Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Top Favorite Recipes of 2012

Two thousand twelve was a fun very year in the kitchen.  I made dishes from all over the world, including Mexico, Italy, Greece, America, Asia, and even dappled with some Indian cooking.  I spent quite a bit of time cooking the recipes of Tessa Kiros, Rick Bayless, and Madhur Jaffrey. The dishes below reflect a broad range of cuisines. Included below are everything from salads to sandwiches, appetizers to desserts, meats and seafood, quick and easy dishes, and long and lengthy dishes.  A combination of my personal favorites, my family's favorites, and some of my most popular blog posts of the year.  You'll find a little bit of everything here... breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. 

They aren't in any order...

click on the recipe title for the link to the recipes
These Cafe Tacuba-Style Creamy Chicken Enchiladas were one of my most popular blog posts this year.  I first saw this recipe at Vianney's blog, Sweet Life, and I copied her recipe exactly.  Vianney took a genius and time saving approach by layering her corn tortillas, much like a lasagna, in place of rolling her tortillas into enchiladas. I must say that I love this new approach to enchiladas and now layer all my enchiladas in the style of a casserole instead of rolling them individually.  This method is less messy, saves time, and I've come to notice that it's much easier to cut and serve.  I think people actually prefer it.  Score!  At any rate, this is a fantastic recipe and while it looks rich and comforting, it is actually quite healthy.  Layers of corn tortillas, with shredded chicken, and a lovely creamy green sauce (full of veggies) with a little cheese to top it all off.  A perfect family meal. 
Continuing on with the Mexican theme are these Crusty Black Bean Chorizo Subs, one of my personal faves.  It's no secret that I'm a complete bean fanatic, but these multitextured subs were a big hit in my home.  The crusty Mexican bolero roll, the creamy warm beans, the crumbled chorizo, the silky avocado, the sharp tang of the feta cheese and the zip of hot sauce all come together in one crazy flavor explosion.  I make these a lot when I'm home alone for lunch.
And then there were these Quick Fried Shrimp with Sweet Toasty Garlic.  I was supposed to share these shrimp with my husband and let's just say he got the short end of the stick.  I simply couldn't resist these little succulent garlicky shrimp.  These shrimp are heavenly.
Fried Risotto Balls, otherwise known as Arancini in Italian.  I made these little risotto balls at the very beginning of the year and I still remember how sinfully delicious they were.  Imagine a piece of mozzarella enveloped by a creamy tomato risotto then breaded and fried to perfection.  The crispy crunchy breading, the bright tomato flavor, and the ooey gooey melting cheese in the middle.  Oh my!  If you are a lover of cheese you will go crazy for these.
My Mom and I went absolutely insane for Giada's Scallion and Mozzarella Cornbread.  If you love cornbread you simply have to try this recipe.  This is a simple quick fix recipe that uses a few boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix, but it contains buttermilk for a tender texture and it's studded with salty green olives, sliced scallions, and loads of mozzarella.  It may sound like an odd combination of ingredients for a cornbread, but it is so moist, cheesy, and delicious.  The recipe fills an 8x8 baking dish and my Mom and I just about devour it all. 
Also from Giada's newest cookbook are these Baked Potatoes with Sausage and Arugula.  You may not think a red sauce with sausage belongs on a potato, but then you'd be missing out.  This red sauce is full of creamy mascarpone cheese and is beyond delicious on a baked potato.  My hard-to-please husband was a skeptic at first, but this is one of his favorites.  He's requested this one often and since it's a quick weeknight recipe it's easy to oblige.
Garides Saganaki, Greek for Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta, is another heavenly shrimp dish.  In Greece this dish is usually served as an appetizer, but in my home it was more of a main dish.  Since my husband doesn't really care for shrimp I usually test out the shrimp recipes with my Mom.  Mom and I chuckled as we inhaled these shrimp.  We were happy we were with each other in private because there was absolutely nothing ladylike about the way my Mom and I devoured these shrimp.  A hands down favorite for the shrimp lovers out there.
The kids favorite, and easily the most repeated recipe in my home this year, are these Easy Peasy Chicken Legs.  I've probably made this recipe about 20 times since I first made it back in June.  The kids go crazy for this crispy full-of-flavor chicken legs.  The recipe is so simple.  Season chicken legs (organic preferably) with olive oil and seasoning salt.  Roast at 400F for 30 minutes, flip over, roast another 30 minutes and you're all done.  Sometimes we use lemon pepper.  Sometimes we use Cajun seasoning.  Sometimes we make them plain for the kids and then toss them with buffalo sauce for the adults.  No matter which way we serve them they are a hit for all.  If I had to pick a favorite recipe of the year this would be it.  It's easy, it's economical, it's versatile, and it makes everyone in the house happy. 
 Barbecue Chicken Salad with Cornbread Croutons is about as American as you can get.  Everyone who tastes this salad claims it one of the best salads they've ever tasted. This salad has all the components of a good barbecue.  A tasty blend of iceberg and coleslaw tossed with coleslaw dressing, sweet corn, cheese, shredded barbecue chicken, and homemade cornbread croutons. This salad screams summertime.
If you're one of those people who rush around in the mornings then these Make-Ahead Muffin Melts from the Pioneer Woman are perfect for you. All you need to do is prepare an egg mixture, much like a simple egg salad, the night before (or on the weekend) and then in the morning you simply smear a little on an English muffin and toss it under the broiler.   A hot and satisfying breakfast in minutes!   I love that you can customize this to suit your tastes. 
One of my first forays into Indian cooking yielded these Delicious Chicken Bits courtesy of Madhur Jaffrey.  Thankfully this recipe was a smashing success!  The chicken is coated in a wonderful blend of aromatic spices.  My daughter goes crazy for this chicken, spices and all.  This dish is her personal favorite of the year and probably my second favorite recipe of they year.  I have made this recipe about 5 times since I first made them in the middle of October.  I've mentioned this recipe a couple times on earlier posts, but I highly encourage everyone to try these. 
Then came Jaffrey's Chicken with Garlic and Black Pepper and all of a sudden no one knew which Jaffrey dish they liked more.  My 11 year old daughter stands by her Delicious Chicken Bits, but my husband and I think we prefer this dish more.  Of course it all comes down to personal preference, but I think it's because this dish contains a large amount of garlic and we just adore garlic.  I made this dish very recently and with the holidays I haven't had a chance to make it again.  But I will.  Often.
Now for the sweet part, dessert.  I don't make too many desserts.  It's not that I don't like them.  It's actually because I like them too much.  This Creamy Mango Ice doesn't contain any cream or milk, but somehow manages to be ultra creamy, very refreshing, and so darn addictive.  I can still remember taking that first bite back in April.  Best of all, you do not need an ice cream maker to make this.
 And finally, I couldn't conclude this post without including this phenomenal Copycat Williams-Sonoma Peppermint Bark.  I loved this one so much.  If I could only make one holiday treat every year this would be the one.  The bark keeps for two weeks (although it will never last that long) and it is perfect for gift giving.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!  I look forward to checking out all your dishes in the new year!!


