Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best of 2009: Pastas and Main Dishes

I have ten more of my 2009 favorites to share today, this time main dishes and pasta dishes (my favorite category of all).


Pasta with creamy spinach and parmesan cheese: This pasta is, hands-down, one of Joe's favorite meals to eat. And that greatly pleases me, since it's vegetarian and I'm always trying to get him to eat more vegetarian meals. Looking at the list of ingredients, it's hard to pick out what it is exactly that makes this so delicious, but I think its yumminess lies in its simplicity.

Creamy artichoke alfredo: Also known as, "quite possibly the most decadent pasta you will ever eat." Made with heavy cream and sour cream, the sauce is incredibly rich and undeniably irresistible. The artichokes and lemon add wonderful flavor and texture to the dish.
Baked ziti: This is one of those dishes that I just threw together with what I had on hand, and much to my surprise, it instantly became a family favorite. I make this frequently, and it's so good that I would even make it for a family with a new baby or a sick neighbor. Creamy, cheesy, flavorful, and slightly spicy, this baked ziti is one of those dishes that just never goes out of style.

Mock risotto with shrimp and roasted asparagus: This just may be my favorite dish of the year. I love the creaminess of the orzo and the flavors of the roasted asparagus and shrimp together. It's a little fancy but incredibly easy to make, and it tastes absolutely amazing.

Spinach artichoke lasagna: I've said it before: This lasagna tastes exactly like spinach-artichoke dip, only with pasta thrown in as an added bonus. It's a hearty vegetarian dish with lots of flavor. It is, in a word, delicious, and you all must make trying this one of your New Year's resolutions.

Main Dishes

Baked chicken meatballs with peperonata: This was my first time making chicken meatballs, and the results were out-of-this-world good. You get a little bit of salt from the pancetta, a little bit of sweet from the bell peppers, and a little bit of bite from the capers; it's the perfect balance of flavors. The meatballs are incredibly moist and as an added bonus, the leftovers (if there are any!) make for an absolutely delicious sandwich.

New Orleans-style shrimp: These little babies are cooked in a foil packet -- either in the oven or on the grill -- and the cooking method results in shrimp that is incredibly sweet and juicy, nestled in a spicy, succulent broth. Serve this over boxed New Orleans-style rice, and I promise you will want seconds. And thirds. And then you'll cry because there are no fourths.
Cream cheese- and pesto-stuffed chicken: Stuffing chicken breasts is one of my favorite ways to add flavor to a meat that can sometimes be boring and bland. I've tried lots of different stuffed chicken recipes, and this one is definitely my favorite so far. The creamy filling is so flavorful and delicious. This chicken tastes so good that you'd think it takes a long time to prepare, but actually, it's incredibly quick and easy. Sometimes it's hard to find a chicken recipe that's worthy of company, but look no further: I'd definitely entertain with this.

Pioneer Woman's BBQ meatballs: I couldn't do a "best of" post without one recipe from The Pioneer Woman, right? All the recipes I've tried of hers have been delicious, but these meatballs are my absolute favorite. They're a little bit time-consuming, but the results are definitely worth it. They taste like home. Serve them on top of a pile of fluffy mashed potatoes or egg noodles, and they're like little balls of meaty heaven.

Jalapeno popper stuffed chicken: Another stuffed chicken recipe. I still think this is just such an ingenious idea: all the flavors of jalapeno poppers -- jalapenos, bacon, cream cheese, cheddar -- stuffed inside a breaded chicken breast that's pan-fried until it's crispy. It's just as delicious as it sounds -- and pretty easy, too.

Coming up tomorrow: my favorite desserts of the year!


The Wired Angel said...

Oh Cassie.. these dishes look fantastic. I've made a resolution to try most of them during 2010!! Thanks for giving us your best.

Donna-FFW said...

I am enjoying reading all your favorites. I have got to try those meatballs.

Cara said...

The Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Chicken definitely belongs on this list. I tried it, and it was every bit as delicious as it sounds! I only did a "top 6" recipes, but this recipe was definitely in my Top 10!