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75 Summer Recipes to Pack in Your Picnic Basket

Head to the nearest park and bring your brightest blanket. These picnic foods pack up perfectly and just taste better in the sunshine.

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BLT Macaroni Salad

A friend served this BLT pasta salad, and I just had to get the recipe. My husband loves BLT sandwiches, so this has become a favorite of his. It’s nice to serve on hot and humid days, which we frequently get during summer here in Virginia. —Mrs. Hamilton Myers Jr., Charlottesville, Virginia

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Don’t miss our guide on how to plan the perfect picnic!

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Grilled Lemon Chicken

My chicken gets its subtle pucker from lemonade concentrate. So simple, so sweet! —Linda Nilsen, Anoka, Minnesota
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Picnic Fruit Punch

This pink cooler is deliciously thirst-quenching on a warm day. Seeing its color, folks guess it might be pink lemonade. They're pleasantly surprised to discover the bubbly blend includes cranberry, pineapple, orange and lemon juices. —Marion Lowery, Medford, Oregon
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Layered Picnic Loaves

This big sandwich, inspired by one I tried at a New York deli, is a favorite with our football-watching crowd. Made ahead, it's easily carted to any gathering. Kids and adults alike say it's super. —Marion Lowery, Medford, Oregon
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Beef 'n' Cheese Wraps

These make-ahead wraps are delicious, portable and ideal for picnics and tailgates. Enjoy them whole or slice them into 1-inch pieces to serve them as an appetizer. They also make an excellent lunch on the go. —Sue Sibson, Howard, South Carolina
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Ruby Raspberry Slaw

Give ordinary coleslaw a "berry" tangy twist. It's sure to get raves at your next picnic or potluck. —Deborah Biggs, Omaha, Nebraska
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Yogurt Berry Parfaits

Homemade granola layered with fresh fruit and yogurt makes a superb breakfast. Sometimes I skip the parfait step to enjoy it on a hikes or picnics.—Donna Speirs, Kennebunk, ME
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Potluck Antipasto Pasta Salad

I love trying new recipes, and this one for Italian pasta salad tops all other varieties I've tried. With beans, cheese, sausage and vegetables, it's a hearty complement to any meal. —Bernadette Nelson, Arcadia, California
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Giant Lemon Sugar Cookies

These wonderfully chewy cookies have a light lemon flavor from both the juice and zest. The sanding sugar on top adds sparkle and a bit of crunch. —Michael Vyskocil, Glen Rock, Pennsylvania
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Faux Potato Salad

Cauliflower in potato salad? You bet, along with carrots, olives and other yummy surprises. —Mike Schulz, Tawas City, Michigan
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PBJ on a Stick

Take the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the go with these skewers. They also make easy snacks. —Sara Martin, Brookfield, Wisconsin
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Salami Roll-Ups

These bite-size appetizers are a cinch to make with just four ingredients—even your kids can help you with them! —Jean Baffuto, Apache Junction, Arizona
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Chicken Caesar Pitas

Hand-held and picnic friendly, these chicken-stuffed pockets pack a double dose of whole grains from brown rice and whole wheat pitas. The chicken can be made up to 2 days in advance for a fast-fix lunch. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Pasta Salad in a Jar

If you're planning a picnic, make this pasta a day ahead. For my husband's lunch at work, I sometimes tie a plastic fork on the jar. —Pat Neiheisel, Leetonia, Ohio
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Southwest Hummus Dip

Not your ordinary hummus, this dip is a combination of two things I love—chick peas and Southwestern flavors. You can substitute 3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed, for the grilled corn. —Cheray Buckalew, Cumberland, Maryland
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Avocado Fruit Salad with Tangerine Vinaigrette

On long summer days when we just want to relax, I make a cool salad with avocado, berries and mint. The tangerine dressing is refreshingly different. —Carole Resnick, Cleveland, Ohio
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BLT Wraps

My mom and I used to make these easy wrap-ups for summer days at the lake with our entire family. These days, we love to bring them to picnics and days in the park. —Jonnah Burks, Brighton, Missouri
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Balsamic Three-Bean Salad

Here's my little girl's favorite salad. She devours it just about as fast as I can make it. I suggest preparing it ahead of time so the flavors can get to know each other. —Stacey Feather, Jay, Oklahoma
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Strawberry Watermelon Lemonade

The nutrition department at my local hospital inspired me to create this refreshing summer sipper. I tweaked their recipe slightly to create this drink full of sweet-tart flavor. —Dawn Lowenstein, Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania
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Dill Garden Salad

