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How To Make the Most of Your Free Time Right Now

How To Make the Most of Your Free Time Right Now

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Six enriching ways to utilize the extra hours at home during a global pandemic.

We all know the drill by this point: The coronavirus has ground "normalcy" to somewhat of a halt worldwide. Though lots of states and businesses have started reopening, there's still a lot of stress and uncertainty surrounding the virus, when a vaccine will be ready and publicly available, and whether there is credence to reports it could be going airborne. Needless to say, many of us are still working remotely and minimizing the amount of travel we're doing outside of our homes.

More time spent at home, of course, also means figuring out what to do with it. You could re-watch Parks & Recreation for the umpteenth time (10/10 would recommend), jump on the sourdough starter train, or mindlessly scroll your social media accounts for hours on end.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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Conversely, you could try turning any extra hours at home into something calming and productive. To that end, we've compiled a list of six ways you can spend any extra time at home to help reduce stress and induce some much-needed catharsis. Stay safe—and sane—out there, friends.


Even the tiniest of outdoor spaces can become a veritable Eden during a time of isolation. This author can attest to how easily you can order seeds online for delivery. Whether your preference is flowers, herbs, or vegetables, go ahead and dig in the dirt a little. Planting the earth is cathartic not just for you but also for your local ecosystem, as your new plants will bring bees, butterflies, and maybe even hummingbirds around to feed.

Try Yoga

PeopleImages/Getty Images

As someone who hasn't been able to touch their toes since 2008, I'll let former Executive Editor Ann Taylor Pittman take this one away. "I was never a yoga person, but I've doing it five times a week for the last five weeks. Here's why: It's a way to devote some time to yourself, to completely unplug from the news, to quiet your mind, and to feel yourself getting stronger—and all of that is really empowering during a time when so many of us feel completely powerless." So in a way, you're combining exercise and meditation. We'll cosign that.

Another thing we'll cosign: delicious, customizable meal plans! Subscribe to the Cooking Light Diet today and you'll never again have to wonder "what's for dinner?"


Prapass Pulsub/Getty Images

Just because social distancing is best for health and safety right now doesn't mean we have to be socially distant. And no, we're not just talking about Zoom. Remember the excitement you used to feel when receiving a handwritten card in the mail—you know, before it was all bills and spam? Why not spread a little of that joy in these hard times? That's what former Our Site Editor Kimberly Holland is doing. "I've long been a fan of writing birthday cards, hello cards, and popping letters into the mail for friends. It's a nice surprise to come home to handwritten letter in the age of texts and emails." Hear, hear! Take some time while you're re-streaming The Last Dance to put a little love out into the world via a personalized missive—and be sure to thank your local USPS carrier.


Jordan Siemens/Getty Images

This will be a hard sell for some, as sitting still and clearing your mind for 20 minutes in this age of unlimited information and handheld computers is no easy feat. Senior Editor Darcy Lenz was skeptical as well, saying "I definitely wasn't sold on the idea...that I could sit still and 'quiet my mind' for more than 20 seconds, or that it would do much for me." But give it a try and it may change your routine and your whole outlook. It definitely has for Lenz.

Get Some Air

Depending on where you live right now and what type of shelter-in-place guidelines are happening, this one can be tricky. But vitamin D and fresh air are soul-refreshing necessities. We don't live in caves anymore, after all. So, spend a little time outside every day, weather permitting. There's nothing like a worldwide pandemic forcing people inside to make you appreciate this amazingly breathtaking world around us—trees, flowers, birds chirping, adorable puppies on walks, etc. If you're able, get outside and get moving to gin up some endorphins. Your brain and body will thank you.

Strive for Balance

Ah, balance in the time of coronavirus—what a concept, especially for people struggling or juggling multiple jobs/humans. In this instance, though, we're sticking to our wheelhouse and focusing on diet balance. Former Cooking Light Food Editor Josh Miller says, "I cook healthy food most nights, but once or twice a week we get good takeout (curbside or delivery). It helps to have a change of pace and something different on our plates. We also try to keep our eyes on overzealous Zoom happy hours; it's easy to get carried away. Treat yourself, but make it the exception and not the rule."

