Freezer Friendly

How To Make the Ultimate Frozen Margaritas — Drinks Lessons from The Kitchn

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

My love for a margarita knows no bounds — I love a very classic fresh lime juice and tequila over the rocks margarita just as much as I love the sweet pitchers that our favorite Tex-Mex restaurant serves up. Frothy blended margaritas have a distinct appeal on a warm patio in the middle of summer — icy cold with a strong flavor that melts into a refreshingly mellow drink that keeps you from drinking too much.

On a mission to recreate what I love about a blended margarita without using sour mix or a can of limeade concentrate, I discovered an ice cube tray was the secret ingredient to making a blender margarita taste just as good as a fresh one with all the laid-back ease and hospitality the pitcher varieties offer.

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How To Make Date Caramels — Make More Good

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Date caramels are one of those culinary magic tricks that you can't even believe works until you try it. You pulse whole dates with a few other ingredients, press them into a pan, and top with a bit of flaky salt. Just 30 minutes later you can cut out soft, chewy caramels that are free from added sugar (not to be confused with the loads of sugars naturally occurring in dates) and high in dietary fiber.

You didn't even have to turn on the stove.

But the ease of preparing date caramels is hardly the best part. These date caramels are incredibly delicious. Rich and creamy like classic caramels, they don't have any actual cream, making them a vegan-friendly treat. Sweet, chewy, and just a touch salty — they're the perfect little treat to share with friends or give as a gift.

Ready to try this culinary feat of flavor? Here's how to make date caramels at home.

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17 Freezer Meals for When You Come Back from Vacation — Freezer Recipes from The Kitchn

Before you go on vacation, what do you do? If you are like me, you probably clean out your fridge, empty your trash cans, and try to straighten up a little bit. Coming home to spoiled milk and smelly garbage is no fun! Now that I'm a mom, I add one more thing to my pre-vacation to-do list: I always (always!) stock the freezer. It takes a little forethought and planning, but it's the very best gift I give myself before vacation.

From single-serve oatmeal to spinach-feta wraps, here are some of my family's post-travel freezer favorites (without any mention of frozen waffles).

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​The Best Gift to Give Yourself Before Vacation — Family Vacation

(Image credit: duet postscriptum/Stocksy)

Coming home from vacation can be rough: Not only are you not on vacation anymore, as evinced by the suitcases stuffed to the max with dirty laundry and the fact that your bedroom window probably doesn't have a postcard-like view of white sand beaches or snow-capped mountains, but there is also regular life waiting for you. You have to deal with that inbox overflowing with emails and — here's the real rub — you have to feed yourself! Through that pina colada-induced brain fog, you might (vaguely) recollect something known as meal planning.

When I used to come home from vacation to an empty fridge, I dealt with this return to reality with a jar of peanut butter and a bag of stale pretzels. They would satiate my hunger until I could dash to the grocery store.

Now that I have a baby and a toddler, I can't employ the same laissez-faire technique. (Sadly, I don't have a grocery genie to make food magically appear in my fridge when I arrive home.) As a mom, I've come to rely on a single strategy to ease the transition back to real life. It takes a little bit of planning ahead, but it's definitely worth it.

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How To Make Cheese Gougères — Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Let me walk you through the experience of eating a fresh gougère. It's surprisingly light as you pick it up — almost insubstantial — and still hot from the oven. The crispy shell crunches as you pull it open, releasing a puff of savory steam. Then you hit the middle: soft, eggy, and indecently cheesy. Two bites and it's gone. You're going to want to make a batch of these soon — trust me.

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Recipe: One Bowl Vanilla Cake: Ice Cream Cake — Recipes from The Kitchn

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

My family loves ice cream cake, so when dreaming up ways to use our one-bowl vanilla cake, an ice cream dream cake was a must. This one combines soft vanilla cake with tart raspberry sorbet and is topped with lightly sweetened whipped cream. This ice cream cake is the perfect end to a backyard barbecue or a spring or summer brunch.

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