After more than 38 years with the company, I am retiring as editor of Taste of Home and sister magazine Country Woman. It's been a wonderful and flavorful career! As a final farewell, I'm leaving you with a list of my 25 favorite recipes I've collected from over the years.
I have tasted thousands of fabulous Taste of Home and Country Woman recipes in our Test Kitchen, and brought hundreds home for my personal collection. So keeping this list to 25 was really difficult! But after a lot of whittling down, I'm excited to share these personal favorites (complete with my cooking notes!). Hope you'll try those that sound especially appetizing to you!
Sesame Chicken Dip
People always want the recipe when I serve this prize-winning appetizer at a party. Since it feeds a crowd, it's perfect for a potluck. I cut the recipe in half for a smaller group.
Three-Cheese Pesto Pizza
Although this flavorful pizza can be a main course, I usually serve it as an appetizer. I freeze pesto made from my basil plants in summer to have on hand for this favorite.
This beautiful platter is always a hit at a party. I flagged the recipe in a 1994 Taste of Home issue, knowing it was a keeper. It's tasty and healthy, too.
Savory Party Bread
Our couples' card club expects this yummy stuffed bread every time we host the group. I've subbed in Swiss cheese and canned sliced mushrooms with great results.
I've served this special entree at many dinner parties, and our family expects it for Christmas Eve. I love that you can assemble the lasagna early in the day.
Herbed Beef Tenderloin
Another sure hit for a special dinner, this grilled tenderloin picks up great flavor from the marinade. Often I make a mushroom sauce to serve with the beef. Bearnaise sauce is another good option.
The skin on these slow-cooked Italian sausages literally melts away as they simmer. This recipe goes way back to a Country Woman recipe contest in 1982. We eat the saucy sausages over pasta the first day and enjoy the leftovers in buns later.
Upstate Minestrone Soup
I can't count how many times I have made this hearty soup over the years. Our sons loved it when I brought home the recipe many years ago, and it's had staying power in my kitchen.
Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce
This “Mom's Best” entree is a standout—nothing complicated, but simply delicious. The fish is moist and lemony, and you'll love the creamy sauce. Yum!
Rhubarb Nut Muffins
Yes, I have a backyard rhubarb plant and love the sweet-tart flavor of its colorful stalks. This is my #1 rhubarb recipe. I've taken these muffins to work when it's my turn to bring treats. I'm in trouble if I don't leave a couple behind for hubby Louie's breakfast!
Chocolate Chip Pancakes
When the grandkids sleep over or come for breakfast, I often make these pancakes. This basic batter is easy and way better than a purchased pancake mix, in my opinion. I sometimes add fresh blueberries or dried cranberries instead of the chips.
Scrambled Egg Casserole
Another must on our brunch menu, this dish has a delicious homemade cheese sauce. The recipe calls for ham, but I sometimes use sliced breakfast sausages and nearly always opt for fresh mushrooms.
Cherry Brie Tossed Salad
This is an awesome salad to serve during the Christmas season or whenever. It's festive and has a tasty poppy seed vinaigrette dressing. For a change, try Swiss cheese or feta with dried cranberries instead of the cherries.
Emily's Spinach Salad
From Taste of Home's Premiere Issue in 1993, this salad features crisp bacon, hard-cooked eggs and a terrific vinaigrette dressing. With this dressing and fresh spinach as the starting point, you can add or substitute other favorite ingredients for many interesting variations.
Toasted pecans and dried apricots make this pilaf special. It's good with poultry, pork or beef, and is perfect for entertaining.
Raspberry Streusel Coffee Cake
Shortly after this recipe won grand prize in a Taste of Home contest, I made it for my mother-in-law, Rosie, when we visited her in Florida. She loves it so much that she always has the ingredients on hand whenever we visit—“so Annie can make that wonderful coffee cake.”
Peanut Butter Bars
I met Taste of Home Field Editor Pat Staudt at an event in Iowa shortly after this recipe of hers was published in the magazine. It was fun to tell her personally that I'd already made the bars several times for family snacks and a bake sale. They are always popular.
I can't remember a Christmas without spritz cookies. Like my mom, I pressed out tree shapes every year until these pretty wreaths won a Country Woman contest. They're eye-catchers at a cookie exchange.
Luscious Almond Cheesecake
I seldom meet a cheesecake I don't love. When I made this one for a dinner party, one of our guests said it was the best cheesecake he'd ever eaten. It is outstanding.
Layered Mocha Cheesecake
This luscious beauty deservingly starred on a Taste of Home cover in 2008. It's fancy and sure to impress! I checked with a couple of stores before finding chocolate covered coffee beans. But they are the perfect finishing touch.
Carrot Layer Cake
It's oh-so-delicious! I've made this moist cake for hubby Louie's birthday and other special occasions. Besides the super cream cheese frosting, it has a nutty filling between the layers.
Chocolate Malted Cookies
Big cookies loaded with chocolate, they make a sweet statement. If you make these for a gathering, better grab one for yourself and hide it for later, because they'll be gone in a flash!
Special Banana Nut Bread
I've made many good banana breads over the years, but this recipe is my new favorite. Cream cheese adds richness to the batter, and the orange glaze is a great accent.
Shortbread Lemon Bars
I will never tire of these classic sweet-tart treats. Many lemon bar recipes I'd tried before made only an 8-inch square pan. That's not enough! Thankfully, this takes a 9-in. x 13-in. baking dish.
Marbled Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
A few years back, I was invited to appear on Sara Moulton's TV show on the Food Network. Sara, who likes Taste of Home, wanted to feature some TOH potluck recipes. We prepared these yummy bars together on the show. I was really embarrassed when the powerful hand mixer on the set got away from me. Batter spattered everywhere. Sara graciously made light of it—kitchen bloopers happen!
Oven French Toast with Nut Topping
My husband, Louie, and I like to have friends over for brunch. He insists on this recipe every time! Most of the work is done the day before, which is great. Be sure you have a deep 9-in. x 13-in. pan because this bubbles up. I put a baking sheet underneath just in case.
I had this recipe even before it was published in Taste of Home's Quick Cooking magazine. Our family calls it "pasghetti pizza." Our sons loved it when they were growing up, and I still make it often for their families. Instead of the sausage, I often use pepperoni slices.
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