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85 Fun Recipes to Make over Summer Vacation

Ready or not, summer vacation is here. Make the most of it with these yummy kid-approved recipes.

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Frozen Banana Cereal Pops

When we want a healthy snack, we dip bananas in yogurt, roll ’em in cereal, then freeze. Ta-da! —Scarlett Elrod, Newnan, Georgia

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Movie Theater Pretzel Rods

My kids and all of their friends clamor for the large, chewy pretzel rods. They are fantastic fresh from the oven. —Lisa Shaw, Burnettsville, Indiana
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Summertime Fun Cookies

Use this basic sugar cookie recipe to make the perfect poolside treat. Kids (and adults) won't be able to get enough. —Coleen Walter, Bancroft, Michigan
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Game-Night Nacho Pizza

Some like it hot with jalapenos; others like it cool with a dollop of sour cream. But one thing’s for sure: This is “nacho” ordinary pizza night. —Jamie Jones, Madison, Georgia
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Princess Toast

I made these sparkly treats for my daughter's Brownie troop and they're great for princess parties. Sometimes I use lemon curd in place of the jam. —Marina Castle Kelley, Canyon Country, California
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Fair-Favorite Corn Dogs

Bring the county fair home to your kitchen with these summer-ready corn dogs. A tip for dipping: Pour the batter in a tall Mason jar and dunk your dogs to create an even coating all around. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Raspberry-Banana Breakfast Tacos

My sweet take on breakfast tacos swaps in pancakes for the tortillas! They're so easy and absolutely delicious. Pick your choice of fruits and berries depending on what's in season. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
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Traditional Funnel Cakes

When I was in high school, I made these funnel cakes every Sunday after church for my family. They are crisp and tender, just like the kind we always ate at the state fair. —Susan Tingley, Portland, Oregon
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Berry Brownie Pizza

How could you not love pizza for dessert? A fudgy brownie base is layered with a whipped topping sauce, then topped with fresh strawberries, chopped nuts and a drizzle of chocolate syrup. —Karen Heleski, Ubly, Michigan —Karen Heleski, Ubly, Michigan
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Frozen Berry & Yogurt Swirls

I enjoy these frozen yogurt pops because they double as a healthy snack and a cool, creamy sweet treat. —Colleen Ludovice, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
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Walking Tacos

These Walking Tacos are great for an on-the-go dinner, campfire meal or easy game night supper. The ingredients transform a bag of chips into a taco in a bag! —Beverly Matthews, Pasco, Washington
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Rainbow Fruit Toast

Nothing will brighten up your morning more than one of these colorful and tasty toasts. —Shannon Roum, Taste of Home Food Stylist
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Mini S'mores

Combine marshmallow creme, chocolate, graham crackers and more for a summery delight at any time of year. —Stephanie Tewell, Elizabeth, Illinois
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Strawberry Watermelon Slush

We like to relax on the back porch with glasses of my slush after a long, hot day. Strawberries and watermelon blend up with lemon juice and sugar for an instant refresher. —Patty Howse, Great Falls, Montana
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Loaded Baked Potato Dip

I never thought of using waffle-cut fries as a scoop for dip until a friend of mine did at a baby shower. They’re ideal for my cheesy bacon and chive dip, which tastes just like a baked potato topper. —Betsy King, Duluth, Minnesota
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Marshmallow Fruit Dip

You can whip up this sweet and creamy dip in just 10 minutes. I like to serve it in a bowl surrounded by fresh-picked strawberries at spring brunches or luncheons. —Cindy Steffen, Cedarburg, Wisconsin.
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Root Beer Float Cake

I add root beer to both the cake batter and fluffy frosting of this summery dessert to get that great root beer float taste. Serve this moist cake to a bunch of hungry kids and watch it disappear! —Kat Thompson, Prineville, Oregon
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Pepperoni Roll-Ups

Here is a fast appetizer recipe that goes over well at my house. Each bite has gooey melted cheese and real pizza flavor. Try serving them with pizza sauce for dipping. —Debra Purcell, Safford, Arizona
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Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

We don't want to brag, but as far as vanilla ice cream recipes go, this one is the best. And with only four ingredients, it just might be the easiest, too. No ice cream maker? No problem. Just follow the directions below to learn how to make homemade ice cream by hand. It's the perfect base for our best ice cream sundae ideas, too. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Ranch Snack Mix

This is a wonderful fast-to-fix munchie. The recipe makes tons and doesn't involve any cooking. It's a cinch to package in individual snack bags, it keeps its crunch and it's a savory alternative to the cakes and pies usually offered at bake sales. —Linda Murphy, Pulaski, Wisconsin
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Skillet Mac & Cheese

