Warmest greetings and a very happy new year from your friendly Iowa food blogger! How were your holidays? I’ve missed you so!
The holidays were the craziest they’ve ever been this year – gosh I don’t even know where to start! We had the pleasure of hosting Ben’s family prior to Christmas plus having lots of friends trickle in and out of the house over the past two weeks. Add in Christmas with my family, a double ear infection for Cam, spending lots of time together as a family of five, this, that, and the other 400 things – it feels like I was spat out of a tornado of tinsel and twinkle lights and landed here in 2019. Holy moly!
Although today is the first day of 2019, I want to take a step back and share the top 10 recipes from 2018 here on IGE, plus five of my personal favorites. 2018 was the fastest year of my life thus far – I mean, Gwen will be 6 months old in just a couple weeks. SIX. MONTHS. OLD!! Which brings me to the highlight of 2018: our sweet Gwendolyn.
I can’t believe I was ever so nervous about having a girl (ask me again when she’s 13, I suppose.) Sis is the pea to my carrot, and our family could not love her more. Not to paint an overly rosy picture because having three young children is absolutely nuts, but I am so thankful that the boys have had nothing but love and adoration for their little sis since we brought her home from the hospital in July. That has been another huge highlight of my year.
While family was the focus of 2018, I also feel like some truly delicious food was cranked out of our kitchen. I know I say each recipe roundup shared here is my favorite, but this list of the ten most popular new recipes of 2018 truly tickles me because it’s the food that you loved the most! YOU are the reason I’m here! My job feeding, sharing, and helping every one of you is the best job on the planet. Not to say that working for yourself is all grins and giggles – it’s the most difficult job I’ve ever had – but man oh man, what a gig. Thank you for coming back again and again.
With all that said, I’m so pleased to share the top 10 new recipes from 2018 on IGE, as determined by your visits, clicks, and shares. Do you see any favorites from the past year?
#1 Spicy Shrimp Soup
I wasn’t sure how many people would be interested in the recipe for Spicy Shrimp Soup, a dish Ben and I recreated from our favorite Ecuadorian restaurant here in town, but here we are – #1 recipe of 2018! I can’t tell you how happy that makes me! You guys ADORE this easy, flavorful soup which has just the right amount of heat, as much as we do. It is so, so, so, so good. Please try it ASAP if you haven’t already.
#2 Maple Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
Maple Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Bars have just the right amount of sweetness, plus that classic pumpkin-spice flavor. They were just posted in September but still managed to take the #2 spot in the list! I can’t tell you how many comments, emails, and notes I consistently get about these bars, which make for easy, on-the-go breakfasts and/or healthy snacks.
#3 Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls
File Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls under the recipe I worked hardest on in 2018 – I lost track of how many batches I made before finally achieving the right flavor and more importantly, texture. If you hadn’t voted these delicious rolls to the #3 spot, I would have shared them down below as my personal favorite. They are tender, sweet, cinnamony, and yes – TOTALLY GLUTEN-FREE. Easily made dairy-free too. So many of you made and loved these rolls for Thanksgiving and Christmas!
#4 Triple-Berry Crumb Bars
I find it funny that four of the top 10 recipes from 2018 are baked goods because I so rarely post them here on IGE. Maybe it’s a sign I should post more?! What do you think? Anyway, Triple-Berry Crumb Bars came in the #4 spot for good reason. They are so, so simple and absolutely gorgeous. Use frozen berries to enjoy them all year ’round.
#5 Sweet Corn, Kielbasa and Potato Soup
No surprise that Sweet Corn, Kielbasa and Potato Soup claimed the fifth spot in my 10 most popular recipes from 2018. This soup is so dang good. Hearty, savory, classic flavors that will warm you inside and out. Have a bowl or seven.
#6 30 Clean Eating Recipes
This list of 30 Clean Eating Recipes includes healthy, beautiful, flavorful dishes that are both nourishing AND craveable. Imagine that! Hope you can find a few to tackle this month!
#7 Crispy Chicken, Bacon and Pesto Gnocchi Skillet
I think the popularity of Crispy Chicken, Bacon and Pesto Gnocchi Skillet was because #1.) the dish is irresistible. We’re talking, eat-the-entire-skillet-yourself-delicious, and #2.) because I shared a technique for cooking packaged gnocchi that DOESN’T involve boiling them in water until they’re a gloopy mess. This is uncharacteristic of me to say, but if you’ve tried this recipe then I imagine you will never cook your gnocchi another way again. I certainly don’t!
