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50 Recipes That Make the Most of Dried Fruit

Dried fruit, like dates, figs, currants, apricots and raisins, have a long history of bringing summer's sweetness to winter recipes, as fruits were preserved and kept for the cold season. Let these great dried fruit recipes to brighten your meal.

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Favorite Irish Soda Bread Exps Mcmz16 37320 B05 20 3b

Favorite Irish Soda Bread

My best friend, Rita, shared this irresistible Irish soda bread recipe. It bakes up high, with a golden brown top and a combination of sweet and savory flavors. —Jan Alfano, Prescott, Arizona
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Harvesttime Chicken with Couscous

Even on busy days, I can start this chicken in a slow cooker and still get to work on time. When I come home, spinach salad and crescent rolls round out the menu. —Heidi Rudolph, Oregon, Illinois
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Cranberry Cornmeal Dressing Exps Tgcbbz17 32342 D05 03 4b 2

Cranberry Cornmeal Dressing

This moist dressing is perfect when paired with poultry or even pork. The sweet-tart flavor of the dried cranberries really complements the dish's turkey sausage. —Corinne Portteus, Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Date-Nut Pinwheels

Pinwheel cookies with dates and walnuts are a family treasure. There are a few steps when prepping, so I sometimes freeze the dough and bake the cookies later. —Frieda Whiteley, Lisbon, Connecticut
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North African Chicken and Rice

I'm always looking to try recipes from different cultures, and this one is a huge favorite. We love the spice combinations. This cooks equally well in a slow cooker or a pressure cooker. —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas
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Empanada Beef Chili

Empanada Beef Chili

While I lived in Mexico in the 1960s, a friend's mother gave me her grandmother's empanada recipe. I've made it over the years and passed it down to my grandchildren. To shed some carbs, I converted the recipe into a chili. —Nancy Heishman, Las Vegas, Nevada
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Ultimate Fruity Granola

Honey, maple syrup and vanilla coat this wonderfully crunchy treat that is fantastic no matter how you serve it—on its own, with cold milk, or in a yogurt parfait. —Sarah C. Vasques, Milford, New Hampshire
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Brie Appetizers with Bacon-Plum Jam

Among my friends, I'm known as the Pork Master because I love to cook just about every cut there is. These appetizers combine soft, mild Brie cheese with a sweet-sour bacon jam that has a touch of Sriracha sauce. —Rick Pascocello, New York, New York
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Caramelized Onion Date Flatbread Exps155013 Thca143053b09 10 4bc Rms

Caramelized Onion & Date Flatbread

Here’s a deliciously different party appetizer. I top a prebaked pizza crust with caramelized onions, two kinds of cheese, orange chunks, dates and seasoning. —Mary Tamaki, Calgary, Alberta
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Chunky Fruit and Nut Relish

I tuck a glass jar of this colorful relish into Christmas gift baskets along with cookies and fudge. Its tasty medley of fruits and nuts is delicious served with ham or poultry. —Donna Brockett, Kingfisher, Oklahoma
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Chicken Bulgur Skillet Exps Cimz18 25465 E09 07 5b

Chicken Bulgur Skillet

This recipe was passed on to me by a friend. I've altered it slightly to suit our tastes. We like it with a fresh green salad. —Leann Hilmer, Sylvan Grove, Kansas
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Balsamic Glazed Fig Pork Tenderloin Exps Thjj17 200093  C02 07 1b 75

Balsamic-Glazed Fig & Pork Tenderloin

I have a huge fig tree that produces an abundance of figs. One year I tried drying some and developed this sweet and smoky recipe as a result. Now it's a regular at family gatherings. —Greg Fontenot, The Woodlands, Texas
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Moroccan Apple Beef Stew

I love the mix of sweet and savory flavors in this stew. It's the perfect blend of adventurous and comforting, and makes a fun dish to share with guests. —Trisha Kruse, Eagle, Idaho
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Candied Fruit Cookies

These no-fuss candied fruit cookies are both nutty and fruity, so they're always a hit at holiday time. —Florence Monson, Denver, Colorado
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Curried Chicken Peach Salad Exps Cwjj17 48998 C02 23 1b 2

Curried Chicken & Peach Salad

This is a very healthy and simple salad to make; even my non-cooking husband can whip it together in minutes. We’ve served this to friends over the years, and they always ask for the recipe. —Radelle Knappenberger, Oviedo, Florida
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Crown Roast with Apricot Dressing

I have been making crown roasts for many years but was only satisfied with the results when I combined a few recipes to come up with this guest-pleasing version. It’s beautifully roasted with an apricot glaze and a nicely browned stuffing. —Isabell Cooper, Cambridge, Nova Scotia
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Great Grain Salad

I can't think of a better dish to round out a meal. My grain salad features all my favorite nuts, seeds and fruits. Try adding grilled chicken to make it a meal on its own. —Rachel Dueker, Gervais, Oregon
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Bacon Date Bread Exps99969 Hc143213b08 21 6b Rms 1

