Even a top 10 list of popular recipes gives you some insight into the kind of food we crave. There's always an element of simplicity, like the kind you'll find in a pork tenderloin that's dressed up in bands of brown sugar bacon, or a crispy filet of salmon. We crave comfort, too. Hearty soups and chilis always make their way to the top of the list as well. But when we put all these recipes together and try to draw similarities, one thing rings clear: We all want to be smarter in the kitchen.
We'll cheers to that.
This year pork tenderloin took the lead for the most popular recipe, and it has a sweet bacon crust to thank for that. Pork tenderloin is already a weeknight winner, so dressing it up in a way that still keeps it simple is what smart and delicious cooking is all about.
A hearty chicken stew with big white beans, Southwestern spices like cumin and coriander, and a few cans of fire-roasted green chili peppers creates a nice balance of creaminess from the beans, warmth from the spices, and tangy brightness from the green peppers.
This much-adored recipe for cauliflower cake was one of the favorite recipes of the year thanks to its versatility. It's good fresh, cold, or at room temperature; for breakfast, lunch, or really any time at all.
This easy dish is on the short list for weeknight meals that hit all the criteria: fast, healthy, filling, and killer good. Simply seasoned, the salmon is pan fried until the exterior is super crispy while the interior remains buttery soft.
A bacon fat-laced take on lentil soup keeps you full thanks to the double hit of protein from the chicken and lentils. The smoky flavor it brings to the soup is a great complement to the earthy lentils, but butter and olive oil also work well.
This is breakfast you can eat one-handed while walking to the bus stop, and it's got just as much going for it as a bowl of yogurt with granola and fruit. In fact, it is a bowl of yogurt — just in popsicle form.
This recipe uses up ingredients most people usually have on hand because, together or separately, they seem to have infinite uses. It begins with whole-wheat penne for its nuttiness and bite, and in this recipe, a little goes a long way. Chicken breasts and veggies are freezer mainstays, and here the broccoli doesn’t even need to thaw.
This dressing relies on a balance of ingredients, namely white wine vinegar, sugar, and some finely shredded shallot or onion. You might be tempted to leave out the sugar, but this is one time where we'd urge you to leave it in. Lose that sweet element, and like a three-legged stool, the whole thing tips over.
Don't be intimidated by the long cooking time on this dish. This is to accommodate the hands-off aspect of cooking the brown rice and the chicken together. Drippings from the chicken blend with the rice and seasonings to make a delicious sauce.
This hearty, refreshing salad takes about 15 minutes to make — no cooking, no excessive prep. Creamy feta and red wine vinegar add a delicious Greek twist to ingredients that are typically found in Central American dishes: black beans, corn, and cilantro. Make a big batch at the beginning of the week and you're all set.
(Image credits: Nealey Dozier; Emma Christensen; Kimberley Hasselbrink; Sarah E Crowder; Faith Durand; Michaela Cisney)