Inspired Cooks — Cook more. Eat better. And have more fun!

The Creamiest Butternut Squash Soup

The Creamiest Butternut Squash Soup

The creamiest butternut squash soup — so healthy yet if feels so indulgent. Definitely the way to start Fall off right.

This soup is a breeze to make with only five main ingredients: butternut squash, potatoes, onions, carrots and chicken stock. The potatoes and squash are roasted together until tender, while the onions and carrots get sautéed until softened. The squash, potatoes and stock are then added to the pot with the onions and carrots and everything gets simmered before being pureed with an immersion blender or in a blender.
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Breville Smart Ovens, Including Two Models with Air Frying

Breville Smart Ovens, Including Two Models with Air Frying

Breville ovens are smarter. I bought the original 9 function Smart Oven in 2010 and loved it the first time I used it. Soon my full-sized oven was starting to get resentful, and for good reason. The Breville preheated faster, kept a more even temperature, and offered more functions than its full-sized cousin.

Another thing I really love about these ovens is the timer. It counts down and turns the oven off when the time is reached. Set it for and hour and after an hour the oven turns off. This feature alone has saved many meals at our house.

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No Churn Unicorn Rainbow Ice Cream

No Churn Unicorn Rainbow Ice Cream

A groovy, technicolor ice cream for kids and adults alike.

This techno-colored, swirled dream of a dessert is definitely the easiest ice cream I've ever made. It is surprisingly well-textured given the direct-to-freezer method instead of churning in an ice cream maker. It's the perfect experiment for kids and comes together in 15 minutes (not including chill time of course).
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Cherries and Mascarpone Cream Cake

Cherries and Mascarpone Cream Cake

Brought to you by one of the best cooks I've ever met, my friend's grandma, Judy. This crowd-pleasing cake is shockingly simple. With fluffy layers of vanilla cake, a whipped cream and mascarpone frosting, and cherry filling this cake is stunning, simple, and delicious!
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Cheesy Zucchini Tots (for better afternoon snacks!)

Cheesy Zucchini Tots (for better afternoon snacks!)

Cheesy zucchini tots are baked rather than fried and are a lower-carb option to tator tots. And, they're made fresh, NOT from the freezer!

Whether this year school means in-person teaching or online classes, routines help keep things normal, such as an afternoon snack. Boost their learning with a tasty and healthy afternoon treat! 

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Panzanella Salad with Arugula & Mom's Farmhouse French Dressing

Panzanella Salad with Arugula & Mom's Farmhouse French Dressing

A traditional Italian summer salad of toasted bread, fresh tomatoes and onions with a French twist.

The popular Tuscan Panzanella is a salad made of toasted bread, fresh tomatoes and onions that characterizes a summer in Central Italy. We love the high proportion of toasty bread (obviously) and of course, that it's a delicious way to use up that lingering loaf sitting on your counter. Shake up your summer dinner routine and give this simple salad a try this weekend. It would pair wonderfully with the Roasted Beet Ravioli from our previous post!
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Roasted Beet Ravioli with Ricotta Filling

Roasted Beet Ravioli with Ricotta Filling

It's hard to "beet" the bright fuchsia hue roasted beets give this vibrant homemade pasta.

If you're up for a fun weekend project, this roasted beet ravioli is it. It's easier than it looks and can make the perfect fun (and creative!) Saturday afternoon. Beets are roasted in the oven and then quickly pureed in the food processor. This is then added to flour with eggs and salt and kneaded to make the bright purplish-pink dough you see in the pics below. Then gradually roll the dough out using a pasta maker and fill with our favorite ricotta filling. Cook and voila! Dinner is served!
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Mini Chocolate Chip Cookie Cakes

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookie Cakes

Who doesn't love a cookie cake? These nifty individual treats are great for any special occasion, holiday or anytime your sweet tooth starts a whining. For this recipe we’ve chosen a 4th of July theme with red, white, and blue...

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All About Steak

All About Steak

As promised, though it seems like a lifetime ago, here’s my post about some tasty cuts of steak and an online butcher worth a try.

I started working on this post in back in early March with the intention of posting it early to give folks plenty of time to order their steaks for Father's Day. Well, a pernicious little virus upended everything in a hurry.

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