#8 Meal-Prep Greek Chickpea Salad
Meal-Prep Greek Chickpea Salad surprised me as the 8th top recipe of 2018 – I didn’t realize it was as popular as it is! This salad is LEGIT. Healthy, fresh, filling, and full of ALL THE FLAVORS. So much lemon and dill it’s insane. Check out the post to see how I make this recipe work for fast lunches.
#9 Healthier Zucchini Banana Bread Muffins
Healthier Zucchini Banana Bread Muffins are so soft and squishy that you’d never know they’re gluten-free. They’re full of fruits and vegetables, and lighter in fat and calories then traditional muffin recipes too – I mean these babies are checking all the boxes.
#10 Napa Sweet Corn Salad
I am so glad Napa Sweet Corn Salad rounded out the list of my top 10 most popular recipes from 2018 – it is devoured by everyone I serve it to! Suuuper refreshing in the summertime though you can use thawed frozen sweet corn to get a burst of freshness in the season that shall not be named. It’s all about that Honey-Dijon Dressing…
Five of my Personal Favorites from 2018!
The Best Grain Free Granola
You will be eating this stuff hand over fist. The Best Grain Free Granola is incredibly delicious, low in sugar, naturally sweetened, and most importantly – clumpy. BOO YAH!
Crispy Hash Brown Crust Pizza
If you have to eat gluten-free then you know how hard it is to find a GF pizza that not only tastes good but does’t have 4,000 ingredients AND can be picked up as slices that don’t sag like you know what I’m not going to finish that sentence. ENTER CRISPY HASH BROWN CRUST PIZZA. Easy, light, super crispy holdable pizza. So good!
Healthy Cheeseburger Soup
I just developed the recipe for Healthy Cheeseburger Soup about a month ago and it’s already become one of my very favorite recipes of all time. Even having to make it with dairy-free cheese (for now) it’s still incredibly delicious, and the recipe has been a smash hit with readers who have tried it.
Kimchi Fried Rice
I totally understand why Kimchi Fried Rice didn’t break into the top 10 recipes of 2018 list – Kimchi is still a relatively new ingredient to many home cooks, at least in the Midwest – but this is a dish we whip up at least once a month. There is something about the combination of spicy kimchi and savory sausage that makes your mouth instantly start to water.
Chocolate-Peppermint Puppy Chow
Chocolate-Peppermint Puppy Chow didn’t have time to break into the top 10 list, as I shared it right before Christmas, but HOLY MOLY I will be making this recipe until the end of my days! I got many excited notes and comments from readers with peanut allergies because this recipe is peanut-free. Plus it tastes just like Thin Mints. YUS.
Once again, THANK YOU for your readership and friendship in 2018! I am honored and grateful every single day that you choose to visit with me here on Iowa Girl Eats. May 2019 be a year of blessings and happiness!
join the conversation
My daughter developed celiac disease in 2017. I’m trying to find recipes for her to cook, bake, etc. Thank you!
Fiona Manoon 01.30.2019
Thank you so much for sharing recipes.Great blog!!!
Hi Kristen! I love the pictures of your family. I raised 3 girls and a boy, if my girls are any indication you’ll think she’s an angel until about 11-12, then you’ll wonder what happened to your sweet baby girl. Then once they hit about 23-25 you get a best friend!
Anyway, I recently discovered your blog, as newly dx’d gluten intolerant from Iowa, you are a huge help!!! Are there grocery stores you find carry a good variety of gf foods, that aren’t 3-4 times the cost of their gluten filled counterparts? Or am I relegated to doubling my grocery budget?
My favorite 2018 recipe is the Maple Cider Pork Tenderloin! Total game changer for how we cook pork tenderloin. It is sooooo good! Your blog and recipes are my very favorite. Thank you!
Hena Tayeb 01.04.2019
oh so many good recopies.. that spicy shrimp soup is drool worthy!
I don’t know how the cheeseburger soup didn’t hit the top 10 cause that recipe is absolutely legit. Glad it made your top 5 list though. Next I want to try the Kimchi Fried Rice. Sounds awesome!