Balance in the kitchen is hard, but it doesn't have to be. Subscribe to the Cooking Light Diet today and start receiving customizable meal plans catered to YOUR preferences!

7 fresh ideas to make cooking easy and fun

Cooking is so much more than what ends up on your plate. From recipe planning to pantry organization and grocery shopping to sharing virtual meals with others both near and far, we can help. If spending more time at home has led to more time in the kitchen, check out these resources and tips for using Microsoft products to help you make the most of your efforts with the least amount of stress.

Chowhound’s 13 Most Popular BBQ Recipes to Make Before Summer Ends

You’ve got the grill. You’ve got the gadgets. You’ve even studied BBQ tips from a pitmaster and researched the best meat delivery services so your free-range, grass-fed, kosher proteins are set to arrive at the door any minute (ICYMI, check out the best Labor Day meat deals too). Patio-proof, unbreakable dinnerware? Check. Slushy cocktails to go in those sturdy glasses? Double check. What else is there?

From sauce-slathered short ribs to miraculously moist grilled chicken, homemade seasonings, and even a few seafood surprises, we’ve gathered Chowhound’s 13 most popular and clicked-on BBQ recipes from last summer to give you a head start on this season’s outdoor cookin’. Bust out the charcoal and lighter fluid cuz it’s gonna be a hot one!

Check out even more recipes and cooking tips our Chowhound community loves.

1. Easy BBQ Baby Back Pork Ribs

This popular ribs recipe is easy, technically speaking, but does require some prep and planning. A lot of it can be done ahead of time if you have the luxury, and finished on the grill when guests start to arrive. Serve with some crisp summer slaw and baked potatoes. Get our Easy BBQ Baby Back Pork Ribs recipe.

2. Easy Fish Tacos

For something, a little unexpected try grilled fish tacos next time you break out the BBQ. Marinate the white fish—something semi-firm like snapper, cod, or mahi-mahi—and serve with pickled onions, lime wedges, and sliced avocado. Get our Easy Fish Tacos recipe.

3. Montreal Steak Seasoning

This is a classic beef seasoning that you can buy in the store but it’s much more fun to say you made your own, right? If you’re hosting a socially distant BBQ, you can always package it up and give it out to guests for a fun take-home. Get our Montreal Steak Seasoning recipe.

4. Grilled Country-Style Pork Ribs

Fun fact about country style pork ribs: They’re not actually ribs but rather a boneless cut from the loin. Let a rub sit on the meat overnight for best results and then grill until a nice crust appears. Get our Grilled Country-style Pork Ribs recipe.

Related Reading: The Best Rubs You Can Buy

5. Cajun Seasoning

Have a bunch of this Cajun seasoning on hand all summer and you’ll never have a boring piece of grilled chicken or burger again. Don’t go crazy on the heat as you can always kick it up with a little extra pepper or cayenne to order. Get our Cajun Seasoning recipe.

6. Argentine Chimichurri Sauce

So you don’t technically make this one on the grill either but sometimes a good sauce to slather onto meats after they come off the coals (or gas) can make the difference between a good and great backyard BBQ. Get our Argentine Chimichurri Sauce recipe.

7. Smoked Barbecue Baby Back Ribs

This recipe requires some special equipment. If you don’t have a smoker, like our favorite below, then you can always turn your grill into a smoker rather easily. Smoking anything imparts a deep, sometimes all-consuming flavor, that balances nicely with the sweetness of BBQ sauce. Get our Smoked Barbecue Baby Back Ribs recipe.

*Special equipment alert: If you don’t have a smoker and have to hack it, you’ll need a charcoal grill to turn into a smoker. You will also need long heatproof tongs, matches or a lighter, newspaper, 1 disposable aluminum 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, 1 disposable aluminum 8-inch square pan, a baking sheet, 2 oven mitts, 2 buckets of water (one to soak the wood chips and the other to refill the aluminum loaf pan), and an oven thermometer.

