4 Easy Dinners You Should Make This Week

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By Cooking Panda

The weekdays are upon us! Instead of being too tired at the end of the day to make dinner and going out every night, why not spend a few minutes making these totally doable dinners?

1. Thai Red Curry with Chicken and Mango

Make the most out of store-bought curry paste by using the tricks in this recipe. Plus, there’s a great hack to cut down the amount of fat in your coconut milk without sacrificing that gorgeously creamy texture.

2. The Best Steak Fajitas

Be the hero of Taco Tuesday with these super flavorful 30-minute steak fajitas.

3. Steak and Watermelon Salad

Watermelon prices are going down at the grocery store, so why not make the most of it by throwing a juicy melon into a deliciously salty salad? This recipe really doesn’t get much easier, especially if you have leftover steak from your fajitas.

4. Garlic Butter Baked Salmon in Foil

Throw some sauce on your salmon and wrap it in some foil. You can grill or roast it. It’s great with roasted asparagus, squash, or potatoes – if you want to keep things as easy as possible, throw some vegetables in the foil packet with your salmon.

Photo Credit: Steven Depolo/Flickr

Tags: dinner recipe, easy dinner, weeknight dinner
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5 Jaw-Droppingly Awesome Low-Carb Dinners (Recipes)

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By Cooking Panda

Doing the whole low-carb thing can be a pain if you spend your time constantly thinking about all the chips, pasta, bread and tortillas that you’re missing out on, but it can actually be way easier than some other diets.

If you do it right, and you realize how amazingly delicious — and sometimes downright naughty — your meal options are, you’ll find that it’s super easy to commit to that diet of yours, whether it’s paleo, keto, Atkin’s or what-have-you.

Note: Most of these recipes most closely match the keto diet requirements, but many also apply for other popular ones, though sometimes a little tweaking is needed. Oh, and here’s how to make paleo cashew “cheese” if you need it.

1. Low Carb Nachos

By no stretch of the imagination are these nachos balanced or low calorie (they’re made out of keto-friendly crispy cheddar cheese “chips”). But if you’re craving something a little naughty, these should do the trick without derailing your ketosis or other low-carb diet. Alternatively, if your diet allows for legumes, you can get thyself to the store and grab a bag of black bean or lentil chips instead.

2. Keto Pesto Chicken Casserole with Feta Cheese and Olives​

It’s hard to explain how tasty this creamy, rich, zesty chicken dish is, but one thing’s for sure: you’ll get hooked on it! It’s also easily adaptable to lower-calorie fare by making your own low-oil pesto and nixing the whipping cream in favor of a few hearty dollops of plain yogurt toward the end of the cooking process.

3. Low Carb Steak Fajita Roll-Ups

While you might be used to enjoying fajitas with tortillas, the corn or white flour discs are totally inessential to this tasty, filling dinner, making it a great way to get your taco fix without the processed carbs. The best part is that you can pretty much load these up with whatever veggies you like.

4. Loaded Cauliflower

Missing some good old-fashioned starchy comfort food? Mash up a head of cauliflower for a surprisingly convincing, creamy dupe and top it with all your favorite potato fixings. If you’re finicky and doing low-carb but not no-carb, you can mix in a potato or two to make the veggie aspect extra sneaky.

5. Skillet Sausage and Shrimp

This saucy 30-minute dish is filling and flavorful, and it’s absolutely beautiful over your favorite grain substitute, like spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice.

Featured Image: appthing/Flickr

Tags: keto, low carb, no carb dinner, paleo, weeknight dinner
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These 6 Halloween Dinners Are So Good, It’s Scary! (Recipes)

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By Cooking Panda

Don’t forget to fuel up before trick or treating this Halloween!

The spooky holiday is the perfect opportunity to make dinner fun for everyone by using seasonal flavors and/or getting creative with your presentation, so that your meal is creepy, cute and delicious all at the same time.

Kids and adults alike will love these scary good dinners!

1. Beef Stew With Ghoulish Mashed Potatoes

The chunks of beef and peas look great with the potato ghosts, but you can totally use this with just about any stew, curry or chili, provided that it’s nice and thick. This one uses a fair few ingredients, but it all goes into the slow cooker so it’s pretty quick!

