Kitchen Parade’s Best-Ever “Most Useful” Recipes – Just One Per Year Since 2002

Today I'm taking a long look back, selecting a single best / most-useful recipe from each year of Kitchen Parade's long history since way back in 2002. Together? I guess you could call this the "mother" of all best-recipe lists :-). But in my household, these few recipes are the most "useful" recipes, all committed to 3x5 cards for quick access.

But first ... this is the time of year when many of us reach out to say thanks to those who bring meaning to our lives. So please, accept my thanks. I'm grateful for your time, your consideration, your comments, your emails, your likes, your shares, your PINs – and most of all that you invite me into your kitchen, trusting me to inspire the meals you prepare for those you most love, the shared curiosity for seasonal ingredients and healthy techniques, the ideas and pleasures that make the kitchen table the gathering place in so many homes.

Today Kitchen Parade is well over 500 columns, a body of work that gives me immense pride. But it would be mere pixels waxing and waning on the internet without all of you. I thank you, I thank you.

Kitchen Parade's best recipes 2002 - present, just one per year ♥ KitchenParade.com

Wanna skip over how this recipe collection came to be?
Skip Straight to simple lists:
~ Recipes by Year ~
~ Recipes by Course ~


Time Gives Perspective, Yes?

Ever since my soon-to-be 92-year old father came to live with Jerry and me here in St. Louis in 2016, I cook more than ever but share new recipes – I'm painfully aware – less than ever.

So as 2017 drew to a close, I looked with wonder into the traditional year-end "Best Recipes of 2017" collections from bloggers whose work I admire. But for me in 2016? and again in 2017? There were just too few new recipes to cull out a meaningful list of favorites.

A friend's question sparked an idea. "What is the one thing I cook most often?"

A quick scan of Recipes by Year – that list's all up-to-date, thank you very much! – revealed that in each year's recipes, just one stood out from all the others as one I return to over and over again and is therefore "most useful". It was instructive, really!

(And for the record, I cook from all the recipes on Kitchen Parade and A Veggie Venture Every.Single.Day. It's just that some recipes I make really-really often, especially because like all seasonal cooks, just a few recipes get made year-round.)

You'll see. These are the simplest of recipes, not likely ones you'll haul out for company and not even so many that can be called "supper". But they are recipes that move to the table quickly and inexpensively and with little fuss. No special ingredients. No bulky equipment. Just real food made from clean ingredients with tastes that I, anyway, never tire of. Just simple food prepared well, standing the test of time.

In an age of fascination with super-fast Instapots and super-convenient Blue Apron (I'm a fan of just one, any guesses which?), these are the recipes that make both seem, well, unnecessary. I hope you find your own inspiration here, too.


For Convenience, Quick Lists

QUICK LIST BY YEAR

2002 Chocolate Chili
2003 Laura's Healthy Carrot Soup
2004 Alice Waters' Coleslaw
2005 Light 'n' Easy Chocolate Pudding
2006 White Chicken Chili
2007 Flaky Tender Pie Crust
2008 Baked Bacon
2009 Winter Stew
2010 Red Quinoa Salad Your Way
2011 Homemade Granola with Almonds & Apricots
2012 Oven-Baked Whole-Grain Pilaf with Quinoa, Barley, Kamut & Other Grains
2013 No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock
2014 Almost-Chewy Creamy Oatmeal
2015 Easy Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
2016 Orange & Cumin Vinaigrette
2017 Our Daily Bread: My Easy Everyday Bread Recipe
2018 Coming next week!

QUICK LIST BY COURSE
CONCEPT RECIPES
2009 Winter Stew
2010 Red Quinoa Salad Your Way
2012 Oven-Baked Whole-Grain Pilaf with Quinoa, Barley, Kamut & Other Grains
2017 Our Daily Bread: My Easy Everyday Bread Recipe

BREAKFAST

2008 Baked Bacon
2014 Almost-Chewy Creamy Oatmeal
2017 Our Daily Bread: My Easy Everyday Bread Recipe

SUPPERS
2009 Winter Stew
2010 Red Quinoa Salad Your Way
2015 Easy Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

SOUPS & CHILIS
2003 Laura's Healthy Carrot Soup
2002 Chocolate Chili
2006 White Chicken Chili
2018 Coming next week!

