French Toast Casserole

French Toast Casserole

With this French toast casserole, you skip the hassle of standing by the stove and pan-frying each individual slice of French toast.

Instead, you just throw everything into a dish and let the oven do the work! You can even assemble the casserole the night before and bake it the next morning.

You still get all the best parts of a slice of French toast, but with far less effort: soft and custardy middles, cinnamon-infused edges, plus an extra-crunchy toasted topping.

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Skillet Spanish Chicken & Rice


Canned tomatoes and instant brown rice make this cozy chicken skillet from Clean Eating a breeze, with just 20 minutes of prep. To top it off, this warming Spanish dinner is packed with bell peppers and olives for an aromatic meal you won’t forget! (Queso fresco is a salty, creamy Mexican cheese that is often used for garnish in Mexican dishes. If you can’t find it, swap in feta.)


Skillet Spanish Chicken & Rice

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 (4-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 small onion, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 1/3 cups instant brown rice (certified gluten-free if necessary)
1 quart canned tomatoes with liquid
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup pitted and sliced green olives
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled queso fresco


In a large skillet, heat oil on medium-high. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Transfer to skillet, and sauté until lightly browned, 4–5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm.

Add garlic and onion to skillet, and sauté for 1 minute. Add bell pepper, and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add rice, and stir until lightly toasted and combined with vegetables.

Add tomatoes with liquid, chili powder and cumin to skillet and stir to combine. Using the edge of a wooden spoon, break apart any larger tomato pieces. (If rice is not covered by tomato liquid, add an additional 1/4 cup water.) Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer.

Place chicken on top of tomato-rice mixture. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off heat, and let sit on stovetop, covered, for 5 minutes.

Add olives and cilantro to chicken-rice mixture, and toss and fluff with a fork. (If desired, remove chicken to ease stirring, then return to skillet.) To serve, sprinkle queso fresco over top of chicken-rice mixture and divide evenly among serving plates.

Nutrition Information

Serves: 4 |  Serving Size: 1 cup rice mixture + 1 Spanish chicken breast

Per serving: Calories: 332; Total Fat: 10g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 69mg; Sodium: 383mg; Carbohydrate: 31g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 4g; Protein: 31g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 290mg; Iron: 11%; Vitamin A: 17%; Vitamin C: 54%; Calcium: 9%

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Ritz Cracker Toffee

Ritz Cracker Toffee

  This Ritz Cracker Toffee from Spaceships and Laser Beams is a super simple dessert or party food treat that is the perfect go-to recipe when you need to serve up something sweet and delicious in a hurry! It uses simple ingredients that come together to make something that is absolutely amazing — and completely…

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Candy Cane Danish

Candy Cane Danish

This Candy Cane Danish from Amanda’s Cookin is a fun holiday treat that is so simple to make! It’s just as festive as it is delicious, and the crescent rolls, cherry pie filling, and sweetened cream cheese make it a wonderful breakfast or dessert to make with the kids. The best part is that this recipe is…

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10 Healthy Holiday Travel Tips


With loved ones and tasty, once-a-year recipes around, the holidays are a great time to splurge—especially if you plan ahead and work those treats into your healthy eating and fitness routine.

But often, it’s not the party or festive gathering that throws you off your game, it’s getting there! Whether you’re going by plane, train, or automobile, here are 10 tips to help you stay on top of your health goals while traveling to your destination.



It’s so much easier to get up and go for a little walk up and down the aisle, or do a quick stretch when you don’t have to push past your neighbors.


Escalators and moving walkways in airports are super tempting. Fight the urge to stand still and walk up the stairs and between gates whenever possible. And while you’re at it…


Don’t sit down when you find your gate. Instead, keep moving. Do a few laps around the terminal, make a walking phone call, and keep walking until right before you board.


Airplane food pickings are getting slim—so long, free packet of peanuts! Make sure you stash a healthy option in your carry on so you won’t be tempted to swipe your credit card out of convenience. A simple sandwich and a piece of fruit are easy to get through the security check.



Take every opportunity you can to stand up—when you’re waiting for your train to board, after finding your seat, and once the train gets moving.


Roll your neck, gently twist your back side-to-side, roll your ankles and wrists, lift and lower your feet. Mini-stretches help to keep your blood flowing during long seated periods. (These can be done on an airplane and in the car, too—as long as you’re not the one driving!)