2. Halloween Spider Pizzas

It’s so easy to make these creepy crawling critters! Of course, you’re more than welcome to follow your favorite pizza recipe and add all the toppings you want, though if you go this route, you might want to sprinkle a little extra cheese over everything before adding the olive spiders so that they stand out.

3. Chef John’s Zombie Meatloaf

This tasty meatloaf is adorable and seriously impressive. It looks like it requires a ton of skill to assemble, though it is hard to mess up if you just go step by step.

4. Cheese and Pumpkin-Filled Manicotti

Rich, stuffable and seasonal to boot! Feel free to add veggies like peppers or peas, or meat like shredded chicken or browned ground beef.

5. Mac-O-Lantern and Cheese Bowls

Whether you are cooking for kids or adults, sometimes we all need a little extra encouragement to eat our veggies. This tasty and stunning method will do the trick! Who can turn down an edible bowl that’s filled with everyone’s favorite comfort food?

6. Eyeball Taco Salad

Taco-seasoned beef, shredded cheese and nacho-flavored chips combine with salad veggies to make this a super fun way to get a balanced dinner — even if it is staring back at you!

Featured Image: Pixabay

Tags: easy October meal, Halloween dinner, kid friendly, Kid Recipes, weeknight dinner
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5 Exciting, Summery Ways To Mix Up Your Weeknight Dinners (Recipes)

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By Cooking Panda

Look, I get it. You need a quick bite for dinner, but you’re just so dang tired of the same old thing, over and over again. Chicken, veggies, rice. Spaghetti. Frozen burritos. Takeout.

While there are so many delicious iterations of these meals, you might just want a few nights off from your tried-and-true staples, whatever they may be. 

Here are some great ways to break the monotony during the week:

1. Mozzarella Stuffed Pork Chops With Polenta and Tomatoes

If pork chops sound bland and dry, then you aren’t cooking them right! With smoked cheese and a bit of anchovy paste, you get a seriously savory kick of flavor that goes beautifully with the bright, acidic tomatoes. Want to make them even more tender? Ditch the broiler and use the slow-cooker instead like so.

2. Charred and Raw Corn with Chile and Cheese

With lime, cilantro, chile rings and fresh Cotija cheese, you might just get addicted to this summer staple. If you want to make things a little more filling, consider serving this alongside Grilled Tequila Garlic Lime Flank Steak. P.S. The same marinade goes great with tofu, too!

3. BBQ Eggplant Sandwiches With Provolone and Mushrooms

This recipe suggests broiling your eggplant, but you can also get fabulous results on the grill for a more summer-friendly version. Here’s how to do that.

4. Healthy-ish Cheesy Vegan Nachos

I don’t know about you, but I could eat nachos every single day if I could get away with it. This healthier veggie-packed version allows you to enjoy nachos way more often while still feeling great afterward too!

5. Crustless Spinach Quiche

Toss in some crumbled breakfast sausage, bacon, leftover chicken and/or some cooked veggies like broccoli, red peppers or asparagus if you’d like to make it even more filling.

Featured Image: Max Pixel

Tags: dinner recipes, easy recipe, summer dinners, weeknight dinner, weeknight recipes
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7 Spooky Recipes: The Ultimate Halloween Dinner Spread

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By Cooking Panda

The most wonderful day of the year is HERE!

Whether you are going trick-or-treating, partying, or just staying home because (sadly) nobody likes when Oct. 31 falls on a weeknight, we’re here to make sure that Fright Night is extra spooky for you. With minimal effort, you can whip up a savory spread that is delicious and eye-catching in equal measure. (Check here for cute Halloween desserts.)

Here are some of our favorite spooky dinner ideas:

1. Halloween Spaghetti

The key to these scary black noodles? Food paste colorant, which you can find in the baking aisle at craft stores and Wal-Mart. Genius!

2. Jack-O’-Lantern Stuffed Peppers

Feel free to adapt your favorite stuffed pepper recipe to this super easy and festive cutout. We like this one.

3. Guacamoldy Eyeballs

If you’ve never mixed avocado with your devilled eggs, you must! We understand that avocados are a little pricey at the moment, so you can totally just make this recipe with regular devilled eggs if you need to. Add a drop or two of blue or green food coloring if you want to replicate the moldy look.

4. Ghost Pizza Bagels

If you are not into bagels, you can swap them out for pita, actual pizza, toast — whatever you prefer. They will still be both spooky and delicious.