SALADS
2004 Alice Waters' Coleslaw
2016 Orange & Cumin Vinaigrette

SIDES
2012 Oven-Baked Whole-Grain Pilaf with Quinoa, Barley, Kamut & Other Grains

SWEETS
2005 Light 'n' Easy Chocolate Pudding
2007 Flaky Tender Pie Crust

EXTRAS
2011 Homemade Granola with Almonds & Apricots
2013 No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock


Kitchen Parade's Most Useful Recipes 2002 – Present
Just One Recipe from Each Year


2002 – 2004
Chocolate Chili, Carrot Soup & Coleslaw

Chocolate Chili Laura's Healthy Carrot Soup Alice Waters' Coleslaw

[left] Chocolate Chili is my oldest and still most favorite recipe for homemade chili, it starts with ground beef (or venison or turkey or ...) and the usual suspects of onion and tomato. What makes Chocolate Chili special are the spices and yes, cocoa powder. A few years back, I really amped up the spices and whoa, is that ever good! No beans! Quick TIP: Serve Chocolate Chili (or your own favorite chili) with mashed potatoes or Mashed Potatoes and Carrots, this is an old farmwife trick to feed lots of hard-working farm hands!

[center] Laura's Healthy Carrot Soup is perfect for a light lunch or supper, it tastes ultra-rich and creamy but the "cream" comes not from cream but slow-cooked onion and potato plus a little skim or low-fat milk. Total comfort food! Beautiful color, yes?!

[right] Alice Waters' Coleslaw is such a fan favorite, so bright and fresh! Last fall, I made a quadruple batch for a family-wedding pig roast, gone that went! It's vegan, no mayonnaise, just lots of lime and cilantro and a touch of jalapeño. Try it with fish tacos too!


2005 – 2007
Chocolate Pudding, White Chicken Chili & The Flakiest, Most Tender Pie Crust You Can Imagine

Light 'n' Easy Chocolate Pudding White Chicken Chili Flaky Tender Pie Crust

[left] Light 'n' Easy Chocolate Pudding, just five ingredients! That makes it perfect for when "supper's a little skimpy" (my mom kept a stable of simple dessert recipes like this, I do too!) or you know, a late-night chocolate attack.

[center] White Chicken Chili, so many times this one warms up a chilly evening. These days, I usually cut up a rotisserie chicken for the meat, extra easy, that is!

[right] Flaky Tender Pie Crust is a wonder! So many cooks have found useful information in the many tips and ideas in this step-by-step photo tutorial, How to Make Flaky Tender Pie Crust. This crust is made with half butter (for flavor) and half Crisco or lard (for tenderness). If you've lost your pie crust mojo, this just might help! (It did, for me, back in 2007 when our friend Anne Cori, aka the "Pie Whisperer", gave me a pie crust boot camp!


2008 – 2010
Bacon, People! Plus Two Concept Recipes, Winter Stew & Red Quinoa Supper Salad

Baked Bacon Winter Stew Red Quinoa Salad Your Way

[left] Baked Bacon, how to cook perfect bacon in the oven, it's how Jerry cooks bacon every chance he gets! I appreciate that most of the bacon grease renders off, that makes for really nice crispy bacon. The bacon fat doesn't go to waste though, we collect it in a mason jar and use it for cooking.

[center] Winter Stew, this is such a useful recipe during the winter, especially because it needs only an hour in the oven, not an all-day cook. Winter Stew is what I call a "concept recipe" – start with a protein (beef, venison, pork, etc.) and then add on-hand vegetables and a small touch of fruit. Whatever the combo, it just seems to work. Last fall I tried some meaty pork ribs with tomatillos, oh that was good! Cook with confidence, no recipe required!

[right] Red Quinoa Salad Your Way is a wonderful choice for Meatless Monday, it always surprises the meat eaters at my table how satisfying a supper salad can be. Once again, this is a "concept recipe" – but with lots of tips on what to be sure to include to make the main-dish salad extra delicious.


