Monday, December 29, 2014

Top 10 recipes of 2014 - Readers' picks!

As 2014 comes to a close, recaps and "best of" lists are popping up everywhere.  You know how I love a good list, and I couldn't resist getting in on the fun.

From burgers and bacon to cookies and chorizo (all the meats!), here are recipes you lovely folks deemed the most popular by clicking, emailing, posting, and Pinning.  Check back later this week for my top 10 recipes of the year!

10. Blueberry banana protein smoothies - Can't stop and won't stop these smoothies.  Call me a creature of habit or a boring breakfast-er (I prefer the former, in case you're wondering), but these are still a staple of my morning meal two or three days out of the week.  Fast, filling, and tastes like dessert, especially when I toss in a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder.  Yes, please!

9. Cheese-stuffed cocktail meatballs - Cheese + meat + dipping sauce = perfection.  Need I say more?  No... but I will.  The holidays may be coming to a close, but football gatherings and Super Bowl parties are just around the corner.  What are you waiting for?  Make these ASAP!

8. Shepherd's pie burgers - I don't always make shepherd's pie, but when I do, it's in the form of these mouthwatering burgers.  I love the traditional dish but can't justify the time and effort needed when my favorite restaurant is so close and does it so well.   Instead, this juicy handheld twist on the classic is how I get my beef, veggies & tater pie fix at home.

7. Pasta with asparagus, chicken & goat cheese - I've said it a thousand times and I'll say it once more: Goat cheese anything makes me weak in the knees.  I can't wait until asparagus is in season so I can make this regularly.  Until then, I'll settle for the rare occasions this makes an appearance at our dinner table and cherish every.single.bite.

6. Apricot chicken with quinoa salad - Bright flavors from sweet apricots and tangy dijon mustard and a bed of fluffy quinoa elevate everyday chicken to an extraordinary meal.

5. Chorizo and lentil stew - Let's talk cold weather comfort food, shall we?  It doesn't get any better than this stew.  A hearty and healthy one-pot meal is worth its weight in gold, and this stew is an absolute all-star.  Smoky chorizo, sweet peas, and stick-to-your-ribs lentils... baby, it's cold outside, so stay indoors with a big bowl of this!

4. Three ingredient Nutella brownies - Three ingredients, one pan, one brownie, and one brownie.  ...well, depending on how you slice 'em, you could feed up to 16 people.  But, with that that signature chocolate hazelnut taste, don't be surprised if you need to make a second batch to have enough for sharing.

3. Chocolate chip, pretzel & potato chip cookies - If I had to choose one cookie that would appeal to the most people possible, this would be it.  Salty, sweet, crunchy, chewy.  Not only does it contain everything, but it IS everything.  Can't stop at one... or two, for that matter.  These would be a great cookie to have on hand for any unexpected holiday house guests.

2. Pecan pie fruit & nut bars - aka homemade Larabars.  I got hooked on them a few years ago when a sample of the apple pie flavor was in a 5K race swag packet.  Fast forward to the day when I discovered I could make them myself, and I felt like Christmas had come early.  So easy and so yummy!

1. Haluski with bacon - All credit goes to my husband and his family for their delicious upgrade to the classic Polish dish of sauteed cabbage and onions with egg noodles.  Once you try this version, you'll never be the same.  Bacon really does make everything better!

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