Recipe Collections

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread and The Other Top 11 Recipes of 2012

by Shawnda on December 27, 2012

in Recipe Collections

It’s always fun to look back at the end of the year and see what recipes hit people with “I gotta make that now. Like RIGHT now.” Or at least “I’m going to Pin it and then forget about it. Like that DIY shower door miracle cleaner I never tried.”

The Top 12 Most Viewed recipes of 2012, as clicked on by you:

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread

1. Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread – It’s 2 parts pizza, 1 part finger food, and 3 parts awesome. I modified a recipe I found over at the lovely Annie’s Eats and then within 7 days of being posted, it became the most popular recipe I’ve ever, ever, ever posted. Like, ever. And it has stayed that way. Kinda like my embarrassing love-hate relationship with Taylor Swift songs.

Brie & Brisket Quesadillas

2. Brie & Brisket Quesadillas with Mango Barbecue Sauce – Thanks to the Crockpot, it’s a really easy – and a pretty fancy – dinner or appetizer. One of my all-time favorites from The Pastry Queen.

Fresh Strawberry Cake

3. Fresh Strawberry Cake – Real, from-scratch strawberry cake recipes are nearly impossible to find if you’re trying to make one without Jello and strawberry extract but this one is a friend & family (and internet) favorite.

Crispy Baked Zucchini Fries

4. Crispy Baked Zucchini Fries – Last summer, zucchini invaded my backyard and threatened to take down the Monarchy. With some breadcrumbs and some Ranch Dressing, I quashed the rebellion.

Green Monster Smoothie

5. Green Monster Breakfast Smoothie – A fresh, easy, and healthy way to start the day. It’s green – but it doesn’t taste like it!

Restaurant Style White Queso Dip

6. Restaurant Style Queso Dip – Most restaurants won’t tell you that the secret to their awesome white queso is white American cheese. But it is. And you can make it at home for less than $7 for a small bowl.

Homemade Margarita Mix

7. Homemade Margarita Mix – #7? C’mon, guys, this is way better than the pizza monkey bread! And you’ll want to stock your freezer so you can make these 20 (woah) flavored margaritas.

Homemade Ranch Dressing Creamy Jalapeno Ranch

8. Homemade Ranch Dressing – Skip the squeeze bottle and pull out your blender. You’ll never go back, I promise. And the variations (especially the Chuy’s version) are just as awesome.

Hot Asiago Crab & Artichoke Dip

9. Hot Asiago Crab & Artichoke Dip – We recreated – and improved – a brewery favorite appetizer. It’s killer. And uses a reduced fat base so it’s better than the original in pretty much every single way.

CrockPot Korean Beef Tacos with Cucumber Slaw

10. CrockPot Korean Beef Tacos with Cucumber Slaw – The greatest thing to ever come out of my Crockpot, courtesy of the beautiful Tina from My Life as a Mrs.

Dr. Seuss Cupcakes

11. Dr. Seuss’ Thing 1 & Thing 2 Cupcakes – The attention-getter at my daughter’s Cat in The Hat Birthday Party this year.

Healthier Stove Top Mac & Cheese Healthier Stove Top Mac & Cheese Healthier Stove Top Mac & Cheese

12. Stove Top Macaroni & Cheese – 4-ingredients to stove top mac & cheese perfection. The secret to our better-for-you mac & cheese is fat-free Greek yogurt – it’s loaded with protein and makes a creamier sauce. And the variations are endless (challenge accepted).

That’s it! The Top 12 for 2012. Thanks for making 2012 such a happy blogging year!



Show of hands. Who else spent a couple of hours yesterday sorting through browser bookmarks, magazine recipe tear-outs from years past, Pinterest, and favorite blogs to plan their Thanksgiving menus?

You are not alone.

Roasted Chestnut and Sausage Dressing

My parents and I usually alternate hosting every other year but a glitch in the matrix means I get to host in my “off” year. Thanksgiving dinner in my family is always a late lunch followed by unbuttoned pants comatose football-watching followed by the dragging of the Christmas tree decorations out of the attic.

Me, I could make an entirely new menu every year and be happy. But tradition is important to my dad (and when we’re talking broccoli & rice casserole, my little brother) so I try to work in enough new dishes to satisfy the holiday adventurer in me while keeping enough of the family favorites to prevent disownment.

Roasted Carrots

This year’s menu features decades-long-tradition dishes, a family favorite cocktail, and a few new/madeover dishes (*). The new stuff is getting a test run over the next couple of weeks – if they keep their place on the menu, I’ll share them before Thanksgiving. If they don’t, I have plenty of time to whine about it on Twitter and find a suitable replacement.

Thanksgiving Menu

What’s going on your menu this year? And if you need some inspiration or suggestions, check out some of our favorite Thanksgiving Greatest Hits!

Cranberry Margaritas
Blood Orange Margaritas – I’ve already seen blood oranges in the market, hopefully they’ll stick around!
Wine – Riesling, Pinot Noir, and our housemade port
Beer – St. Arnold Pumpkinator and our Christmas Ale, if it’s ready in time

Baked Brie en Croute with Cranberry-Apricot Chutney, served with vegetables, crackers, and toasted baguette slices

*Sweet Tea & Citrus Brined Turkey – Go big or go home, right?
*Hasselback Sweet Potatoes with Maple Cinnamon Butter and Bacon
Roasted Chestnut & Sausage Dressing – This is my very favorite dressing in the whole wide world.
Dad’s Baked Beans – 5 ingredients. And one of them is bacon.
*Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Casserole – We have 3 rules in my family regarding Thanksgiving dinner and this dish breaks all of them.
Roasted Green Beans – There is always a lack of things that grew in the ground, in close-to-natural form, at our Thanksgiving dinner table. And if the bin of green beans looks sad and picked over…
Thyme Roasted Carrots with Goat Cheese – More consolation prizes should come topped with goat cheese.
*Cranberry-Port SauceClassic homemade cranberry sauce… but with booze.
Black Pepper & Rosemary Dinner Rolls – And a plain batch thrown in for good measure.

Not it! I have baseboards to dust. We’re pie people so I expect my familiy to show up with an assortment of sweet potato, pecan, and chocolate pies large enough to feed 3 football teams.



Cherry tomatoes coming out of your ears? Me, too. Isn’t it awesome :) I’ve pulled together a few of our cherry tomato greatest hits and would love to hear about yours in the comments section!

Lemony Orzo with Chicken and Roasted Tomatoes

1. Quickly roast them. And then toss them with pasta, leftover chicken, and artichokes…

Penne with Roasted Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Or penne and mozzarella.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

2. Slow-roast them. Low heat, a couple of hours, and then try to stop yourself from eating the entire pan before tossing into pasta or on sandwiches and pizza.

Pico de Gallo

3. Quarter cherry tomatoes, toss with chopped red onion, the hottest jalapenos you can find, cilantro, salt, and a little lime juice. And then scoop that with chips, over tacos…

The Texican Burger

…Or on a fancy hamburger

4. Grilled. Toss with olive oil and throw them over open flame. And then throw them over a steak.

Cherry Tomatoes

5. Give them a quick rinse, a pat try, and then sit on the couch with a bowl in your lap. It’s more respectable than a bag of Funyons.