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15 Recipes with a Secret Ingredient

You'll never guess what makes these recipes so tasty!

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Ice Cream Bread

Ice cream gets a whole new use in this tender bread recipe that I pared down to serve two. Be sure to use full-fat ice cream for best results. —Katherine Kuehlman, Denver, Colorado
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Cola Burgers

A friend who's an excellent cook shared this hamburger recipe with me, and it has since become a family favorite. The unusual combination of cola and French salad dressing added to the ground beef gives it fabulous flavor. The mixture is also used as a basting sauce on the moist burgers. -Melva Baumer, Millmont, Pennsylvania
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Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

I created this dish after my father had triple bypass surgery. He loves comfort food, and I wanted him to be able to enjoy a rich and tasty dish like mac & cheese without all the fat and butter. It's also a smart way to sneak in some veggies for children. —Megan Schwartz, New York, New York
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Black Bean Brownies

You’d never guess these rich, velvety chocolate treats contain a can of black beans. Who would have thought black bean brownies would be so amazing? —Kathy Hewitt, Cranston, Rhode Island
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Coconut Almond Candy

The secret ingredient in this homemade candy is a true surprise—no one tasting these delicious morsels will guess what’s in the sweet, creamy filling! —Katrina Smith, Lawrence, Kansas
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Scalloped Potatoes 'n' Ham Casserole

I'm a home health nurse and got this recipe from one of my elderly clients, who had used it for years. Now, it's one of my family's favorites. It will never curdle, thanks to the secret ingredient of powdered nondairy creamer. —Kathy M Johnson, Lake City, South Dakota
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Sweet Potato Cranberry Cake

This convenient recipe uses items you have in your pantry, like sweet potatoes, cranberries, coconut and chocolate chips. Everyone will enjoy this delicious dessert! —Amie Valpone, New York, New York
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Marinated Pot Roast

I've long used whole or ground cloves as my secret ingredient in cooking and baking. Added to an overnight marinade, they provide the gravy in this meaty main dish with great flavor. —Marijane Rea of Milwaukie, Oregon
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Apple Dumpling Bake

I received this recipe for baked apple dumplings with Mountain Dew from a friend of mine, then tweaked it to suit my family's tastes. The soda is definitely the secret ingredient in this rich apple dessert. —Chris Shields, Monrovia, Indiana
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Homemade Breakfast Sausage Patties

Buttermilk is the secret ingredient that keeps these pork patties moist, while a blend of seasonings creates a wonderful taste. —Harvey Keeney, Mandan, North Dakota
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Jamaican Chocolate Cookies with Caramel Creme

I made these for an office party cookie contest—not a crumb was left on the platter! —Noelle Myers, Grand Forks, North Dakota
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Pina Colada Jam

If you like pina coladas, you’ll love this! But here’s the kicker: The secret ingredient is fresh zucchini. Spread the jam on crackers and cheese or add to a pan sauce to give chicken or pork chops a tropical twist. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Best Ever Bread Pudding

The secret to incredible bread pudding with a soft middle and crisp edges starts with leftover dinner rolls. I picked up the rich brown sugar sauce recipe from my friend Kathryn Gartmann. A big drizzle of it takes this dessert over the top and really makes it the best bread pudding ever. —Maria Petrella, Taste of Home Prep Cook
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Crunchy au Gratin Potatoes

With its golden, crunchy topping and gooey, cheesy interior, this comforting spin on a classic side dish is brimming with robust flavors. Horseradish and nutmeg add that extra-special touch.—Janice Elder, Charlotte, North Carolina
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My Mom's Best Meat Loaf

The Rice Krispies used in this recipe are my mom’s secret ingredient. While they may seem odd or out of place, they help hold the meat loaf together. And once they are cooked, no one realizes they're even there. —Kelly Simmons, Hopkinsville, Kentucky