This creamy mac and cheese is so simple it’s almost too easy! Kids always go for the rich cheese flavor, but I’ve never met an adult who didn’t love it just as much. —Ann Bowers, Rockport, Texas
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Snack Crackers

Our 13-year-old daughter, Dana, loves to make this crunchy and flavorful snack for us. Her four older brothers finish off a batch in no time. —Sue Manel, Milladore, Wisconsin
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Favorite Banana Split Smoothies

I try to get as many fruits and veggies into our menus as possible. A smoothie is a great way to load up on nutrients. This banana one is a favorite! —Tiffany Van Zee, Pella, Iowa
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PB&J French Toast

My grandpa made an awesome breakfast for us grandkids: French toast that started on the griddle as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.—Lindsey Folsom, Dorsey, Illinois
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Fruit and Cheese Kabobs

We came up with this fresh and fruity summer snack idea. It's easy to make ahead and carry to the ballpark, beach or playground, and the cinnamon-spiced yogurt dip adds a fun touch kids love. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Chocolaty Chips

My two little guys can't get enough of this sweet and salty snack that uses just three ingredients and is ready to eat in 15 minutes. The boys like to drizzle on the melted chocolate. Sometimes we replace the potato chips with apple slices. —Jami Geittmann, Greendale, Wisconsin
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PBJ on a Stick

Take the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the go with these skewers. They also make easy snacks. —Sara Martin, Brookfield, Wisconsin
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Tater Tot-chos

Playing with food is loads of fun when you have Tater Tots and taco toppings. Let kids build their own for smiles all around. —Eleanor Mielke, Mitchell, South Dakota
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Garlic Toast Pizzas

Between working full-time, going to school and raising three children, finding time-saving recipes that my family likes is one of my biggest challenges. These quick pizzas pack a huge amount of flavor. —Amy Grim, Chillicothe, Ohio
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Rise and Shine Parfait

Start your day with a smile. This fruit, yogurt and granola parfait is so easy to make. If you like, use whatever favorite fresh fruits are in season and are looking best at the supermarket. —Diana Laskaris, Chicago, Illinois
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Cheesy Quesadillas

We serve these quesadillas as chili dippers or load them up with salsa and sour cream for a super starter. —Terri Keeney, Greeley, Colorado
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Blueberry Fruit Smoothie

This fruit smoothie recipe is one of my favorites. The yummy blend just might take you back to soda-fountain days…but it's a nutritious low-fat alternative to traditional malts, shakes and sodas. —Mary LaJoie, Glenoma, Washington
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Hot Dog Roll-Ups

Not only do my grandchildren love these cheese-filled hot dogs, they enjoy helping put the meal together, too. It's the perfect solution when you need a last-minute lunch. —Lyletta Searle, Morgan, Utah
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Raspberry Ice Cream in a Bag

Making homemade ice cream is fun for the whole family, and the fresh raspberry flavor of this treat makes it a perfect summer activity. Kids can shake the bags until the liquid changes to ice cream and then enjoy the reward! —Erin Hoffman, Canby, Minnesota
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Yogurt Dill Dip

Every person who tries this dip wants to know what makes it taste special. The secret is the blend of yogurt, sour cream and mayo. —Krisann Durnford, Muskego, Wisconsin
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Fudge Pops

This chocolate frozen dessert is the perfect summer treat! Invite your kids into the kitchen to help you stir the pudding. —Ruth Ann Stelfox, Raymond, Alberta
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Granola Trail Mix

My family has always enjoyed this crunchy four-ingredient snack. When we go camping, each person includes one additional ingredient like mini marshmallows, corn chips or cookie pieces. The taste is never the same, and we're often surprised by the combinations. —Shelley Riddlespurger, Amarillo, Texas
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Monkey Bread Biscuits

I came up with an easy, savory—instead of sweet—dinner version of monkey bread featuring garlic and Italian seasoning. —Dana Johnson, Scottsdale, Arizona
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Garlic-Cheese Flatbread

Unless you plan to make two, don't count on leftovers. As an appetizer or side, this cheesy flatbread will be devoured in less time than it takes to bake. And that's not long! —Suzanne Zick, Maiden, North Carolina
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Gooey Chocolate-Peanut Bars

These are so easy to make and take no time at all. They’re great to package up for those college kids looking for something from home. Everyone will want this recipe. —Elaine Grimme, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
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Quick Taco Wraps

I was running late one night, so I shopped in my own fridge and came up with ingredients that became taco wraps. Everybody at the table was a happy camper. —Katie Mitschelen, La Porte, Indiana
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Confetti Cake Batter Cookies

Mom and I took up cake decorating. Funfetti was our favorite cake, so we used the mix to make cutout cookies. Plain or decorated, they’re a fave at parties. —Danielle DeMarco, Basking Ridge, New Jersey
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Wheely-Good Pasta Salad

