2017: what a year! If you look at the news and Buzzfeed articles all day like I do, you might think 2017 sucked, but it was an amazing one for me. In 2017 we got a dog, got engaged, bought a house, finished grad school, and went on some amazing trips. Jeez, that sounds like a lot. It was also my first full year of blogging! Instead of counting down the most popular posts on my blog, (healthy was popular this year! Like this smoothie, or these meal prep bowls) I thought I’d share my favorite Ally’s Cooking recipes of 2017. These are the ones that are so good they show up on our weekly menu over and over and over.
What more can I say about this one? It’s an easy, delicious weeknight staple in my house that takes about 5 minutes to prep and then into the slow cooker it goes! Tender shredded beef, fresh crisp veggies, and a yummy asian-inspired sauce.
12. Sweet and Spicy Brown Sugar Baked Beans
The perfect side dish for literally any meal, (this is the South after all) but especially perfect in the summer. We must have made these easy baked beans once a week this summer to pair with grilled or bbq anything. Bacon and brown sugar? Maybe all that’s missing is bourbon to complete the trio of guilty pleasure food….now there’s an idea…
This won’t be the last smoothie on this list, but then again I’m beyond obsessed with smoothies. I drink them every morning for breakfast, and discovering a new one is such a treat. This orange-ginger-carrot smoothie was such refreshing, tangy twist on my normal spinach smoothie, it’s becoming a new staple!
10. Easy, Cheesy Lasagna Soup with Crescent Roll Twists
Lasagna soup has a special place in our hearts and on our table. I don’t make it nearly as often as I should, but every time I do we wonder why it’s not a weekly occurrence, (oh right, calories).
Probably the most epic Sunday snack ever, this buffalo chicken dip is made (and kept warm!) in a slow cooker (easy) and has no blue cheese, which is controversial I know, but makes me a happy girl.
8. Simple, Foolproof Strawberry Cobbler
This is one of those desserts I make way too much and am not at all mad about. This simple cobbler recipe is perfect for any fruit you got: strawberries, blackberries, etc. Taylor requests it all the time with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream to go on the side. I recommend this dessert for any beginner baker like me that wants something impressive but completely foolproof.
These are definitely another easy staple in my house for on-the-go breakfasts or quick snacks! 5 minutes to prep, (and no messy stack of mixing bowls!) and totally guilt-free. Just a little sweet, and healthy enough to keep grabbing another and another and another…
6. One Skillet Chicken Enchiladas for Two
I bet I make these once a month: it’s the perfect amount for two people (three enchiladas each) and they are so stress-free and simple for weeknights. On super-stressful days I’ll just use a can of enchilada sauce instead of making my own, leftover chicken, and a can of corn to make this even easier. It’s definitely flexible and still yummy!
Discovering overnight oats was a game-changer for me this year. Who knew they were so easy and delicious? I went a few solid weeks prepping and bringing mason jars of these to work every morning, and it was wonderful. I really enjoyed the pumpkin pie flavor with real canned pumpkin, crunchy pecans, sweet blueberries, and yummy chocolate chips. Such a delicious breakfast option that tasted like dessert!
4. Sheet Pan Chicken Parmesan with Crispy Broccolini
What can I say about chicken parmesan that you don’t already know. It’s the BEST. And baking it keeps it healthy but still super crispy. In my healthier days, I’d use almond flour to coat instead of bread crumbs, and it was equally as delicious. This is definitely a go-to meal for me whenever I don’t know what to cook. I remember on Valentine’s Day this year we got stuck in traffic so bad (ugh, Atlanta) that we ended up turning around and going home. We couldn’t get a reservation anywhere else, so I looked in the pantry and saw we had flour, breadcrumbs, a jar of marinara, pasta, and some chicken in the freezer. What more do you need? Chicken parmesan ended up being the perfect Valentine’s Day meal, and it’s always the perfect meal TBH.
Things are getting serious now that we’re in the top three 😉 These meal prep lunch bowls are super popular on my site, and super popular in my real life too. Not only are they paleo/whole30 friendly (aka healthy) they are simple to make (hello sheet pan) and completely delicious. The PERFECT lunch to keep you happy and energetic all afternoon.
2. Cherry Almond Paleo Smoothie
This one is #2 because I probably make it 90% of mornings. It’s my official new go-to smoothie recipe. So so so so so so so yummy. Try it and become an addict like me.
I made this dinner for the first time this summer and said to myself, “Ally, this is the best thing you’ve ever made. Ever”. And it was. Crispy, cheesy chicken (like chicken parmesan without the sauce) covered in a sweet and tangy balsamic glaze with fresh summer veggies like tomatoes, zucchini, and fresh basil. I served mine over mashed potatoes and the balsamic glaze was amazing gravy. I can’t say enough good things about the meal. Is it summer again yet?