2020, what a year it’s been, huh? I really don’t even know what to say about it other than I wish we had do-overs.
I’ve been absent from my site for a while, and if you follow me, I apologize if I worried anybody. So no, I didn’t get covid (although I was pretty sick for a month and thought maybe…). I wasn’t jailed in any protests, arrested or injured doing anything heroic. I really wasn’t doing anything exciting at all!
I moved down to Georgia to be with my daughter and her family and after a week, fell down the stairs with dire consequences. I broke my sacrum and obtained a couple of bulging discs and things just snowballed from there.
I’m on the mend now, but I think I lost my momentum and lost my voice, figuratively speaking. It wasn’t just the physical issues; I find myself thinking that serious times like we are going through need serious action…yet there’s nothing to do but just get through every day as best we can.
It took me a while to realize that my answer to almost any crisis is food and that maybe I should just stick to what I know. My scale will tell you it’s working, lol! But once I hit upon that realization, I came across this quote on my Sister in law’s FB page. Maybe it will help inspire you if you’re struggling, too.
It was heartbreaking to leave my home and gardens (and my sweet cat Homer, who went back to her “birth family” – at age 14 it seemed cruel to put my one-person cat into a large boisterous family home) but there is so much here in Georgia. We’re constantly busy even when we are doing nothing. I’d forgotten that was a thing with kids!
Chance is having a hard time integrating. He’s such a rascal, getting no exercise since my back issues and it never seems like there’s never a moment without food or other dangers around. But we’re making do and both of us are seeing improvement – it’s just slower than I’d like!
But enough about me! Here’s what made my top 10 list for 2020. I try not to peek at the statistics until the end of the year because I love surprises and this year some of the most viewed recipes really were a surprise. Although maybe that’s not surprising, being it was a year like no other?
10) For the second year running in my top 10, Poor Man’s Mock Prime Rib. It took the number 10 spot. It’s a great recipe to take any cheap grocery store roast and perfectly roast it. It works for real prime rib, too, if you’re feeling flush! Basically, you toss it in the oven at a high temperature, then turn the oven off and let it do it’s thing.
9) A personal fave is my Easy, Cheesy, Broccoli Skillet. It’s divine. It’s broccoli literally swimming in cheese, so it’s not for the faint of heart (or those prone to guilt, lol!). It’s best served with something simple, I think because it’s gonna be the star of the table.
8) Moving on to number 8 on the list, my Easy Overnight Crusty Bread. It’s a no-knead bread and not a surprise it showed on my top 10 for this past year, given how many of us were making bread. Five minutes to mix and an overnight rise makes this such an easy endeavor. It’s gonna be a perfect accompaniment for all your soups, stews, and braises this winter.
7) My method of “Doctoring Canned Baked Beans” is not only in the number 7 spot, but it’s also consistently shared on social media. I guess I tend to think it’s a summer dish; either peeps eat Baked Beans all year long, or a lot of us are still trying to work through all the canned beans we’ve stocked up on! Whatever the reason, they’re crave-able!
6) For the first time in the top 10, is my French Onion Soup Burgers. I have seen the method of adding in FO soup mix for years, maybe decades, but these burgers take it a step further. They’re dripping with caramelized onions, have a touch of Sherry or Brandy and then there’s the cheese! Need I say more?
5) In spot five, and for the third time in the top 10, is my method for making Steakhouse Mushrooms. I ignore all the advice on how to cook mushrooms and go rogue. I actually add water to the pan, gently steam them and then let them brown up. They’re fabulous and so easy.
4) On to number four: That Old Lipton Onion Soup Pot Roast Recipe. It’s such a classic standard throughout the Midwest. Maybe all over. Easy, simple down-home cooking like this is never wrong, amirite? This is the 2nd year running this pot roast was in the top 10.
3) Million Dollar Dip has pretty consistently been in my top 10 since I published it in 2017. It’s a dip of many names, and some people call it ABC dip for the Almonds, Bacon, and Cheddar it’s made from. Best made a day ahead, it’s still great if you can’t wait!
2) Canned Refried Beans Restaurant Style takes a can of any old refried beans and takes them over the top with just a few additions. They’re so rich, creamy, and luscious. This little recipe has been in my top 10 every year since it was published in 2015. I seem to always forget to work on a new photo, lol!
1) And again, my Ruth Chris Potatoes au Gratin Copycat is solidly in the number 1 place. And it has been since I first made them in 2018. They’re really just fabulous and a great make-ahead option. You might want to make them to go with that roast up above. 🙂
So that’s it for the top 10 but this year four recipes fell from glory – no longer on the top 10, that is. My Favorite Asian Dipping Sauce which randomly became popular out of the blue last year (after years on my site) dropped in the stats. My Oven Baked Hotel Eggs, after years on the top 10 list were edged out, maybe because they feed a crowd, and these days, most people aren’t having crowds over. Same with my Classic Cornbread Salad. It’s still popular but dropped to #14. My Instant Pot Pork Chop One-Pot Meal did much the same.
They’re going to go to join the recipes that rotated off the top 10 last year: my traditional Nebraska Runzas (Bierocks), Instant Pot Swiss Steak with Mushrooms, this glorious 15-minute Broccoli Cheese Soup, along with my Homemade Chorizo. You are gone, but not forgotten!
Every year, I like to pick what I think of as an “underdog” recipe. One of my favorite recipes that’s never gotten quite the love I think it deserves. Think of this as a kind of Best Personality Award. There are a couple of recipes on my site that always create an instant longing when I see them, and one of those is a huge fave, my Cabbage Roll Soup.
It’s cheap and easy and uses mostly common pantry ingredients and can be made on the stove or in the Instant Pot. My daughter and I just made a huge pot this last weekend.
I’m so glad you’re here and hope you’ll give me a shout out now and then as I start blogging again. Just so I know you’re still with us in these uncertain times. I think things are starting to look up but boy do we have work ahead of us.
In the meantime, I’ll keep cooking and posting, and thank you for following. If you have any friends or family who you think might like to follow along, I’d appreciate it if you’d share. Just like that old girl scout song, which I end with every year:
“Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver, but the other gold…”
Happy New Year Everyone! Stay safe, and may you have many more new memories (and recipes, lol) this year to cherish along with the old…