The Best Recipes of 2014
Sweet Potato, Cauliflower, and Greens Casserole
As a hefty vegetarian main course or as a side, this one delivers big flavor and meaty texture.
The City and The Country Mac and Cheese
Smoky cubes of brined city ham and salty bits of country ham give this main-course mac its name and savory appeal. Pasta enrobed with a creamy sauce and melting pockets of gooey cheese take it over the top.
Loaded Chicken-Bacon Pot Pie
Recipe: Loaded Chicken-Bacon Pot Pie
You can’t go wrong with Chicken Pot Pie. You can’t go wrong with Bacon. This high-rating recipe combines both for a classic Southern dish that your family will request over and over again. Deli-roasted chicken and puff pastry shortcut time without cutting flavor; Thick, sizzling bacon slices, dry white wine, and mustard give the gravy and vegetables a savory punch. Want to know the secret for making the perfect potpie filling? Reserve the bacon drippings, and cook it in to the flour-based broth. You can make the mini version of this recipe by using ramekins instead of a baking dish.
Watch: Loaded Chicken-Bacon Pot Pie
Peanut Butter-Banana Cream Pie Recipe
Recipe: Peanut Butter-Banana Cream Pie
This delicious pie is so simple it's foolproof. Be sure to let the crust and custard meld in the refrigerator for 4 to 48 hours before topping with cream.
Skillet Pork Chops with Apples and Onions
This one-pan dish is as impressive as it is easy to make. Once you complete this hearty dish of savory apples and whipped cream, you’ll also finish with a side and a sauce all-in-one. The Granny Smith apples add sweet notes to the otherwise savory flavor profile, and pull richness from the bourbon. Out of bourbon? Just use scotch or whiskey as a replacement. When you stir in the liquor into the hot sauce, you’ll immediately see the alcohol evaporate from the pan. Be sure to brown the chops well so they'll give the mustardy pan sauce deep flavor.
Lemon-Rosemary-Garlic Chicken and Potatoes
This winner of a chicken dinner is our new favorite roasting-pan supper for weeknights or easy entertaining with friends.
Lemon-Lime Pound Cake
Recipe: Lemon-Lime Pound Cake
This recipe is based on a classic Southern favorite called 7UP Pound Cake, which was created in the 1950s when the soda company suggested using its soft drink instead of other liquid in pound cake recipes. The result: one of the best, and simplest, cakes you'll ever make.
Watch: Lemon-Lime Pound Cake
Citrus Pull-Apart Bread
Recipe: Citrus Pull-Apart Bread
This makes two gorgeous loaves for breakfast, tea, or coffee. Keep one, and share the other.
Winter Mushroom Risotto
Recipe: Winter Mushroom Risotto
We love the complex depth of flavor chicken livers lend (think dirty rice), but feel free to leave them out. Remember, the key to a creamy risotto is to stir, stir, stir. All that action releases the rice's natural starches, which make the sauce thick and velvety.
Italian Potato Salad
Chicken and Gnocchi
Recipe: Chicken and Gnocchi
This fast became a Test Kitchen favorite and our new go-to chicken and dumplings because it's the easiest gnocchi we've ever made. Simply use a zip-top bag to pipe the pillowy mounds straight into the simmering water.
Fried Catfish with Pickled Peppers
Honey-Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Recipe: Honey-Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Honey gives this classic Southern cake a lift. Fresh pineapple slices work well here too.
Recipe: Honey Flans
An elegant make-ahead dessert, these custards sing with faint floral notes and sweet honey. Serving tip from our Test Kitchen: Flans release like a dream if you let the custard cups stand in 1 inch of warm water for 3 to 5 minutes before unmolding.
Recipe: Honey-Roasted Carrots
Substitute apple juice for bourbon, if you prefer. Look for bunches of carrots that are all about the same size so they'll cook evenly. If some are too big—or if you can't find real (sometimes labeled French) baby carrots—just peel the bigger ones and halve them lengthwise before roasting.
