, served in tortillas. Turn it into a hearty salad of pork, greens, black beans and other Southwestern sprinklings. —Mary Shivers, Ada, Oklahoma
Inspired by a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich, this recipe is an awesome way to use leftover chicken. If you have a little extra time, let the carrot and cucumber marinate in some rice vinegar before taco time. —Melissa Halonen, Spokane, WA
Tackle gatherings to go with a bright pasta salad. This tricolor toss-up with broccoli, tomatoes, olives and a hardworking dressing is the easiest one you could take. —Amanda Cable, Boxford, Massachusetts
The topping for this simple Fresh Tomato Bruschetta appetizer can be put together ahead of time and refrigerated. We also love it on top of grilled chicken sandwiches, hamburgers and homemade pizza. —Samantha Cass, Swartz Creek, Michigan
“I first tasted this deliciously different bread at a friend's house, and she graciously shared the recipe with me,” says Joan Hallford of North Richland Hills, Texas. “It's so easy to make and absolutely yummy!”
Here's a quick-and-easy summertime classic. The shortcake layer in this Lemon-Berry Shortcake recipe is tender and not overly sweet. Add some blueberries to the top for an extra-pretty finish to patriotic celebrations. —Meryl Herr, Overland Park, Kansas
I always come home with an empty container when I bring this dish to a partym and I've used the recipe for years. It can be made ahead to free up time later. I serve it with pretty party picks for a festive, holiday look. —Peggy Cairo, Kenosha, Wisconsin
“Absolutely delicious,” is how our Taste Testers described this comforting coffee cake that features peaches and a delectable frosting. Serve it warm for an extra-special treat. —Virginia M Krites, Cridersville, Ohio
Four ingredients and 20 minutes…could a fabulous last-minute gift idea be any easier? This chocolate-coated crunch also freezes well, so keep some on hand for drop-in guests. Pat Maxwell - Taft, California
In just 30 minutes, Fran Scott of Birmingham, Michigan whips up this elegant entree. Coated in pesto and topped with walnuts and Parmesan, the mix of pasta, shrimp and vegetables adds a dressy touch to any weeknight meal.
"I treasure this recipe because of the make-ahead convenience it offers," says Lois McGrady. A few common ingredients are all she needs to serve this refreshing beverage at her Hillsville, Virginia home.
This salsa recipe is great not only with salmon, but also grilled chicken breasts and barbecued shrimp kabobs. The only fresh ingredient not available in my son's garden was the avocado! Make a double batch of the salsa to serve with crisp tortilla chips. —Priscilla Gilbert, Indian Harbour Beach, Florida