I love to cut up whatever fresh vegetables I have on hand and toss them with this delicious dressing and fresh dill. This salad shows up on our table regularly during the summer. —Bethany Martin, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
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S'mookies

S'mores are one of my favorite desserts. I wanted to create a cookie to replace the graham cracker—that's when my s'mookie was born. Just as delicious as the classic.—Maria Davis, Hermosa Beach, California
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Tangy Watermelon Salad

The refreshing blend of watermelon, red onions and a splash of citrus always does me proud at picnics and potlucks. I like to prepare it a day ahead so the flavors have a chance to blend, and I use the rind as a colorful serving bowl. If you're short on time, simply substitute any bottled citrus vinaigrette. —Alisha Duncan, Blanchard, Oklahoma
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Smoky Grilled Corn Salsa

Our backyard grill is the perfect place to cook up the ingredients for homemade corn salsa. It’s yummy with tortilla chips and as a topping for meat, poultry and fish. —Alicia DeWolfe, Gloucester, Massachusetts
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Contest-Winning Picnic Pasta Salad

My family's not big on traditional pasta salads made with mayonnaise, so when I served this colorful version that uses Italian dressing, it was a big hit. This crowd-pleaser is loaded with vegetables, beans and tricolor pasta. -Felicia Fiocchi, Vineland, New Jersey
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Italian Submarine

My Italian husband grew up eating this flavorful sandwich, which his mother used to make it after Saturday chores were finished. Put the sub together a few hours ahead and refrigerate, then serve with chips, veggies and dip for a delicious meal. —Christine Lupella, Fifty Lakes, Minnesota
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Garden Quinoa Salad

This recipe is special to me because it’s delicious as well as healthful. Serve it hot or cold, and enjoy the leftovers while they’re fresh! —Patricia Nieh, Portola Valley, California
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Zesty Coleslaw

This simple slaw tastes best when it's refrigerated for at least one hour. The mixture seems to get creamier as it sits. —Michelle Gauer, Spicer, Minnesota
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Iced Raspberry Tea

Frozen raspberries lend fruity flavor and lovely color to this pretty iced tea that's good throughout the year. The recipe calls for just a few common ingredients and offers make-ahead convenience. —Lois McGrady, Hillsville, Virginia
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Yellow Summer Squash Relish

My friends can barely wait for the growing season to arrive so I can make this incredible squash relish. The color really dresses up a hot dog. —Ruth Hawkins, Jackson, Mississippi
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Prosciutto Pinwheels

Fancy-looking and filling, these sensational appetizers are a lot easier to make than they look. With just a few ingredients and our easy directions, it'll be a snap! —Kaitlyn Benito, Everett, Washington
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Double Cherry Pie

The combination of tart canned cherries and dried cherries make this so yummy. This is the best cherry pie I have ever raised on a fork to my lips! —Jerri Gradert, Lincoln, Nebraska
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Broccoli Slaw with Lemon Dressing

Our family absolutely loves broccoli, so I'm so happy there's finally a slaw mix in stores that uses broccoli stems. I like this slaw best after 20 minutes or so to allow the flavors to meld. —Donna Marie Ryan, Topsfield, Massachusetts
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Deli-Style Pasta Salad

Pasta provides a base for this tongue-tingling make-ahead salad. It has lots of fresh and satisfying ingredients topped with a flavorful dressing. This pasta salad is terrific to serve to company or take to a potluck. — Joyce McLennan, Algonac, Michigan
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Classic Cherry Pie Cookies

These cute cookies will be the hit of any cookie tray. The cocoa-based buttercream frosting is piped over the filling to mimic a lattice crust.—Lorri Reinhardt, Big Bend, Wisconsin
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Refrigerator Garden Pickles

Canning isn't necessary for these crisp-tender, tangy pickles. Keep them in the fridge and eat them up within a month. —Linda Chapman, Meriden, Iowa
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Crunchy Cool Coleslaw

This recipe is my version of the peanut slaw I love at Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, a popular restaurant chain in California. I think it’s a pretty close match! —Elaine Hoffmann, Santa Ana, California
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Quick & Easy Honey Mustard

This fast, easy mustard with rice vinegar and honey has more flavor than any other honey mustard dressing I've ever tried. —Sharon Rehm, New Blaine, Arkansas
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Raspberry-Rhubarb Slab Pie

"Slab pie" is a pastry baked in a jelly-roll pan and cut in slabs like a bar cookie—or a pie bar, if you will. My grandfather was a professional baker and served pieces of slab pie to his customers back in the day. Here is my spin, featuring rhubarb and gorgeous red raspberries. —Jeanne Ambrose, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Strawberry, Cucumber & Honeydew Salad