Weber 14-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker Charcoal Smoker, $219 from Amazon

8. Juicy Lucy Burger (a.k.a. Jucy Lucy)

As you’ll read there is some serious drama as to what midwest bar this juicy burger originated in. We’re just glad it’s part of our summer arsenal. Worcestershire sauce is one of summer grilling’s best-kept secrets and the umami flavor is key in this grilled burger recipe. Get our Juicy Lucy Burger recipe.

9. Smoky-Sweet BBQ Beef Short Ribs

These fabulous BBQ short ribs technically get their start in the oven but are finished on the grill. Short ribs prove less intimidating than a full-size rack of ribs, but make sure you follow the cooking times and temps as closely as possible for best results. Get our Smoky-Sweet BBQ Beef Short Ribs recipe.

10. Grilled Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Rosemary Marinade

You can’t go wrong with grilled chicken at a summer BBQ but give it a formidable injection of flavor as in this very popular balsamic and rosemary marinade. Get our Grilled Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Rosemary Marinade recipe.

11. Grilled Paella

Chowhound’s Grilled Paella

Paella is to Spain as BBQ ribs are to the U.S. The perfect dish to serve a large group (or, since social distancing is still important, one or two with tons of leftovers for the week!), and eat outside in the sunshine with a cold beverage in hand. Use any type of seafood you’d like but remember some hold up to grilling better than others. Get our Grilled Paella recipe.

Lodge 15-Inch Carbon Steel Paella Pan, $49.90 from Walmart

12. Carne Asada

There is a ton you can do with a good carne asada. Tacos or fajitas (obviously), top a salad, or pile it high on some good ciabatta for a sliced steak sandwich. Feel free to crank up the heat if you’ve got Scoville junkies in tow. Get our Carne Asada recipe.

13. Maple Mustard Grilled Salmon

Salmon and summer grillin’ go together like PB&J. A nice firm fish that holds its form, this maple, and mustard marinated fish dish will be a hit with BBQ guests, and is an easy/exciting alternative for those trying to avoid red meat or pork. Get our Maple Mustard Grilled Salmon recipe, and read up on the best fish to grill according to a chef.

Related Reading on CNET: The Best Places to Buy Seafood Online

Party of 2? These Are the Best Summer Dinner Recipes to Make For You and Your Plus-One

There's nothing like a warm night, good food, and good company to make a summer night a dream come true. The long evenings and balmy weather pair well with a dinner for two, and making just the right amount of food for you and your plus-one is the only thing you have to do before you can sit back and sip on a chilled glass of rosé. If you're wondering what the most idyllic summer dinner is, you've come to the right place. Complete with seasonal pasta salads, hearty entrées, and mouthwatering meals, there's something for everyone on this list whether they're gluten-free, vegan, or just craving the finest flavors of the season.

From veggie-filled salads that'll fill you up for days to a melt-in-your-mouth delicious salmon supper, these recipes are all you need to make any summer night complete. Fit for the beach or a barbeque, you can whip up these effortlessly easy meals for two in no time. Cheers to summer!

5 fresh mango recipes that make the most of this sweet summer fruit

1. Mango Harvest Wild Rice

Photo: Nutrition Stripped

Incorporate mango into your meal prep with this hearty and versatile side dish from Nutrition Stripped. Mango tends to hold up well after the skin has been removed, so it won’t turn the dish to mush after one day&mdashrather, its naturally sweet juices will mesh beautifully with the nutty flavor of the wild rice. Make it a main by adding a piece of citrusy salmon on top.

2. Fancy Toast with Mango

Photo: Hummasapien

For a quick and easy breakfast, try topping your avocado or almond butter toast with sliced mango, like in this recipe by Hummusapien. You really can’t go wrong here&mdashfrom coconut and cashew butter to chili flakes with cucumber slices, you’ll be shocked by how versatile mango can be.

3. Mango Energy Bites

Photo: Minimalist Baker

Get in a tropical vacation state of mind (even if you’re eating a couch-desk snack) with these mango-coconut energy bites by Minimalist Baker. They get a boost of protein thanks to the addition of hemp seeds, which pack 11 grams of protein per serving. Since the recipe calls for dried mango, you won’t even have to Google “how to slice a mango.” Phew.

