Favorite Appetizer: Pineapple Jalapeno Salsa I've lost track of how many times I made this salsa last year. I crave it often and it received rave reviews every time I served it. On top of chicken or fish, tossed into a salad or scooped up with chips, it is always delicious.
Favorite Beef Dish: Garlic and Paprika Rubbed Steaks These simple steaks were marinated in plenty of garlic, a squeeze of lemon, smoked paprika and marjoram and they were absolutely perfect. If you haven't tried reverse searing yet, the directions are included. Once you grill a steak this way, you might never go back to the traditional method.
Favorite Chicken Dish: Perfect Pan-Fried Chicken Thighs This was the hardest category to choose just one dish to share. It was a tie between the Chicken Parmesan Meatballs and this recipe. I truly love them both, but because I make the chicken thighs at least once, if not twice a month, they won out this time.
Favorite Pork Dish: Crock-pot Green Chile Pulled Pork I made this recipe in countless variations last year. We ate it on it's own, stuffed into burritos and tacos, with potatoes, in pulled pork sandwiches, in a soup and in enchiladas. Roasted green chile and plenty of southwestern spices infuse the pork as it simmers in the Crock-Pot. The pork stays amazingly moist and juicy and the flavors are awesome together.
Favorite Seafood Dish: Balsamic and Ginger Marinated Salmon A marinade is an awesome way to add more flavors and change the overwhelming "fish-factor" in a seafood meal. This salmon was voted "two thumbs up and the best salmon ever" by my two pickiest non-fish-loving boys. It is one of the best salmon recipes I've ever made.
Favorite Stir-Fry: Sriracha Sweet and Sour Chicken Sweet, sticky and just a little spicy, this is a quick and easy weeknight dinner. The meal requires just 10-15 minutes to prep the chicken, veggies and sauce. And then less time than that to cook it all and serve it.
Favorite Soup: Chinese Egg Drop Soup The first time I made this soup, I couldn't believe how quickly it came together. Egg Drop Soup has become my go-to lunch. My kids frequently request it and it only takes about 10 minutes to make it.
Favorite Side Dish: Ranch Potato Salad with Bacon and Eggs This potato salad has all the flavors of my favorite ranch dressing along with the smokiness of bacon. Every time I served this last summer, someone asked for the recipe.
Favorite Vegetable Dish: Sriracha Honey Roasted Broccoli I made this broccoli at least once a month all year long. I could easily eat the entire batch all by myself.
Favorite Sauce: Creamy Cauliflower Sauce This is the creamy, garlicky white sauce that completely floored me. I've served this sauce over chicken, vegetables, pasta and rice. I almost always double the recipe and freeze a jar or two as well. This sauce has an amazing flavor, an unforgettable, rich and creamy, buttery garlic loaded flavor, that I just can't get enough of. The fact that it is a healthier option and that it can be made dairy-free? That's just a huge bonus. This recipe has earned all of the hyperbole that surrounds it.
Favorite Condiment: Habanero Peach Jam This is the best jam I have ever made. I ran out of the last of it about a month ago and I miss it! I will be making huge amounts of this again in the spring when peaches are back in season. There is really nothing else like it. The balance of sweet and spice is unforgettable.
Favorite Breakfast: Blueberries and Cream Oatmeal I absolutely love the way the blueberries mix with the oatmeal for a contrast of flavors. The splash of cream adds just the right touch to make it a little rich and takes this meal up a notch fancier than the average bowl of oats. I made this breakfast every couple of days for two months while the fresh blueberries were plentiful.
Favorite Bar or Cookie: Pineapple Coconut Bars A crisp shortbread crust topped with a chewy gooey layer of pineapple and coconut; not too sweet and slightly tart. I still love these bars every bit as much as the first time I made them.
Favorite Cake: Unforgettable Chocolate Quinoa Cake This cake still blows my mind. With all the texture of a traditional cake, yet no special flours are required; all you need is a couple scoops of cooked quinoa. Even knowing that the cake is made from quinoa, none of us can detect an odd taste or texture. This is pure, sweet and tender chocolate cake. I've heard back from many of you that made this cake and it has received fantastic reviews from people accustomed to eating traditional cakes.
Thank you again for reading the recipes and cooking along with me last year. I'm looking forward to more fun and more food in the year to come! Have a wonderful 2014!
P.S. If you read this far and counted 14 recipes, you're correct. I chose not to skip any of the category favorites and I couldn't resist the alliteration of 13 in '13.