Red pepper pieces accent this yummy side dish, and the pasta wheels really drive the theme home. —Amber Kimmich, Powhatan, Virginia
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Peanut Butter Granola Pinwheels

I came across this easy and tasty snack while searching online for healthy munchies for kids. Great for after school, it's really quick to make and filling enough to hold the kids until dinner. To satisfy heftier appetites or to serve as a power lunch, cut each tortilla into fewer pieces or provide one per child. The recipe is easy to increase as needed. —Mary Haluch, Ludlow, Massachusetts
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Muffin-Tin Lasagnas

This is a super fun way to serve lasagna for make-ahead lunches, potlucks or other fun get-togethers. My daughter took some of these to work and by noon was emailing me for the recipe. —Sally Kilkenny, Granger, Iowa
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S'mores Crispy Bars

My aunt always brought s’mores-style bars to our family's summer cottage. Plain or frosted, they’re perfect for eating on the run. —Betsy King, Duluth, Minnesota
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Ranch Popcorn

What’s movie night at home without some popcorn to munch? Try a big tub of this buttery, showstopping blend. It’s easy, cheesy and finger-lickin’ good. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Apricot Turkey Pinwheels

I created these unique pinwheels for a football game snack using ingredients I had on hand. They were a huge hit! I appreciate how quick and easy they are to prepare. —Melanie Foster, Blaine, Minnesota
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Apple Yogurt Parfaits

Get the morning started right with this super simple four-ingredient parfait. Try chunky or flavored applesauce for easy variations. —Rebekah Radewahn, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
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Brownie Batter Dip

I’m all about the sweeter side of dips, and this brownie-batter variety fits in with my life’s philosophy: Chocolate makes anything better. Grab some fruit, cookies or salty snacks and start dunking. —Mel Gunnell, Boise, Idaho
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Patriotic Pops

My kids love homemade ice pops, and I love knowing that the ones we make are good for them. We whip up a big batch with multiple flavors so they have many choices, but these patriotic red, white and blueberry ones are always a favorite! —Shannon Carino, Frisco, Texas
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Cheese Fries

I came up with this recipe after my daughter had cheese fries at a restaurant and couldn't stop talking about them. She loves that I can fix them so quickly at home. Plus, the frozen fry packets can be refrigerated and reheated. —Melissa Tatum, Greensboro, North Carolina
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Crispy Star Pops

These patriotic pops are a hit at our annual Fourth of July get-together. Serve them as an after-picnic dessert. Or slip them into cellophane bags, tie on ribbons and give them as favors. —Colleen Sturma, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Pizza Monkey Bread

I cannot throw a party without making this recipe. It's fast and easy, and my kids love it. —Courtney Wilson, Fresno, California
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Basic Banana Muffins

Basic Banana Muffins

This banana muffin recipe goes over so well with kids. Not only are these banana bread muffins like cupcakes, but they’re ready, start to finish, in just half an hour! —Lorna Greene, Harrington, Maine
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Chocolate-Hazelnut Fruit Pizza

You can prepare this snackable pizza in just 10 minutes! It's a fun way to sneak in those daily servings of fruit. —Dalynn Dowling, Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota
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Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Everyone who tries these beloved gems is amazed that they use only five ingredients. Baking cookies doesn't get much easier than this. —Dee Davis, Sun City, Arizona
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Waffled Pizza Bites

The whole family will love this playful twist on waffles. Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses are sandwiched between two layers of dough and cooked up in the waffle iron. It's like a pizza grilled cheese waffle! —Deirdre Cox, Kansas City, Missouri
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Easy Confetti Pie

Sugar cone crust makes a pie that tastes like birthday cake when you add a colorful, creamy no-bake confetti filling. —Gina Nistico, Taste of Home Food Editor
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Favorite Sloppy Joes

I've prepared these sandwiches for years. I've tried many sloppy joe recipes, but this one is the best by far. It also travels well for picnics or potlucks. —Eleanor Mielke, Snohomish, Washington
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Loaded M&M Oreo Cookie Bars

We’re all so busy and pressed for time that I find myself creating recipes that are generally fast to prepare, proving that you don’t have to spend all day in the kitchen to obtain fabulous results. Here’s a favorite of mine that combines crunchy M&M's and gooey chocolate all nestled into a flavorful blondie. —Averie Sunshine, San Diego, California (www.averiecooks.com)
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Yogurt & Honey Fruit Cups

This tasty combo of fresh fruit and creamy orange-kissed yogurt is guaranteed to disappear fast from your breakfast table. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Berry White Ice Pops

Nothing says summer like an ice pop. Kids and adults alike love this fruit-filled version. —Sharon Guinta, Stamford, Connecticut
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Striped Chocolate Popcorn

