Best Recipes of 2011

Happy 2012!

I’m a little behind on the end-of-year listage, but better late than never. Here are our top 5 recipes of 2011! To qualify, the recipes had to be a recipe we hadn’t tried prior to 2011, so that knocked out some recipes we may have cooked more frequently. Nonetheless, these five (in no particular order) were our favs of the year:

1. Martha Stewart’s “Perfect” Mac & Cheese

Mac & Cheese

C: A friend gushed about this recipe, and once I saw it, I knew I had to try it. I made the mac last week for dinner with a few friends. It was pretty time consuming, but definitely a cheesy indulgence when regular ole’ mac & cheese just won’t cut it.

J: It was a hard to beat recipe. C has always made great macaroni and cheese, but this one just blew so many recipes out of the water. What was even more awesome was mixing it with some of the red-eye barbeque sauce I had made for the pork loin dish. If you have people coming over, I can’t imagine a better side for a heavy meal.

2. Pumpkin Gingersnap Cookies

C: I never would have guessed that a non-chocolate cookie would be one of my favorite sweet treats of the year, but these were addictive.

J: I came across this recipe by accident and suggested it to C for a party. The results were gone in a second. The cookies mixed the ginger’s snappy sweetness and pumpkin’s bitterness well, resulting in a balanced tasting dessert. Once you try it, it will likely become a permanent weapon in your holiday baking arsenal.

3. Summer vegetable tostadas

C: This is a simple recipe that J and I often cooked this summer when indecisive about dinner.

J: For a lot of reasons, you really can’t go wrong with this dish. It’s delicious and versatile. I prefer zucchini while C prefers squash. What frustrates me is that whenever I do squash, the chicken comes out right. When I do zucchini, the chicken isn’t properly done. What’s great though is that this dish can be all things to everyone. Eliminate the cheese and you’ve got a great dinner on a diet. Drop the chicken and you can please vegetarians. And as I pointed out, you can do other vegetables if they are not to your liking.

4. Pioneer Woman’s Dreamy Apple Pie with Sylvia’s Blessed Pie Crust

Dreamy Apple Pie

C: This is a two-fer because the pie would not have been so delicious if it weren’t for the crust, and I’ll most likely use the crust recipe more in the future than I will the apple pie. That said, for apple pie-lovers, this one is a winner.

J: Most of the time, you can wing something in a recipe. A slight bit more of this or a little less of that. But what set this recipe apart from every other pie was undoubtedly the crust.

It was the first time I’ve ever had a home-made crust. But once you taste the difference, you’ll recognize a superiority to the same old frozen food section we’ve all come to accept as the “standard.” If you’re going to go for side-widening calories, make them good with this pie crust.

5. Shrimp Cakes with Corn-avocado salsa

C: I had completely forgotten about this, but this was J’s pick. It was delicious, but not the easiest or quickest recipe. This is slightly different than the recipe we used from a magazine, but the result should be similarly delicious.

J: Whatever you do, do not, repeat, do not attempt to make this when you’re hungry. C and I spent a couple of hours doing all the prep work. De-veining the shrimp, cutting up the ingredients, blending it, searing it, so on, so on. This is something you prepare on a summer day when you have some important guests you really want to impress, and only when you’ve got the time to do it. But it’s worth every bite.

There you have it! Our top recipes of 2011! What were your favorites this past year? What are you planning to cook in 2012?


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