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!

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.

Continue reading for the Chicken Corn Chowder recipe

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading for the Hearty Lentil Soup recipe

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

Broccoli Soup

Are you looking for a decadent, heavy meal full of cream and butter to treat yourself on pay day?

Well, move along, Friend.

This soup is creamy without a drop of cream, and buttery, with nary a pat of butter. Pair it with a hunk of crusty bread, and you’ve got a flavorful, hearty, healthy, and super cheap lunch.

The single potato makes it lush and creamy, and the red pepper flakes give it just enough heat. Don’t even think about skipping the lemon juice.

Seriously.

Continue reading for the Broccoli Soup recipe

Continue reading

White Bean and Turkey Chili with Rainbow Chard

It seems early to share a chili recipe.

I’m afraid I’m tempting fate, daring Minnesota winter to make a premature appearance, by posting a warm, cozy one-dish meal while the State Fair still provides summer bliss on a stick.

I originally made this recipe—a perfect hybrid of chili and Italian wedding soup – last blizzardy March, so I think I’m safe. Also? I’m not likely powerful enough to control the weather, even with an extraordinarily delicious recipe.

This was the sort of dish I made back in March, when I still had a job. I’d spend Sunday afternoon cooking up a big pot of something to pack up in plastic containers for lunch through the week, and hope that I didn’t get totally sick of it by Wednesday, abandon my leftovers, and make an emergency run to Subway for lunch.

The week I made this delicious chili-soup ended far too soon, without the slightest sandwich temptation.

When I make it again (even though I NEVER repeat recipes) I’ll probably substitute a box of frozen chopped spinach for the pricey rainbow chard.

Continue reading for the White Bean and Turkey Chili recipe

Continue reading

lettuce soup with goat cheese croutons

I hosted Christmas dinner this year.

In the weeks leading up to the big day, I was awfully excited and nervous about it, until I realized that hosting meant providing the venue, not the meal. Mom arrived with nearly all of the food prepared – the lasagna was ready to be assembled, the cottage cheese bread was ready to bake, and the candy cane custard was ready to go into the ice cream maker.

She did let me toss the salad. It was pretty exciting.

And dinner was fantastic. Mom’s lasagna recipe is the world’s best (the secret ingredient is salami!). All that remained of the meal the next day was a bag of leftover romaine hearts, and a giant mess on the dining room table.

So when my dear friend Jenna called from her hotel in town and we discussed what to do on our annual holiday visit, I shocked myself when I replied, “c’mon over for dinner. I’ll cook.” Without testing recipes, without weeks of menu planning, without even sufficient time to go to the grocery store, I offered to make dinner for my fancy friend, who lives in Connecticut. Connecticut, y’all. Who am I?

Sad Fridge

It was a little touch-and-go there for a while when I realized the dining room table was not just messy, but missing – it was completely hidden by dirty dishes. I thought of everything I could possibly make out of lettuce, while I rummaged through the soiled plates and glasses for the table. As it turns out, the dining room table was inside of me all along.

/Christmas miracle

And the lettuce soup recipe for my fancy vegetarian guesty was only a Google away. I cooked and cleaned in record time. Jenna and I shared stories of the year past, wishes for the year to come, boxed wine, and the world’s ugliest soup.

It was creamy and fresh, with a little bit of heat, and seriously butt-ugly. The crispy goat cheese croutons provided a tangy richness and a partial disguise to the fugly, yet tasty, lettuce and potato puree.

Recipe below the fold

Continue reading

red bean chili

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.

If I’m going to make a change in my life, I’ll do it when I’m good and ready, and an arbitrary date isn’t going to make one bit of difference.

Not that I’m a headstrong child or anything, but you’re not the boss of me, One January!

That said, I learned back in November that my cholesterol is marginally elevated. With a well-established family history of hypertension, I thought I’d try making a couple substitutions in some of my recipes, and decide if they’re worth it.

For this chili recipe, I drained the beef after browning, and rinsed it in warm water. Then I used heart-healthy canola oil to sauté the onion and garlic, added a teaspoon of beef bouillon to compensate for the lost beefyness, and cut the salt to compensate for the bouillon.

It turned out slightly sweet – almost like BBQ sauce – and spicy but not too spicy. I was a little concerned about rinsing the beef, but the chili ended up delicious. Neither the flavor nor the texture was compromised, so I’ll lather, rinse, repeat from now on.

The timing is entirely coincidental.

Recipe below the fold

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

Italian Wedding Soup

My friends Brian and Benji were married on 10-10-10 in a perfectly sweet ceremony with an adorable Muppets-themed reception, and I made Italian Wedding Soup for lunch that day.

I wish I could say that I made the soup in honor of their union, but really, I just love soup.

This is a perfect fall soup – warm and comforting – and a pretty reasonably priced one-dish meal. Also? Tiny meatballs are adorable.

I substituted parsnips for the more traditional carrots and they were wonderful – creamy, just a little bit sweet, and a perfect complement to the buttery fresh dill.

Recipe below the fold

Continue reading