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Best Recipes of 2012

5-Star Recipes You Will Want to Make Again and Again

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Chicken Pasta Bake

Chicken Pasta Bake

Stephanie Gallagher
When you rate my recipes, it is a benefit to everyone. I get to see what really matters to you (a short ingredients list, easy directions, convenient cooking methods, etc.) and other readers get to find out what someone else thought of the recipe. It also helps me clarify my directions and the ingredients I use (should I offer substitutions for low-fat or gluten-free cooking, for example).

This collection includes the best recipes of 2012. These are the ones you rated, reviewed and enjoyed. Try them all, and as always, let me know what you think!

Best Appetizer and Snack Recipes

  • Spinach Balls - You wouldn't think a recipe for spinach balls would make it onto a list of family favorite 5-star recipes, but it didn't surprise me. Believe it or not, this is one of my kids' favorite after-school snacks.

  • Caramel Corn Recipe - Everybody loves sweet and salty snacks, so it was no surprise to me that this recipe got 5 stars. It's a classic family favorite.

  • Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins - These healthy muffins will remind you of carrot cake. The pumpkin bran muffins are filled with a sweetened cream cheese mixture that is just divine. Serve these as a snack, dessert or for breakfast.

  • Healthy Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats - Brown rice syrup and peanut butter replace the usual marshmallows and butter in these rice crisp treats. I also make them with brown rice crispy cereal. The flavor is a winner, and the kids will never know these are healthy.

Best Dinner Recipes

  • Meat Lasagna Recipe - The classic Sunday dinner favorite is a winner no matter how you look at it. Try using different kinds of spaghetti sauce. I like a roasted red pepper sauce or vegetable tomato sauce for this recipe.

  • Grilled Chicken Breasts with Asian Marinade - This oh-so-simple recipe takes only 15 minutes to prepare. And it's healthy, too. The marinade makes the chicken wonderfully tender. And the sauce is divine.

  • Tater Tot Casserole Recipe - Want to make a dinner you know the kids will love? This is the one. Switch it up by using ground turkey instead of ground beef. You can even try sweet potato puffs in place of the tater tots (look for them at a natural foods store, like Whole Foods).

  • Chicken Pasta Casserole Recipe - This is one of those unusual casseroles that is as suitable for an elegant family gathering as it is for a Tuesday night dinner. Try it, and you'll instantly see why.

Best Side Dish Recipes

  • Broccoli Salad Recipe - The first time I made this recipe it was for my kids' swim meet. It was gone in 30 minutes, and everyone asked for the recipe. Try it, and you'll see why.

  • Roasted Green Beans - I like roasting any kind of vegetable, because it brings out the natural sugars in the vegetable and makes them sweet. Season this with my favorite Maldon sea salt, and you've got a winning side dish that goes with anything.

  • Crockpot Rice - Easy-to-make, perfectly fluffy rice every time. Enough said.

  • Roasted Potatoes - Crispy and browned on the outside, tender and soft inside, these potatoes are perfect in every way. Try adding fresh garlic. So delicious!

  • Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Hazelnuts - A little bacon, maple syrup and hazelnuts give this dish incredible flavor.

Best Dessert Recipes

  • Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies - Melted butter and an extra egg yolk are the secrets that make this chocolate chip cookie recipe so soft and tender.

  • Easy Apple Pie Recipe - A prepared pie crust makes quick work of this recipe. Serve warm, topped with vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream.

  • Chocolate Brownies - This is a classic recipe that yields a rich, chewy brownie that's perfect for picnics, potlucks or just an afer-school snack.

  • Peach Dump Cake - This recipe starts with a cake mix, so it's super simple to make. Canned peaches, vanilla pudding and cream cheese give this cake that peaches-and-cream flavor that everyone loves.
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