25 Staff-Favorite Recipes

We combed the archives, grilled readers, polled online users, and interrogated staff with one goal in mind: Find the all-time favorite Cooking Light dishes.

How We Picked

Photo: Raymond Hom

How We Picked

Define "favorite," you say. It turns out there is more than one definition. Some cited no-fail standbys, dishes they make over and over. Others nominated recipes that represent an ideal expression of a dish, be it casual, fast, or fancy. Eventually we had a too-long list, so we retested everything. Some fell out under hard judging; some got flavor tweaks or nutrition makeovers. A few passed with no alterations at all. The final 25 are, no matter the definition, true favorites.

Beef Daube Provençal

Photo: Raymond Hom

Beef Daube Provençal

First Featured in 2004

The definition of a meaty stew: great today, even better tomorrow. We just love this recipe, and according to the online reviews, so do many of you. It's foolproof, surefire, an absolute winner. We wouldn't change a thing.

View Recipe: Beef Daube Provençal

Brioche Rolls

Photo: Raymond Hom

Brioche Rolls

First Featured in 2010

When we retested these rolls (originally a recipe makeover) for this story, we were unanimous in our praise: They are perfect as is. Each roll has about 75% fewer calories and 80% less fat than classic brioche rolls, but all the flaky, buttery essence is thankfully still there. An overnight proof in the fridge builds depth and flavor; don't be tempted to skip that step.

View Recipe: Brioche Rolls

Crispy Fish with Lemon-Dill Sauce

Photo: Raymond Hom

Crispy Fish with Lemon-Dill Sauce

First Featured in 2010

Crispy breaded fish is a weeknight favorite, and you can have it without reaching into the freezer case. What we love about this recipe is that you don't even need to pan-fry the fillets; they get breaded and go right under the broiler. Be sure to use a broiler pan; the air vents keep the fish from getting soggy. Our only change was to slightly decrease the amount of salt—it's still fantastic.

View Recipe: Crispy Fish with Lemon-Dill Sauce

Catalonian Pepper and Nut Sauce (Salsa Romesco) (Salsa Romesco)

Photo: Raymond Hom

Catalonian Pepper and Nut Sauce (Salsa Romesco)

First Featured in 2008

Making this recipe is time well spent: You'll be rewarded with lots of smoky-garlicky-peppery sauce, which keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks or in the freezer for a couple of months. There are lots of delicious ways to use it: Dip veggies or steamed shrimp in it, use it to flavor omelets, thin it with a little vinegar and water for salad dressing, try it as a sandwich spread, or smear it over pizza dough for a Spanish pie.

View Recipe: Catalonian Pepper and Nut Sauce (Salsa Romesco)

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Photo: Raymond Hom

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

First Featured in 2006

This recipe received multiple nominations for its family-friendly appeal. It's lick-your-fingers good, with a sweet-spicy sauce draped over spice-rubbed chicken. We tweaked it just a bit to make it a little less sweet, and we love it even more.

View Recipe: Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Pork Posole

Photo: Raymond Hom

Pork Posole

First Featured in 2011

It's amazing how much flavor there is in such a humble (and, by the way, inexpensive) dish. The star of the soup is hominy, with its chewy texture and toasty-corn character; you'll find it with the Latin foods in the supermarket. Updates were minor: We simply omitted some oil and meat drippings for a cleaner broth.

View Recipe: Pork Posole

Stuffed Jalapeños

Photo: Raymond Hom

Grilled Stuffed Jalapeños

First Featured in 2011

With their cheesy bacon filling, these poppers are addictive. While we didn't want to futz with this recipe, we recognize that jalapeños vary wildly in heat level—sometimes incendiary and sometimes mild. So here's a suggestion: If you'll have guests who are sensitive to heat, try doing half the batch in jalapeños (for the chile-heads) and half in mini sweet peppers. That way, everyone wins!

View Recipe: Grilled Stuffed Jalapeños

Fresh Pear Cocktail

Photo: Raymond Hom

Fresh Pear Cocktail

First Featured in 2010

We adore this drink, with fresh pear juice (easy to make!) lending its unmistakable sweet flavor and fragrance. It still makes us swoon exactly as we first published it.

