Thursday, December 28, 2023

Best Recipes of 2023


The New Year is upon us, but before we turn the calendar, and before sharing new recipes, I want to remind us of the best recipes this past year from this blog.

For the "best recipes" feature I always choose the recipes that have made it into regular rotation in our house -- that is a sure sign that they are the "best" and not just "very good," - which is the standard by which they make the blog in the first place!

The recipes below are ones I have now made over and over again. If you haven't tried them yet, make a New Year's resolution to try a few new recipes this year! I hope they'll be as popular at your house as they are at mine.

I was on cloud 9 when I realized I didn't have to use my sourdough starter (and its discard) for bread baking every weekend. I love sourdough bread, but it is a COMMITMENT. And I don't always have the time/energy/dedication for making traditional sourdough. But there are a lot of other things you can do with discard, including this amazing banana bread. I will never go back to making regular banana bread again. The 1/2 cup of sourdough starter (you can use freshly fed or discard!) really makes a difference. This is the best banana bread you'll ever eat. If you don't have a sourdough starter, figure out how to get one - just so you can make this banana bread!

This is, hands down, my favorite recipe of the year. It comes to us from Pinch of Yum, and from the first time I tried it, was an instant and huge success at our house. I now make it about every three weeks! So it is definitely a standard. I make it for family dinners, when we have company, to take as a meal to someone with a new baby, you name it, this dish works! It's not saucy like other stir fries, but you won't miss the sauce - the flavors are so fresh and light and just so darn delicious. If you don't make any other recipe this year, make this one!

Now that I've named Ginger Peanut Chicken as my favorite recipe of the year, I don't suppose I can name another one? This one is also very good - a flavorful rub is added to the salmon, and it gets a quick bake in the oven while you make a delightful sauce from red curry and coconut milk. Heaps of spinach finish off the dish. I usually find this makes enough sauce that I can get a second meal by adding shrimp to the sauce. Two in one! Score!

I initially made this for a birthday meal at our house (that's gutsy - trying a new recipe for a birthday!) and it turned out to be a family favorite that was requested for subsequent birthdays! Phew! Italian sausage and peppers swim in a creamy sauce with bucatini to swirl it all up. This is the kind of pasta that dreams are made of.

This made an appearance at several picnics this year and would be just as good in the winter as a side dish to beef or pork. Roasted potatoes with chives, cheese, bacon, and a yummy mustard-y dressing makes any dinner (or picnic) better!

This salad is not photogenic at all, but it is life-altering delicious. It got rave reviews from my teenage nephews, who said it tasted just like Chipotle. If you know anything about teenage boys, you know that's a high compliment! Pasta, corn, bacon, avocados, queso fresco, and more -- the sum is definitely greater than the parts on this one. 

These little beauties are the perfect dessert - a little cookie, a little custard, a little fruit - and perfectly sized to enjoy after dinner. (I don't know about you but I can't fathom eating those giant restaurant-sized chocolate cake pieces after dinner!) This is just the right amount of dessert, and so fresh and light. You make the custard from scratch, but it is easy peasy. These would be especially perfect for Easter or Mother's Day. 

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