Top 25 Recipes of 2013

Top 25 Recipes of 2013

As 2013 comes to a close it's time to roundup the tastiest new recipes on Closet Cooking! 2013 was a tasty year indeed on Closet Cooking and these are the most popular new recipes added during the year. This collection of recipes includes many of my favourites and it is a wide range of recipes from decadent dips to tasty sides, hearty mains and quite a few healthy alternatives! I hope that you enjoyed 2013 and I am looking forward to an even tastier year here at Closet Cooking in 2014!

Happy New Year!

Shrimp Scampi Dip

Shrimp Scampi Dip
Shrimp scampi has to be one of my favourite pasta dishes; not only is it super quick and easy to make but shrimp and pasta in a garlicky white wine, lemon and butter sauce is just so irresistible! When I came across the idea of a shrimp scampi dip on Foodie Crush I knew that I would have to make it and it was perfect for a New Years Eve party appetizer! I am totally addicted to hot melt-y cheese dips so I could not pass up on the idea of taking all of the flavours of shrimp scampi and placing them in a melted cheese dip! This dip starts off by cooking some shrimp in butter along with plenty of garlic followed by the white wine and lemon juice before mixing it all up with plenty of cheese and baking it until it is all melted, bubbling and golden brown. Not only is this dip super easy to make but it will also be the talk of the town at your party, though it will disappear quickly so you might want to make a double batch and hoard some for yourself!

New Years Eve Party Recipes

New Years Party Appetizers

I can't believe that it's that time of year again but 2013 is almost over and that means that it is time to start planning your New Years Eve party! Whether you are having a few guests over to celebrate or you are just spending a quite night in you are going to need some tasty snacks to help ring in the new year! With that in mind I have gathered up some of my favourite tasty treats that would be amazing at any New Years Eve party and they include everything from decadent melted cheese dips to grilled meat and even a few healthier options for those that are already dreading their New Years resolutions. Whatever you are doing this New Years Eve these tasty treats are sure to please, so enjoy and have a great New Year!

Ham and Cheese Egg Casserole

Ham and Cheese Egg Casserole
Over the holidays I always like to make some tasty breakfasts and things work out really well if you make a ham for dinner as the leftovers can be used to make this quick and easy ham and cheese egg casserole. I first came across the idea for this egg breakfast casserole on Kalyn's Kitchen about four years ago and I made it right away and I have been making it ever since. With some leftover ham in my fridge and the holidays here it was the perfect time to make it again and update the four year old photos for the recipe!

This breakfast egg casserole is super easy to make and really light to boot. It consists of eggs and cottage cheese at it base and from there you can add pretty much whatever you want. I like to experiment with different flavour combinations but the one that I keep coming back to is the classic ham and cheese combo. You pretty much just need to mix the eggs, cottage cheese and the fillings and bake until golden brown! You can even assemble everything the night before so that you only have to bake it in the morning making it even easier for a busy morning.

I am a big fan of spicy heat so I like to add some pickled jalapenos to my ham and cheese egg casseroles and you can never go wrong topping it off with some salsa and sour cream! What a tasty to start the day!

Creamed Corn with Roasted Red Peppers and Bacon

Creamed Corn with Roasted Red Peppers and Bacon
I am always on the lookout for tasty new side dish recipes to add to my box so when I came across the idea of creamed corn, think creamed spinach except with corn, on Picky Palate I just had to try it. I mean, you really cannot go wrong taking sweet corn and placing it in a creamy cheese sauce but then to add sweet and smoky roasted red peppers and bacon really takes this side over the edge! This creamed corn is super easy to make and you can even make it a day ahead and then just reheat it making it perfect for reducing the load for a big holiday meal! I am sure that this creamed corn with roasted red peppers and bacon will be a hit with any meal and it will be one of the first dishes to disappear from the table!