Bacon Date Bread

There’s a standing joke between friends that whenever I’m asked to bring a dish to a party, it always contains bacon. My partner loves bacon-wrapped dates and my grandmother got me hooked on date-nut bread, so I made a sweet and salty combination of these recipes. —Terrie Gammon, Eden Prairie, Minnesota
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Chicken Vegetable Curry Couscous Exps Opbz18 143569 E06 27 3b 7

Chicken & Vegetable Curry Couscous

For my busy family, a partly homemade one-pot meal is the best way to get dinner done in a hurry. Use your favorite blend of frozen veggies and serve with toasted pita bread for smiles all around. —Elizabeth Hokanson, Arborg, Manitoba
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Nanny's Fruitcake Cookies

My grandmother always made a holiday fruitcake. I turned her recipe into cookies that are perfect anytime, especially with a cup of tea. —Amanda Digges, South Windsor, Connecticut
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Moroccan Stuffed Mushrooms Exps Lsbz18 86991 C01 18  2b

Moroccan Stuffed Mushrooms

Coriander and cumin are zesty updates to the familiar stuffed mushrooms. The addition of couscous makes them very filling and delicious. —Raymonde Bourgeois, Swastika, Ontario
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Caramelized Onion Fig Pizza Exps50212 Thca2180111a01 10 2bc Rms

Caramelized Onion & Fig Pizza

This is a sensational variation on traditional pizza. It's creamy, sweet and a little salty, with a buttery crunch from the pine nuts. I like to serve it with mixed baby greens salad and a vinaigrette. —Connie Balbach, Bemidji, Minnesota
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Casablanca Chutney Chicken Exps Chbz18 49293 C10 19 2b 1

Casablanca Chutney Chicken

If you enjoy Indian food, you'll love this dish. An array of spices and dried fruit slow cook with boneless chicken thighs for an aromatic and satisfying meal. To make it complete, serve over Jasmine or Basmati rice. —Roxanne Chan, Albany, California
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Pecan Cherry Bark Exps Cwdj18 21919 B08 18 3b 5

Pecan Cherry Bark

I just love to make chocolates at Christmastime. This popular candy combines pecans, chocolate and cherries. It's crunchy, sweet and just plain yummy. —Sue Kauffman, Columbia City, Indiana
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Honey Kale Currant & Almond Salad

This honey-flavored kale salad makes our taste buds tingle. It has a subtle sweetness from currants and a nutty almond crunch. Add grated Asiago and you’ve got a stellar side. —Ally Phillips, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
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Turkey Picadillo

I serve this over shortcut pasta or egg noodles and garnish it with sour cream and a sprinkling of chopped scallions. Any leftovers reheat wonderfully. —Anita Pinney, Santa Rosa, California
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Hermits

Dress up a cookie plate with these old-fashioned spice bars full of raisins, molasses, cinnamon, ginger and nuts. Then dip the chewy treats in coffee or hot cocoa on frosty days. It's said the cookies are called "hermits" because you can hide them out of sight, just like hermits, for days. They'll be just as good—maybe even better as the flavors blend and develop! —Jeri Tirmenstein, Apache Junction, Arizona
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Fruit Compote With Brie Exps Bmz12 27058 B12 08 1b

Fruit Compote With Brie

This compote makes a marvelous appetizer, with either room temperature or baked brie. It’s also incredibly versatile; you can stir any leftover compote into yogurt, or serve it as a tartly delicious companion to cheesecake, ice cream, blintzes and crepes. —Clara Coulston, Washington Court House, Ohio
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Mom's Paella

I enjoy cooking ethnic foods, especially those that call for lots of rice. Like my mom, I often prepare this dish for special Sunday get-togethers. Traditional paella uses saffron, but turmeric is a budget-friendly alternative. —Ena Quiggle, Goodhue, Minnesota
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Ravin' Good Stew

This stew is loaded with ingredients. It's sure to fill up the kids before they head out trick-or-treating, and the family enjoys it all season long! —Shirley Smith, Yorba Linda, California
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Tangerine Chicken Tagine Exps Thd17 204884 B08 15 7b 6

Tangerine Chicken Tagine

My family and friends love foods from around the world, especially Moroccan entrees, so I created this flavorful dish. Cooking it in the slow cooker keeps each morsel moist and rich in flavor. —Brenda Watts, Gaffney, South Carolina
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Roasted Apple Salad With Spicy Maple Cider Vinaigrette Exps Mcmz16 177878 B07 12 1b

Roasted Apple Salad with Spicy Maple-Cider Vinaigrette

We bought loads of apples and needed to use them. To help the flavors come alive, I roasted the apples and tossed them with a sweet dressing. —Janice Elder, Charlotte, North Carolina
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White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies Exps Sddj17 38534 D08 05 6b 5