I just published the soup before Christmas so it didn’t have all year like the others to accrue views. I am SO glad you love it though – like I said, it’s one of my favorites too! You will LOVE the Kimchi Fried Rice. Hope you give it a try! ;)
YES to reason number two on the gnocchi! My husband and I were blown away by how much better it is when it’s crispy. Never going back! … Just wanted to say how much I continue to love your blog. I remember discovering it soon after my son was born. The recipe: Sweet Corn with Maple-Bourbon Brown Butter and Bacon. I said to myself, “I’ve found my food soulmate.” I love the food, the flavors, and the accessibility for a busy family. Thank you! Wishing you and your family a fabulous 2019!
Gahh, such a nice comment to read, Kelly! Thank you so much for your kind words. I am so, so glad you love the recipes. :) Happy new year!
I think I make one of your recipes at least once a week. (Mini turkey salsa meatloaves is one of the few recipes I have memorized). Slightly embarrassed to say my husband and I finished the pot of sweet corn and kielbasa soup just ourselves. So good!
Girl, been there done that!!! No shame! ;)
Curiosity question here – how would you characterize the difference between King Arthur Measure for Measure and Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten free baking mixes? My family is not gf but I recently made your gf cinnamon rolls for friends who are. This post triggered the thought that I should make the triple berry crumb bars, which led me to your sugar cookie recipe… but now I’m curious about the difference between King Arthur and Bob’s Red Mill gf baking mixes in your experience – and if one works better in certain types of recipes than the other. Thank you!
Hi M! These flour blends will both create a similar end product. I find that with Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 flour I need to add a *touch* more liquid/water when making things like homemade egg noodles – but really that’s it. Bob’s Red Mill products are known for being minimally processed (for example their 1-1 GF baking flour has 7 ingredients compared to 12 in King Arthur’s Measure for Measure GF Flour – that said, ) so that is something to consider if those things are important to you/those you’re baking for!
Agree with your nomination of the grain-free granola…so amazing! I make it again and again and even froze some for post-baby (due in 3 weeks!)
Great idea, Sara! And congratulations! I hope the next three weeks go quickly for you! <3
Iowa Girl Eats is my go to place for recipe ideas! I LOVE the mint puppy chow – we made it for Christmas and it was a big hit! The crispy gnocchi, grain-free granola and maple pumpkin bars have also been big hits at my house this year too. Thanks for sharing all your amazing recipes!
I’m so glad to hear it, Lauren! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a nice note – I really appreciate it!
I’d like to try making the spicy shrimp soup, but I’m having a hard time finding seafood stock anywhere. I live in the Des Moines area, where do you find it? I’ve looked at HyVee, Target and Fresh Thyme to no avail.
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I’ve been reading your post since OG 3-meal-a-day posts and I just had to thank you again for ALL you do, all you share and your amazingly ACCESSIBLE RECIPES! Much love from Jersey❤️
SO grateful for you, Donna! Thank you for your readership and kind comment! Same to you, from Iowa. ;)
Happy New Years to you and your family! I’ve been following your blog for a while now and recently have been looking through your GF recipes as a means to combat my under active thyroid (and possibly Hashimotos disease); I have read that a GF and DF lifestyle helps! So thankful blogs like yours exist! Here’s to eating better in the new year!
Yes, I have too! I think it’s so neat that we can help heal and keep our bodies well with food. Good luck on your journey, Julie!
Happy new year! Your blog is my go to for recipes. Thank you for sharing. I know I’ve told you this before but it would be amazing if you made a cookbook(in all of your spare time ?)
HA! I’ve truly never felt called to write a cookbook, but have felt a little something stirring inside of me lately. Maybe when all three kids are in some sort of school!? Stay tuned. ;)
Lisa @ TechChick Adventures 01.01.2019
Happy New Year! I hope 2019 is a great year for your family. Your kids are adorable! Gwen does make a wonderful addition to your mix. I know what you mean – after having a daughter, I had no idea what to do with a baby boy :) Keep the delicious recipes coming!
HA – it’s an adventure, isn’t it?! ;) Thanks so much, Lisa – I appreciate your long time readership and support!
I made the Greek meal prep salad and Napa corn salad. I highly recommend both. I look forward to this list every year as a reminder on what to make.
Thank you so much, Rachel! I so appreciate your readership! :)