Fan Favorites: The 10 Most Popular Recipes of 2011

simply dressed giveaway

Here are the ten most-viewed recipes that I posted in 2011. Maybe it was one of these recipes that brought you here. Maybe it was another one. Either way, Here’s to a happy and healthy 2012!

Warm Couscous Salad with Feta and Mint

feta and mint couscous salad


No time like the present to get back to eating healthily! Seriously, who says you have to wait until the New Year to start eating right? Especially if it means eating this flavorful couscous salad. I served the salad with some seared tuna that I dusted with za’atar seasoning for a perfectly delicious post-holiday meal. As an added bonus, it only takes 20 minutes from start to finish – perfect for easing out of holiday/vacation mode and back into normalcy.

Romesco Roast Salmon over Pumpkin and Olive Grits

salmon with pumpkin and olive grits-2

I don’t know where I originally saw it or what context it was in, but I recently wrote “pumpkin, red pepper, and olive” in the little notebook that I use to keep track of recipe ideas and inspiration. Kind of a weird combination, right? But ever since I wrote it down, I’ve been obsessed with trying out that flavor combination.

I spent a few weeks dreaming up ways to make the ingredients work together, and then came up with this recipe for roast salmon with romesco over pumpkin and olive grits. It worked. The flavors were subtle but complex – not as bold as I usually go for – but this was really, really good.

Ginger Sesame Chicken Wrap …For One

sesame ginger chicken wrap-3

As soon as I started doing research on the Marzetti Simply Dressed product line, I knew that I wanted to create a recipe with the ginger-sesame dressing. As I read the ingredient list and saw that it included ginger puree, my mouth immediately started watering. (Yes, I’ve clearly been a little obsessed with ginger lately.)

When I opened the bottle and took a sniff, I knew that I had made the right choice – this stuff sounds, looks, smells, and tastes amazing! It was so good that I actually went back and tweaked my recipe to include more of the dressing than I had originally planned for. Even after that, I was tempted to dunk my wrap in even more dressing. (I didn’t though. The dressing is good, but I didn’t want to put on so much that it would overpower the fresh and delicate flavor of the vegetables.) This one is definitely a keeper!

Eggnog Cheesecake Swirled Brownies

eggnog cheesecake brownies


When it comes to holiday parties, I subscribe to a few rules: Go big or go home. It’s not a party if there’s no cheese. Calories don’t count in December.

OK calories still count, but not during parties. Especially ones that I’m throwing.

Since I enjoy cooking more than baking, I usually go nuts with appetizers, make a few pitchers of my favorite cranberry margaritas, and keep dessert simple with a tray of brownies. That way I don’t have to worry about running back and forth to the oven to swap out cookie sheets, but there’s still a sweet treat for everyone to enjoy.

30 Minute Chicken and Chorizo Paella

paella

Shawn loves Paella, but I’ve never really been a big fan of it. With few exceptions, I find that it’s dried out and flavorless. The only version that I’ve consistently enjoyed is from a local Spanish and Mexican restaurant, but even there I’d usually eat a few forks full of Shawn’s and order myself a tamale.

Then I attended the Big Summer Potluck and fell in love with Pam Anderson’s paella. I swear, that woman is a genius in the kitchen.

Despite being simpler than most paellas (no seafood!) it was full of flavor. The bottom layer of rice was crisp, but it wasn’t dried out at all. Weeks later, I found myself craving it and I knew that I would have to try making it in my own kitchen.