Top 10 recipes of 2011!

The last hours of 2011 are quickly approaching. The year would not be complete without a top 10 recipe round-up of my most viewed recipes from 2011. This year brought a mix of emotions for me. On a high note… I bought a domain name, attended 2 food blog conferences, improved my food photography, traveled quite a bit in search of some of the best food the cities had to offer, participated in my first fundraiser bake sale, and of course I did what I wanted to do in 2011 and I baked more from scratch. My food blog also turned 2! Which still shocks me that I’ve been able to keep up with this for 2 years now. I’m excited and welcome 2012 with open arms. Let’s take a look back through 2011 at my most popular recipes! 


After receiving a 10 gallon bucket of tomatoes what was a girl supposed to do… make sauce! I scoured the internet for recipes and found nothing… everyone uses canned tomatoes any more… so I made this sauce the old fashion way and it was amazing! 


9: Coconut-Lime Berry Cake

This cake was good for both dessert and breakfast. Full of flavors from the berries, coconut, and lime, this is sure to be a hit at your next brunch! 


8: Peanut Butter Eyeball Truffles

I made a ghoulish treat for Halloween that was a “bloody” hit at our friends Halloween party! 


7: A Pie For Mikey {Peanut Butter Pie}

2011 rocked the food blog world with sadness when a fellow bloggers husband suddenly passed away.  Food bloggers near and far made a peanut butter pie in honor of Jennifer’s husband. It just goes to show you how powerful and supportive the food blogging community really is!

6: Homemade Marshmallows

I first learned how to make marshmallows a few years back at a holiday cooking class. I decided to make these for the 4th of July and they were a huge hit! 

5: Double {Chocolate Chip} Cookie Dough Ice Cream

We all know my constant love affair with cookie dough. There is simply no denying it! This ice cream was divine! Heavy on the chocolate chips *hence the name double chocolate chip! Every bite included a few of these bite size morsels!

4: Stir-Fried Chicken Paprikash

Yum… this savory dish is easy to make and taste as good as it looks! I love making this recipe on a busy week day night. 


3: White Chocolate Raspberry Mousse

These mini phyllo cups are as delectable as they look! The recipe came straight from Athen’s Foods and they even featured my blog during the month of April! The first time I made them my photo didn’t come out the same way I pictured it, so I decided to remake the recipe the next day. I  mean… who can resist this tasty sweet dessert? This was the first set of pictures that I took in 2011 that made me feel (for once) satisfied with my food photography! Oh and I made the Foodbuzz top 9 with this recipe… a big accomplishment in my book! 


2: Shrimp Tacos with Peanut Asian Coleslaw

This is a Katie Original and a delicious one at that. Succulent shrimp sauteed with a homemade peanut slaw. 

1: Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars

Thanks to Stumble Upon these babies have traveled around the world, and thus they should since they are AMAZING (and easy to make)! Since making them in October I’ve probably made them at least a half dozen times. Everyone loves them and no one can resist them!

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I thought it would be nice to do an appetizer recipe round-up for those hosting a New Years Eve party tomorrow night. These are some of my favorite appetizers that I’ve made over the past 2 years since blogging. Some of the pictures are struggling… don’t laugh. Well, ok, you can laugh, but know that the pictures can be deceiving! All of the recipes I’ve chosen to feature pair well with adult beverages and most can be made prior to the party! If these 10 have you craving more appetizer recipe ideas feel free to take a look at all the other appetizer recipes I’ve blogged about.
Now let’s get started with my 10 favorite appetizer recipes!

Tomato and Cheese Tarts

These tarts take a little bit of time but let me just tell you… they are worth every second! You will wow your guest like never before if you serve these at your New Years Eve party! Puff pastry, caramelized onions, soft cheese, and a thick sliced tomato make this complete!

Creamy Zucchini and Ricotta Spread

This dip is on the healthier side and will make your guest come back for more! Easy to make ahead and you can serve it cold or warm!

Barbeque Pork Pinchos {aka pork skewers}

These pork skewers can be made a few hours in advance… marinating until ready to be grilled! Easy finger food and a good dose of protein!
This recipe is not like your typical tuna salad… your guest may snub these at first, but once they have one cracker they will be hooked! This is another great make ahead appetizer. You’ll just need to set a few minutes aside to layer the crackers!

Baked Lemons w/ Mozzarella Tomatoes and Olives

These are simple yet elegant and they taste delicious! If you can find a good deal on lemons… splurge and make these little jewels. Your guest won’t complain–that’s for sure!

Broccoli & Pepper Jack Stuffed Mushrooms

I created this appetizer back in 2010 and haven’t stopped making them since. It’s a great way to get a serving of veggies into an appetizer. I feel like this is the grown up version of broccoli and cheese!
Here is another time intensive appetizer, but the time spent always pays off! Anyone can make these and if you have vegetarians coming to the party just omit the shrimp.
I always serve tomato mozzarella skewers at ever party. What is not to like about them? Easy finger food and healthy for you! You can make these ahead up to one day, and serve them cold out of the refrigerator!
One of my absolute favorites… Bruschetta! Nothing beats the homemade stuff and this recipe will have all of your guest asking for the recipe! I’ve been making this for years and don’t plan to ever stop making it!
ok… and my number 1 favorite appetizer to make for a party…
First off… don’t laugh at the picture. This was taken long before I owned a DSLR fancy-pants camera! This is a fool proof calamari recipe that will really wow your guest. I love it because you deep fry pieces of basil right in with the squid! The sauces are really where its at… don’t skimp! Make both sauces.