Recipe: Honey-and-Soy-Lacquered Ribs
Bake these sweet and spicy ribs up to 2 days ahead. Then simply reheat and broil before serving.
Herb-Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb
Look for a roughly 5-lb. boneless leg of lamb rolled in netting; no need to unroll and retie. Roast in the netting, and then remove it with kitchen shears.
Grapefruit-Pecan Sheet Cake
Recipe: Grapefruit-Pecan Sheet Cake
Nothing says easy entertaining quite like serving a classic sheet cake. We love this citrus riff on the Southern standy.
Chipotle Scalloped Potatoes
Recipe: Chipotle Scalloped Potatoes
Cheesy, smoky, and savory—all of our favorite flavors come to play in this winner of a potato casserole.
Recipe: Weekend Brisket
Turn leftovers (if there are any!) into tacos, chili, or egg-and-brisket biscuit sandwiches.
Mosaic Tea Sandwiches
Recipe: Mosaic Tea Sandwiches
Make a variety of pretty mosaics by using our all-purpose cream cheese spread and layering method, and choose any seasonal toppings that fit your fancy.
Variation 1: Salmon-Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
Variation 2: Vegetable Medley Tea Sandwiches
Variation 3: Prosciutto-Asparagus Tea Sandwiches
Glazed Spiral-Cut Holiday Ham
Hot Potato Salad
Recipe: Hot Potato Salad
Our Test Kitchen Director's grandmother, Jackie Freeman, has been making this genius recipe for decades. It's the perfect marriage of potato salad with a bubbly, cheesy gratin.
Easy Parmesan-Herb Rolls
Recipe: Easy Parmesan-Herb Rolls
No time to bake bread from scratch? Here's a recipe to jazz up store-bought canned dough. For the dried herbs, mix together your favorites to make 1 Tbsp.
Spring Pea Orzo
Recipe: Spring Pea Orzo
The key to this crowd-pleasing salad is to toss the warm pasta with the dressing so the orzo soaks up flavor. Make it up to two days ahead, and serve any leftovers with ham.
Classic Deviled Eggs
Recipe: Classic Deviled Eggs
Deviled eggs never go out of style, and this recipe for Classic Deviled Eggs is one that every Southern cook should master.
Country Ham-Breadcrumb Eggs
Recipe: Country Ham-Breadcrumb Eggs
This savory deviled eggs recipe adds a comforting spin with country ham and Swiss cheese.
Smoked Salmon, Lemon, and Capers Eggs
This zesty recipe for Smoked Salmon, Lemon, and Capers Eggs dresses up ordinary deviled eggs with salty smoked salmon. You'll need 12 peeled hard-cooked eggs for this recipe. Master the first step of the recipe with our helpful video for How To Hard-Boil an Egg.
Strawberry-Lemonade Layer Cake
Recipe: Strawberry-Rhubarb Tartlets
We used a 2 1/2- x 3-inch fluted rectangular cookie cutter to cut the dough for these adorable tarts. You can also cut them by hand or use a round cutter. Serve for breakfast, dessert, or as a sweet snack.
Grilled Ham-and-Cheese Sandwiches with Strawberry-Shallot Jam
The secret is all in the Strawberry-Lemonade Jam. Use roasted turkey instead of ham, if you prefer.
For crunchy-bottomed biscuits, start with Our Favorite Buttermilk Biscuit recipe, but warm a cast-iron skillet in the oven, and spread a bit of butter in the skillet before adding the biscuits. The bottoms will ened up crunchy and golden brown and provide a sturdy base that holds up to a smothering of sausage gravy.
Our Favorite Buttermilk Biscuit
Why didn't we think of these sooner? Start with Our Favorite Buttermilk Biscuit recipe. Stir 4 Tbsp. drained dill pickle relish into buttermilk before adding to flour mixture. Split baked biscuits, and top with ham and mustard for the World's Best Ham Sandwich! We promise.