For a bake sale last year, I wanted to try something different. I’d seen chocolate popcorn in a candy shop and thought I’d try making it. This recipe was a great success. —Mary Schmittinger, Colgate, Wisconsin
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Easy Beef Taco Skillet

Busy day? Save time and money with this stovetop supper the whole family will love. It calls for handy convenience products, so it can be on the table in minutes. —Kelly Roder, Fairfax, Virginia
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Neapolitan Crispy Bars

Talk about a conversation piece! These fun, yummy bars will get people talking. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Bacon Breakfast Pizza

I used to make this bacon breakfast pizza for my morning drivers when I worked at a delivery place. And they just loved it. Breakfast pizza is a quick and easy eye-opener that appeals to all ages. —Cathy Shortall, Easton, Maryland
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No-Bake Peanut Butter Treats

Perfect for road trips, these peanut butter oatmeal balls won’t stick to your hands. Keep them in the refrigerator for portable snacks. —Sonia Rohda, Waverly, Nebraska
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Easy Cake Mix Bars

I take this dessert to work for Friday pick-me-ups. It's one of my favorite yellow cake bar recipes. I love to share them because they're so easy to eat, easy to make and easy on the wallet. —Amy Rose, Ballwin, Missouri
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French Toast Waffles

I’m a from-scratch cook but also like shortcuts. Since we love French toast and waffles, I use a waffle iron to make a hybrid French toast. —Linda Martindale, Elkhorn, WI
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Fruit Kabobs with Cream Cheese Dip

These fruity kabobs are so refreshing on a warm day. They're also a quick and easy meal for get-togethers. —Kathleen Hedger, Godfrey, Illinois
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Parmesan-Romano Potato Wedges

I taught my nieces to make these easy, cheesy oven-baked potatoes. When the whole family comes over, we triple the recipe—and have no leftovers. —Ann Brown, Niles, MI
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Party Animal Snack Mix

A colorful and fun snack mix does't get any easier than this. Mix and match with your sweet and salty favorites. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Crunchy Candy Clusters

These cereal and marshmallow clusters are so simple that I make them for the holidays each year, as my family looks forward to them. —Faye O'Bryan, Owensboro, Kentucky
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Pizza Sandwiches

I give grilled cheese a special treatment by using slices of mozzarella cheese and adding delicious extras like pepperoni and fresh tomatoes. Dipped in warm pizza sauce, this will be a fast favorite! —Mary Monaco, Columbus, Ohio
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Chocolaty S'mores Bars

One night my husband had some friends over to play poker and he requested these s'mores bars. They polished off the pan and asked for more! I shared the recipe, and now their families make them, too. —Rebecca Shipp, Beebe, Arkansas
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Zingy Baked Chicken Nuggets

These crispy chicken nuggets have just the right amount of spice. Yogurt makes them extra tender. —Lee Evans, Queen Creek, Arizona
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Peanut Butter Chippers

The smell of peanut butter and chocolate always brings my cookie-hungry family running to the kitchen. The recipe is so quick and easy, I often stir up a batch while making dinner. —Pat Doerflinger, Centerview, Missouri
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Chili Dog Pizza

My girls love it when I make this mash-up pizza with hot dogs and chili. It’s a marvelous way to use up leftover chili. —Jennifer Stowell, Smithville, Missouri
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Ice Cream Cone Treats

I came up with this recipe as a way for my grandkids to enjoy Rice Krispies treats without getting sticky hands. You can also pack the cereal mixture into paper cups and insert a wooden pop stick to create cute pops. —Mabel Nolan, Vancouver, Washington
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Cereal & Milk Ice Cream Sandwiches

Go ahead and buy those sweet cereals you normally stay away from. This is dessert! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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S'more Pops

My daughters and I came up with this treat when planning a candy-making party. The pops also make adorable hostess gifts, are perfect for potlucks and would sell out quickly at a bake sale. —Lisa Haboush, Geneva, Illinois
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Sausage French Bread Pizza

I never seem to have pizza dough on hand, but that doesn't stop our family from enjoying pizza. We top crusty French bread with creamy Alfredo sauce, sausage and veggies. It's great to serve at a party for children or teens. —Cherie Sweet, Evansville, Indiana
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S'mOreos

My son introduced us to this twist on classic s'mores when we were camping. Have a jar of Nutella around? Slather on the inside of the graham cracker halves before you build this one-of-a-kind treat. —Christina Smith, Santa Rosa, California
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Easy Peanut Butter & Pretzel Pie

My crispy, salty pretzel crust just begs for a creamy no-bake peanut butter filling and a layer of chocolate ganache. — Gina Nistico, Taste of Home Food Editor

Katie Bandurski
Katie is an Associate Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in writing and email newsletters. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and combing through antique shops.

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