4. Easy Shrimp Ceviche

Photo: Gimme Some Oven

Homemade ceviche is deceptively easy to make, as evidenced in this recipe by Gimme Some Oven. It’s a great way to pretend that you actually learned how to cook during quarantine, instead of what you actually did (which was try to bake bread exactly three times before giving up on the whole “bettering yourself in the kitchen” endeavor). What’s more, the spicy, acidic ingredients in this dish&mdashthink lime juice, cilantro, and ancho chili powder&mdashreally let the natural sweetness of your fresh mango shine.

5. Mango Green Tea Pops

Photo: Minimalist Baker

These refreshing&mdashand caffeinated!&mdashpopsicles by Minimalist Baker look fancy but only require five ingredients to make. It calls for inflammation-fighting matcha, so combined with mango this recipe packs a serious antioxidant punch. Eat them poolside all summer long, then make an extra batch to savory after mango season is over (cue tiny violin).

Oh hi! You look like someone who loves free workouts, discounts for cult-fave wellness brands, and exclusive Well+Good content. Sign up for Well+, our online community of wellness insiders, and unlock your rewards instantly.

Make the Best Crepes Ever With These Easy Tips and Recipes

Delicate crêpes always create an impressive display, but making them is surprisingly easy. And because they play well with both sweet and savory fillings, these super-thin French pancakes are versatile enough to serve for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Here&aposs how to make crepes, plus some of our favorite recipe ideas:

This traditional crepe recipe can be sweet or savory, depending on how you fill it.

How to Make Crepes

Better Batter

Batter consistency is key when making crepes, and like everything else, there are a few tricks to make it perfect.

Whip It Good

Though you can mix crepe batter by hand, using a standing or immersion blender makes it perfectly smooth. The smoother the batter, the thinner and more delicate the crepe.

Crêpes are close cousins to pancakes, but the batter is a lot thinner. It should be about the consistency of heavy cream and should coat the back of a spoon. If your batter is just right, you should be able to swirl it to cover the pan in a thin, delicate layer. If your batter is too thick to swirl, simply whisk in a few tablespoons of milk or water to thin it out.

It&aposs important that you allow the crepe batter to rest, to make lacy crepes. This can be as little as 30 minutes on the counter top, or as long as overnight in the fridge.

The Heat is On

Cooking crepes is about finding the perfect balance of heat and time.

Lightly grease your pan with a small amount of neutral-flavored oil (butter has a tendency to burn). As you cook, you may find you have to re-oil your pan occasionally or not at all.

Heat the pan slowly over medium heat. As the pan continues to heat up while cooking, you may need to increase or decrease the heat, for perfectly golden crepes. And don&apost worry: the first crepe or two always count as "testers" until you get the heat just right.

The size of your pan determines how much batter to pour in. You want enough to just coat the bottom when you swirl the pan. Make a couple of practice crepes until you figure out how much is just right.

When the edges of your crepe start to lightly brown (two to three minutes), and the top of the crepe starts looking dry, then it&aposs ready to flip over. Carefully lift the edge of the crepe with a thin spatula, turn the crepe over, and cook for another 30 seconds to one minute. (Some cooks like to lift the edge of the crepe with a spatula and turn it over with their fingers.)

No Crêpe Pan? No Problem

Many folks are under the impression that you must have a professional crepe pan to make the perfect crepe. Not so! The most important thing is to use a nonstick pan (whether it is has a commercial nonstick coating or is just naturally well-seasoned is up to you), low sides (to make flipping easy), and is relatively heavy so it heats evenly.

To Eat Now or Later?

If you&aposre eating the crepes right away, fill them with your favorite sweet or savory fillings and dig in. But you can also make a batch of crepes ahead of time so they&aposll be ready when you are. This is especially helpful if you&aposre making crepes for a crowd.

Cool your crepes on a wire rack, then stack with a small square of parchment, waxed paper, or plastic wrap between each layer. Wrap them well in plastic and store in your fridge for a few days or your freezer for a few months.

