As always, thank you for making this year so delicious and fun! Wishing everyone a safe and Happy New Year! :)
10. Crispy peanut butter chip blondies - One glance at this plate, and I immediately think of Pitt football season. Despite the, um, less than stellar overall performance by the Panthers, our group had a blast thanks to all of the delicious tailgating spreads, starting and ending with these blondies. Salty, sweet, and guaranteed to only be around for a limited time because people can't keep their paws off of them.
8. No-bake peanut butter chocolate chip oat bites - Speaking of my lack of willpower, ask me how many of these I devoured the first time I made them, and every time thereafter. Chocolate and peanut butter with a mega crunch? That's a winning snack combination. Bonus points for not requiring any baking!
7. Smashed white bean & kale quesadillas - Though the food world's obsession with kale seemed to wane a little after the explosion of 2013, my fire for this particular green still burns. You might even say it's grown and matured, and I've learned to use kale in the most unlikely and adventurous ways. Take this quesadilla -- beans, greens, and cheese -- how can that be bad? Hint: it's not; it's delicious!
6. Panko peanut salmon - Even more than kale, my love of salmon knows no bounds. Not a week goes by without at least one salmon dinner served in our home. This Thai-inspired preparation uses soy sauce and peanut butter to create a salty glaze that's topped with toasted panko. One delicious crunchy bite after another, you'll want to take tiny bites to make this last as long as possible.
5. Chicken sausage & broccoli pizza - If last year was the year of kale, this year has been that of chicken sausage. I've had it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, not to mention pre-meal samples. Who knew a pizza without marinara sauce, or any sauce at all, would turn out to be my favorite homemade version? Incredible!
4. Harvest apple chicken burgers with cranberry Stilton - They say that necessity is the mother of invention. I say that a 22-pound "harvest" of apples is the initial reason I created these burgers. However, the 3 (!) times I've made them since can only be attributed to the fact that they are out of this world. Diced apples keep the burgers super juicy, and the cranberry Stilton totally ties everything together and makes it pop. Make sure to buy a little more cheese than you need, you know, for a quality check ;)
3. Jalapeno cheddar corn muffins - If my culinary adventures of this year were a book title, it would read: "2014: Year of Chicken Sausage; Also, Katy's taste buds grew a set." A pinch of red pepper flakes here, a dash of cayenne pepper there, and an entire (seeded) jalapeno sliced and roasted in sweet and cheesy cornbread. These were the surprise success story of the year!
And, my #1 favorite new recipe of 2014 is...
1. Sally's baked beans - These magnificent beans are everything that's right with the world: sweet, salty, smoky, and so dang good, making this my favorite recipe of 2014! Named for the lovely lady who made 'em famous, these are a staple at every picnic and potluck gathering among those who know Sally. This side dish is the total opposite of humble and forgettable. Warning: When you make these, you WILL find yourself standing over the pan with a spoon, mumbling, "I can't stop," between bites. Can't stop and won't stop.