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I, like many others, have been enjoying the holidays with family. I wanted to post this recipe prior to Christmas, but was trying to stay clear from the computer giving myself a much needed break. I love peppermint bark. To be exact… the William’s Sonoma peppermint bark. It’s amazing, but it’s also $25 a tin! Way too much, for this thrifty person to pay! 

In past year’s I’ve started making my own peppermint bark. It’s very simple and can make for a wonderful holiday gift. I also love to bring it to parties that we are invited too–it is always a hit! This takes a little less than an hour to make and can be passed as the fancy $25 version! The key to good peppermint bark is the quality of the chocolate you use! I always splurge and buy the Ghirardelli chocolate chips! 

Source: Katie Original

Peppermint Bark

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 12 minutes

Yield: 12-24

Ingredients

  • 1 bag chocolate chips
  • 1 bag white chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 24 candy canes

Directions

  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, and set to the side.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl place the bag of chocolate chips in the bowl. Microwave on 20 second intervals (stirring between heatings) until melted. Once the chocolate is melted carefully smooth it out on the parchment paper. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  3. While the chocolate is in the freezer, unwrap all 24 candy canes. Then place them in a freezer safe baggy, seal it, and begin beating the crap out of the candy canes with a mallet! You will want small pieces of candy cane! Place to the side until chocolate is ready.
  4. Prior to pulling the chocolate out of the freezer begin melting the white chocolate. I add two tablespoons of unsalted butter to my white chocolate to help it smooth out better. Remember to microwave in 20 second intervals until melted. You do not want to over cook your white chocolate. It will be very difficult to work with! Pull the chocolate out of the freezer and spoon and smooth the white chocolate over top. Then add the crushed candy canes.
  5. Place the chocolate back in the freezer for 20 more minutes. Upon pulling out the chocolate, begin to break with your hands. Place in an air tight container or in a zip lock bag. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks!
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In true fashion… I’m way behind on posting to the blog. I know that technically it’s not fall anymore (happy first day of winter), but I still wanted to share about an amazing luncheon I attended last month featuring Natural Delights Medjool Dates

Pearleen of Mega Yummo was the “hostess with the mostest” and had an amazing feast planned for local food bloggers and foodies alike! Prior to her luncheon I can honestly say I had never had dates before (I know… gasp)! I can honestly say that I’m a new lover and since then have been finding new recipes that include this delectable fruit!

Look at the amazing menu that was put together for this event. We had 4 Hors d’oeuvres and a 5 course meal that was also paired with craft beers and wine! 

As you can tell we started the afternoon with four very unique hors d’oeuvres. 
I absolutely loved the crostini with Brie, Dates, and Toasted Walnuts!
I loved the Chèvre-Stuffed Natural Delight Medjool Dates with Pomegranate Molasses & Chili Oil. 

Here is Mega Yummo in all her silliness brining out more amazing appetizers! Photographing her is Julius from Droolius.com 
By far these were my favorite dish of the afternoon! The sweet and savory pair so well! You can find the recipe for Bacon Wrapped Chorizo-Stuffed Natural Delight Dates w/ Piquillo Pepper Sauce. The bacon for these little gems was provided by a local food truck, Big Wheel Provisions. They actually cure their own bacon. I can tell you first hand (being a bacon lover) that it was amazing!

 I could have eaten the entire plate of the Date & Caramelized Onion Goat Cheese Flat Bread. It had a perfect balance of smooth flavors. I think the only thing that could have made this better was adding a little bacon to it! 

The Apple & Endive Salad had another sweet and savory mix to it. The homemade dressing complimented it perfectly! 

Mega Yummo brought out the third course, which was a Pan Fried Quail with dates glazed sweet soy. It was paired with sweet potatoes and arugula. Since I’m not a huge meat eater I opted for the salad portion. I still had the chance to taste the flavors of the quail on the salad and it was to die for! Mrs. Mega Yummo and her mom created the sauce after a few experimental go arounds and I think it was just perfect! 



To top the amazing luncheon off we got to walk away with some amazing swag! 

So have you ever tried dates before? What do you think of them? 

Disclaimer: I received a free meal and free swag from Natural Delights Medjool Dates; however, all opinions are 100% my own!

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I’ve always had a love for potatoes, so when Potato Inspirations contacted me and asked if I’d like a few free bags of potatoes to try–I did not hesitate! Potato Inspirations is a new company that is selling their premium potatoes to local Publix supermarkets. These potatoes are grown my family farmers and are made for fast prep, fantastic flavor, and can be used for everyday dishes or gourmet meals! 
I’m always dreaming up ideas on easy and hastle free side dishes. Especially starch side dishes since I get tired of eating the same old plain potatoes and rice. I feel like I don’t use the spice blend herbes de provence enough, and knew that it would compliment the potatoes well. This was an easy dish to prep and with everything said and done took a half hour from start to finish! 

Source: Katie Original

Herbes De Provence Roasted Potato Wedges

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Rinse and dry potatoes. Quarter each potato (to form a wedge). Place wedged potatoes in a large zip lock baggy and toss with herbes de provence, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Seal bag and mix until all the flavors are incorporated.
  3. Place potato wedges on a baking sheet and cover with tin foil. Bake for 20 minutes covered. Remove foil from top of pan, using a spatula move potatoes around, and then bake for another 5 minutes or until fully cooked. Serve immediately.
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Disclaimer: I received free potatoes to write this post, and was not monetarily compensated. All opinions are my own and do not reflect the company. 


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