Over the next few days, I thought it would be fun to highlight some of my favorite recipes that I've shared on the blog this year. I thought choosing which recipes to highlight would be a difficult task, but it turns out I was wrong; my favorites stood out distinctly as things that I've made again and again and just can't seem to get enough of. I'm starting today with my favorite soups, sandwiches and sides of the year.
Lasagna soup: This soup tastes exactly like lasagna, but it's so much easier and so much less time-consuming to prepare. What really takes it over the top is the creamy surprise waiting at the bottom of each bowl: a dollop of ricotta and ooey, gooey, melty mozzarella cheese.
Chicken tortilla soup: I'm just going to put this out there: This is the best chicken tortilla soup ever. I certainly haven't found a recipe better than this one. It's just spicy enough without burning your mouth, and it's packed with flavor. I have to admit that my favorite part of eating this soup, though, is digging into the crispy tortilla strips on top of it.
Cream cheese potato soup: I love potato soup -- always have, always will. My grandma's is amazing, and it was always my favorite -- until I discovered this recipe. The cream cheese gives this soup a nice tang, and the smashed potatoes add great texture. It's easily adapted into loaded baked potato soup, too -- just add some broccoli to it, and top each bowl with bacon, shredded cheese, sour cream, and green onions. Yum!
Taco joes: There's nothing fancy about this version of sloppy joes. I still can't quite put my finger on what it is that makes them so delicious, but they definitely are. We always top ours with Monterey jack or pepper-jack cheese, avocado, and a spread made with lime juice, sour cream, and cilantro. Every time we have them, I'm shocked all over again by how good they actually are.
Cuban-style burgers: Remember when I did Burgers and Fries Friday earlier this year? Well, this burger was the best one I made. The Swiss cheese, the honey mustard, the garlic mayo, the pickle...All the flavors worked perfectly together to make one pretty darn amazing burger.
Tuscan-style grilled chicken sandwiches: You've already heard me rave about these sandwiches more than once, but I promise, they deserve every ounce of praise I give them. The pesto mayonnaise, artichokes and fresh mozzarella cheese make them just a little bit more special than your average chicken sandwich, but they're so easy to prepare that they're perfect for a quick dinner any night of the week.
Mexican sour cream rice: I couldn't talk about the food I made in 2009 without talking about this rice. I make it a lot; it's my go-to side dish for anything remotely Mexican. It's delicious all on its own, but it also makes a great taco filling, which is probably our favorite way to use it.
Buttery cheesy garlic bread: It may seem silly to include something as simple as garlic bread on a "best of" list, but I just couldn't resist. This garlic bread is the best homemade version I've ever had, and it's just as easy as opening a box of the frozen kind. It tastes much better, too.
Oven rings: These are the best onion rings I've ever made, and the best thing about them is that they're baked. Forget the big vat of frying oil; only a couple tablespoons of oil are needed to make these nice and crispy. The only bad thing about them is that they're incredibly addictive, and I always have to double the recipe so Joe can have some too.
Artichoke bread: This cheesy, flavorful bread is a perfect accompaniment to soup, but if you serve it with some herbed, buttered noodles it also makes for a simple and delicious vegetarian dinner. We've had it both ways, numerous times, and it's always delicious, no matter what I serve it with.
Check back tomorrow for my favorite pastas and main dishes of the year!