2020 has been an unusual and difficult year. I didn’t try as many new recipes as I did last year, but a few have found their permanent home in our family’s repertoire of regular meals and special treats.
I think you will like them too.
Here are my four favorite discovered recipes of 2020 (not necessarily “new” recipes—just new to me):
- Simple ingredient list
- Fast and easy
- Recipe clickable to select number of servings
- Flexible uses beyond pasta
Searching for a (garlicky!) white garlic sauce, I discovered this recipe by Mary of The Kitchen Paper. The garlic is rather potent, but simmering it in butter infuses great flavor while removing the sharp bite of raw garlic. Only make this sauce if you love garlic!
This recipe was written to be served with regular pasta, but I have also served it over top black bean pasta and with roasted vegetables. It’s a quick, easy, and versatile sauce.
Whether to be gluten-free or out of preference, corn starch can be substituted for the flour. (I think it gives a smoother consistency, but that’s my opinion.)
This creamy garlic butter pasta is a great way to enjoy garlic!
- Fast and easy
- Cheap, filling meal
- Meatless protein
- Flexible uses
- Wonderful leftovers
Over the past few years, I have tried multiple legume recipes, trying to find ones that are inexpensive and meatless AND that my whole family loves. While we all love chili, baked beans, Turkish red lentil soup, and the marinated lentil salad I wrote about last year, it is hard to find a bean soup we all like.
This Mexican-flavored Crock Pot Pinto Beans recipe by Erin of Well Plated was a hit right from the start. As a busy mother, I loved its super-easy preparation. And my husband, 6-year-old, and 1-year-old love it, too. My six-year-old even requested this simple meal for family night!
The first night, I serve it like soup with tortilla chips and maybe a few toppings like cheese, sliced jalapeños, and cilantro.
The next day, I add leftovers to taco salad or wrap them up in tortillas like burritos. More frequently, I simply reheat them and serve with salad or leftover toppings.
The last couple times I served these pinto beans, they were thick rather than soupy, so I may need to play around with cooking times. I also want to try doubling the recipe and freezing the extras for easy meals.
Mixing a clove of freshly minced garlic to a bowl of these beans is a delicious way soothe a sore throat or help fight a cold if you feel one coming on.
Crock Pot Pinto Beans make their way to our table at least twice a month!
2. International Cuisine
- Easy (if spices prepared ahead of time)
- Readily available spices
- Flavorful but not spicy
- Great way to use fresh garden tomatoes
- Recipe for complete meal
My husband and I love Lebanese cuisine, so my cook’s heart leapt with excitement when I saw this recipe for Shawarma Spiced Chicken Thighs in a Real Simple magazine. At the time, my garden was producing an abundance of fresh, sun-ripened tomatoes, so this recipe was a perfect way to use them. (Although pita bread would be more authentic to Lebanese cooking, the Indian naan called for in this recipe pairs deliciously with the chicken and yogurt sauce.)
Glancing over this recipe, the multiple dishes accompanying the chicken may look intimidating at first. But by mixing up the spices ahead of time, and preparing each item separately, the actual cooking was quite simple.
Some ingredients are easily substituted, as well. For instance, I almost never have fresh oregano on hand, so I substitute 1 teaspoon of dried oregano for the 1 tablespoon of fresh oregano called for in the recipe. While fresh oregano may be better, it tastes fine without it. Also, if I can’t find boneless skinless chicken thighs at the store, I use chicken breasts instead. They turn out drier than thigh meat, but are still good.
Don’t be alarmed by the word “spiced.” The spice in this recipe is of the cinnamon, coriander, and cumin variety, not the hot pepper kind!
With the chicken (protein), marinated tomato (fresh produce), yogurt sauce (dairy), and naan (grain), this is a whole meal in itself. Additional vegetable dishes (like steamed broccoli or a side salad) would work well to compliment this meal. But with the bread, meat, and toppings, this meal is plenty filling on its own. (Besides, it is so delicious you’ll want seconds or maybe even thirds.) You’ll also want to use up the marinated tomatoes while they are fresh.
I am so excited that these Shawarma Spiced Chicken Thighs give us an easy, inexpensive way to enjoy Lebanese Cuisine at home!
- Moist and flavorful
- Easy to slice and serve
- Perfect amount of sweetness—not overly sugary
- Clear and accurate directions
I made this pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting from Sally’s Baking Addiction for our foster son’s birthday. I loved Sally’s clear directions and tips for every part, including the reasoning for canned pumpkin. (I was planning to use the pumpkin I cooked down the day before, so I was glad I followed her directions.) She also includes baking temperatures and times for each cake pan size, including cupcakes.
The cake turned out dense and moist, but not overly heavy. This density made it the easiest layer cake to slice and serve—no crumbling or falling apart. The cream cheese frosting was perfect (but I’m biased—cream cheese is my all-time favorite cake topping). For our family who limits our sugar intake, we found this cake sweet and flavorful, but not sickeningly sweet. You will definitely desire a second helping!
I can’t wait to make this Best Pumpkin Cake again next fall—or even before!