Holiday Recipes

Holiday Recipes

For me the holidays are all about family, friends and good food so I like to have a lot of recipes on hand for everything from breakfasts to snacks and appetizers to the all important dinner main course to the sides and the desserts. Every holiday deserves to start out on the right foot with a special, tasty and hearty breakfast or brunch to get you through the day. Whether you are hosting the holiday or you are a guest you are going to need some tasty treats to get you through the afternoon and of course holiday cookies are on the menu but don't forget to include some savoury appetizers as well! For the the centre piece of your dinner it's always nice to do a roast like prime rib, ham or turkey but you can always go with something a little easier. I always have plenty of fun with the sides for the dinner as there are just so many tasty ways to go! Lets not forget the dessert, just in case someone has room leftover for it! I Hope that some of these recipe ideas will help make your holidays a little more tasty!

If you still don't have your holiday baking finished, don't worry there is still plenty of time. Check out my Holiday Cookie Guide for some new ideas!

If you are looking for some Homemade Holiday Food Gifts, I have some of those as well!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Bacon in a Mustard Cream Sauce

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Bacon in a Mustard Cream Sauce
Although the main course usually gets a lot of focus for special holiday dinners it's also important to have some tasty sides and these roasted brussels sprouts and bacon in a creamy mustard sauce are a great way to go! This brussels sprout side dish is super easy to make where you pretty much just need to roast the brussels sprouts, cook the bacon and make the sauce. You could go with steamed brussels sprouts for this dish but roasting them really helps to bring out their flavour. The sauce is nice and simple and yet it's just packed with flavour! It starts out with some onions and garlic followed by some flour to thicken the sauce, some milk, the grainy mustard and a hit of miso before it is finished off with some parmesan cheese. You really cannot go wrong with this roasted brussels sprout side dish as a side for your special holiday meal!

Roasted Opal Apple BBQ Sauce and Grilled Apple BBQ Pork Tenderloin Medallions

Roasted Apple BBQ Sauce
A few months ago I had the opportunity to head out to Washington to visit the Broetje Ordchards and in particular to see their Opal Apple ordchards. Opal apples are a relativley new breed of apple that is a cross between the golden delicious and topaz, it is yellow, crispy and it has a sweet and tangy or tart flavour. Other than being super tasty one nice thing about the opal apple is that it doesn't brown after being sliced so it is great for packing for lunches pre-sliced.

Mushroom Crusted Prime Rib Roast

Mushroom Crusted Prime Rib Roast
Although cookies and treats get a lot of the focus over the holidays you are also going to be hosting some big meals and it is always nice to have something special like a roast turkey or a prime rib. This year I was thinking about prime rib, which is always a good option, and I thought that I would try something new, a mushroom crusted prime rib. Beef and mushrooms are a fabulous flavour combination that creates plenty of umami so you really cannot go wrong crusting mushrooms on your prime rib. This recipe starts by rubbing the roast with a mixture of dijon mustard, white miso paste, garlic and fresh cracked black pepper and then pressing on the crust of chopped dried porcini mushrooms. One of the great things about a prime rib roast is that it's just that easy, you coat it as desired, place it in the oven and roast it until a meat thermometer indicated that is is done, let it rest and then slice it! While the prime rib is roasting you are free to work on side dishes or to chat with family and friends. No matter how you slice it, this mushroom crusted prime rib dinner is sure to be a hit for your special holiday dinner!

Don't forget to us the pan drippings to make some au jus (see below), gravy or yorkshire pudding!

Bacon Maple Shortbread

Bacon Maple Shortbread
Shortbread has to be one of my favourite cookies for the holidays and you can be sure that there will be several different kinds on my holiday cookie platter! Not only is it melt in your mouth buttery delicious but it is also super easy to make! One of my favourite things about shortbread is that it's so easy to add flavours to it and I always have fun dreaming up new flavour combinations. This year I had a new idea for shortbread and it was to add one of my all time favourite foods, bacon! When I was a kid I accidentally discovered that adding maple syrup to the pan when cooking bacon made for a dreamy combination of sweet and savoury and I could not resist using that combo in the bacon shortbread. The recipe for this shortbread is a pretty basic shortbread recipe with the addition of the bacon and swapping out the sugar for maple syrup and of course I needed to add a bit more flour to compensate for the liquid in the syrup. I think that I have found a new favourite shortbread! This maple bacon shortbread is a fabulous combination of sweet and savoury and they simply melt away in your mouth!

