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Better-for-You Beef Stroganoff

Better-for-You Beef Stroganoff

A luxurious stroganoff made with tender beef and mushrooms in a creamy, wine-enriched sauce feels like an indulgence, but this lightened version is easy on the waistline and the budget. Lean beef cuts like sirloin tip and tri-tip are considerably less expensive than strip steaks and rib-eye steaks; you can opt for whichever cut is on sale. Serve over whole wheat egg noodles.

Brandied Apple-Raisin Bundt Cake

Brandied Apple-Raisin Bundt Cake

A touch of brandy in the raisins and glaze seems to intensify the apples and spices in this moist, homey cake. It improves with age, so make it a day or two ahead. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

These tender cupcakes boast all the traditional flavors of pumpkin pie, thanks to pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar. To ensure there are no brown sugar lumps in the batter, the sugar’s mixed with the liquids instead of the dry ingredients.

Crunchy Whole Wheat Parmesan Bread

Crunchy Whole Wheat Parmesan Bread

To make this pull-apart-style loaf, the dough is cut into squares but left intact before it’s baked. Parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top provides a savory-salty note in every bite. Make the dough by hand, as instructed, or prepare it in a stand mixer with a paddle or dough hook.

Pasta with Smoky Angry Tomato Sauce

Pasta with Smoky Angry Tomato Sauce

Instead of pancetta, it calls for bacon, which is more likely to be on hand and offers the added benefit of smoky flavor. Angry refers to spiciness from the liberal use of crushed red pepper. Adjust the amount of pepper flakes to shift your pasta's "mood" from slightly angry to flat-out furious.

Chunky Squash and Black Bean Soup

Chunky Squash and Black Bean Soup

Squash and beans pair well in this soup, especially when combined with traditional Latin seasonings of cumin and poblanos, and a cilantro garnish. High-protein quinoa gives it extra body; for a more distinctive appearance, use red quinoa.

Chai Pumpkin Pie

Chai Pumpkin Pie

In this amped-up rendition of pumpkin pie, chai spices--cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, cloves--take the place of the usual pumpkin pie seasonings. You also could use about 1 tablespoon of chai spice blend, available in the spice section of some markets.

Friendly Monster Chocolate Cupcakes

Friendly Monster Chocolate Cupcakes

These chocolate monster cupcakes are super easy to make and decorate for any kid-centric Halloween function you may have coming up. Plus, they contain a filling of “monster guts” made of raspberry jam that will be sure to surprise your little ones. But even if your kids are like me and would rather dress up as a monkey than a mummy, they’ll love these cupcakes!

Apple Cider-Glazed Squash

Apple Cider-Glazed Squash

Reducing apple cider to a sweet syrup produces a glaze that tastes like the essence of autumn. This simple glazing method is an excellent way to prepare a wide range of squash varieties, from everyday acorn to large, meaty banana. As a variation, substitute orange juice for apple cider and 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin for cinnamon.

Sausage-Bell Pepper Topped Sweet Potatoes

Sausage-Bell Pepper Topped Sweet Potatoes

The hint of cayenne pepper is unexpected in this dish and really perks up the flavor without being overpoweringly hot. The dollop of yogurt on top adds creaminess without any fat while the maple syrup adds a sweet note that keeps you going back for just one more bite.

Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes

Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes

Golden bits of caramelized onion give these potatoes a rich, nutty flavor. They definitely can stand on their own, without gravy.

Warm Walnut Brownies

Warm Walnut Brownies

Walnuts are the straight-A, Goody-Two-Shoes morsels of the food world. You read about their heart-healthy benefits all over the place. After attending the walnut harvest in Central Valley, California, I’m inspired to tout a few of those health benefits (and not just because I have a pan of rich walnut brownies I want to feel good about gobbling up).

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