On sold-out, holiday travel days many unfortunate passengers get stuck sitting in the dining car. Arrive early and board your train as soon as possible to make sure you get a proper seat. You can only smell hot cocoa and stare at packets of M&M’s for so long before your willpower gives out!



Find a water bottle that fits in your car’s console (or in your carry on bag!) and take it with you wherever you go. Set a goal for how many times you’ll refill the bottle during the day. You’ll stay hydrated during travel and avoid grabbing higher calorie beverages, like sodas, juices, and energy drinks, during rest stops.


Pack healthy snacks to take with you on your road trip. You’ll be less likely to pull over at the next drive-through! Some handy options: Cut up carrots and other veggies, popcorn, and almonds.


Wear your sneakers on the road and turn pit stops into exercise zones. Jog around the parking lot, find a bench and do a few pushups or triceps dips, or pack a jump rope in the trunk and get in a few skips next to the car. You’ll arrive at your destination without feeling stiff, and burn some extra calories to boot!

Got any healthy holiday travel tips? Share them in the comments below!

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Peppermint Layered Pudding Dessert

Peppermint Layered Pudding Dessert

 This Peppermint Layered Pudding Dessert from Lemons for Lulu is so simple to create and will be the hit at all of your holiday parties! This lush dessert has the most delicious peppermint layer, a creamy white chocolate layer, and a fluffy white topping that you are going to fall in love with!  If you…

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6 Crazy Good Smothered Dishes That Scream Comfort Food

Comfort food is a year-round trend, but it’s ultra-appropriate when the temps turn chilly. Smothered dishes are the ultimate comfort food, a Southern-inspired shorthand way of saying “pour gravy or sauce or cheese all over whatever you’re cooking.” Here are some of our most popular “smothered” dishes that’ll warm you up right down to your wool socks.

1) Chef John’s Smothered Pork Chop

Pan-fried chops are a treat on their own, but add well-seasoned onion gravy and that’s a combo made in comfort food heaven. Chef John serves this knockout dish on steamed rice, but mashed potatoes work well, too.

smothered pork chops, a fave from Chef John

Photo by Jann Geyer

2) Smothered Meatballs

This raved-about recipe goes in an Italian direction as far as seasonings go, but the brown gravy on top will remind Scandinavians of Swedish meatballs. On that note, make some Glogg to serve alongside for the ultimate winter warming meal.

gravy makes meatballs even better!

Photo by CookinBug

3) Smothered Green Beans

Beans and bacon are one of the greatest matchups in the food universe, and this satisfying preparation is proof positive. Make the serving plate pretty by neatly “smothering” the crispy pork down the middle of the pile of tender-crisp green beans.

bacon makes everything better

Photo by OkinawanPrincess

4) Smothered Filet Mignon

Course ground mustard, rosemary and a slab of butter infuse rich, bright flavor to the succulent steak. Blue cheese crumbles brings it all together, showing the versatility of smothered’s definition.

smothered with cheese and onions

Photo by RebeccaD

5) Grace Love’s Smothered Steak

Seattle-based soul singer Grace Love learned this recipe from her mama, and you can taste the passion for playing up big flavors in every bite. Give the accompanying rice more pop by adding corn. Oh, and those are slices of watermelon radish on the side.

Photo by Leslie Kelly

Photo by Leslie Kelly

6) Smothered Chicken Breasts

Mmmm, onions and bacon and cheese. That outstanding combination of ingredients brings a symphony of gooey, buttery texture to golden brown chicken breasts. It all cooks in one skillet, so cleaning up after dinner is no big deal.

smother those chops with creamy mushroom sauce

Photo by JaneFein

More Comfort Food Coverage7 Easy Slow Cooker Comfort Foods to Cozy Up To7 Ways the South Rules Comfort Food8 Comfort Food Classics That Are Totally VegetarianOur Favorite Comfort Foods in Cupcake Form18 Comforting Skillet Dinners for Chilly Weather

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Our Staff Picks the Best Books to Buy for Food Lovers

It will probably not come as a shock to you that Allrecipes employees like food. We like it a lot. And we’ll take it any way we can get it, even if it’s in the form of the written word. Here are our picks for books about food that make excellent gifts for the food lover on your list; they’re sure to entertain and inspire.

