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Herb-Roasted Sweet Potato Skins

Save the scooped-out flesh from the sweet potatoes to make mashed sweet potatoes or sweet potato pie. Serving suggestion: This side dish would also make a great appetizer.

Broiled Chili Salsa

You can make the salsa ahead and refrigerate it, but the tomatoes will throw off a lot of liquid, so the salsa should be drained before serving. While the flavor won’t be quite the same, if you can’t find poblano peppers, substitute green bell peppers.

Steamer Clams in Fennel Broth

This shoreline favorite is generally served by the bucketful along with a bowl of melted butter for dipping. Steamer clams tend to be sandy, so rinse them well.

Spicy Steak & Peppers

If you like spicy food, add more hot pepper sauce. Or put a bottle on the table for diners to add as they please. Other protein options: Make this with pork loin or chicken thigh.

Garlic Broth

Don't be alarmed by the large amount of garlic, this broth has a mellow flavor that can take the place for a vegetable or chicken broth in any recipe. For a more intense garlic flavor, leave the cloves unpeeled but cut several (or all) of them in half.

Golden Vegetable Soup

This beautiful orange-gold soup gets its wealth of beta carotene (one serving has over 140% of the recommended daily intake) from the carrots and butternut squash. The orange juice intensifies the color, and also adds the B vitamin folate.

Almond-Oat Macaroons

You could substitute other nuts for the almonds here. Try pecans or walnuts for a change. And try a different dried fruit, too.

Caribbean Chicken with Sweet Potatoes & Bananas

The cooking of the Caribbean Islands frequently uses fruits in savory dishes, often laced with a spiciness that could combat even the most withering heat. This sautéed chicken dish demonstrates the concept by combining the sweetness of bananas, nectarines, and apricot jam with the heat of pickled jalapeño peppers. To relish every last drop of the delicious sauce, serve this over rice.

Sweet & Spicy Red Lentil Dip

Red lentils (which are small, hulled lentils) cook much more quickly than brown or green lentils and lose their shape more readily. That makes red lentils perfect for this dip-once cooked they’re already halfway to being a puree. Carrot juice and an apple lend a slightly sweet note, enhancing the flavors of the curry powder. If you don’t have carrot juice, you could use tomato juice, tomato-vegetable juice, or broth.

Mushroom-Onion Broth

Use this anywhere that you would ordinarily use chicken broth.