The Most Popular Mixed Drinks (with Recipes)

The holiday season is upon us once again and that means a few things – cold weather for some of us, holiday weight gain for most of us, presents we don’t really like but pretend to love and of course, holiday parties galore. If you’re throwing a holiday party this year, take a few minutes to perfect these popular mixed drinks so you can really impress your guests and make sure everyone has a great time. Learning how to make these popular mixed drinks should give you the skills you need to make something everyone will love but don’t let this list limit you. If you love mixing drinks, why not experiment and try to come up with your own signature beverage? There are tons of options out there. Play around with different combinations and see what you like. If something sounds good, try it! One final note before we begin: the average shot glass holds roughly 45ml. Very few of these drinks call for exactly one shot of liquor. Okay, are we ready? Let’s get started.

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While perhaps not the most well known drink on our list, this twist on the Manhattan is definitely popular and delicious enough to warrant inclusion. This surprisingly tasty treat will be a huge hit at your holiday party and the best part? It’s not really all that difficult to make although you may have to stock your bar with a few things you may not buy otherwise. To make a Bellini, you’ll need:

  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. peach schnapps
  • 2 oz. peach nectar
  • 3 oz. dry champagne, chilled
  • 1/2 cup crushed ice

Mix your lemon juice, peach nectar and peach schnapps in a chilled glass. Add in your crushed ice (you can add more than 1/2 cup if so desired) and finish up with your champagne. This recipe will make two cocktails you and your guests will absolutely love.

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Bloody Mary

While some think Bloody Marys are only good for the morning after a party, that simply isn’t true. This delicious cocktail will make a fine addition to your holiday party cocktail list but be sure you stock up on a few extra ingredients for this one. You might be surprised just how many people will opt for this one if you put it on your drinks meny. To make the best Bloody Mary you’ve ever tasted, you’ll need:

  • 0.5 oz. lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • red hot sauce
  • green hot sauce
  • dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 3 oz. tomato juice
  • celery salt
  • celery stick
  • 2 mixing glasses
  • 1 highball glass
  • ice
  • strainer

Add your ingredients together in one mixing glass. Pour back and forth between the first and second mixing glass a few times, ensuring all of the ingredients are mixed well. Salt the rim of your highball glass with your celery salt and add ice to the highball glass, making sure not to disturb your salted rim. Strain your drink into the glass and garnish with celery stalk.

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Here’s what I like about the Caipirinha. It’s a versatile drink that can be adjusted to suit just about any taste. I love the black cherry caipirnha that seems to be so popular as well as a few of the other flavor variations out there but for this article, I’m going to stick with the basic cocktail. You can play around with the flavors and offer your guests a choice of variations if you’d like but the basic drink is sure to please all on its own. To make a Caipirinha, you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 oz. vodka
  • 1 1/2 oz. limeade
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 lime
  • ice cubes
  • 2 spoons crushed ice
  • spoon

Cut your lime into a few chunks to start. Toss your lime chunks and your sugar into a cocktail glass. Mash the limes and the sugar against the bottom and sides of your glass with your spoon and add in your ice cubes. Add in your crushed ice. Pour in your vodka and then your limeade. Stir your drink until all of the contents are well mixed. Serve.

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As with the Caipirinha, there are lots of different things you can do with a Cosmopolitan to change up the taste to suit what you like. You can offer a few different variations of this one as well and I’d even recommend doing so. Cosmos as always a hit at holiday parties, especially if you get them right. Instead of offering up a whole series of recipes, I’ll walk you through the basic cocktail and you can play around with variations on your own. To make a Cosmopolitan your guests will love, you’ll need:

  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. cranberry juice
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • ice
  • lime wedge
  • strainer
  • shaker
  • martini glass

Start out by combining your triple sec, lime juice, cranberry juice and vodka in your shaker. Add in ice and shake until the drink is well mixed. You can take a bit of orange, lime or lemon zest and zest the rim of your glass if you like but that’s optional. Strain the drink from your shaker into your martini glass. Finish it off by garnishing the drink with a lime wedge on the rim of the glass.

