January: Honey-teriyaki chicken with bacon fried rice. I love the balance of flavors in this dish: the sweet and tangy chicken with the salty, smoky rice.
February: Cheesy sausage penne. I have made this casserole countless times since I first discovered it. I've made it just for us, for dinners with our family, for new parents, for a neighbor recovering from surgery...and absolutely everyone raves about it. It's one of the few dinners that my sons ask for on a regular basis!
March: Greek beef tacos. These tacos were a revelation for me. They're loaded with all of my favorite Greek flavors, but they're ready in just about 15 minutes, which is absolutely perfect for my lifestyle!
April: Pineapple quinoa. This recipe marked my first time cooking with quinoa (the beginning of a beautiful relationship) and also my first time intentionally cooking a vegan dish (for my cooking club's theme of the month). Months later, I still haven't stopped raving about this quinoa. It has the perfect balance of flavors and textures, and the squirt of lime juice at the end just takes it to an insanely delicious level. So, so good.
May: Fried pickle ranch burgers. In a moment of culinary genius, I topped a burger with fried pickles and drizzled the whole business with ranch dressing -- and my new favorite burger was born.
June: Grilled chicken Caesar flatbreads. Just looking at this photo is making me long for summer already.
July: Shrimp po boys. My whole family loves these, and if Joe were to pick his favorite recipe for 2012, this would most likely be it. The sweet, succulent shrimp has a crunchy, spicy breading, and it's doused with creamy remoulade. Such an awesome sandwich.
August: Roasted cherry brownie cheesecake. This is one of the most involved cheesecakes I've ever made, but it's also one of the most delicious. Cherries and chocolate are such a natural pairing, anyway, and then when you add a layer of creamy cheesecake to the mix...forget about it.
September: Skillet penne with chicken and broccoli. This is one of those dishes that surprises you with how good it is, since the ingredient list is so humble. The pasta cooks in broth, so it soaks up all of those delicious flavors, and you just can't beat the convenience of a one-skillet dinner!
October: Fried egg tostadas with bacon-black bean mash. There is so much flavor loaded into these little tostadas. They're spicy and salty and smoky, and the velvety yolk, creamy avocado, and crispy tostada shells provide wonderful texture.
November: Scalloped sweet potato stacks. I love this savory version of sweet potatoes. They're a no-fuss side dish, and so cute too.
December: Cajun chicken fettuccine Alfredo. I love the way the kick of the Cajun seasoning pairs with the creamy Alfredo sauce in this dish. The Alfredo sauce is perfect.