White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies

Friends sometimes ask me to make these for wedding receptions. For a fancier presentation, I cut the bars into triangle shapes and drizzle white chocolate over each one individually. —Erika Busz, Kent, Washington
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Wild Rice Stuffed Pork Loin Exps Thd18 26711 C08 03 3b 3

Wild Rice-Stuffed Pork Loin

This recipe features wild rice and apricot stuffing tucked inside a tender pork roast. —Kim Rubner, Worthington, Iowa
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Mini Sausage Pies Exps Sdas17 186834 C04 07 1b 6

Mini Sausage Pies

The simple ingredients and family-friendly flavor of these little sausage cups make them a go-to dinner favorite. And everyone gets their own pies—which makes them even better! —Kerry Dingwall, Ponte Vedra, Florida
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Honey Challah

I use these shiny beautiful loaves as the centerpiece of my spread. I love the taste of honey, but you can also add chocolate chips, cinnamon, orange zest or almonds. Leftover slices of this sweet challah recipe work well in bread pudding or for French toast. —Jennifer Newfield, Los Angeles, California
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Slow Cooked Moroccan Chicken Exps85109 Th143190c09 25 3bc Rms 5

Slow-Cooked Moroccan Chicken

Herbs and spices really work their magic on plain chicken in this dish, and the dried fruit adds an exotic touch. —Kathy Morgan, Ridgefield, Washington
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Candied Bacon-Wrapped Figs

I stuffed figs with cream cheese and wrapped them in bacon and spices for an addictive flavor combo that’s sweet, salty and delicious. You can use dates, too. —Shelly Bevington, Hermiston, Oregon
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Ribbon Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Zucchini, cucumbers and carrots are peeled into “ribbons” for this citrusy salad. We like to serve it for parties and special occasions. —Nancy Heishman, Las Vegas, Nevada
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Sausage Phyllo Rolls

My brother shared his recipe for appetizer rolls with me years ago, and they’ve been a family favorite ever since. The delicate phyllo dough wraps around a hearty sausage filling. —Katy Chiong, Hoffman Estates, Illinois
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Duck Breasts with Apricot Chutney

When serving this entree as part of a buffet, try using chafing dish to keep it warm. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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A Bit Nutty Boston Brown Bread

Hearty and dense, my homemade Boston Brown Bread features hazelnuts for a delightfully nutty taste. Thick slices pair well with just about anything, from soup and stews to pasta and meat entrees. —Lorraine Caland, Shuniah, Ontario
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Slow-Cooked Pork Stew

Try this comforting pork stew recipe that's easy to put together, but tastes like you've been working hard in the kitchen all day. It's even better served over polenta, egg noodles or mashed potatoes. —Nancy Elliott, Houston, Texas
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Apple Walnut Slaw Exps Cwfm17 32690 A10 11 2b 2

Apple Walnut Slaw

A co-worker shared this slaw recipe with me. Now it's a favorite at my house, too. Apples, walnuts and raisins are a fun way to dress up coleslaw. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
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Gorgonzola Polenta Bites

I needed a brand-new appetizer for a big party. I covered polenta with Gorgonzola and a tangy sauce. That’s how you spread holiday cheer. —Margee Berry, White Salmon, Washington
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Apple Raisin Bread

I've been making this bread for many years. It smells so good in the oven and tastes even better. I make bread almost every Saturday, and it doesn't stay around long with our sons home from college in the summer. —Perlene Hoekema, Lynden, Washington
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Autumn Slow-Cooked Beef Stew

If any dish could taste like a holiday, it’s this one with beef, pears, walnuts and sweet dried apricots. We recommend a leafy salad and rolls to complete the masterpiece. —Amy Dodson, Durango, Colorado
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Harvest Salad With Lime Curry Dressing Exps160834 Hc143213b08 21 8bc Rms

Harvest Salad with Lime-Curry Dressing

A friend gave me this salad recipe to help me impress my new husband who loves citrus. We serve the dressing over greens we harvest from our garden—the lime and curry make a fantastic pairing. —Rachel Muilenburg, Prineville, Oregon
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Walnut & Fig Goat Cheese Log

Here's a simple spread that calls for only a handful of ingredients. The tablespoon of honey is optional, but I think that touch of sweetness nicely complements the tang of the goat cheese. —Ana-Marie Correll, Hollister, California
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Date Pecan Tea Bread

Packed with dates and pecans, this sweet bread is excellent on its own and even better topped with the chunky cream cheese spread. We enjoy it during the holiday season, but also for after-school and late-night snacks. —Carole Resnick, Cleveland, Ohio

Hazel Wheaton
Hazel is a writer and editor who has worked in the publishing industry for over 25 years in the fields of travel, jewelry arts and food. As the editor of the Taste of Home Christmas Annual (among other titles), she's in the holiday spirit all year round. An enthusiastic baker, she's known for her cookies, cakes and other baked goods. And she still wishes she could cook like her mother.
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