Click to view slideshow.Non-Fiction Page Turners

From behind-the-scenes restaurant tales to literal food for thought, these books keep it real (and tasty).
Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany, by Bill Buford

“Buford leads us into wild world of Mario Batali’s famed restaurant, Babbo, gives us a glimpse of the Batali’s genius, and shows us what it looks like to be obsessed with food.” says Kevin Thomas, who oversees Allrecipes business strategy. This one might leave you with some Italian food cravings. Might we suggest these Italian Meatballs?

Italian Meatballs

Italian Meatballs

Thomas also loves Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. “Bourdain takes us into the fascinating nooks and crannies of the crazy restaurant biz,” he says.

In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan

User Experience Designer Bryce Gifford recommends this thought-provoking read in which Pollan has a simple suggestion: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler

“This short but dense book gives home cooks the permission to trust their own judgment—to believe they already have the tools and know-how to make use of their ingredients without following a recipe,” says Allrecipes culinary content editor for video, Matt Wencl. “Adler helps this self-trust along with simple suggestions, including a reevaluation of what’s edible or waste-worthy from produce, detailing delicious ways to use stale bread (turn it into soup!), and more.”

Candy Freak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America by Steve Almond

Senior Editor Katie Johnson’s pick describes itself as “A journey through the chocolate underbelly of America.” Consider munching on these Babe Ruth Bars II while you read.

Babe Ruth Bars II

Babe Ruth Bars II

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl

“I loved hearing about her going under cover to write her restaurant reviews,” raves campaign manager Andy Luley.

Fiction You Can Really Sink Your Teeth Into

The food may not be real, but those hunger pangs will be. Might wanna grab some snacks before you dig in to these reads.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

“This is a fantasy book about a group of thieves and a huge heist, but it focuses a lot on the food they eat,” explains Luley about his second favorite food book. “I’m fairly certain he made most of the dishes up, but the book has such a devoted following that people have written recipes for the food in the book.”

Cooking with Fernet Branca by James Hamilton-Patterson

“The main character, Gerald, is a clueless, Brit ex-pat living in Tuscany. His neighbor, Marta, is a ‘Voynovian’ musician. Also, there’s a case of Fernet Branca (an herbal liqueur) involved,” describes Senior Site Producer Beverly Rengert. “Gerald claims to despise Fernet, yet it somehow makes its way into whatever hilarious concoction he creates. The recipes are included in the book: Badger Wellington, anyone? This book is laugh-out-loud hilarious.” 

Kid-Friendly Foodie Reads

Start ’em young with a couple of our favorites that are perfect for story time.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

We recommend sipping some homemade hot cocoa while you read customer acquisition pro Ingrid Killian’s pick.

Homemade Hot Chocolate

A Toad for Tuesday by Russell E Erickson

“Morton loves to cook, and his brother Wharton loves to clean,” says senior content manager Frances Crouter. “Wharton sets off in winter with a box of beetle brittle for his Aunt Toolia, and is captured by an owl. The descriptions of ant-egg salad sandwiches and juniper berry tea are great.”

More Bookish Ideas:Best Book Club Party Ideas and RecipesMake This Book Club Cobbler Now


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Classic Vanilla and Chocolate Marbled Bundt Cake

Vanilla Chocolate Marbled Bundt Cake

I do love a good bundt cake. I feel like they’re somehow less fussy and formal than layer cake, but still, you know… Cake.

That’s why I zeroed right in on this recipe for Vanilla and Chocolate Marbled Bundt Cake in my friend Irvin Lin’s new cookbook, Marbled, Swirled, and Layered. 

He makes it with a chocolate-coffee syrup swirled into the batter. Plus chocolate chips. Plus a thick vanilla glaze over top. Game, set, match.

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4 Things the Best Weight-Loss Diets All Have in Common


When it comes to losing weight, there’s a lot of conflicting, overwhelming information out there. But one expert says the best diets—as in, sustainable eating habits, not the conventional fad diets people often turn to for weight loss—have a few important things in common.

Christopher Gardner, Ph.D., a nutrition scientist and research professor of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, recently gave a talk on the best diets for weight loss at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions annual meeting. During his talk, per Yahoo, Gardner said doctors, scientists, and dietitians should focus on figuring out which diet is best for each person—not which one diet is the best for everyone.

