These snacks, suppers and side dishes are delicious reminders that simplicity can be divine.
By Lynn AndrianiOprah.com
The Slow-Cooker Dinner for Taco Night (Or Any Night)
Here's one more reason our Crock-Pot has earned the title of kitchen MVP. The low and slow heat works wonders on two supermarket stalwarts: chicken and jarred salsa. Lay three or four breasts in your slow cooker, pour a jar of your favorite chunky salsa (about two cups' worth) on top, put the lid on and set the appliance to high. After about four hours, the chicken will be so tender, you can shred it with two forks. Then, eat it on its own, pile it into tortillas or taco shells or serve it over greens.
A New Way To Enjoy A Middle Eastern Staple
We love dates for their long shelf life (they'll last in the pantry up to a year, sealed in an airtight container), and their ability to add creaminess (but not so many calories) to everything from smoothies to brownies. Yet here's another attribute worth admiring: The cavity left behind by the pit is perfect for stuffing. Slide an almond (any kind, from raw to salted to roasted) into the oval-shaped hole and enjoy the interplay of creamy and crunchy, sweet and savory.
Healthy Ice Cream Anybody Can Make
Soft-serve-like banana ice cream is a tasty snack unto itself (all you do is puree a frozen banana in a food processor). Stir a spoonful of peanut butter into the mixture, though, and you've just made our night about a bajillion times better.
A Spanish Pantry Classic
Here's a treat that will make you want to be a kid again -- or, more accurately, a kid in Spain, since this is a traditional snack for children in Catalonia and beyond. All you need is a thick slice of good bread, whether rich and refined challah or a yeasty, rustic loaf, and a bar of chocolate (try dark chocolate, or a not-too-sweet dark-milk chocolate). Grate or chop the bar, pile it onto the bread and toast until the chocolate softens but doesn't melt completely. Use a knife to spread the chocolate evenly over the bread, cut it in half and enjoy.
The Irresistible Cocktail-Hour Snack
When you've got the cheese but not the crackers, think frico. The Italian cheese cracker is simply little mounds of finely grated Parmesan, baked until light brown and melted; the mounds of cheese harden as they cool. For a subtle herb flavor, stir a dash of finely chopped rosemary (or thyme) into the cheese, place tablespoons of the mixture onto a silicone-lined baking sheet an inch apart and bake at 375 for about 5 minutes. Let them cool, then lift off and munch on them like potato chips -- bet you can't eat just one.
No-Box Brownies In Half An Hour
There are few things the hazelnut-chocolate spread can't do -- and now you can add "turn eggs into brownies in less than 30 minutes"to the list. Just beat four large eggs (beat them well for more airy, less eggy-tasting brownies), stir in a cup of warm Nutella, spread into an 8x8 pan lined with parchment paper and bake at 350° F for about 25 minutes. Craving: satisfied.
Sweet raspberry and tangy goat cheese balance each other out in this rich morning treat.<br><br><a href="http://www.oprah.com/food/Raspberry-and-Goat-Cheese-Breakfast-Strata-Recipe">Get the recipe for Raspberry and Goat Cheese Breakfast Strata</a>