  1. What a great round-up Kim. Everything you make always looks delicious. I'm a southern gal and would really enjoy some of your cornbread this morning. Somehow I must have missed the shrimp with feta, so I'm off to check it out now.

    Wishing you and your family a very happy and healthy new year. I also look forward to seeing more of your fabulous food creations.

  2. You really made some fabulous recipes this year. Looking forward to more deliciousness in the coming year.
    Wishing you a wonderful new year.

  3. I've been trying to put together a post of 2012 favs, but I just can't pick. With all the great dishes you've cooked this past year, I don't know how you were able to narrow it down! Love this round-up!
    Happy New Year!

  4. You did have a rocking year in the kitchen in 2012. Imagine 2013 for you!
    I have really enjoyed your blog, and getting to know you.

    Wishing your family peace, plenty of laughter and good food in 2013.

    Happy New Year.


  5. I LOVE all the variety here with each dish looking more enticing than the next! I'm putting together my favorites post list now and it's impossible. I'm going to have to split it up into two posts I think...reader favorites and my favorites. We'll see...

  6. I want to try them ALL! Everything looks great. Thanks for sharing your favorites. Lovely blog.

  7. It's nice to be reminded of many of these recipes that I pinned. I made your Cafe Tacuba-Style Creamy Chicken Enchiladas, and LOVED them! Happy New Year, Kim!

  8. They all look so wonderful...I can't wait to see what the coming year brings!

  9. Where to start? I still NEED to make those enchiladas! My Mom was just asking me for enchiladas today so this is a perfect reminder. That bbq chicken and cornbread? LOVE. I'm on my way to get the recipes now. Happy New Year Kim!

  10. You made some really delicious-looking food this year. ;-) How did I miss the peppermint bark--I love the Williams-Sonoma one. I best not ever make this one--I think I could be in serious trouble with it! ;-)


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