Strawberries and cucumbers together—I just love this combination! We used to eat a lot of cucumbers growing up in upstate New York. We'd get them, along with strawberries and melons, from fruit and veggie stands to make this sweet and tangy salad. —Melissa Mccabe, Long Beach, California
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Cherry Tomato Corn Salad

Brighten a picnic lunch or backyard barbecue with this cheerful, fresh-tasting salad. If you use want to use sweet corn off the cob, saute the corn for 5 minutes in a skillet before adding to the salad. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Fruit Salad with Apricot Dressing

When I serve this lovely refreshing salad for picnics and holidays, the bowl empties fast. —Carol Lambert, El Dorado, Arkansas
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Fruity Peanut Butter Pitas

My kids ask for these pita sandwiches all the time. They haven’t noticed that as good as they taste, they’re also good for them. —Kim Holmes, Emerald Park, Saskatchewan
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Picnic Bars

You'll score points with a crowd when you stir together these delicious fudge-like treats. They're very moist and rich. The chocolate chips and walnuts make a pretty topping. —Frank Bee, Eugene, Oregon
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Garden Bow Tie Salad

Originally a vegetable dish, I added pasta to this salad for family gatherings and church potlucks. Try adding sliced mushrooms and diced tomatoes before serving. —Barbara Burks, Huntsville, Alabama
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Turkey-Jalapeno Sandwiches

When turkey sandwich meets modern Thai, it’s a fun mix of classic and trendy food. I love it when my mixing and matching turns out so tasty. —Stacy Mullens, Gresham, Oregon
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Greek Deli Kabobs

For an easy Mediterranean-style appetizer, marinate broccoli and mozzarella, then skewer with sweet red peppers and salami. Everybody loves food on a stick! —Vikki Spengler, Ocala, Florida
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Freezer Cucumber Pickles

When I first started to make these crunchy and satisfying freezer pickles, I wasn't sure if the method would actually work. To my surprise, they came out perfect! Now I make enough to take them to picnics or give as gifts to friends and neighbors. —Connie Goense, Pembroke Pine, Florida
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Honey-Lime Berry Salad

I picked up this dish a couple of years ago, and really like the mint and fruit combo. Cilantro is one of my summer favorites so sometimes I use it instead. Turns out, this recipe's really two in one! —Kayla Spence, Wilber, Nebraska
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Baja Bean Salad

My mayo-free Baja Bean Salad uses bright, fresh flavors of lime, jalapeño and cilantro that really bring this colorful bean-medley salad come to life. —Jeanne Holt, Mendota Heights, Minnesota
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Viva Panzanella

Add some white beans, and suddenly the traditional Italian bread and tomato salad is filling enough to stand on its own. It’s a great way to use fresh tomatoes from the garden or farmers market. —Patricia Levenson, Santa Ana, California
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Grilled Lemon & Thyme Lemonade

We use our grill for most summer dinners, so we thought, "why not grill the lemonade?" The flavor is surprisingly smooth, with just the right amount of honey and herbs. We call it Thyme for Lemonade. —Susan Jordan, Denver, Colorado
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Roasted Potato & Green Bean Salad

I made this salad to take advantage of seasonal potatoes, onions and green beans. It’s a perfect twist on the tangy German potato salad my mom used to make. Readers of my blog, The Seasoned Mom, are big fans. —Blair Lonergan, Rochelle, Virginia
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Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs

Flaky salmon and creamy sauce go so well over hard-boiled eggs. Drizzle the sauce or serve it on the side; it's great either way. —Marinela Dragan, Portland, Oregon
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Mexican Roasted Potato Salad

My husband is the No. 1 fan of this south-of-the-border potato salad. The leftovers make an awesome late-night snack, straight from the fridge. —Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grove, Utah
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Slow Cooker Party Mix

This mildly seasoned snack mix is always a party favorite. Served warm from a slow cooker, the munchable mixture is very satisfying. —Dana Hughes, Gresham, Oregon
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Minty Watermelon Salad

My four year old twin grandchildren love to cook and create in the kitchen with me. Last summer, the three of us were experimenting with watermelon and cheese and that's where this recipe began. It's ideal for neighborhood gatherings and picnics, or as a healthy snack on a hot summer day. —Gwendolyn Vetter, Rogers, Minnesota
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Chipotle BLT Wraps

BLT sandwiches are so good, but they can make a lot of messy crumbs from the toasted bread. Since we also love wraps, I decided to make BLT's using tortillas instead. Warming the wraps a little makes them easy to work with. —Darlene Brenden, Salem, Oregon
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Cilantro Couscous Salad

