Wednesday, January 8, 2014

10 Favorite Recipes of 2013.

I know everyone is moving on from 2013 lists and looking onwards into the new year and everything at this point, but apparently I just can't let go. There's still a lot of stuff I want to talk about, like pop culture and food. Let's start with food.

I've actually had the idea to make a list of my favorite recipes I made last year since December, to think about which ones I might like to remake in the future. And then when I looked for photos I'd taken of my food last year--something I've always been notorious for doing way too often--I actually couldn't find as many as I thought. So maybe Lesson Number One in doing this is that I actually didn't cook that as many new meals as I thought, or if I did I didn't document them, which has inspired me to GET ON THAT SHIT this year.

1) Spinach Feta Grilled Cheese: I almost never make more lunch-ish recipes like sandwiches or salads or basically anything that isn't a hearty casserole-ish dish that will produce leftovers. Because I'm A) lazy and B) poor, and it seems like all the work and ingredients that go into these simpler things isn't worth it. But I want to get better at some of the things I used to shy away from this year. Because these grilled cheeses were excellent. These types of things often also photograph WAY PRETTIER. Which has NOTHING to do with my desire to do more of it.

2) Apple Chicken Chili: Creamy, sweet and savory. Comfort food like whoa.

3) Chorizo Sweet Potato Chili: This seems like my greatest accomplishment this year, since I took this to a chili cook-off and WON, which was funny because it took hardly any time to make at all. I also substituted yams for the sweet potato because I couldn't find any good sweet potatoes at the store, and I feel like people looked at my "yam and chorizo" label next to my pot at the cook-off, next to all the other normalish chilis and were like, uhh, whut. Anyway, I feel like I've said this before somewhere, but the key really is to GET GOOD CHORIZO. Chorizo from the deli at New Seasons is the shit.

4) Chili Cornbread Skillet: 1) I didn't actually make this in a skillet because I don't own a skillet. I have learned that cooking is a never-ending list of new things you have to buy. IT'S ALL A ROUSE, I TELL YOU. Anyway, I baked this basically just like a casserole and it worked just fine. 2) I had a similar recipe to this I used to make that basically just combined a bunch of beans and cornbread and cheese, and it was always good because all those ingredients are good but it was always a little dry. Anyway, this recipe is a hundred percent better. That was a boring story, wasn't it. 3) This also marked the first time I actually made cornbread from scratch, as opposed to just making a box of Jiffy, and I think I did a pretty good job.

5) Corn and Bacon Pie: Corn and bacon pie. Duh. This was also one of the first times I made my own crust. I did a semi-decent job, emphasis on semi.

6) Sweet Chili Chicken Bowls: I bought a Crockpot this year and was real excited about it, but I have to say that most of the things I made in it were sort of disappointments. I clearly haven't found my slow cooker mojo yet--cooking in it can make things super tender, but it can also seep a lot of the flavor out. This recipe though was the best one by far. Probably because you can never go wrong with a recipe that includes the words "sweet chili."

7) BBQ Black Bean Pizzas: So simple but so good because BARBECUE SAUCE.

8) Curried Sweet Potato Quesadillas: I had some great times with sweet potatoes this fall, including these quesadillas. Thanks for the good times, sweet potatoes.

9) Mac & Cheese Shepherd's Pie: This is one of my new favorites that I've made twice this year since discovering it in the fall. I mean, mac and cheese + barbecue sauce = OKAY! This may or may not just be a fancy Hamburger Helper, but whatevs.

10) Mole Chicken + Sweet Potatoes: This was my first slow cooker recipe I tried, and to be honest, the chicken didn't actually taste that mole-ish: I would've added a lot more chocolate and spice, and wish the sauce was thicker. But it still tasted good, and what really made it good was the combo with the sweet potatoes, which I added some brown sugar to. A satisfying hearty meal, and being that it's probably the only recipe on here that didn't include wheat/flour or cheese, probably the healthiest one, too.

All right, so here we go, Jill: Cook more! Take more pictures of it! Learn new fancy cooking words and ingredients! Write more about eating! EAT!

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