As 2011 comes to a close (how is that possible?? Didn't it just start?) I'm going to share this year's most popular recipes. There are a few repeats from last year as some of the "greatest hits" continue to pop up.
The number one recipe is this White Cheddar Chicken Pasta. This recipe has become a staple around here and is a quick and easy dinner to throw together. It's also super versatile. No wonder it remains a hit.
In the number two spot is this recipe for Chicken Enchilada Soup. Perfect on a chilly fall or winter day, this soup can be made on the stovetop or in a crockpot.
For fourth place, you moved on to dessert and like these S'mores Cupcakes as the top cupcake recipe I've posted over the last three years. And I can understand why, they are quite impressive especially when you break out the kitchen torch to give them the marshmallow frosting that toasted look and taste. If you haven't made these yet, you really should try them.
Coming in fifth is another easy weeknight pasta dish. These lasagna roll-ups are the perfect solution to a classic Italian dish without all the work and without three days of leftovers in the fridge if you're not cooking for a crowd. Plus these can be made with so many variations. Try using chicken, beef or Italian sausage in place of the turkey, an alfredo sauce or pesto cream sauce in place of the marinara. There are all kinds of options to keep these fun.
New to the list of favorites this year is another appetizer that I originally made for the Superbowl this year. These classic soft pretzels with jalapeno cheese sauce are easier than you might think and make a fantastic weekend snack or party appetizer. The cheese sauce can be used with the pretzels or use at a queso dip for chips or pour it over enchiladas for even more cheesy goodness. If you want to experiment with some pretzels, compare this classic method which uses bread flour and boils the pretzels in a baking soda bath to this latest version of Cheese-Stuffed Everything Pretzels that I just tried which uses all-purpose flour and skips the baking soda bath with fantastic results.
In seventh place, a cookie recipe that mimics those super soft grocery store sugar cookies. Made with a cake mix, this isn't your standard sugar cookie recipe but it does yield delicious cookies and it takes about five minutes to mix up. You don't have to roll and cut anything and decorations are as easy as a few colored sprinkles if you want them. I know it's past "cookie season" but these Soft and Thick Sugar Cookies are worth it.
The list is rounded out with cupcake recipes.
In eigth place, Snickers Cupcakes, a rich chocolate cupcake, filled with caramel and topped with caramel buttercream and chopped Snickers bar pieces. I've since decided I prefer to add a little chopped candy bar to the caramel filling in the center as well as it helps hold the cupcake together a little better.
Next up is another chocolate favorite, Chocolate Cherry Coke Cupcakes. Again these start out with a chocolate cupcake base but this time they get filled with a cherry filling, topped with a Coke glaze and frosted with whipped cream frosting. A cute little cherry on top make these an adorable and nostalgic favorite.
That wraps up the list of 2011 reader favorites. All in all, 2011 was a great, although extremely busy, year for my family.
Of course, my favorite thing I "baked" in 2011 was our daughter, Aubrey, who arrived in February. I can't believe it's time to start planning her first birthday party now.
From there the year was a blur of selling our house, weddings, vacations, and buying and remodeling our new house that still hasn't really ended but as the year comes to a close, I'm trying to appreciate what we have and live more in the moment rather than rushing to get to the next big thing. Happy New Year to all my wonderful readers, thanks for putting up with a lot more sporadic posting than I would have liked this year. Although I don't see 2012 calming down any, I'm hoping I can squeeze in some recipes with a bit more regularity. I've got some great ones to share with you.