5. Eyeball Pasta

Who can resist these adorable cheese and olive eyeballs atop a bed of scary green spinach noodles and your favorite red pasta sauce?

6. Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup

Not only is the rich, smoky soup hearty and packed with flavor, but the gorgeous sour cream spider web topping is really easy to make! If you don’t have a condiment squeeze bottle, just use a sandwich bag with the corner snipped off. Practice a couple times on a small plate if you need to warm up!

7. Severed Toes in Bandages

These are obviously way cooler than pigs in a blanket, and they’re really easy to make too. Enjoy!

Featured Photo Credit: Spend With Pennies

Tags: Halloween, Halloween dinner, Halloween party food, kid dinner recipe, weeknight dinner
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Tasty Tuesday: 10 Over-The-Top Loaded Fries You Need To Make Immediately

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By Cooking Panda

It’s Tuesday. Make it a cheat day.

It’s time to gear up for the most decadent, shameless and filthy loaded fries you have ever seen for Tasty Tuesday. Not only do most of these dishes cook up in a flash (especially if you use frozen, pre-made fries), but they’re also sure to satisfy your urge for something truly over the top.

1. Pizza Fries

Make the ultimate cheesy, sleazy pizza, but use FRENCH FRIES as your crust, because you’re a super star and you do what you want.

2. Maple Bacon Donut Fries

Kind of like a maple bar topped in bacon, but SO MUCH MORE.

3. Buffalo Chicken Bacon Cheese Fries

Perfect for the big game, or just share with yourself on the couch.

4. Vegan Chili Fries

Dietary restrictions, schmietary schmeschmictions. Live it up.

5. Vegan Irish Nachos

Another outstanding vegan version, featuring vegan beer cheese sauce.

6. (Not So Vegan) Reuben Style Irish Nachos

Here’s basically the omnivorous version of that vegan one.

7. Sweet Potato Fries With Shiitake “Bacon” and Garlic Tahini

Savory and garlicky, these fries are awesome. If you want to load them up with meat, they’d be awesome with turkey bacon. Or regular. Everything is better with bacon.

8. Hawaiian Carne Asada Fries

These sweet, savory, spicy fries are everything you need in life.

9. Shepherd’s Pie Fries

If you’re a fan of Shepherd’s Pie — and even probably if you aren’t — you’ll fall in love with this 30-minute recipe.

10. Taco Loaded Waffle Fries

Everyone knows nachos are better when you replace the tortilla chips with French fries.

Featured Photo Credit: Half Baked Harvest

Tags: appetizer recipe, French fries, loaded fries, Tasty Tuesday, weeknight dinner
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Cool Off With These 6 Lazy, Refreshing No-Cook Dinners

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By Cooking Panda

It may be too hot to fire up the oven, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat delicious homemade food every night this week. This is the perfect time to try out some awesome no-cook or minimal cook recipes. Now go make all of these recipes, and save us a bite.

1. Pan Bagnat

Absolutely no cooking required. The best part about this sandwich is that it gets better the longer it sits, so it is the ideal work lunch or make-ahead dinner.

2. No-Cook Tomato Sauce

Presumably, you’ll pour this over pasta, so it’s not no-cook unless you have instant, fresh, or leftover noodles on hand. Please forgive us.

3. Cold Rice Noodles with Grilled Chicken and Peanut Sauce

Rice noodles are great because they cook up so fast — all you need to do is soak them for a few minutes in a bowl of very hot water. You can buy pre-cooked chicken if you’re feeling lazy, or just grill (or sautee) it yourself.

4. Warm Chickpea Salad with Cumin and Garlic

Shout out to all the vegans and gluten-free folks out there. This dish is delicious served hot, warm or cold and gets better the longer it sits. Serve with some salad greens and/or something bready like flatbread or a crunchy baguette. This would even be great in corn tortillas or lettuce wraps.

5. Steak Tartare

Make sure you get quality meat from your butcher that is safe to eat raw! If you’re concerned about the taste or safety of raw eating, go for the seared version mentioned in the recipe.

6. Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps with Grapes and Pecans

These sweet-savory chicken salad lettuce wraps will fill you up and cool you off in the summer heat. It’s also pretty healthy and lean, with tangy Greek yogurt instead of mayo, so you can totally enjoy this guilt-free.

