Monday, December 31, 2012

Best of 2012: Reader Favorites

Well, I've spent the last few days listing my favorite recipes from the last year in the various categories, and today it's time to look at what you, readers, liked the best! Here are the recipes that garnered the most hits and comments this year. (And I must say, you have VERY good taste!)

Salsa (Restaurant Style)

Chicken and Mushroom Stuffed Shells

Chocolate and Caramel Covered Rice Krispie Bars

Crockpot Carnitas

Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes

Cherry Berry Streusel Tart

Strawberry and Cream Danish

Pumpkin Waffles

Visit Finding Joy in My Kitchen to see all the reader favorites from 2012!

Get more inspiration at Mangia Mondays, Mop it Up Monday, Mix it Up Monday, Melt in Your Mouth Monday and On the Menu.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Best of 2012: Desserts

And now things get REALLY difficult. Today's best of theme is desserts. It was really hard not to just link up EVERY dessert I've posted this year - they're all so good. But I worked very diligently to narrow them down - these are the best of the best.

Caramel Chocolate Pumpkin Blondies

Peppermint Patty Brownies

Apple Crisp

Banana Bread Bars with Brown Butter Frosting

Roasted Banana Ice Cream

Mocha Chip Ice Cream

Fruity Coconut Cake Roll

Chewy Molasses Squares

Be sure to check out all the "best of" dessert link ups at Finding Joy in my Kitchen.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Best of 2012: Snacks and Appetizers

Today we look back at the best snacks and appetizers of 2012. I have to say I was tempted to put a lot of desserts in this category, since that's what I think of when I think "snack." But I will save those for tomorrow! If you need inspiration for your New Year's party, look no further. All of these recipes were knock outs!

Greek Layered Dip

Shrimp and Goat Cheese Corn Cakes

Pepper Poppers

Oven Baked Ham and Swiss Sandwiches

Chipotle Crab Dip

Zucchini Fries

Be sure to visit Finding Joy in my Kitchen to see all the great snack and app link ups.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Best of 2012: Main Dishes

And today we have Main Dishes! My favorites from the year have all been made more than once - just as favorites should be. If you need to mix up your meal rotation with some new ideas, look no further.

Shrimp and Spinach Risotto

Portobello Pesto Pizza

Chicken Marsala

BBQ Salmon

Chicken, Bacon and Avocado Quesadillas

Italian Sausage, Red Pepper and Mushroom Risotto

Chipotle Shrimp Tacos

Be sure to stop by Finding Joy in My Kitchen and visit all the food bloggers who are posting their "best of" main dishes today!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Best of 2012: Soup and Bread

Today's Best of is Soup and Bread. Although this is probably intended to be savory breads, I made a lot more sweet, breakfast-style breads this year, and so my favorites come from that category. I think I'm "safe" though since the topic is bread without an adjective!

It's cold this week, so whip up some soup and bread and stay warm!

Peanut Butter Bread

Curried Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Blueberry Muffin Bread

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

English Muffin Bread

Beef and Bok Choy Hot Pot

Bananas Foster Bread

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Head on over to Finding Joy in my Kitchen to find more great soups and breads.

Find more great recipes at Full Plate Thursday and Thursday's Treasures.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Best of 2012: Breakfast

The "Best of" series is back! As we wrap up 2012, it's so fun to look back over everything I've made and pick a few favorites from the more than hundred new recipes I tried. Sometimes it's hard to narrow it down, because there are so many good ones! So much food, so little time.

The series starts today with breakfast. This was a great year for breakfast goodies - it's been fun to be reminded of all the good stuff! Enjoy and head on over to Finding Joy in My Kitchen so see more food bloggers looking back and picking their bests!

Banana Bread Pancakes

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

Individual Egg Bakes

Pumpkin Spice Donuts

Peanut Butter and Jelly Crepes

Monkey Bread Muffins

Be sure to visit SnoWhite to see all the Best of posts for 2012. And find more great stuff at What's Cooking Wednesday and Wicked Good Wednesday.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Snickers Fudge

I've had this recipe pinned for some time and was planning to make it for Christmas this year. When I realized that it also qualified for the Improv Challenge, I was psyched. I love snickers candy bars, and I was just drooling over the list of the ingredients in this candy.

Although it has a few steps, it's not difficult. I made this on a Sunday afternoon, jamming out to Christmas tunes and dancing around the kitchen while I waited for each layer to set. And here's my advice: savor this for yourself, but give most of it away. Not only will it bless others, but you won't have to get new pants in a size bigger than you currently wear... it's that delicious, you won't be able to stop eating it.

Ok, let's get cooking. Line a 9x13 pan with foil, and let the long edges hang over a bit. Combine the peanut butter, milk chocolate chips

and butterscotch chips in a small saucepan.

Heat over medium-low heat, stirring regularly, until the mixture is melted and smooth. It's ok if there are a few lumps - you don't want the chocolate to get so hot that it seizes up. Spread the chocolate over the foil to create the bottom layer.

Refrigerate for about an hour or until set. (You don't even need to wash the pan you melted the chips in - you'll use it again for the top layer!)

For the "nougat" layer, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar

and the milk,

and bring to a boil.

Cook and stir for five minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the marshmallow creme, peanut butter and vanilla.

Add in the peanuts.

Stir until well combined, then carefully spread over the chocolate layer.

Return to the refrigerator to set the nougat layer. For the caramel layer, combine the caramels and cream in a small saucepan

and cook over low heat, stirring often, until melted and smooth. Spread over the nougat layer.

Back to the fridge! Let the caramel layer set. Now for the topping, repeat what you did for the first layer. Combine the chips and peanut butter and heat and stir until melted and smooth. Spread the top layer over the caramel.

One more time back to the fridge for an hour to let the topping set up. Then remove the fudge using the foil handles and carefully peel back the foil.

Cut the fudge into rows,

then cut each row into individual pieces.

Ooh, aren't you excited to try this?

You'll want to make this candy a permanent part of your Christmas treat plate!

One year ago: Chocolate Peppermint Swirl Cookies
Two years ago: Cranberry Apple Coffeecake
Three years ago: Layered Mint Fudge

Find more great stuff at Full Plate Thursday, Recipe Box, Thursday's Treasures, Foodie Friday, Food on Fridays, Friday Finds, Foodtastic Friday, Foodie Friday, Ingredient Spotlight.

Snickers Fudge

First Layer:
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup peanut butter

Second Layer:
4 Tbsp. butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped salted peanuts

Third Layer:
1 - 14 oz. package caramels
1/4 cup heavy cream

Fourth Layer:
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup peanut butter

Line a 9×13 baking pan with tin foil and then lightly spray with cooking spray.

For Layer 1: Over medium-low heat, melt milk chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butterscotch chips in small saucepan. Stir together until completely melted and smooth, then pour into the baking pan and spread out evenly. Refrigerate until set, at least one hour.

For Layer 2: Melt butter over medium heat in saucepan. Add sugar and evaporated milk and bring to boil. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and quickly mix in marshmallow creme, peanut butter, and vanilla. Add peanuts to mixture and spread evenly over chocolate layer. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.

For Layer 3: Melt caramels and heavy cream over low heat until smooth. Pour over peanut mixture and refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.

For Layer 4: Melt chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and peanut butter over low heat until smooth. Pour over caramel layer and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Remove the fudge from the pan, then carefully peel off tin foil. Cut the fudge into long strips, and the individual pieces. Keep refrigerated until serving.

Recipe Source: Somewhere in the Middle

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