Pillowy Dinner Rolls
For Pillowy Dinner Rolls, start with the recipe for Our Favorite Buttermilk Biscuit then, cut in 1/2 cup cold shortening instead of cold butter. You'll get a soft biscuit that stays tender, even when cool. Plus, shortening has a neutral flavor that will complement anything on your dinner plate.
For Sweet Shortcakes start with Our Favorite Buttermilk Biscuit recipe then add 2 Tbsp. sugar to the flour, and replace buttermilk with heavy cream. The sugar lends the biscuits a subtle sweetness, and the extra fat in heavy cream gives them a cumbly texture like shortbread. They're the perfect base for shortcake desserts.
Arugula with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
"Mama always said, 'Eat your greens,' so start brunch off with a simple salad. The warm vinaigrette melts the goat cheese, creating a magical creamy dressing."
Cheese Grits and Roasted Tomatoes
5-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork
One pork shoulder roast, a few pantry ingredients, and eight hours on low effortlessly produces the most succulent and tender pork, just as if you waved a magic wand. The best part—you can save the leftover pork for two fast and hearty weeknight suppers.
Leftover Recipe 1: Pork Noodle Bowls
Leftover Recipe 2: Pulled Pork Nachos
Classic Southern Buttermilk Pie
Recipe: Classic Southern Buttermilk Pie
Silky, sweet and perfectly decadent—this classic Southern pie is going to have you going in for seconds.
Recipe: Bourbon-Soaked Cherries
Kirk Samuels of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, shared this recipe. Stir the cherries and their syrup into anything bourbon-flavored, or use them to gussy up sparkling beverages, such as club soda and ginger ale.
Buttery Lady Peas
Recipe: Buttery Lady Peas
No summer veggie plate is complete without this Southern staple.
Recipe: Creamed Corn
Keep an eye on the corn as it simmers; it needs to cook only until it’s tender. If it starts to dry out and stick to the skillet, add water a little at a time.
Green Beans and Charred Onions
Recipe: Green Beans and Charred Onions
Let this fresh recipe be your new side dish for summer picnics.
Recipe: Honey-Balsamic-Blueberry Pie
Unexpected but oh-so right, a touch of tangy-sweet balsamic vinegar combined with honey, cinnamon, and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper magnifies the sweetness of blueberries. We love this buttery crust, but if time is short, substitute a store-bought one and simply crimp the edges.
Step-by-Step Video: Lattice Pie Crust
Over-the-Top Tomato Sandwich
Recipe: Over-the-Top Tomato Sandwich
Whether eaten at a white tablecloth spot or over the kitchen sink, this is the sandwich we wait for all year.
Skillet-Roasted Okra and Shrimp
Recipe: Skillet-Roasted Okra and Shrimp
Adapted from Virginia Willis' book, Okra, published by The University of North Carolina Press, this fast sauté is great over grits or a bed of arugula.
Blueberry-and-Kale Grain Salad
Recipe: Blueberry-and-Kale Grain Salad
Trust us—you're going to want to try this crunchy, sweet, and salty combo. Any variety of kale will do, and feel free to sub cooked farro, wild rice, or quinoa for the wheat berries.
Recipe: Blackberry-Brie Pizzettas
At happy hour, pair these appetizer-size pizzas with a chilly glass of rosé. For an entrée, simply roll dough into larger rounds.
Recipe: Buttermilk-Blackberry Pops
Don't have a reusable mold? No problem. We found 5-oz. paper cups to be a perfect no-fuss, disposable alternative.
Petite Blueberry Cheesecakes
Recipe: Petite Blueberry Cheesecakes
As pretty as petits fours, these luscious little two-bite gems can be finished with any kind of berry or preserves. Get ahead, and bake the cheesecakes in advance. After baking, they'll freeze up to one month. Thaw and top with preserves and fruit before serving.
Double Berry-Almond Galette
Recipe: Double Berry-Almond Galette
Here's a great baker's secret: Adding a splash of vodka to dough will give you a super-flaky crust, and the alcohol burns off while baking. We prefer to make this dough by hand; you can use a food processor, but the final result will yield a more crumbly, cookie-like texture.
