Top Ten Recipes of 2012

Happy Holidays, imaginary internet friends! And congratulations on surviving the end of the world. Now I’m off to Barnes and Noble to demand a refund for my Mayan wall calendar. Wish me luck!

In the meantime, I hope you’ll take another look at the 10 most popular recipes I shared this year.

S’mores Fried Ice Cream with Chipotle Chocolate Sauce

 

Asparagus Lasagna Slice

Asparagus Lasagna with Pancetta, Goat Cheese, and Lemon

 

Baked Churros with Cinnamon Ice Cream and Dulce de Leche

 

Loaded Baked Potato Grilled Cheese Sandwich

 

Cinnamon Roll Grilled Cheese Sandwich

 

Oatmeal Cream Pies

Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies

 

Cookies and Milk

Toffee Cashew Cookies

 

pie crust crackers

Chicken Pot Pie Soup with Pie Crust Crackers

 

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich

And the most popular recipe of 2012:

Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken

Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Here’s to a delicious (and gooey) new year!

Hearty Lentil Soup

Y’know how sometimes the dumbest thing ever can be hysterically funny, particularly when someone else finds that same dumb thing inexplicably funny?

And how the harder you try to maintain composure, the funnier that stupid thing may seem, until the both of you dissolve in giggles with tears streaming down your cheeks and soda shooting out of your nose?

That’s what it’s like spending time with my friend, Sharee.

She and I took a trip to Los Angeles with my mom and Handsome Greg a coupla years ago, and we savored every opportunity to embarrass them (and ourselves) with our mindless, uncontrollable laughter.

Sharee has since become a most dignified photographer, and she recently sent me these gorgeous photos of her favorite lentil soup, along with the mouth-watering recipe.

Based on the pics, you’d think food photography was her specialty, but she’s actually focused more on maternity, baby, and family portraits.

Check out her portfolio here.

Shoot her an email if you’re looking for a Twin Cities photographer to capture the most beautiful moments in your life. Or if you just need someone to snort root beer with.

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Chicken Pot Pie Soup with Pie Crust Crackers

Welcome to the obligatory Valentine’s Day post!

pie crust crackers
This soup recipe is not fancy or expensive. It doesn’t have lobster or truffles or oysters or chocolate. And other than the adorable heart-shaped pie crust crackers, it’s entirely unsuitable for an elegant, romantic Valentine’s Day dinner.

Chicken Pot Pie Soup
I made it for Handsome Greg’s lunch, so that he could be embarrassed/warm and fuzzy when he nuked it in front of the dude-bros at the office.

Honestly, I think the dude-bros likely had a serious case of lunch envy when Handsome Greg brought in these lovely leftovers. The comfort casserole-turned-soup is rich and creamy, with tender, flaky pie crust crackers. I just want to give it a hug. With my teeth.

Continue reading for the Chicken Pot Pie Soup with Pie Crust Crackers recipe

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Chicken Shepherd’s Pie with Truffled Mashed Potatoes

My pursuit of the world’s fanciest popcorn for fancy guesties Mom, Aissa, and Alison brought me to Clancey’s Meats and Fish in charming and trendy Linden Hills. I was looking for duck fat and truffle salt – I’d never used either ingredient before. As I waited for the butcher to scoop out a cup of rendered duck fat, I found an unmarked, 3-ounce jar of black truffle salt and handed it to the cashier.

“That’ll be $3.69 for the duck fat and $25 for the truffle salt.”

“TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS FOR SALT!!?!” screamed the voice inside my head.

I glanced back at the line of well-dressed Minneapolitans behind me, anxious to get home with their fennel pollen sausage and Alaskan sockeye salmon.

“Yes. Yes, that’s fine. I’ll put it on my Visa,” I heard myself say, in an entirely unfamiliar, just-a-hair-too loud, robot voice.

Thanks to my pride, I am the owner of 2.97 ounces of earthy, pungent truffle salt, and I’m happily exploring ways to use it in my cooking, tiny pinch by tiny pinch.

$25 salt and sale-priced frozen veggies cancel each other out, right?

I started with a thick, rich, comforting chicken stew topped with creamy, buttery mashed potatoes. Then I considered my (very slightly) elevated cholesterol, and made a couple of small tweaks:

I substituted milk for cream in both the gravy and the potatoes; I cut half the butter in the potatoes and replaced it with a heart-healthy spread; and I used canola oil instead of butter to make a roux for the gravy. Then I added truffle salt to the potatoes, and bouillon and a lemon rind to the chicken stock to boost the flavor lost in cutting the cream and butter.

It was delicious and rich – the perfect comfort food – and I didn’t miss the cream and butter at all.

Professor Meowington sez: the lemon really brightens up the flavor of the gravy.

Recipe below the fold

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Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Chicken Wild Rice Soup
Wild rice is Minnesota’s state grain, and folks take chicken wild rice soup VERY seriously in these parts.

While I truly adore Minnesota Chicken Wild Rice Soup™, thick and full of cream, this week I wanted to follow up my recent cheesploitation with something a little lighter.

So I began with a recipe from Cooking Light, and made a couple of tiny tweaks.

Next time I prepare this soup, I’ll make one more change: replace the long grain and wild rice mix with plain wild rice. The flavor of the soup was wonderful, but the texture was a bit too soft. I thought it could use a little bite from more wild rice.

I used the seasoning packet that came with the rice mix, and it seemed to be about a tablespoon of seasoning. Next time I’ll use straight wild rice and add a combination of garlic salt, onion powder, and dried parsley instead.

Recipe below the fold

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glazed carrots with thyme and cayenne

Yeah, I’m still posting Thanksgiving recipes, most of them on loan from my mom, who rules.

I love my Thanksgiving Day routine. Every year at Turkey Lurkey Time, Professor Meowington and I shnuggle on the couch all morning, flipping between parade coverage on CBS and NBC in the hopes of catching lips-synched musical numbers from current Broadway shows.

Then I kiss the cat goodbye, bundle up, and head over to Mom’s to help prepare Thanksgiving dinner. After Handsome Greg finishes a late lunch with his mom, he drives over to my mom’s place to assume his annual position as bartender, potato ricer, table setter, and finally, turkey carver. At that point, Mom and I are completing the last minute tasks – Mom makes the gravy, and I prepare the glazed carrots.

It’s in those last frantic moments of food prep – when all three of us are bustling about Mom’s condo – that I become aware that I’m cooking in someone else’s kitchen. Where are the measuring cups? Wait, the brown sugar is in the fridge? It’s sort of like wearing bowling shoes. It feels unfamiliar, but it generally works fine.

"I love how the lemon cuts through the richness."

And the carrots, along with the rest of the feast, were delicious. The pinch of cayenne could’ve been more generous – I was afraid of overdoing it on the heat, so I used it sparingly. Next time I’ll probably use a shy 1/8 teaspoon. The thyme (from Mom’s hallway herb garden) brought a nice earthiness and tempered the sweetness, and the lemon juice cut through the richness beautifully. This is our permanent Thanksgiving carrot recipe.

Recipe below the fold

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