Featured Photo Credit: Karsten Moran​/The New York Times

Tags: easy dinner, no-cook meal, summer dinner, summer recipe, weeknight dinner
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8 Quick But Fancy Meals You Should Make This Week

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By Cooking Panda

We hope you’re feeling hungry this week. While these recipes all require a little more work than, say, making a sandwich, all of these are pretty easy and very realistic for your busy weeknights – bonus, they are all super tasty. Knock yourself out:

1. One Pot Cajun Chicken and Sausage Alfredo Pasta

One Pot Cajun Chicken Pasta Alfredo with Sausage

A one-pot wonder. If you don’t feel like buying Cajun seasoning, go ahead and mix equal parts cayenne pepper, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

2. Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef

Let it cook all day when you’re at work. Then just serve it with some rice and maybe veggies if you’re feeling healthy.

3. Pretzel Crusted Cordon Bleu

You can totally use this formula and up your ingredients if you want – for example, you could totally fill the inside with spinach and ricotta and/or wrap the outside in bacon. Follow your heart.

4. Easy Chicken Piccata

Creamy, crunchy, salty, tangy, moist – this chicken recipe has it all. We recommend serving it with this easy rice cooker rice pilaf.

5. Pork Cutlet Sliders

No, you don’t understand – the pork cutlets are the buns!

6. Rigatoni Pasta Pie

It looks awesome and tastes even better. Make sure your sauce isn’t too chunky so that it will slide down into the noodles and keep them nice and moist.

7. Spicy Sesame Cauliflower Wings

These Sticky Spicy Sesame Cauliflower Wings are the best veggie wings I've ever had! Loaded with a maple sesame flavor and spice, they are the perfect game day snack for vegans!

Be sure to make extra, because you are going to devour these faster than humanly possible.

8. One-Pot Poached Shrimp And Orzo

One-Pot Poached Shrimp And Orzo

If you have a rice cooker with a steamer attachment, use it to make this one of the easiest recipes you will ever cook.

Featured Photo Credit: Tablespoon

Tags: easy weeknight meal, one pot meal, quick dinner, recipe list, weeknight dinner
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8 Surprisingly Awesome Cold Soups For Summer

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By Cooking Panda

Longer days and hotter weather means a few things – one of them being that cold food sounds more and more appealing, and hot food can turn into a hassle. Here are some cold soups to make this week, so that you can still get a satisfying, savory fix while cooling yourself off:

1. Gazpacho

This cold soup is a classic for good reason — it’s super refreshing with savory tomatoes, juicy, refreshing cucumbers and tangy vinegar.

2. Chilled Avocado Soup

If you’re looking for something super creamy and filling, you’ve come to the right place. This avocado soup is packed with flavor and healthy fats that will keep you full all evening.

3. Corn Vichyssoise

With leeks, corn and potato, this chilled soup is not only packed with flavor, but it’s also filling and satisfying.

4. Yogurt Soup with Cucumbers and Walnuts (Tarator)

The crushed walnuts and lemon juice turn plain yogurt into something truly special.

5. Mango Gazpacho with Pickled Shrimp

Got some extra mangoes lying around? Did you know that you can blend them into a deliciously creamy, rich soup? Oh yeah. Throw in some shrimp and avocado and you have a heavenly, filling dish.

6. Moroccan Carrot Summer Soup

This creamy, vegan, carrot, spiced soup will fill you right up on a hot summer day.

7. Chilled Cucumber Soup with Farm Fresh Herbs

Looking for the ultimate refreshing, savory, summery soup? This one is jam-packed with fresh summer flavors and won’t let you down.

8. Spanish Chilled Tomato Soup (Salmorejo)

Like gazpacho but richer and deeper. Top this creamy tomato soup with eggs, ham and an olive oil drizzle to take it to the next level.

Featured Photo Credit: Dishing Up the Dirt

Tags: cold soup, gazpacho, summer dinner, summer soup, weeknight dinner
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You Absolutely Must Make These 7 Exciting Dinners

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By Cooking Panda

We don’t ever want you to stress when pondering the age old question, “What should I make for dinner tonight?” Dinner should always be a source of excitement, and we’re here to make it easy for you. As a sign of our undying friendship, we rounded up seven solid recipes that, yes, you should absolutely make for dinner this week. You’re welcome.