Since this serves 12, I always make it for potlucks, and this salad is always appreciated. My 11 year old daughter liked it so much we served it at her birthday tea party.—Cindy Gifford, Cedar City, Utah
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Spicy Antipasto Salad

Packed with inviting ingredients and fabulous flavors, this salad is a favorite at all our family picnics. Use dried herbs in a pinch.
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Lemon Vinaigrette Potato Salad

I developed this recipe for a friend who needed a potato salad that could withstand Fourth of July weather. The vinaigrette was a safe and delicious alternative to traditional mayonnaise-based potato salads. I've also substituted fresh thyme for the basil. Any fresh herbs would be great! —Melanie Cloyd, Mullica Hill, New Jersey
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Salami & Provolone Pasta Salad

Everyone needs a perfect pasta salad that’s easy to make, especially on busy nights when your family wants a dish that’s fast, light and cool. This is just the thing. —Jill Donley, Warsaw, Indiana
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Basil White Bean Dip

We're big fans of hummus, but my son is allergic. I came up with this bean dip, and it’s turned out to be a great alternative. —Erin Bosco, Carlton, Washington
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Campers' Coleslaw

Crispy and crunchy, this old family slaw recipe makes a refreshing side dish for picnics and parties. —Kimberly Wallace, Dennison, Ohio
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Gluten-Free Chocolate Snack Mix

Being gluten-intolerant, I experiment with a lot of recipes. This sweet snack is fun for kids and adults alike! —Angela Buchanan, Longmont, Colorado
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Soft Blueberry Button Cookies

I have fond memories of picking blueberries and enjoying icy cold lemonade at my aunt’s house. This cookie is an attempt to marry those two flavors and memories. —Renee Murby, Johnston, Rhode Island
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Sage & Prosciutto Pinwheels

Sage & Prosciutto Pinwheels

I love, love, love to make appetizers and I especially like this recipe because I can make the rolls ahead, freeze them, and then slice and bake when needed. —Kate Dampier, Quail Valley, California
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Spicy Watermelon Salsa

I threw this together after an overzealous trip to the farmers market! My family loved it from the first bite. You can serve it right away but the best flavor is achieved after letting the salsa rest in the refrigerator for a few hours. —Andrea Heyart, Aubrey, Texas
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Broccoli Slaw

Here's my favorite twist on broccoli salad. It's so easy to make and has an irresistible tangy crunch. —Konny Thomas, Citrus Heights, California
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Stromboli Sandwich

Stromboli Sandwich

I've made this Stromboli sandwich many times for parties, and it gets great reviews. You can add ingredients and spices to suit your taste. The recipe is so good I just had to share it with you! —Leigh Lauer, Hummelstown, Pennsylvania
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Spicy Chunky Salsa

Vinegar adds a refreshing tang to this sweet tomato salsa. It's wonderful as is, but for more heat, leave in some hot pepper seeds. —Donna Goutermont, Sequim, Washington
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Buffalo Chicken Wraps

Blue cheese dressing and hot pepper sauce enhance these yummy tortilla wraps. Filled with chicken, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes, these buffalo chicken wraps are colorful, fun to eat...and tote-able, too! —Athena Russell, Florence, South Carolina
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Contest-Winning Grilled Mushrooms

Grilled mushrooms always taste good, but this easy recipe makes them taste even more fantastic. As the mother of two children, I love to cook entire meals on the grill. It's fun spending time outdoors with the kids. —Melanie Knoll, Marshalltown, Iowa
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Spinach Penne Salad

This healthy recipe will shine as is, or double the vinaigrette and use half to marinate and grill chicken breasts if you want to add a protein. Slice and add to the salad. —Benice Silver, Carmel, Indiana
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Refreshing Tropical Fruit Salad

Refreshing Tropical Fruit Salad

Want a family-friendly side dish? This colorful medley is kid-pleasing and a great way to encourage healthy eating. —Sharon Ricci, Spooner, Wisconsin
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Avocado & Artichoke Pasta Salad

A squeeze of lime, a sprinkle of cilantro and a little avocado make this a creamy and zingy pasta salad. —Carrie Farias, Oak Ridge, New Jersey

Rachel Seis
As senior editor for Taste of Home magazine, Rachel has her hand in everything you see from cover to cover, from writing and editing articles to taste-testing recipes to ensuring every issue is packed with fun and fabulous content. She'll roll up her sleeves to try any new recipe in the kitchen—from spicy Thai dishes (her favorite!) to classic Southern comfort food (OK...also her favorite). When she's not busy thinking of her next meal, Rachel can be found practicing yoga, going for a run, exploring National Parks and traveling to new-to-her cities across the country.