These Are Cooking Light's 25 Most Popular Recipes of the Year
These Are Cooking Light's 25 Most Popular Recipes of the Year
Our Top Recipes of 2018
Cooking Light editors tackled a lot of issues in 2018: we published a whole issue devoted to gut health, designed a three-day detox for a healthy restart, found ways to make hearty pasta dishes lighter in carbs, rounded up more than 90 ways to eat more veggies, and shared genius hacks for make-ahead meals you can enjoy all week long. And while we also had a number of big changes—including the closing of our regular print issues—what won't change is that we'll continue to bring you the tastiest recipes and the most up-to-date nutrition information in the new year. We'll also publish special issues featuring collections of healthy recipes on newsstands throughout 2019.
But as 2018 comes to a close, it's good to take stock of what we've done so far, and what you've liked.
While we've published hundreds of new, diverse recipes this year, it seems that you guys still really love chicken. Five of the recipes in our top 20 are delicious chicken dinners, but they also involve time hacks that makes putting dinner on the table that much easier. Who doesn't love to save time, right?!
Other popular contenders include meal-prep all stars that can be made in big batches and a few irresistible vegetarian options for a lighter meal. One recipe is designed exclusively for your Instant Pot, but more than a few actually involve the basics, designed to be easy for any home cook to master.
We're excited for 2019 and to put out even more collections of recipes for you to try—but considering how just how popular these recipes were (our number one was used more than 890,000 times this year alone!), we're sure you'll make time for them in the new year.
Check out the most popular recipes from 2018 below:
How to Make French Onion Grilled Cheese
Weeknight Lemon Chicken Skillet Dinner
It doesn't get much easier, or more satisfying: a complete chicken dinner in one pan in half an hour. Lemon brightens this cozy winter meal, but the classic flavors are sure to elicit cries for a second helping any time of the year. This one-pan chicken dish is a whole meal in one skillet, but serve with a simple side salad to sneak in another serving of veggies. We call for tender haricots verts because they're quick cooking; traditional green beans likely won't be tender enough after the brief cooking time at the end. If that's all you have on hand, steam them first, and then add them to the pan for the final step.
Our Easiest Basic Oatmeal
Searching for the perfect basic oatmeal recipe? Our tried-and-true formula is sure to be a keeper. Simple ingredients, easy directions, and plenty of fiber and protein make the beloved healthy breakfast staple more delicious than ever. Best of all, it's totally customizable—add your favorite nutritious mix-ins such as fresh fruit, sliced nuts, or a dollop of peanut butter.
One-Pot Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes
In March 2015 we made pasta night easier by cooking the noodles right in the sauce. This not only saves on cleanup; the stock also infuses the pasta with flavor as it cooks, and the starch helps to thicken the sauce so it clings.
Cooking Light's Ultimate Healthy Breakfast Smoothie
This healthy smoothie recipe is packed with protein, fiber, unsaturated fats, and essential vitamins and minerals. Follow our simple formula, memorize the ingredient amounts, then customize to your liking. Even better, our supercharged breakfast smoothie tastes great and keeps you full until lunchtime.
Easy Baked Spaghetti Squash
Recipes for baked spaghetti squash are often overly complicated, but our version has just two ingredients: squash and water. That way, you can customize it by making dishes such as Spaghetti Squash Lasagna With Spinach, Spaghetti Squash With Pesto and Roasted Lemons, or a Greek Spaghetti Squash Toss.
Pan-Frying: Perfect Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts
This is the perfect way to cook chicken breasts. If you crave juicy, flavorful chicken breasts, then follow this simple recipe. You'll end up with a golden brown platter of delicious chicken ready for the tasting. Use this recipe to shred over baked potatoes, make chicken salad, slice over fresh greens, or enjoy with classic sides such as haricot verts and roasted potatoes.
Quick Chicken Marsala
Marsala cooking wine is a worthy addition to your pantry; it’s dry and sweet without being overpowering, and can cut through the richness of cream or stock. The alcohol will cook off as the sauce simmers. Adding butter at the end, a classic technique, gives the sauce its body and gloss. Serve this skillet main over polenta, mashed potatoes, or hot cooked brown rice. If you have leftover thyme, try steeping in chicken stock before making a risotto, tossing with roasted vegetables, or adding to a frittata.
Side: Savory Sweet Potato Mash
Get your daily dose of vitamin A with this nutritious side. In addition to providing you with 400% of your daily vitamin A requirement, you'll receive a boost of vitamin C and fiber. So grab your thyme, butter, milk, salt, and pepper, and start mashing.