It’s understandable that people would be paralyzed by choice when deciding how to eat to get healthy or lose weight. The American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, and The Obesity Society released an analysis in 2013 of 15 different diets than ran the gamut from vegetarian to high-protein eating plans.

But Gardner said that even with all the options out there, the best diets have a few factors in common: They encourage people to eat a lot of vegetables, avoid added sugars, and cut back on refined grains.

Beth Warren, R.D.N., founder of Beth Warren Nutrition and author of Living a Real Life With Real Food, agrees, telling SELF that these three areas are “well-documented in their effect on one’s health.”

But Karen Ansel, R.D.N., author of Healthy in a Hurry: Simple, Wholesome Recipes for Every Meal of the Day, tells SELF that there’s one huge, necessary factor missing: Watching portion size. “Even the healthiest foods can pack on the pounds if you eat too many of them,” she says.

These elements are all useful for different reasons. When it comes to the vegetables, “A plant-based diet contributes a significant amount of fiber and helps balance calories,” Lisa Moskovitz, R.D., CEO of NY Nutrition Group, tells SELF.

To ramp up your vegetable intake, Warren says it’s a good idea to make veggies mandatory at your meals. That can mean adding spinach to your morning omelet, having a hearty salad at lunch, and eating a side of vegetables with protein at dinner. She also recommends incorporating vegetables into your snacks, like having celery and almond butter, or hummus and carrots. Moskovitz says it’s a good idea to turn your fridge into a mini-salad bar, with plenty of chopped fresh carrots, peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes that you can grab on the go or add to a recipe on the fly. “The easier and more accessible vegetables are in your life, the more likely you are to eat them,” she says.

Unlike vegetables, added sugars, meaning sugars that are added to foods during processing, are in the doghouse, and for good reason: Sugar can wreak havoc on your health. Added sugars can lurk in surprising places, which is why Jessica Cording, a New York-based R.D., tells SELF it’s a good idea to check labels to see if there is sugar or another sweetener added to condiments, pasta sauces, soups, and breads—common sources of sneaky sugar.

Another good way to lower your intake of added sugar is to focus on replacing high-sugar foods with healthier options, Moskovitz says. “Since most people who eat a lot of sugar in their diet tend to get it from snack foods and beverages, finding healthier alternatives is the best way to cut back,” she explains. For example, instead of drinking soda with your lunch, try having club soda sweetened with a lemon or other piece of fruit, and instead of snacking on chocolate in the afternoon, have a fresh piece of fruit with yogurt or some nuts.

Increasing the amount of lean protein and fiber in your diet can also naturally help reduce sugar cravings, Moskovitz says, because they level out your blood sugar. Ansel agrees. “When it comes to staying full, fiber is a double win,” she says. Fiber expands in your gut like a sponge, filling you up, she explains. Then, it slows down the release of sugar from starchy foods into your system, keeping blood sugar—and your appetite—on an even keel for hours.

Like added sugars, refined grains can trip up weight-loss efforts. White bread, pastas, and rice are big sources of refined grains, Warren says, but packaged goods such as crackers and cereal are also typically made from refined grains. “[Refined grains] are often full of empty calories that can increase appetite, leading to excess calorie intake and thus, weight gain,” Moskovitz says.

The easiest way to decrease the amount of refined grains you have is to choose minimally processed ones, such as whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal in place of highly processed packaged foods, Ansel says. It’s also important to check labels and look for whole grains listed as one of the first few ingredients, Cording says.

And to round it all out, keeping tabs on your portion sizes ensures that you’re fueling your body properly without going overboard and accidentally taking in too many calories. Mindful eating is a great way to put this into practice—here are 12 mindful eating habits to get you started.

If you want to incorporate these tips but aren’t sure where to start, Warren recommends keeping a food log of everything you eat in a week and working from there. “Discover which types of foods and eating patterns you feel you need to keep and which less healthy ones you realize you can decrease,” she says. Then, you can introduce manageable mini-goals to change your eating habits for the better and potentially bring about weight loss. “Consistent small changes are very effective when it comes to weight loss,” Warren says. “You don’t need a major diet overhaul.”

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