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Cuba Libre

The Cuba Libre is always a popular choice when offered up at parties and it will most definitely keep your guests happy. It also isn’t a terribly difficult drink to make using only ingredients commonly found in any well stocked home bar. To make a Cuba Libre, you’ll need:

  • 2 oz of light rum
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • cola
  • ice cubes
  • lime wedge
  • highball glass

Start by putting a few ice cubes in your highball glass and squeezing the juice from half a lime in over them. Add in your rum and fill the rest off the glass with cola. Finish up by garnishing your drink with a lime wedge on the rim of the glass. If you want a stronger drink, add a few extra ice cubes so there will be less cola in the glass. While the ice will melt, this drink is far too tasty to stick around long enough to worry about the melting ice diluting the drink a whole lot.

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There are so many variations of the Daiquiri out there it was a little hard to decide which one I should put on this list. There are avocado daiquiris, apple daiquiris, banana daiquiris, strawberry daiquiris … you get the point. I decided to go with the daiquiri natural because it offers you the basics of the drink and gives you an idea of what you can change up to make the drink more suited to your or to your guests. For the Daiquiri Natural, you’ll need:

  • 1/4 to 1/2 oz. sugar syrup
  • 3/4 oz. lime juice
  • 2 oz. white rum
  • ice cubes
  • shaker
  • strainer
  • cocktail glass, chilled

Throw some ice cubes into your shaker and add your syrup, lime juice and rum. Shake well until everything is mixed well. Strain your drink into your chilled cocktail glass. Garnish as desired and serve.

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Mai Tai

This is the only cocktail on this list I’ll offer two recipes for because they’re both excellent recipes that produce delicious cocktails and they’re both easy enough that even the novice mixer can make them. I always wanted to offer up to Mai Tai recipes because they’re easily one of the most popular mixed drinks out there right now so your guests will be sure to love them. To make the first Mai Tai you’ll need:

  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. orange juice
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. triple sec
  • 1 1/2 oz. dark rum
  • 1 1/2 oz. white rum
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • ice cubes
  • hurricane glass

Put your ice into the hurricane glass and add all of your other ingredients. You can add more or less sugar depending on sweet you want the drink to be. Stir well and garnish however you like.

For the second Mai Tai, you’ll need:

  • club soda
  • 1/2 oz. armaretto liqueur
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 1/2 oz. grenadine
  • 2 oz. white rum
  • 2 oz. dark rum
  • ice cubes
  • highball glass

Add some ice cubes to your high ball glass and pour in the remaining ingredients. Stir everything together until well blending and garnish as you like.


There are a few ways to make a Manhattan but my favorite is also probably the easiest. It’s very fuss-free but is sure to please any fans of the drink who will be attending your party. I’m leaving the garnish out of the recipe because I feel this is a drink you can garnish however you see fit. To make the perfect Manhattan, you’ll need:

  • bitters (you’ll only need a dash)
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1/2. oz. dry vermouth
  • 2 oz. blended whiskey
  • ice

Put a little ice in a glass and add your vermouth, whiskey and bitters. Swirl the mixture with the ice until your drink is chilled. Strain the drink into a martini glass and garnish as you see fit. Some like using maraschino cherries for this cocktail while others like olives. It’s your call.

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The Margarita is an absolute classic. When it comes to popular mixed drinks, there are few that match the popularity of this one. It can be tricky to get right though without using Margarita mix and that’s perhaps why so many shy away from having it at their parties. This recipe, however, takes a lot of the difficulty out of making Margaritas by combining fairly common ingredients, forgoing the hit or miss Margarita drinks and still offering up a crowd pleasing drink any Margarita fans at your party will love. To make the perfect Margarita, you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 1/2 oz. orange liqueur
  • 2 oz. tequila
  • 2 oz. triple sec
  • 4 oz. sweet and sour drink mix (found at most liquor stores or even grocery stores)
  • salt
  • ice cubes
  • strainer
  • shaker
  • Margarita glass

Start by putting ice cubes into your cocktail shaker until the shaker is half full of ice. Add the rest of the ingredients to the ice and shake vigorously so all ingredients are mixed together well. Salt the rim of your margarita glass and strain your drink into the glass. This recipe will give you two delicious margaritas.

