best recipes of year collage
Narrowing it down is tough, but here are my Top Ten Recipes for 2012 and ten more Honorable Mentions!


I love those end-of-year lists that pop up between Christmas and New Year’s Day, so each December I scan through the monthly archives and save recipes that were my personal favorites from the past year.  Sounds easy enough, but then every year I have a hard time narrowing it down, even though three years ago I started allowing myself to expand the top ten list with ten honorable mentions!

This year I ended up with 36 recipes saved, and as I narrowed it down I realized four of my final picks had been introduced to me by friends, family members, or readers.  (Thanks to Al, Bonnie, Pam, and Effie for those great recipe ideas.)   Some of my favorite ingredients were still in heavy use like kale, cabbage, cauliflower, Green Tabasco Sauce, Sriracha Sauce, dried beans, and of course cilantro, and I had fun experimenting with tofu and quinoa this year.  And of course there were a lot of from-scratch Slow Cooker Recipes on the list!  My final choices are admittedly a subjective list, but I’ve shared some thoughts about why each recipe appeals to me.  I hope you find a few things you might have missed and enjoy trying them in 2013!

My Top Ten Picks:

This year I got into casseroles in a big way, and I loved the combination of spicy flavors in this Layered Mexican Casserole with Chicken, Green Chiles, Pinto Beans, and Cheese that’s also Phase One!


Especially for my brother Mark (and anyone who loves the flavors of Greek Gyros) these Ground Beef Gyro Meatball Lettuce Wraps with Tzatziki and Tomatoes are a flavorful and more diet-friendly version of one of my long-time favorite meals.
I tried a lot of quinoa recipes after I bought a big bag of quinoa at Costco, but the cumin-lime-chile  flavors in this Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Red Bell Pepper, and Cilantro made it something I’d never get tired of.
My friend Al and I made Al’s Famous Hungarian Cucumber Salad when a group of Utah food bloggers were coming for lunch, and the salad and Al were both a big hit!


This Leftover Turkey Shepherd’s Pie Casserole with Garlic-Parmesan Cauliflower Topping was so good that it would be a shame not to make it frequently with chicken as well.


My very good friend Bonnie sent me this recipe for Apple-Jicama Slaw with Sweet and Spicy Sriracha Dressing, and I loved it!


A little bit of pineapple juice in the sauce is one of the secrets to this Slow Cooker Recipe for Sriracha-Pineapple Barbecued Chicken Sandwiches with Easy Guacamole.
My sister Pam sent me this recipe for Chicken and Avocado Salad with Lime and Cilantro that she found on Pinterest, and I kicked it up a bit by mixing the mayo and lime juice for the dressing.
A reader named Effie sent me a box of amazing spices from Israel, and I was wowed by this recipe from her which I named Effie’s Easy and Amazing Cottage Cheese Salad with Za’atar.
The perfect combination of seasonings plus a generous amount of lime juice made these Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos with Spicy Slaw and Avocado one of my favorites.

And Ten Honorable Mentions:

Another favorite recipe that used Hatch Green Chile Enchilada Sauce was this Spicy Slow Cooker Soup with Ground Turkey, Pinto Beans, Red Bell Pepper, and Green Chiles.
Jake and I experimented with three different tries to make sure this Cauliflower-Crust Vegetarian Pizza with Mushrooms and Olives was a crispy and bread-like as possible for a low-carb pizza crust made from cauliflower!
I made this Raw Baby Kale Salad with Apples, Sunflower Seeds, and Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette for several dinner parties during the year, and it was a hit with everyone (even people who weren’t sure they would like kale!)
These Baby Kale and Mozzarella Quesadillas with Sriracha-Ranch Dipping Sauce just might be the recipe that will get your family to eat kale. 


It took a few tries to get the seasonings just right, but these Slow Cooker Spicy Shredded Chicken Lettuce Wrap Tacos (or Tostadas) with Avocado Salsa were worth the trouble!


A little Sriracha Sauce in the mixture spiced up these Grilled Fresh Salmon Burgers with Caper Mayonnaise, and they were delicious even without a bun!
When I wanted a little Phase One comfort food, I came up with this Ham and Cauliflower Casserole au Gratin which uses fat-free Greek yogurt for lots of the creaminess.


I used tofu more than ever this year, and this Spicy Vegan Peanut Butter Tofu with Sriracha was definitely my favorite tofu dish.


This year I was into “egg bakes” where there was just enough egg to hold things together, and this Spinach and Mozzarella Egg Bake was one of my favorites.
And if you’ve ever thought that pasta salad was a tiny bit boring, you must try this Whole Wheat Pasta Salad with Fried Kale, Tomatoes, Olives, Feta, and Pesto Vinaigrette.

More Favorite Recipes from the Past:
The Top Ten Recipes of 2011 – Plus Ten Honorable Mentions
Top Ten Recipes of 2010 – Plus Ten Honorable Mentions
Top Ten Recipes of 2009 – Plus Ten Honorable Mentions
The Best Recipes of 2008
The Best Recipes of 2007

What’s Coming in January 2013?

I’m going to take a few days off to spend New Year’s with my family, but I’ll be back in a few days to share the Monthly Phase One Recipes Round-Up from December; then on New Year’s Day we’ll start another month of Daily Phase One Recipes.  (And if anyone is planning ahead for Phase One on January first, you might want to check out the Index of Phase One Recipes or the archives of Daily Phase One Recipes from January 2012.)


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