Top 24 Recipes of 2012

What a year 2012 has been!! It’s been a crazy busy year for me. We bought a house, moved towns, had a summer filled with traveling near and far, and our later part of the year has finally allowed us to catch our breath. And now we’re getting a dog. We just never stop.

It was fun to go back through the blog to pick out 12 fan favorite and my 12 favorite recipes that I wanted to share again. Out of sight, out of mind… but these recipes need to have a special place in my dinner/dessert/drink repertoire. And I hope your’s as well.

So here’s the 24 recipes of 2012!


Fan Favorite: Spaghetti with Chickpeas

My Favorite: Spinach Salad with Shrimp, Avocado, and Grapefruit with Citrus Vinaigrette


Fan Favorite: Very Berry Sangria

My Favorite: Biscoff Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries


Fan Favorite: Quinoa and Brussels Sprouts Salad

My Favorite: Irish Coffee Blondies


Fan Favorite: Slow Cooker ‘Roast’ Chicken

My Favorite: Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream


Fan Favorite: Sugar Cookie Bars

My Favorite: Garlic Lemon Shrimp


Fan Favorite: Cheesy Garlic Knots

My Favorite: Garlic Butter Noodles with Scallions and Sambal


Fan Favorite: Baked S’mores Bars

My Favorite: Honeydew Melon Sorbet


Fan Favorite: S’mores Chex Mix

My Favorite: Mini Creamsicle Cheesecakes with Creamsicle Oreo Cookie Crusts


Fan Favorite: Spiced Black Bean, Grilled Avocado, and Goat Cheese Tacos

My Favorite: (I had 1 recipe post for all of Sept… WTF… ha!)


Fan Favorite: Bacon, Mushroom, Onion, and Cheese Stuffed Bread

My Favorite: Apple Pie Squares


Fan Favorite: Extra Cheesy Brussels Sprout Gratin

My Favorite: (Almost) No Baste Bacon Covered Turkey


Caramel Chocolate Kiss Cookies

Fan Favorite: Caramel Chocolate Kiss Cookies

sausage and lentil soup

My Favorite: Sausage and Lentil Soup


I hope that everyone has a fantastic time celebrating New Year’s Eve and that they have an amazing year ahead!


Spaghetti with Chickpeas

In honor of National Spaghetti Day I am posting this fantastic Spaghetti with Chickpeas recipe that I adapted from Smitten Kitchen. As soon as I saw this recipe back last year I knew I would have to make it one day. That day finally came this winter and it was worth the wait. We loved it.


I made minor changes to the original recipe based upon our preferences, as well as what was in the cabinet. We didn’t have basil so I didn’t put that in. We didn’t have ham but we had bacon so we used that. I’m sure that if you don’t eat meat you could use a meat substitute and still be happy. The essence of this recipe, and what I believe most about cooking, is that it has good structure but you can dress it up how you wish. The one thing that I loved about my version was that I used lemon in the dish. I love hummus and I love hummus when it is very lemony so I felt that using lemon zest instead of grated cheese would be a fun twist on the garnish.


I can’t suggest this recipe enough. It’s all kitchen staples that you can find in your cabinets. It is so comforting and satisfying. Because of the carb-loading nature of this dish we filled up quickly so we stretched this huge meal out for 8 portions. That makes for a really economical dish when it breaks down per serving. As we resolve to save more this year, this aspect of the dish works well for us. It’s time to celebrate spaghetti so it’s time to sort through your pantry staples and make this for dinner tonight!


Spaghetti with Chickpeas

Serves 8


  • 15 ounces canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch chili flakes
  • 1 quart of tomato sauce
  • 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
  • lemon zest
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Boil salted water for the pasta, cook until al dente. Reserve one cup of pasta water  prior to draining.
  2. As you heat the water, divide the rinsed chickpeas by measuring 1/3 cup of chickpeas and setting the rest aside. Blend the 1/3 cup chickpeas with the lemon juice until the chicken peas are roughly chopped.
  3. Cut the bacon into small pieces with kitchen shears. In a large skillet, cook the bacon until fat has rendered out and bacon is evenly browned.
  4. Remove all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat from the skillet, add the sliced onions, minced garlic, and chili flakes. Cook until the onions and garlic are translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes.
  5. Add half the tomato sauce to the cooked onion mixture.
  6. Once the onions and sauce have been combined add the ground and whole chick peas and the bacon, stir to combine.
  7. Add the spaghetti to the skillet, as well as the rest of the sauce and the pasta water, as needed to thin out the sauce if it is too thick. Toss to evenly coat the spaghetti
  8. Serve with lemon zest, salt, and freshly ground pepper.