As I mentioned the other day, I just love year-end wrap ups. Taking a moment to review the highs and lows, the good the bad, the celebrations, changes, and constants of the last 365 days makes me nearly well up with tears. Mostly because having children turned me into a complete softie. Actually, I’m so soft that “squishy” might be more accurate!
Anyway, one look at my top nine Instagram posts from 2016 (here’s the link to find your own – so fun!) and it’s clear what this year was all about – family. Spending 3/4 of the year without childcare was tough professionally, but as a result Lincoln and I had an absolute blast, this summer especially, and I’ll never forget our daily adventures together. Welcoming Cameron into the family has given me a sense of peace that I’d been searching for for years, and our family finally feels complete.
As Bryan Adams so eloquently put it (that’s a joke, people) I know I’ll look back at these years when I’m 80 and say, “those were the best days of my life.” Truly, I wish I could push the pause button on life right now – it’s not without its challenges, but it’s also incredibly sweet.
Speaking of sweet, let’s get into my favorite recipes from 2016, which includes not one, not two, but three dessert recipes. What can I say other than this pregnancy sure brought out Mama’s sweet tooth! (Note to self: YOU ARE NOT PREGNANT ANYMORE. Stop with the full size Snickers!)
Ahem. Anyway, a few of my favorite recipes from the year were already covered in my top 10 reader’s favorite recipes round up (I’m looking at you, The Best Chicken Fajitas, Bacon and Goat Cheese Stuffed Sweet Pepper Poppers, and Shrimp and Wild Rice Skillet,) but there were still plenty to choose from. So many, in fact, that I busted my top 10 limit and increased it to 16 favorite recipes from 2016. Whoops! Here they are in no particular order, but first – have a wonderful, safe, and happy new years celebration! Talk to you next year (har!)
Psst! Here are my favorite recipes from years past!
No-Bake Cranberry Chocolate Almond Energy Bites
So I said this list was in no particular order but I hereby declare No-Bake Cranberry Chocolate Almond Energy Bites my #1 favorite recipe from 2016 – there, I said it! These bites have saved both Lincoln and myself from hanger-induced meltdowns more times than I can count, are incredibly easy to make, and travel well so you can take them anywhere. I make a batch once a week and never, ever get tired of them. MVP of 2016, for sure!
Cheesy Ham and Potato Soup
Maybe this recipe is just fresh in my mind since I posted it last week – regardless Cheesy Ham and Potato Soup is definitely one of my rockstar recipes from 2016. Thick, cheesy, savory, and satisfying, I cannot wait to make another batch.
Fresh Summer Rolls with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce
Ben and I love to roll fresh sushi at home. Ok that’s a lie. Ben and I love to EAT fresh sushi at home, but making it can be a pain in the you know what. Fresh Summer Rolls with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce are light and tasty like sushi, but much simpler to make. Plus they’re packed with fresh vegetables so you’re doing your body, not just your mouth, some good when you eat them. PLUS that peanut sauce…holy smokes.
20 Minute Company Chicken
From the quick cooking time, to the pops of salty flavor from prosciutto and capers, there is nothing I don’t adore about 20 Minute Company Chicken. This dish calls for very few ingredients so it’s perfect for both busy weeknights and occasions when you need to impress visiting guests. I make it for the boys and myself at least once a month.
Another recent post! Senegalese Soup is unexpected, healthy, and full of good for you ingredients. So far the feedback from people who have made it has been awesome, so take everyone’s word for it and give this meatless soup recipe a try ASAP!
Stovetop Apple Crisp for Two
Oh wow, for SURE my favorite dessert recipe from 2016! Saute a batch of Stovetop Apple Crisp for Two when you don’t want to wait for a full batch of apple crisp to bake, or you just don’t trust yourself around a big pan of it (ME) and need some help with portion control. The granola crisp topping is going to rock your face clear off. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya’!
Cheddar Brat Meatballs
Cheddar Brat Meatballs are one of my most fun recipes from 2016! If you love brats, you’ll love this delicious appetizer recipe. Homemade brat mixture (just pork and spices,) are rolled into meatballs then stuffed with cheese and baked. Couldn’t be simpler, and a must have for watching any type of sporting event on TV. Cold beverage optional yet recommended.
Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs and Rice
Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs and Rice have become one of my go-to dinner recipes when time is tight but I want to make something homemade vs resorting to take out. I’ve used both bone in and boneless thighs, skin on and skin off, and it all works beautifully. I should add that this is one of Lincoln’s favorite meals too – we all LOVE it!
Large Batch Homemade Taco Seasoning
Another MVP of 2016! Large Batch Homemade Taco Seasoning isn’t revolutionary or anything, but it does make taco night or any other time you’re making a taco flavored dish that much easier to put together. Plus the ingredients are ones you’ve already got in the spice cupboard. Easy, delicious, and convenient – what more could you ask for?
Skinny Shrimp Piccata with Zoodles
I was shocked at how delicious Skinny Shrimp Piccata with Zoodles turned out – I knew the combination of flavors was going to be good, but I didn’t know how good until I took my first bite. This low-carb dish is high in flavor, and quick cooking, too. You won’t miss the noodles a bit. (Fun fact: I hate the way these photos turned out – they definitely don’t do the recipe justice!)
Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Dirt Cake
I feel like I kept hammering Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Dirt Cake at you this summer because truly it’s one of the best desserts I’ve ever made. Even if you don’t need to eat GF/DF, I dare you to give this recipe a try. Perfect for any occasion, and kids of course love it. (And now I’m craving a gigantic scoop!)
Incredible Italian Meatballs
I feel like an Italian granny every time I make Incredible Italian Meatballs. That is to say, these babies are homemade the old fashioned way. Torn bread, grated onion, sauteed on the stovetop before being simmered low and slow in rich marinara sauce… Trust me, these meatballs are THE BEST. Incredible, in fact!
Ohhh how I love this hearty, slightly thick, and ultra savory Jambalaya Soup! Great for when you’re craving a taste of the south but are short on time. So, so, so good.
Thai Peanut Chicken and Sweet Potato Noodles
Another newer recipe that I’m totally digging right now. Put your spiralizer to good use and make Thai Peanut Chicken and Sweet Potato Noodles. This healthy swap for Pad Thai is super quick and easy, and features a peanut sauce that will leave you licking your bowl at the end of the meal.
Cucumber Tomato Salad with BEST EVER Italian Vinaigrette
We make Cucumber Tomato Salad with BEST EVER Italian Vinaigrette at least twice a week in the summer, but the Best Ever Italian Vinaigrette is something I keep in my refrigerator at all times, all year long. It’s the perfect all-purpose salad dressing and even works great as a chicken or pork marinade. Tangy, easy, and made with kitchen staples – you’ll adore it.
Peanut Butter S’mores Cheesecake Ball
I’ll just leave this Peanut Butter S’mores Cheesecake Ball right here… ? Seriously though, I didn’t think the combination of chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows could get any better – until I threw peanut butter into the mix! This easy, gluten-free dessert recipe is crazy addicting. I’m sorry/you’re welcome…?!
Once again, happy new year, everyone!!!