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!

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Creamy Chicken Corn Chowder

July, August, September, Souptober

After weeks of stalling, I have finally come to terms with Minnesota’s harsh reality: it’s soup season. And you won’t find a creamier, sweeter, or more buttery soup in which to dip a timid toe—er, spoon—than this delicate, yet decadent, chicken corn chowder.

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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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Sweet Potato Chips with Rosemary Salt

Sweet Potato Chips with Rosemary Salt

Have you seen that Food Network show Barefoot Contessa, hosted by Ina Garten? Ina, an incredibly wealthy, preppy East Coaster, shares recipes and tips for entertaining in a soothing Bob Ross-style voice, punctuated with rhetorical questions and her trademark nervous giggle.

How easy is that?

While I do aspire to emulate the Barefoot Contessa by living a fabulously privileged life in the East Hamptons someday, full of florist friends and elegant soirees, I’ve had a difficult time adhering to one of Ina’s basic rules of entertaining: prepare only three dishes from scratch, and buy the rest of the menu pre-made from the deli counter.

You see, I’m known among my regular dinner guests as the hostess with the mostess ambition in the kitchen. I like to pour hours into making every morsel with my own two hands. I mean, I’ve made my own ketchup. The thought of leaving half the menu in the hands of the deli counter just feels wrong to me. And yet, Ina has a point – making everything myself often means that I spend the party in the kitchen exhausted, rather than enjoying dinner with my guests.

So I took a very important step with this recipe (if you can even call it a recipe). The first time I made sweet potato chips with rosemary salt, I sliced the potatoes, fried them in oil, and tossed them in rosemary and kosher salt. They were delicious – salty-sweet, perfectly crispy, with a fresh, pungent earthiness from the rosemary. And they were a huge pain in the ass to make.

The second time I prepared this delightful snack, I bought a bag of Terra Chips, tossed them in vegetable oil, rosemary, and kosher salt, and popped them in the oven for a couple minutes. They were every bit as good as the homemade version, and a lot less work.

Rosemary

But I have a reputation to uphold. So, if anyone asks, I risked my fingers and knuckles slicing paper-thin sweet potato chips on a mandolin slicer. Then I braved third-degree burns from the hot oil frying the chips to a perfect crisp. And oh! Dealing with the mess afterwards – a greasy splatter-slick covering the stove top and a quart of used oil to dispose of – what an ordeal! Of course, it was totally worth it.

Did that sound sincere?

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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.

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Cheesy Ham, Potato, and Broccoli Casserole

Cheesy Ham and Potato Casserole

Delicate swags of broccoli buds. Tender-crisp morsels of gently braised potato. All swathed in a cheesy cream sauce perfumed with the salty smoke of thick-cut ham.

Baked Casserole

OK, who am I kidding? It’s just a casserole. But still, it broke my heart.

Casserole Ingredients

This morning I scraped spoonful after lovely, heaping spoonful of my hearty casserole into the garbage.

I made this recipe on Saturday afternoon for a week’s worth of lunches. Luckily I sent a couple servings home with Handsome Greg on date night, and I had a serving myself on Sunday, because the rest of it was spoiled when my refrigerator broke down Sunday night.

I called maintenance as soon as I realized my fridge wasn’t properly fridging. The ham put up a valiant fight, but it was too late to save the noble hotdish. I was left with a fridge full of rotten food, and nothing to eat. So much for saving money. Jimmy Johns for dinner. *sigh*

Stairway to Hamven

Stairway to Hamven

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