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I had to include the Martini on this list because it is, without question, one of the most popular mixed drinks of all time. The problem with putting the Martini on this list though is the fact that there are tons of different variations on the classic Martini and most of them produce great cocktails. I decided to go with the classic Martini because, quite honestly, it’s my favorite and because it’s surprisingly easy to make. After the recipe, I’ll go into the basic variations on the classic but I’m not going to get into Apple Martinis, Espresso Martinis, Chocolate Martinis and the like here. Instead, I’ll offer up a whole separate list for the most popular Martini variations next week. For now, though, let’s stick with the classic Martini and the basic variations. To make a classic Martini, you’ll need:

  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 2 1/2 oz. gin
  • ice
  • green olive
  • shaker
  • strainer
  • Martini glass

Put a handful of ice into your cocktail shaker then pour in your gin and vermouth. Stir (not shake) for 30 seconds and then strain into your martini glass. Toss in the olive for garnish and you’re ready to serve. Now, let’s talk variations.

  • The Dirty Martini: Add a small splash of olive brine to the mix.
  • The Vodka Martini: Swap out the gin for vodka.
  • The Dry Martini: Use less vermouth when mixing the drink. “Dryness” refers to the amount of vermouth in the drink so basically, if you want a dryer martini, use less vermouth.
  • The Gibson Martini: Swap the olive for a cocktail onion.

The Perfect Martini is also popular but isn’t really all that different than the Classic Martini when it comes to how it’s made. For this one, you’re going to use dry and sweet vermouth together in the drink, mixing in equal parts of both. If you wanted to turn the above recipe into a Perfect Martini recipe, you’d half the amount of dry vermouth and add an equal amount of sweet vermouth.


The Mojito is definitely one of the most popular mixed drinks out there but it’s also a drink that can easily be made incorrectly. This recipe makes a terrific Mojito while still being simple enough for the novice drink mixer. You will need to either a muddler or a pestle to make the best Mojito though so if you don’t have one, consider picking one up if you intend to serve these delicious cocktails at your party. To make a great Mojito, you’ll need:

  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 0.5 oz. lime juice
  • 1.25 oz. spiced rum (I highly recommend Captain Morgan Original)
  • 2 oz. soda water
  • 12 mint leaves plus a few for garnish (fresh, if possible)
  • crushed ice
  • Muddler or pestle

Put 12 of your mint leaves at the bottom of your glass and add crushed ice, spiced rum, sugar and lime juice. Crush the mint leaves against the bottom of the glass using your muddler or pestle, mixing the ingredients together at the same time. Once the leaves are crushed and the ingredients are well mixed, add in the soda water. Finish up by garnishing with a few left over mint leaves.

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Pina Colada

The drink so delicious Garth Brooks wrote a song about it (a song that is now stuck in my head and probably will be for days)! I love Pina Coladas and they make a fantastic treat for any guest at your party, assuming they enjoy yummy things like coconut, pineapple and coconut and pineapple together. To make an authentic Pina Colada, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • 1 1/2 oz. light rum
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 2 oz. cream of coconut
  • pineapple slice
  • maraschino cherry
  • blender

Start by adding your rum, cream of coconut and pineapple juice into your blender with your crushed ice. Blend your mixture together until it is smooth. Pour your drink into a glass and finish it all off with a slice of pineapple and a maraschino cherry.

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I struggled with whether or not to put the Screwdriver on this list because it’s so incredibly simple to make. I’m quite certain even those just starting out with this whole drink mixing thing know how to make a Screwdriver. After careful consideration though, I decided to include it for two reasons. 1) The Screwdriver is one of the most popular drinks out there so a lot of people are bound to want it and 2) very few people actually know how to make a really good Screwdriver. If you want to make a great Screwdriver that will really impress your guests, you’ll need:

Start by pouring your orange juice into a glass. Add the vodka and then add the apple juice last. Stir it lightly and garnish with an orange slice. What you’ve just made is one of the best Screwdrivers you’ve ever tasted. You can make it a rum Screwdriver by substituting rum for the vodka.