Next I am thinking that a chocolate dipped bacon shortbread is in order!

Homemade Holiday Food Gifts

Homemade Holiday Food Gifts

The holidays are nearly upon us and that means that it is time get cracking and finish up those homemade food gifts! Nothing says I love you like the gift of homemade food products! Top on my list this year has to be the Maple Bourbon Bacon Jam followed by a close second of Vanilla Bourbon Caramel Sauce. Of course homemade jams, chutneys and marmalades are always a great way to go and if you are feeling like something a little different this year, Candied Orange Peels will keep things fresh. You cannot go wrong giving the gift of cookies, especially not with some homemade gourmet shortbread!

Peppermint Chocolate Coated Pretzels

Peppermint Chocolate Coated Pretzels
Next up for my holiday treats is something other than a cookie, peppermint chocolate covered pretzels! The sweet and salty combo can be an amazing one and when it is as easy to do as dipping some salty pretzels in chocolate you just cannot go wrong. Chocolate coated pretzels are as easy to make at home as melting some chocolate and dipping the pretzels into it! Once you have the melted chocolate on the pretzel it is the perfect vehicle to stick something else on like crushed peppermint candy cane making it a perfect treat for the holidays! These peppermint chocolate coated pretzels make a welcome addition to any holiday cookie platter and they are perfect for giving away as gifts!

Honey Dijon Pretzel Chicken

Honey Dijon Pretzel Chicken
When the days are busy it's always nice to have some quick, easy and tasty recipes in your box and this honey dijon pretzel chicken is one such recipe! This recipe comes together in under 30 minutes and it's hard to beat sweet and tangy honey dijon coated chicken with a crispy and salty pretzel crust! I have been wanting to try this honey dijon pretzel chicken ever since I came across it on pinterest, via cinnamon, spice and everything nice, and I only made a few tweaks to the honey dijon sauce to make it more to my tastes. I added some grainy mustard for the texture and visual affect, cut back on the oil, replaced the vinegar with fresh lemon juice, added garlic and some miso which goes fabulously well with the honey dijon flavour combo. I have to say that this is some tasty chicken and I know that I will be making it again and again, along with the tasty honey dijon sauce! Yum!

Jalapeno Popper Chicken Soup

Jalapeno Popper Chicken Soup
These days I have been all about soups and it was about time to try a soup that has been on my mind for a while now, a jalapeno popper inspired soup! Jalapeno poppers are jalapenos that are stuffed with cheese and either breaded and deep fried until crispy or wrapped in bacon and grilled and I figured that a soup with a the flavours of these tasty little treats would be simply amazing. With the flavours already set this recipe pretty much writes itself! Everything starts out with the jalapenos, cream cheese, cheddar and of course the bacon which is added to a broth and although this would make for a pretty good soup all by itself I wanted to bulk it out a bit and I decided to do so by adding chicken, white beans and a bit of corn. With this we have almost every aspect of the jalapeno popper covered but we are still missing that crunch of the breaded deep fried popper which I added by serving the soup with tortilla chips, either for crumbling on top or for dipping and scooping!

I just had to make this soup now because we are throwing our friend Bev, from Bev Cooks, a virtual baby shower and I know how much she enjoys spicy food! Congratulations Bev! Check out below for links to all of the other tasty recipes made for Bev's shower!

Brussels Sprout and Mushroom Hash

Brussels Sprout and Mushroom Hash

Ever since I made the brussels sprout hash with sweet potato and bacon a couple of weeks ago I have been kind of obsessed with it making different versions every couple of days! Out of all of the different versions that I have been experimenting with this brussels sprout and mushroom hash is definitely one of my favourites and not just because of my love for mushrooms! Brussels sprouts and mushrooms are a fabulous combo and they go amazingly well together in a breakfast 'hash' along with a fried eggs with a runny yolks! This hash is really easy to make where you basically saute the mushrooms and cook until they start to caramelize, add the brussels sprouts, cook until they start to caramelize, add the eggs and cook until the desired level of doneness. To avoid dirtying another pan, just make small holes in hash and fry the eggs in them.

