10 Fresh Ideas for 10 Unexpected Ingredients

10 fresh ideas for 10 unexpected ingredients

Looking to dress up your home cooking? Before you go hog wild with gadgets you're not totally sure how to use or ingredients you can't even pronounce, take another look at whatever's already in your kitchen.

Give the 10 recipes below a whirl, and then check out Secret Weapon, presented by Marie's Dressings, for even more tips and recipes from cooking pros. You'll develop an arsenal of tricks to create food that's dressed to impress.

Mayo for the Outside of Your Sandwich

Everyone knows how to make a grilled cheese sandwich. Or do they? Next time, try slathering the outside of the bread with mayo instead of a pat of rock-hard butter. It's a surefire way to crisp up bread, and it adds a nice tang.

Get the recipe

Dressing's Not Just for Salads

In the dead heat of summer, salads can get a little old. So why not mix things up with grilled shrimp tostadas topped with chopped fresh veggies? Marie's Creamy Avocado Poblano Dressing takes it to the next level, adding just the right amount of poblano heat and just the right amount of cool creaminess.

Get the recipe

Cake With a Kick (And Avocado!)

This cake has not one but two twists: The batter is spiked with chile powder to make the confection taste even more chocolaty. And smooth avocado keeps the frosting creamy (and healthier—just by a touch).

Get the recipe

Vegetarian Steak Night

This summer, give the vegetarians something just a teensy bit more exciting than frozen veggie burgers on the grill. Cauliflower takes well to charcoal and slices into "steaks" so delicious they just might persuade the meat eaters to abandon their hot dogs.

Get the recipe

The Secret Ingredient Is Mustard

This one's easy, quick and anything but boring. Lean pork tenderloin gets a sweet-and-tangy assist from a citrus-and-rosemary glaze with a secret: mustard. Potatoes and seasonal green beans make it a full meal that'll have you in and out of the kitchen in no time.

Get the recipe

Vinaigrette Makes Restaurant-Style Crostini at Home

Crostini look and sound fancy but are a breeze to put together—that's why they're so great for parties. This version, with sautéed chard drizzled with Marie's White Balsamic Shallot Vinaigrette, will add a sumptuous, savory boost to burrata-topped toasts. Crack open a bottle of wine, and you'll be ready to fete in style.

Get the recipe

The Sweeter Side of the Grill

If the coals are still going after dinner, why not use them for dessert? Try grilling fresh seasonal fruit—this recipe uses peaches and figs—and tossing them with a bright combination of mint and lemon zest. Try them with vanilla ice cream.

Get the recipe

The Most Decadent Bagel Breakfast Ever

A bagel with cream cheese is a beautiful thing, but this casserole really takes this breakfast favorite to new heights. A riff on the classic egg sandwich, the dish consists of bagels, eggs, cream cheese, scallions and bacon, all baked into a cheesy delight. Best of all, you'll be able to prep it the night before—just pop it in the oven the next day.

Get the recipe

Don't Throw Away Your Juicer Pulp

Freshly squeezed green juice is great and all, but don't throw away the pulp that's left behind: It has tons of nutritional value. This recipe uses that pulp, rich with fiber and nutrients, to make hearty, pepita-topped muffins. Good for you and good for the environment.

Get the recipe

Soy Sauce Makes Pickles Pop

Pickled jalapeños add spice and acid to a number of dishes. To really bring them to an even more unique place, pickle them with soy sauce; they'll perk up just about anything you can throw on the grill—try them on hot dogs at your next cookout.

Get the recipe