View Recipe: Fresh Pear Cocktail

Herbed Cheese Pizzas

Photo: Raymond Hom

Herbed Cheese Pizzas

First Featured in 2002

These pizzas were originally part of a story on Turkish street food, and boy did they steal the show: We talked about them for months. With a crisp-tender crust and savory-tangy topping featuring deliciously salty kasseri cheese, they're simply divine. The recipe makes eight individual pizzas, enough for an interactive cooking party. The original recipe didn't meet our current sodium and calorie guidelines, so we adjusted a few ingredients. Great news: The pizzas are still show-stealers.

View Recipe: Herbed Cheese Pizzas

Brazilian Feijoada

Photo: Raymond Hom

Brazilian Feijoada

First Featured in 2011

In our experience, slow-cooker recipes can sometimes be a little disappointing—flavors a bit exhausted, textures a bit too soft. Not so with this recipe, a standout in every way. It's a classic Brazilian dish (pronounced fay-ZWAH-da) that is pure porky perfection, one we'll happily enjoy whenever we get the chance. Serve over rice, and be sure to spritz with the orange wedge for a fresh, sweet finish.

View Recipe: Brazilian Feijoada

Saucy Chicken Marsala

Photo: Raymond Hom

Saucy Chicken Marsala

First Featured in 2010

When we revisited David Bonom's 2010 recipe Chicken and Mushrooms with Marsala Wine Sauce, we loved it but wanted more of the earthy, wine-licked sauce. Our update keeps the soul of the original dish, but with more luscious, 'shroomy goodness. You simply must serve it over mashed potatoes, polenta, or spaghetti to catch all the sauce.

View Recipe: Saucy Chicken Marsala

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

Photo: Raymond Hom

Slow-Roasted Grape Tomatoes

First Featured in 2009

Though we adore the recipe these are based on (David Bonom's Aromatic Slow-Roasted Tomatoes from December 2009), we wanted a faster update. So in place of plum tomatoes went little grape tomatoes, which roast to concentrated sweetness in less than half the time. Serve as they are for a side dish, on crostini with ricotta for an appetizer, or tossed with pasta and oil for a main dish.

View Recipe: Slow-Roasted Grape Tomatoes

Cumin-Crusted Sablefish

Photo: Raymond Hom

Cumin-Crusted Sablefish

First Featured in 2001

We made an important update to this recipe, changing it for sustainability. It originally called for Chilean sea bass—and although you can sometimes find a sustainable type of that fish (longline-caught in the McDonald and Falkland islands), sablefish (also known as black cod) and white sea bass are consistently good choices with a similarly rich, buttery texture. It's worth the tiny bit of effort to toast and grind your own cumin seeds—the flavor payoff is huge.

View Recipe: Cumin-Crusted Sablefish

Chicken, Kale, and Quinoa Soup

Photo: Raymond Hom

Chicken, Kale, and Quinoa Soup

First Featured in 2013

We took four of the top recipe search categories from our website—chicken, kale, quinoa, and soup—and combined them into one tasty dish that we think will become your new favorite. Rinse the quinoa to ensure that any bitter coating is removed.

View Recipe: Chicken, Kale, and Quinoa Soup

Chicken Enchiladas

Photo: Raymond Hom

Chicken Enchiladas

First Featured in 2012

For many staffers, this is the go-to make-for-company dish—a sure bet. Once you taste the mix of spicy jalapeño, tangy salsa verde, tender chicken, and luscious cream cheese, you'll be as hooked as we are.

View Recipe: Chicken Enchiladas

Green Curry Fritters

Photo: Raymond Hom

Green Curry Fritters

First Featured in 2012

Talk about flavor! Green curry paste (found in the Asian-foods section) and chile paste impart tons of savory-spicy-fragrant hits to ground chicken. Only a tiny tweak to this recipe: Our fritters got a little too browned, so we reduced the cooking temperature from medium-high to medium and cooked them a little longer.

