Best Tastes of 2016: From Our Kitchen

Nothing like writing all these year-end recaps, then cramming them all in during the last few days of December, right?  2016 was the year of pancakes, LOTS of summer grilling, salads-in-a-jar and adventurous meat cooking, but there was also a lot of amazing stuff in between.  Here’s the best of the best!

Best Family Recipe:

Red Beans & Rice from my uncle’s recipe (February 9)

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Best Pizza:

Cast-Iron Pan Pizza from Bon Appétit (March 2)

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Best Baked Recipe:

Mini Vegan “Brioche” Buns from Take a Megabite (March 29)

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Best Side Dish:

Creamy Chive Potatoes from Bon Appétit (April 4)

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Best Burger:

Spinach Goat Cheese Burger from Eat, Live, Run (June 9)

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Best Grill Meal:

Grilled Lamb from Cooking Light (July 4)

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Best Summer Pasta Dish:

Spaghetti with Tomato and Walnut Pesto from Bon Appétit (August 9) — made 110% better by the fact that Joey made it for me ♥

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Best Pancake:

The Easiest (Vegan) Pancakes from Oh, Ladycakes (October 15, but also many times after that)

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Best Salad:

Fall Squash & Fig Salad with Maple Mustard Balsamic Dressing from Yummy Beet // thanks to our salad-in-a-jar habit, we ate a lot of salads this year, but this one was my favorite.

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Best Winter Pasta Dish:

Garlic and White Wine Pasta with Brussels Sprouts from Minimalist Baker (December 15)

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 Best Cookie:

Two-way tie between:

Spiced Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies from Displaced Housewife (October 13)

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And The Best Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies from Pinch of Yum (February 25)

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Best Granola:

Pumpkin Maple Pecan Granola from Edible Perspective // If you had asked me my favorite granola prior to this fall I would have told you nothing could come between me and the Lightened Up Summer Granola from Oh She Glows but then I decided to give this one a try and it instantly became my new favorite.  I think it’s those dates.

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Best Cooking Success of the Entire Year: Christmas + Our First Turkey!

Don’t get me wrong, I was blown away by the lamb we grilled ourselves for the 4th of July, but that was so low pressure compared to cooking a 20-pound turkey for 15 people on Christmas.  The days leading up to it, I kept wondering if this meal would end up on this list or on the other list.  Thankfully, it’s here.  The turkey was juicy perfection, the rolls were puffy mini cloud status, the rice/sweet potatoes/mashed potatoes/gravy/cranberry sauce all went off without a hitch and people went mad for the raw Brussels sprout salad (?!).

In other words, this meal was the crowning glory of my culinary life thus far.

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Food forecast for 2017?  Hopefully more pizza!  In all seriousness, culinary growth (even if it’s just in my own kitchen) is one of the biggest, most fun and most unexpected joys of my life.  Here’s to its continuance in the new year!

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