2011 – 2013
Homemade Granola, a Healthy-Grain Pilaf and Oh, Baby, Great Oatmeal

Homemade Granola with Almonds & Apricots Oven-Baked Whole-Grain Pilaf No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock

[left] Homemade Granola with Almonds & Apricots is one recipe that a few years back, I'd never have guessed would make this list. But truly? I make this recipe over and over, it sits out on the counter in a pretty blue vintage mason jar. We don't eat granola as a breakfast cereal but it adds a nice bit of crunch and chew to our morning oatmeal, to a fruit salad or a Greek yogurt parfait, etc. This very week, I'm experimenting with a possible new ingredient that comes highly recommended!

[center] Oven-Baked Whole-Grain Pilaf with Quinoa, Barley, Kamut & Other Grains is itself an update from a long-time favorite recipe from A Veggie Venture, Cook’s Illustrated Foolproof Oven-Baked Brown Rice. But instead of or in addition to brown rice, I use a mixture of grains plus some spices. So good, this stuff and doesn't it just look like it tastes good?! Always a plus!

[right] No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock, there's just no counting how often I make stock, it's such an ingrained habit. Right now the basement freezer is overflowing with frozen chicken (and beef) stock, here's How to Freeze Stock in Canning Jars.


2014 – 2016
An Exceptional Oatmeal, Supper on the Fly and a Vibrant Salad Dressing

Almost-Chewy Creamy Oatmeal Easy Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas Orange & Cumin Vinaigrette

[left] Almost-Chewy Creamy Oatmeal, oh my, this oatmeal, a blend of steel-cut and old-fashioned oats! If it were just me at the table, it's all there'd be for breakfast, one morning topped with fruit, another day with fried eggs, another day with leftover sautéed or roasted vegetables. It makes a big batch and keeps and reheats well so it's great for morning breakfast prep. A note, the post needs updating, today I use a lot more liquid, that means less stirring, easier cleanup and even fewer calories.

[center] Easy Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas are a go-to supper for me, in fact, I stock small cans of green chiles and bottles of salsa verde, just to make it on a whim whenever I stop by Sam's Club for prescriptions and a rotisserie chicken. The table lights up when I make these enchiladas!

[right] Orange & Cumin Vinaigrette is so handy, a super-simple salad dressing that's just brightens up greens and vegetables. If you make a salad every night, add this to your list of homemade salad dressings. Because really? This simple salad dressing is a stand-in for the many dressings I make one after the other, My Favorite Dressing, Apple Cider Vinaigrette, Buttermilk Garlic Salad Dressing, German Salad Dressing and Homemade Thousand Island Dressing.


2017 – Years Future
Our Daily Bread (Whole-Grain, So Adaptable) ... and Then What?!

Our Daily Bread: My Easy Everyday Bread Recipe

[left] Our Daily Bread: My Easy Everyday Bread Recipe is the single recipe that inspired this post because no doubt, this is the number one single recipe I've made in the past two years. For more than a year, I just made it again and again, we never tire of it, perhaps because I time the baking for warm just-from-the-oven slices when soup is on the supper menu? (The rest is used for morning toast, except we don't own a toaster anymore, we just brush on a little olive oil and make Fried Bread.) But in the last couple of months, I've adapted the recipe – just a few changes, all the same simplicity – into three entirely different breads plus hamburger/sandwich buns which I hope to share in 2018. Truly, I've fallen in love with recipes like this, they are central to how I cook now. I think of it as "fewer recipes, more variations".

[center] Yes, I already know (or think I know!) what recipe will be the "most useful" new recipe in 2018, perhaps because I've made it a zillion times beginning way way back when I was learning to cook in the 1980s and especially now, in 2016 and 2017? Any guesses?!

[right] What will it be? what will it be??? I'm already thinking ahead, wondering which recipe in my backlog of new recipes to share, just might rise to this level?


More "Best of the Year" Favorite Recipes from Kitchen Parade


Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

© Copyright 2017 Kitchen Parade