What a great way to enjoy your brussels sprouts for breakfast!

Maraschino Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Maraschino Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies
This year I started my holiday baking with a different take on my favourite cookie from last year, the chocolate and maraschino cherry shortbread cookies, except that this time I used the same cherry and chocolate flavour combo in chocolate chip cookies! You really just cannot go wrong with chocolate chip cookies and throwing cherries into the mix will only make things better since the chocolate and cherry combo is a fabulous one! One of the best things about homemade chocolate chip cookies, other than the fact that they are so ridiculously addictively good, is that they are so easy to make. You literally just need to spend about 5 minutes combining ingredients and then you throw them in the oven. The hardest part about making them is waiting for them to finish baking, and that 10 minutes of bake time will seem like an eternity as your kitchen starts to fill up with the aroma of fresh baked cookies, and then you have to wait for them to cool, but then again that burnt tongue might just be worth it! For these maraschino cherry chocolate chip cookies you will also have to chop up some cherries but that only takes a few more minutes and it is definitely worth the effort!

eCookbook Bundle

Closet Cooking eCookbook Bundle

Just in time for the Holidays! Get all 5 Closet Cooking eCookbooks in a bundle for 30% off! (The bundle is just $11.99 where buying the books individually would be $21.94.) Enjoy some of the tastiest recipes from Closet Cooking along with exclusive eCookbook recipes in this collection of Closet Cooking eCookbooks! This bundle contains the PDF version of all 5 Closet Cooking eCookbooks that can be conveniently read on any tablet, computer or phone.



eCookbooks Included in Bundle

Melty Grilled Cheese

Melty Grilled Cheese

Craving a grilled cheese? These 25 drool inducing grilled cheese sandwiches are just stuffed full of ooey gooey melted cheese and sure to satisfy even the strongest craving. Never have a boring grilled cheese again!

Tasty Soups

Tasty Soups

Soup is pure comfort food any time and this cookbook collects 25 of tastiest the soup recipes ever to come out of my closet sized kitchen, including exclusive new recipes!

Game Day Party Food

Game Day Party Food

Having some friends over for the game? This cookbook contains 25 quick and easy recipes that will disappear quickly have your guests raving about the food at your party!

Cover: The Best of Closet Cooking 2013

The Best of Closet Cooking 2013

The 25 tastiest and most popular recipes on Closet Cooking as of 2013 collected into one easy to use cookbook available in multiple formats for your convenience.

Cover: The Best of Closet Cooking 2012

The Best of Closet Cooking 2012

The 25 tastiest and most popular recipes on Closet Cooking as of 2012 collected into one easy to use cookbook available in multiple formats for your convenience.


Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
Normally I don't do all that much with spaghetti squash but this year I have really been enjoying it and in particular in stuffing it with tasty things like lasagna or in this case chicken enchilada filling. The basic idea behind this is that you cut a spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds, roast it, stuff it with chicken enchilada filling, cover it in cheese and then bake it until the cheese has melted. One of the fun things about stuffed spaghetti squash like this is that you can use small spaghetti squash and then just serve it in perfectly individually sized servings in the shell itself!

I kept things nice and simple for the chicken enchilada filling going with shredded chicken, a light and tasty homemade enchilada sauce, black beans and corn and with the melted cheese topping your family will never know just how healthy this is or how many vegetables lurk underneath! What a great light, family fun meal!

Holiday Cookie Guide

Holiday Cookie Guide

I can't believe that it's already December and that means that it is time to start thinking about Holiday cookie baking! You can never have too many cookies over the holidays whether for entertaining, giving them away as gifts or even just to snack on yourself. It's always nice to have a variety of cookies on your platter so that everyone can find something they like and perhaps even try some new ones! I have gathered a few of my favourite holiday cookies here to share with you and I will also be trying a some new ones over the coming days!

Although some cookies, like chocolate chip cookies, shouldn't be made until a few days ahead of time others, like shortbread and fruit cakes, will keep for weeks at room temperature and months in the freezer so you can plan accordingly to ensure that you are not swamped at the last minute with cookie baking. It's time to get your baking on!