Broiled Salmon with Lemon
This fresh, simple dinner is made from all pantry staples that you already have. Hearty salmon and slightly bitter broccolini join forces to create a clean eating, superfood dinner that will leave you satisfied without feeling stuffed.
View Recipe: Broiled Salmon with Lemon
Protein: Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin Medallions
A whole pork tenderloin can take anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes to reach doneness, depending on how you cook it. But thinly sliced medallions take only 6 minutes.
Quick Peanut Sauce
Creamy peanut butter moves beyond snacks and sandwiches and into a beautifully balanced tart, sweet, and savory sauce. This easy, versatile condiment puts bottled versions out of the running, thanks to the warmth and zing of fresh ginger and garlic. If you’d like a little heat, try stirring in a generous pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.
Chickpea and Kale Curry
Embrace the comfort of Indian flavors with a 25-minute curry that also happens to be vegan. This meatless main offers plenty of protein thanks to quinoa and chickpeas, and boasts 40% of your daily fiber goal. Coconut milk lends velvety richness, while a mix of peanut butter and spices give the sauce rich flavor. A flourish of fresh herbs at the end brightens and freshens the dish.
Quick Mongolian Beef Stir-Fry
Make your own version of this takeout classic in a flash, no special equipment required.
The Only Basic Steel-Cut Oats Recipe You’ll Ever Need
Our foolproof, basic steel-cut oatmeal recipe is the perfect building block for an ultra-nutritious breakfast. Memorize the ratio—3 parts liquid to 1 part oats—then customize your bowl with a delicious array of fresh toppings. Cinnamon and honey keep things sweet and simple, but there's plenty of space to spice up your bowl with exotic combos—try cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, or ginger.
Just substitute the rotisserie chicken for leftover turkey and you've got tasty enchiladas faster than takeout. One richly spiced sauce doubles as the filling and the topper to save time. And since every element is already cooked, the dish needs just three minutes under the broiler to melt the cheese.
Apple Pie Energy Bites
Pan-Seared Strip Steak
Master techniques stand the text of time, which is why our April 2011 method for grass-fed strip steak (a lean, flavorful cut) remains one of our favorites.
This recipe yields a big pot of brothy soup that you can make ahead and enjoy for a couple of days; the flavor just gets better over time. You may be wary of the large amount of garlic, but keep in mind that it mellows considerably after being cooked.
Protein: Grilled Flash-Marinated Skirt Steak
Don't have a lot of time marinate? Just go with intensely flavorful ingredients (like soy sauce and vinegar); a half hour or less will take you from bland to grand.
Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup
The original recipe uses shredded chicken, but you can sub that with leftover turkey. For convenience, we call for precooked wild rice; if you can't find it, you can substitute 2 cups of your own cooked wild rice or a package of precooked brown rice.
Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi
Spaghetti squash is a favorite ingredient for those seeking a lower-carb, gluten-free alternative to pasta. Here, we pair it with fresh shrimp for a healthy spin on classic shrimp scampi. You'll love our clever cooking method for the spaghetti squash, which makes for perfect "noodles."
Instant Pot Turkey-Stuffed Peppers
Don’t have an Instant Pot? No worries! Make this recipe in your Dutch oven instead. Preheat the oven to 350°F, make the peppers as instructed, then place in your Dutch oven with 1/2 to 1 cup water (depending on size of Dutch oven). Cover and bake until cooked through, about 45 to 50 minutes.
French Onion Grilled Cheese
One of our favorite comfort foods—French onion soup—meets crowd-pleasing grilled cheese in a sandwich that’s got the flavors of both dishes, minus a lot of the traditional sodium and sat fat. Silky caramelized onions are the star here: their pungent, concentrated flavor means that just a touch of Gruyere is more than enough to make this sandwich sing. The other key? Shaving the cheese with a Microplane, which allows the cheese to distribute its melty goodness evenly, and makes just a bit of cheese feel like a lot.
Classic Beef Pot Roast
This dish is our most popular recipe ever. It has kept that distinction since it was first published in October 2006, probably because it’s such a crowd-pleaser. To serve, carve the roast into large pieces, ladle the rich broth over the top, and sprinkle with fresh flat-leaf parsley.
Quinoa Bowls with Avocado and Egg
This quick, satisfying breakfast is loaded with anti-inflammatory foods extra-virgin olive oil, avocado, tomatoes, quinoa, and omega-3 eggs. For even more anti-inflammatory benefit, serve with an orange or grapefruit.