View Recipe: Green Curry Fritters

Banana Bread with Chocolate Glaze

Photo: Raymond Hom

Banana Bread with Chocolate Glaze

First Featured in 1996

Mom's Banana Bread, a recipe dating back to 1996, when it was submitted by reader Stacey A. Johnson, has been a consistent staff and reader favorite. The new chocolate topping makes it even more irresistible.

View Recipe: Banana Bread with Chocolate Glaze

Spinach-and-Artichoke Dip

Photo: Raymond Hom

Spinach-and-Artichoke Dip

First Featured in 2000

This has been a staff favorite ever since we first tried it 13 years ago. It's rich, savory, and supercreamy, with a nice hit of garlic. We made a few small tweaks—increased the amount of spinach and decreased the mozzarella to lower the sat fat to an acceptable level. Serve with tortilla chips.

View Recipe: Spinach-and-Artichoke Dip

Whole-Wheat, Buttermilk, and Orange Pancakes

Photo: Raymond Hom

Whole-Wheat, Buttermilk, and Orange Pancakes

First Featured in 2002

Here we've updated Bill and Cheryl Jamison's fantastic Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes from 2002 with a little citrus zest. Allowing the batter to sit before cooking gives the leaveners a chance to work, creating light, fluffy pancakes.

View Recipe: Whole-Wheat, Buttermilk, and Orange Pancakes

Fresh Lemonade Cake

Photo: Raymond Hom

Fresh Lemonade Cake

First Featured in 2002

Lemonade Layer Cake, developed by Ann Taylor Pittman as a recipe makeover, has been loved by readers since it debuted in April 2002. When we retested it for this story, we felt we could make big improvements in the texture and flavor. Instead of using a lemonade product, we've made a concentrated fresh lemonade syrup that adds zippy citrus hits to the more-tender cake.

View Recipe: Fresh Lemonade Cake

Mexican Chocolate Cream Pie

Photo: Raymond Hom

Mexican Chocolate Cream Pie

First Featured in 2011

No changes here: We love the combo of deep, rich chocolate and the tingly pinch of cinnamon and red pepper. We also enjoy the ease and forgiving nature of a graham cracker crust, which is less fussy than pastry. If you can't find espresso granules with the coffee, look in the Latin-foods section (that's where we sometimes find them).

View Recipe: Mexican Chocolate Cream Pie

Mocha Cake with Fluffy Meringue Topping

Photo: Raymond Hom

Mocha Cake with Fluffy Meringue Topping

Since 2006, readers have professed their love for contest winner Anna Ginsberg's One-Bowl Chocolate Mocha Cream Cake, touting it as the moistest cake ever. We agree—the cake is incredible. But online reviews suggested that the topping could use some tweaking. Instead of the original "mocha cream" of whipped topping, marshmallow creme, and coffee, we now have a creamy, less-sweet meringue. We also replaced reduced-fat mayonnaise (yes, mayo—it's the secret ingredient that makes for a fantastically moist cake) with canola mayo, our current product of choice.

View Recipe: Mocha Cake with Fluffy Meringue Topping

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter

Photo: Raymond Hom

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter

First Featured in 2001

We've adored this recipe for more than a decade. Something magical happens when asparagus picks up a little toasty flavor, then gets tossed in nutty browned butter with a splash of sweet balsamic vinegar: The vegetable outshines the entrée.

View Recipe: Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter

Mashed Potato Casserole

Photo: Raymond Hom

Mashed Potato Casserole

First Featured in 2011

Give us this any night of the week—two types of spuds blended with cream cheese and crowned with a crispy, cheesy crumb topping. We changed the procedure from using a food mill to a ricer, but you can use either one, or a standard potato masher.

View Recipe: Mashed Potato Casserole

Bistro Roast Chicken

Photo: Raymond Hom

Bistro Roast Chicken

First Featured in 2008

Boy, were we happy to rekindle our affair with this bird. Five ingredients (not counting salt, pepper, and cooking spray), and you have an absolutely delicious, moist, beautiful roast chicken. Fresh tarragon is crucial; don't leave it out. Our only update was to decrease the salt just a bit to bring the sodium within our current nutrition guidelines.

View Recipe: Bistro Roast Chicken

Printed from:
http://www.cookinglight.com/food/top-rated-recipes/staff-favorite-recipes-00412000085427/