1. Avocado Stuffed with Spicy Shrimp

Want a super quick dinner? Stuff an avocado half with shrimp and mango. It’s that simple! If you want to go a little more elaborate, you can totally bake or grill the avocado half first for next-level deliciousness.

2. Chickpea, Barley and Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Mint and Feta

A quick vegetarian meal that is super healthy but tastes incredibly decadent.

3. Slow Cooker Braised Lamb Shanks

Lamb shanks are affordable and so tender and delicious when braised. But traditional braising methods can require a lot of time and attention, so keep it simple and use a slow cooker instead.

4. Steak in Whiskey Mushroom Sauce

Got some inexpensive whiskey that you just haven’t been able to finish? Turn it into an excellent steak sauce. If you’re on a budget or steak isn’t your thing, you can swap it out for ground beef patties, chicken, tofu… whatever you’re in the mood for. This is a pretty versatile sauce.

5. Ramen Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Peas

This is not a drill, and we’re not joking. This recipe is not only cheap and way easier to make than traditional gnocchi, but it’s also adapted from world-renowned chef David Chang. The ramen noodles give it that extra classy zing, and the vegetables will make you feel like you aren’t dying on the inside when you eat this. But forget about all that, because it’s super delicious.

6. Vietnamese Loaded Fries

Ok, this isn’t exactly the healthiest of dinners either, but it’s totally worth it. If you need more veggies to justify eating (delicious) loaded fries as a meal, dump some shredded cabbage and quick pickled carrots and daikon on top. There. Better?

7. Wild Arugula Salad with Pears

If you’re going to have a salad for dinner (perhaps to atone for the ramen gnocchi or Vietnamese fries?), you might as well make it with arugula, hazelnuts and pears. If you need more protein, top it with any kind of sliced pork, chicken or your veggie protein of choice. Use leftovers, or cook your protein in this tangy, savory raspberry sauce.

Featured Photo Credit: Steamy Kitchen

Tags: dinner recipes, one pot dinner, quick dinner, recipe list, weeknight dinner
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10 Taco Recipes To Make For Cinco De Mayo

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By Cooking Panda

Cinco de Mayo is almost here, and we want to make sure you are totally prepared for the big day. So we put together some tasty taco recipes for you. Whether you are cooking for a small group, a big crowd, vegetarians, those with adventurous palates, or those who like traditional fare, we got you covered. Enjoy!

1. Pulled Chicken Tacos

If you’re having a bunch of people over to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, make these pulled chicken tacos. They cook up easily for a crowd and will be sure to please all your guests.

2. Tacos de Lengua

Beef tongue is affordable, delicious and super easy to make. Give it a try!

3. Tortilla-Crusted Fish Tacos

Craving some crispy fried fish tacos but don’t want to break out the deep fryer? Here’s a marginally lighter version you can make in the oven.

4. Chili Lime Shrimp Tacos

This flavor-packed favorite cooks up in a few minutes for a super delicious and simple dinner so that you can spend less time cooking and more time partying.

5. Crispy Squash Tacos with Jalapeno Lime Crema

This filling vegan feast packs on the flavor with some great textures, too. You’ll love this whether you are a vegetarian or a carnivore.

6. All American Beef Taco

Let’s face it – Cinco de Mayo is a pretty American holiday at this point. So why not keep it simple and make some simple crunchy ground beef tacos? This is a great one if you are having a ton of guests over, and if you want to go leaner and cheaper for a crowd, try mixing in half ground beef and half ground turkey.

7. Portobello Tacos with Vegan Jalapeno Sauce

Save some calories for margaritas with this tasty, savory and satisfying taco dish.

8. Braised Pork Belly Tacos with Watermelon, Jicama & Jalapeno Salsa

Or use those calories here because these pork belly tacos are out of this world.

9. Bulgogi BBQ Pork Tacos With Charred Tomatillo Sesame Sauce + Spring Onion Slaw

These tender, flavorful Mexican-Korean tacos are YUM.

10. Chipotle and Orange Pork Tacos

Who knew that chipotle and orange went so well together over tender shredded pork? Give these guys a try – you won’t regret it.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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Photo credit: Half Baked Harvest

Tags: Cinco De Mayo, fusion tacos, taco recipes, Taco Tuesday, weeknight dinner
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