Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Best Meals of 2011

Best Meals of 2011:
2011 was another big year for me in the kitchen.  I made a ton of meals. Looking back, I was really happy to see that so many Vegetarian meals made my favorites list. All in all, I had a blast in the kitchen this year.  As always my goals are to get the tastiest, most creative and quickest meals on the table and I think all of these recipes show that I accomplished that.  Enjoy!

I originally saw this recipe while searching "eggplant" on pinterest.  What I got was a link to a blog called "What the hell does a vegan eat anyway."  I liked her recipe, but in true Lizzy fashion, I kept digging for more recipes that sang out to me.  In the end, I mixed several recipes into one.  But the steps were pretty much the same.  Slice eggplant, fry eggplant, make a remoulade, make a slaw, combine on hearty bread. Eat.  Enjoy.

 I made Giada's Butternut Squash Lasagna.  I changed some of this recipe by making my béchamel sauce a bit healthier- using fat free milk and roasting the squash instead of boiling it.  So if you are looking to do something fun with butternut squash, make this recipe.  It has a bunch of steps and takes a bit of time, but it is easy to make and delicious to eat!

I first saw this on Cara's blog and knew I had to make it.  I love thai inspired dishes with peanut sauces but I don't like peanut butter on it's own (crazy I know)!  This dish combined some of my favorite ingredients: spice and kale!

In March I had a week that I used Egg Rolls for every meal.  I fell in love with the idea of making Lasagna Cupcakes.  I really love everything in miniature form.  I combined Arugula Pesto into the Ricotta Mixture to make a vegetarian lasagna. 

In February, I had a week of making non-traditional burgers.  Burgers that leave you feeling good inside, not guilty.  These spicy black bean and corn burgers were so easy to make.  I added salsa and avocado on top and loved every bite.

 Most of you know I'm pretty obsessed with Kale.  I have no idea where I got the idea but  I thought to make Kale Pesto.  Then I googled it and found an awesome NY Times recipe I really don't think I'll make any other pesto ever again.  This was so perfect!

When I got beautiful strawberries from my CSA,  I decided to turn these strawberries into the best avocado salsa I've ever had.  Mixing creamy avocado with luscious fruity strawberries with lime juice, red onion and jalapeno and you get a salsa that is seriously delicious. Then combining that with flaky cod on a whole wheat tortilla with a bit of feta and cilantro makes the perfect, unexpected fish tacos.

I made two mussels dishes I was really proud of... Dave and I order mussels all the time at restaurants so it was super fun to make these at home.

I loved the spiciness of this dish mixed with several other kinds of seafood.  
This is a dish I must make again!

I loved the idea of crusting the fish with tons of spices and then (lightly) frying the fish.  I only used 1 tablespoon of canola oil so I'm going to call it sauteing.  

Creative Pizzas:

I used my CSA arugula to make a pizza that combines salty (prosciutto) and sweet (figs).  Definitely one of my all time favorite combinations.

Mini Pizzas on CSA Zucchini!  Can't beat it.  This would make a really quick and delicious, easy appetizer!

This is a health-i-fied version of CPK's version and I loved every delicious bite.  I was shocked by how much flavor this pizza had.

Meat Dishes:

Escalating meatballs to the next level by adding tiny mozzarella balls.  They ooze out flavor and cheese, can't beat that!

I've made this dish twice now and it's my favorite special occasion meal.  The meat falls off the bone and it's so deliciously tender.  Combined with swiss chard and pearl onions over mashed potatoes, this is a VERY special meal. I made it last year for New Years dinner!

I served my chops with a curried sweet potato puree and added the tangerine chili sauce on top.  I also served this with a Blood Orange, Sweet Potato, Avocado, Feta and Arugula Salad, inspiration from Epicurious...

So as you can see, I cooked tons of delicious meals in 2011.  I hope you enjoy and take inspiration from these dishes.  I strive to make delicious tasting meals in a short amount of time while using the best produce and meats I can find.  Let me know what you think!

Which one of these dishes would be your favorite?


  1. I love mussels marinara! They have the best in the North End at the place right next to Modern Pastries - it has bad reviews on yelp but their mussels marinara is soooo freaking good. I haven't tried making them on my own but now that I have a recipe I just might try!

  2. You made so many amazing things this year! I think the fish tacos or eggplant po' boys could be my favorite.

  3. you are such a talented cook!! All these dishes are beautiful, you should be proud!

  4. Those eggplant po' boys are definitely on my to-do list for 2012! Your recipes are so creative and I love that they are not intimidating to make. Have a wonderful New Year!! xo

  5. Awesome roundup, Lizzy! Can't wait to see what deliciousness awaits in the new year :)

  6. So many amazing meals! I really need to make that lasagna... it's been on my mind ever since I saw it here :)

  7. What a tasty round up :) Now I'm craving short ribs!

  8. girl, you really did eat WELL this year! I've made that lasagna...and it's the best. And now I've bookmarked all the rest of your veg recipes...and some of the meat ones to veg-ify (thai chicken pizza = love). Happy new year! I'm SO glad we FINALLY got to meet this year. Let's not make it another year until we hang out again, though. K?

  9. What a year!! I made kale pesto recently and totally fell in love! I'm going to have to remember those lasagna cupcakes when I entertain this winter!

  10. That sweet potato arugula salad in the last picture caught my eye.

  11. loved cara's kale & tofu, too! and i made kale pesto this weekend... although just kind of flew by the seat of my pants b/c i missed yours this summer! lots of delicious eats, i'm sure you've got many more great meals up your sleeve for 2012!!