Gallery: 10 Most Popular Dinner Recipes in 2011

  • Nordstrom's Tomato Basil Soup

    The goals for this were: a) Recreate the tomato soup from Nordstrom, and b) don't mess it up. In case you're not familiar with this soup, it's rather famous, ranked regularly on lists of Best Tomato Soup Ever, enjoying something of a cult following for those who love tomato soup. And who doesn't? We'd be surprised to meet any American kid who doesn't have fond memories buried deep. Get the recipe »

    Dan Dan Noodles

    This version of Dan Dan noodles, adapted from Bon Appetit, is easy to pull off. Besides Sichuan peppercorns, there's nothing too difficult to find (they'd be sorely missed, but you could make it without them), and the technique is as simple as using high heat and working quickly. It's a slightly Americanized version, yet the taste is wonderful, deep, and satisfying—and it comes together in less than 20 minutes. Get the recipe »

    Pasta e Broccoli

    What really works with the famous pasta e broccoli is that if you cook it long enough, the parboiled broccoli breaks up into the pasta and almost melts into a pasta-clinging sauce when combined with the cooking water. Increasing the ratio of broccoli-to-pasta not only makes the dish a bit healthier, but better too. While this version is a simple one with garlic, pepper flakes, and parmesan, you could also might melt some anchovies into the oil and skip the parmesan. Either way, this is a delicious way to eat your broccoli. Get the recipe »

    Curried Lentil Soup with Chickpea Purée

    Images of lentil soup won't send you running to the kitchen with nothing on your mind but, "I have to cook this now," like a picture of a dripping burger might, or a seared, crusty steak. Bit this is one of the best lentil recipes we've ever made. How come? The secret is in the assertive curry spices and the addition of chickpeas, bringing both spice and creaminess in droves. Though you wouldn't guess chickpeas are in the soup, they're the reason it's so creamy since they're stirred in after being puréed with lemon, garlic, and olive oil. Get the recipe »

    Niku Udon

    This beef-topped udon dish is complex and slightly rich, with just a tinge of sweetness in each spoonful. The thinly sliced beef cooks in seconds, and the tofu and scallions need all of a minute before they're ready to go. The only hard part is tracking down the kombu (kelp) and katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) that are used to prepare it. Luckily, they can be purchased in bulk from most Asian grocery stores, and can be stored for months. Plus, you can make a big batch of dashi and then freeze the extra, much like you can do with chicken stock. Get the recipe »

    Chickpea Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette

    Chickpea Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette

    Going through the list of ingredients in this recipe, it all seems pretty familiar: chickpeas, mint, feta, olives—standard stuff in a chickpea salad. Delicious, too. But nothing new. Yet the real story here is the cumin vinaigrette that's laced into every bite of this salad. It's a heady combination of toasted cumin seeds, black pepper, and oregano, all smashed together with garlic, good olive oil, and red wine vinegar. It's a little bit Mediterranean, a little bit Middle Eastern, and it does wondrous things to the chickpeas. Get the recipe »

    Jacques Pepin's Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

    Stuffing a tenderloin sounds more difficult than it actually is; butterflying is the hardest part. You can pull it off in 10 minutes or so, and still have this elegant dinner on the table in an hour. If you need help, watch this video where Jacques Pepin's reassuring French accent will guide you. A quick pan sauce with the drippings in the roasting pan was the final flourish to bring it all together. Get the recipe »

    Cheddar Scallion Polenta Croquettes

    In this recipe from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, the polenta is breaded and shallow-fried. It's a fine way to accompany sausage. The recipe also mixes in sharp cheddar and scallions to the cooked cornmeal to give it a savory bite before spreading on a baking sheet to cool. Dipped in an egg wash and then breadcrumbs, the croquettes come out crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside. Get the recipe »

    Quesadillas Stuffed with Greens and Feta

    This actually came from the Los Angeles Times' favorite recipes of 2010 list. It's an interesting take on the quesadilla with hearty winter greens like kale, mustard, or collards that are cooked down with onion, garlic, and red chile flakes, and studded with salty cubes of feta cheese. On its own, this filling would even make a superb side dish; the briny and salty feta cheese play a perfect foil against the savory greens. But slipped inside a corn tortilla and griddled, along with a few cubes of diced mozzarella, the whole thing melts into an oozy, satisfying dinner. Get the recipe »

    Lamb Meatballs

    These meatballs are flavored with chopped mint, orange zest, garlic, and shallots, and fortified with salt pork (or bacon) to add the necessary fat. Get the recipe »