2010 Favorites – The Finale
Even though some people strongly believe I live off of sugar, I promise that’s not true. I won’t deny that I have a sweet tooth but there are many other amazing items that I simply cannot live without. Over the last year I’ve shared a ton of old and new favorites. After sharing my favorite sweets from the year, I still need to share my favorites in all of the other categories. From drinks to snacks and several main dishes, these are some of my favorites from 2010.
For our summer parties I decided to try something different and made a bunch of homemade drinks, instead of going for the cheap and easy soda alternative. This was a crowd pleaser! I’m really glad I made it and opted to take the extra time to share it at a party. It’s tangy and just right for a warm summer day. If having an adults only party, you could absolutely kick this up with some vodka or tequila.
We couldn’t keep our hands off of this, especially in it’s frozen state. The liquid version is equally tasty but the frozen variety is something special. It’s probably one of the most enjoyable drink options when it’s 80+ degrees out. It might not be the right season for this, but you’ll want to try it when it’s warm out again.
Blueberry Pomegranate Margaritas
Hands down my absolute favorite homemade adult drink EVER. This is seriously amazing. I love fruity drinks so traditional margaritas at restaurants just don’t cut it for me. I lean more towards cosmos but this was a big winner. It’s so good in fact that I’ll be making it over the New Year’s weekend. Mmmm my mouth is practically watering thinking about it.
Snacks and Appetizers
Giant soft homemade pretzels – yum! Seriously easy to make and super tasty. Sprinkle with your favorite topping prior to baking or dip baked pretzels in mustard while still warm. I only condone the use of mustard as a pretzel condiment – all others are strictly forbidden.
Homemade Cracker Jack
You can’t have baseball without lemonade, pretzels, hot dogs, nachos and of course… CRACKER JACK! Which is why I did all of those (minus the hot dogs… because you’ll never catch me making homemade hot dogs) last spring for the begining of baseball season. I simply adore cracker jack. As a kid and an adult, the peanuts are probably my favorite part but the caramel covered popcorn is just amazing. Mmm. No wonder the boxes of the real stuff are so small, I’d eat a huge box in one sitting I’m sure! As I’m sure many of you would as well. Not only is it one of the best snacks out there, but it’s beyond easy to make!! The only downside to the homemade variety is you don’t get any cute prizes in the mix – bummer. One batch makes a ton so it’s perfect for a party, bagged up to take home or left out in a large bowl.
No Fuss Mozzarella Sticks
Who doesn’t love warm gooey fried cheese? Mmm. It’s by far one of my favorite appetizers. Only one that I immediately think of top mozzarella sticks as my favorite appetizer. Traditionally mozzarella is breaded and fried but it can be a royal pain in the you know what. Wrapping the cheese sticks instead in egg roll wrappers make this not only easy and crispy but still down right delicious. They are quick to make and fry. You could easily cut the sticks down prior to wrapping and frying to make them a more appealing appetizer size for a party.
Fried Mashed Potatoes
What do you do when you have too much leftover mashed potatoes? Well… fry them up in little balls of course! Around the holidays especially, most of us find ourselves overloaded with leftovers and get sick of eating them in the same way day after day. This is a fun way to use up some of the mashed potatoes. It’s definitely one of the more sinful appetizers I’ve made. The extra spice and exterior crunch of the balls really help with their push to the top of the list.
Shredded Taco Bites
Instead of the traditional ground meat variety of tacos, I opted to make spicy shredded chicken one day. That turned into these amazing little bite size appetizers. Though we ate them as our dinner that night, they’re perfect for a party! One or two per person would be a perfect amount. The wonton wrapper makes a perfect crispy basket. Top off with your favorite taco fixings. When I say spicy… these really did have a wonderful kick to them. If you’re not a fan of spicy foods, simply cut back on the amount of spices you add.
Baked Mac and Cheese
Ooey gooey warm and delish. Mac and cheese is a perfect winter comfort food. This particular variety is one I’ve been making for years. It’s easy to switch up with different cheeses as well as any add-in items such as bacon, sausage, veggies, etc. Top off with bread crumbs, crushed crackers or chips for a slight crunchiness.
Slow Cooker Italian Wedding Soup
I have been searching high and low for amazing slow cooker recipes. To my dismay, what you want isn’t always out there. Sometimes you have to play around and make your own. This is one of those. It’s not your average Italian wedding soup mostly due to the spiced up chicken meatballs. They have a nice kick and also make this healthier than the traditional beef variety. The meatballs have seemed to be the item that really makes this dish stand out. Overall the flavors blend together perfectly making this an absolute keeper. If you’re looking for a new winter soup to try, this is one that should definitely be added to the list.
Baked Panko Chicken Tenders
I love chicken and I’m known on occasion to still order chicken fingers/tenders at restaurants. I also have kids and what kid doesn’t love chicken tenders? It’s an easy way to convince them to eat. Okay they’re not both picky, just the older one strangely enough. The panko breadcrumbs used for these tenders are amazing. I can’t believe I hadn’t found them before this year. They give an extra crunch to anything you use them with. Sometimes traditional breadcrumbs just don’t cut it. These can easily be spiced up or left pretty basic depending on your preferences or the crowd you’re serving. They’re great as a dinner item or an appetizer depending on their size.
Andy’s Mac and Cheese
A new favorite of mine. Though I had it for the first time many years ago, I just recently got the recipe and made it myself. It’s creamy and just so good. Almost any mac and cheese will do, but this is just something special in my book. I love it even more as leftovers with broken chips mixed in for a nice crunch. Mmm mmm.
BBQ Chicken Pizza
This has become my favorite homemade pizza. The only alteration to the original I’ve done is making it with this dough. The original gives you a perfectly thin crust that is extremely easy to work with, though requires sitting over night at the very least. The dough I use most often is thicker and is quick to mix up… primarily why I use it. If you don’t have an aversion to bbq sauce then you should absolutely give this a try (with either dough really) the next time you want to make homemade pizza. It’s beyond good. It wouldn’t be my favorite if it wasn’t that good. I honestly can’t get enough of it and look forward to the leftovers the next day or two.