Here are my top ten recipes of the year, plus ten more equally delicious honorable mentions!


I love the “best recipe” lists that pop up on food blogs this time of year, even though every year I have a hard time narrowing down my own list!  I never post any recipe unless I really like it, so this year when I went through the monthly archives saving links for potential favorites I ended up with a list of 32 recipes!  Then I reluctantly eliminated some of those favorites until I narrowed it down to just 20.  Even harder was picking which of those 20 recipes made it into the top ten!  

There were a couple of fun things I noticed this year.  Four of my picks came from readers, friends, or relatives who shared the recipe with me, so thanks to Lisa, Dolores, Pam, and Trina.  There were also some ingredients that showed up frequently; things like kale, sweet potatoes, Sriracha Sauce, ground turkey, Feta cheese, avocado, broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes, sumac, and brown rice were used a lot in my kitchen.  For the first time, this year I considered social media recognition in picking the top recipes, so posts that received the most Facebook likes, stumbles from StumbleUpon, or pins from Pinterest were more likely to get chosen.  (And thanks to everyone who uses those social media buttons to let me know when recipes appeal to you!)  Now, here are the favorites I picked and a little bit about why I chose each one.


When a reader name Lisa sent me this recipe, she called it “dumb salad” and told me it was a huge favorite at her house.  I re-named it Not-So-Dumb Salad with with Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Onions, Avocado, and Balsamic Vinegar, and this recipe was wildly popular.  It also appeared over and over on the table at my house when I had ripe garden tomatoes.


When the idea popped into my head for Seven Layer Dip Tostadas, I couldn’t imagine why I’d never thought of it before, since Seven Layer Dip is something that’s been on the menu for every Denny family part for years!


I don’t post desserts all that often on the blog, but when I spotted this recipe for Low-Sugar Coconut Almond Macaroon Cookies in one of the South Beach cookbooks and noticed it was a Phase One dessert, I had to try it.  I loved these cookies.
My friend Trina told me about the cranberry salsa she made every year for Thanksgiving, and when she let me share the recipe for Trina’s Low-Sugar Fresh Cranberry Salsa with Cilantro, Lime, and Jalapeno readers loved it too.  I made this myself for several family parties during the holidays, usually served as Cranberry Salsa Cream Cheese Holiday Appetizer.


Although I loved this recipe for Sweet and Spicy Ground Turkey and Sweet Potato Stew with Coconut Milk that’s made in the CrockPot,  I was actually a bit surprised when it became a big hit on the blog.   Who knew sweet potatoes and ground turkey were so popular?
My friend Dolores shared her recipe for a layered casserole with cabbage, ground beef, rice, and tomato sauce, and I turned it into Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole.  I was crazy about this recipe, especially since I’ve never had the patience to try making actual stuffed cabbage.


It was my sister Pam who spotted this recipe for Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bake and shared it with me.  Pam changed the recipe a bit and I changed it a bit more, and this is another recipe that became enormously popular on the blog.  This is one that I know I’ll make every year when zucchini season comes around.


This Kale and Romaine Caesar Salad might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but my nephew Jake and I absolutely could not stop eating this the day we tested the recipe, and I’ve made it many times since.


Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Feta and Sumac was a dish that combined so many of my favorite flavors that it was a cinch I would like it, and this just might be my very favorite way to cook sweet potatoes.


I got fixated on the idea of savory zucchini muffins, and it took me quite a few tries to come up with this recipe for Savory Whole Wheat Zucchini Muffins with Green Chiles and Cheese.  These muffins were definitely worth the trouble though!

Honorable Mentions from 2011

~I let my sister Pam try a sample of Spinach and Feta Casserole with Brown Rice and Parmesan, and she asked for the recipe before I had even posted it on the blog!
~Vegetarian Lasagna with Kale and Mushroom-Tomato Sauce was one of the recipes I came up with for a Meatless Monday post, and I loved how this turned out.
~When I got a new stainless steel grill pan, Grilled Sriracha-Sesame Turkey Meatballs were the first thing I cooked on it, but you could also cook them in a pan.
~Another recipe with that spicy flavor I’ve gotten so addicted to was Sriracha Deviled Eggs.  If you like eggs and Sriracha, this is a must try!
~Spicy Broccoli-Jicama Salad with Red Bell Pepper and Black Sesame Seeds was a recipe idea that popped into my mind after I fell in love with jicama, and I loved the crunch in this salad.
~When I posted Mediterranean Tostadas with Hummus, Feta, and Kalamata Olives I said I thought they were one of my best recipe ideas ever, and this is something I could eat for lunch just about every day and never get tired of it.
~I’ve been a long-time fan of sugar snap peas, but Spicy Stir-Fried Sugar Snap Peas was the first time I used them as a cooked side dish.  I loved this recipe, especially the method of cutting the pea pods diagonally so the tiny peas would show inside!
~After my brother Dave and his wife Amy gave me lots of frozen wild salmond I made Asian-Flavored Wild Salmon Patties with Ginger, Scallions, and Sesame-Lime Mayonnaise, and the recipe is now one of my favorite ways to cook salmon.
~And finally, some people may be surprised to see two broccoli salads on my list, but I could not leave out Barely Blanched Broccoli Salad with Feta and Fried Almonds.  This is one of those salads that are hard to stop eating, and my step-sister Karyn told me she has also been making this over and over.
More Favorite Recipe Lists from Earlier Years:
The Top Ten Recipes of 2010 from Kalyn’s Kitchen (and Ten Honorable Mentions)
The Top Ten Recipes of 2009 from Kalyn’s Kitchen (and Ten Honorable Mentions)
The Best Recipes of 2008 from Kalyn’s Kitchen
The Best Recipes of 2007 from Kalyn’s Kitchen 
Sharing recipes wouldn’t be much fun without feedback, so thanks to everyone who’s been reading my blog and trying the recipes during 2011.   And if you found a new recipe in 2011 that rocked your world, I’d love to know what it was (and where you found it if it’s not from this blog.)

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