Singapore Sling

This is one of my favorite drinks on this list even though I only really indulge in it on special occasions. It also happens to be my most requested cocktail at parties. I always make sure to have enough ingredients on hand to make this drink all night because it’s one people come back for time and time again. To make a genuine Singapore Sling, you’ll need:

  • bitters (you’ll only need a dash of these)
  • 1/4 oz. benedictine herbal liqueur
  • 1/4 oz. orange liqueur
  • 1/3 oz. grenadine
  • 1/2 oz. cherry brandy
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. gin
  • 4 oz. pineapple juice
  • ice
  • pineapple slice
  • cherry
  • shaker
  • tall glass

Start by combining your bitters, benedictine herbal liqueur, orange liqueur, grenadine, cherry brandy, lime juice, gin and pineapple juice in a shaker filled with ice. Shake the entire mixture until your shaker is frosted. Strain your drink into your glass and finish up your cocktail by garnishing it with a slice of pineapple and a cherry.

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Whiskey Sour

This is another popular drink that is made wrong most of the time. The star of this show is the whiskey. You want to let it shine and now drown it out with the lime juice. To make a good Whiskey Sour, you’ll need:

  • 1/2 tsp. powdered sugar
  • lemon juice (half a lemon will give you all the juice you need)
  • 2 oz. whiskey
  • ice
  • 1/2 lemon slice
  • cherry
  • shaker
  • whiskey glass

Shake the whiskey, lemon juice and powdered sugar in your shaker with ice. Strain your drink into your whiskey glass and garnish it with your half lemon slice and a cherry.

White Russian

The White Russian is an absolute classic – not just one of the most popular mixed drinks ever served but also easily one of my personal favorite mixed drinks both to drink and to serve. To make a proper White Russian, you’ll need:

This one isn’t terribly complicated. Put your ice cubes in your glass, pour in your liqueur and vodka then fill the glass with your light cream. Simple and easy but so incredibly delicious. If you want a holiday theme at your holiday party, considering the Christmas Russian I served at my holiday party last year. It’s pretty simple. You’ll need:

How much you put in for each ingredient is up to you but you want the drink to be one part peppermint schnapps, one part vodka and two parts coffee liqueur. I used one shot of the schnapps and one shot of vodka with two shots of coffee liqueur all over ice. Finish up by filling your glass with milk. If you want stronger drinks, use smaller glasses. Want weaker drinks? Bigger glasses. I topped mine off with mini candy canes for garnish. Pretty simple stuff but a delicious holiday treat.

It’s A Bit Subjective

When it comes to eggs, clearly what is “best” to one may not be best to another. It comes down to preference. If you have never had French-style scrambled eggs, I urge you to just give them a try! It might take a few tries to get it just right, and thankfully it’s not expensive or time consuming to practice. Maybe after you try them you will still prefer the American way of doing them, and that’s totally ok. For me, I love the flavor and texture of French scrambled eggs. They taste so good, there’s no need to add ketchup, salsa, or even cheese.

7. Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce wraps are a great way to make a healthy meal with a ton of flavor. Brown the meat, then combine the rest of the flavorful ingredients in the slow cooker, where it will cook low and slow for 2-3 hours. After, choosing your lettuce is very important—I suggest going with butter lettuce for the best flavor and right amount of crunch.

Black Bean Nachos

Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

What's needed: 1 can of black beans

Next time you need a quick snack and are craving nachos, throw a can of black beans on that bad boy for additional protein. They'll help fill you up and assuage any guilt about having nachos for dinner.

Get our recipe for Black Bean and Chicken Nachos.

Recipes You Need to Make Your Craves

Here are the top recipes at 24Bite right now. I am thrilled to see so many of you enjoying the recipes and I look forward to hearing which you’ll be trying next. Don’t forget to save these to prepare right away!

Watch the video: Was machen Sie eigentlich in Ihrer Freizeit?


  1. Vudor

    Absolutely it is right

  2. Kalyan

    You can talk endlessly on this topic.

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