Tomato Salad with Grilled Shrimp
Recipe: Tomato Salad with Grilled Shrimp
Look for beautiful and tasty heirloom tomatoes in a rainbow of colors at your local farmers' market, and keep them at room temperature until you're ready to slice and serve.
Key Lime Curd Cones
Recipe: Key Lime Curd Cones
To prep ahead, make the curd up to two days in advance, and chill. Whip the meringue an hour before your party; assemble just before serving.
Recipe: Margarita-Brined Chicken
Soak chicken in a citrus-and-tequila-spiked brine to infuse Latin flavors and keep the chicken moist as it cooks. Pat the skin dry before grilling, and start skin-side down to ensure it gets good and crispy. Feel free to sub orange juice for tequila and lemons or oranges for limes, and be sure to grill extra citrus for a pretty and functional garnish.
Grill-Smoked Summer Peas
Recipe: Grill-Smoked Summer Peas
Here's a smart new smoky spin on baked beans, substituting field peas for traditional white beans. Use a mix of different kinds, such as crowders, lady peas, and butter beans.
Smoky Chopped Salad with Avocado
Recipe: Smoky Chopped Salad with Avocado
Grill the lettuce and avocado just long enough to impart a tinge of smoke.
Recipe: Bourbon-Soaked Plums
Use your favorite kind of plums, or sub nectarines or peaches, if desired. Make sure they're just firm and not too ripe.
Smoky Black-Eyed Peas with Fried Green Tomatoes
Summer Hoppin' John Salad
Recipe: Summer Hoppin' John Salad
A New Year's tradition, Hoppin' John is usually served hot, but this cool salad is perfect for a summer picnic or lunch, or as a side salad for grilled meats. Feel free to sub your favorite cooked whole grain instead of rice.
Smoky Field Pea Hummus
Recipe: Smoky Field Pea Hummus
This is our new go-to summer dip. Use any legume you like.
Smoked Ham Hocks
Recipe: Smoked Ham Hocks
Call your butcher days ahead to order fresh hocks. This recipe also works great with fresh turkey wings.
Bacon, Peach, and Basil Burgers
Recipe: Bacon, Peach, and Basil Burgers
Nothing says summer in the South quite like peaches, and of course we think everything goes better with bacon, so the Bacon, Peach, and Basil Burgers are a fresh-off-the-fire sensation. We recommend ground sirloin here because it's lean, which causes fewer flare-ups on the grill. Chopped pickled jalapeños and their juice ramp up the flavor, while bacon, and tangy-sweet chutney balance the heat. Soft and creamy goat cheese, an unexpected addition, adds just the right amount of smooth flavor to these amazingly balanced burgers.
Sloppy Joe Carolina-Style Burgers
Recipe: Sloppy Joe Carolina-Style Burgers
These fantastic burgers—made with ground sirloin—get that little something extra, Carolina-style, from a delicious scoop of chili on top. We don’t call them sloppy for nothing, so you’ll want to eat these over-the-top burgers with a knife and fork, or set out a pile of napkins. Add fresh crisp texture and flavor by mounding slaw atop the burgers. Serve extra slaw on the side to sop up that chili, or save it for another day.
Sweet Tea-and-Lemonade Cake
Recipe: Sweet Tea-and-Lemonade Cake
Feeling rowdy? Spin this into a tipsy cake by substituting up to 2 Tbsp. vodka or bourbon for the lemon juice in the frosting.
Recipe: Grape Focaccia
Don't be intimidated by homemade bread; even a beginner can master this simple baking sheet focaccia. It's an effortlessly gorgeous dish for entertaining, and the unexpected combination of sweet and savory flavors will impress. As an appetizer, serve the warm slab of bread, sliced, on a large cutting board with a few wedges of your favorite cheese. Try muscadines or figs in place of the grapes. For leftovers, spread the focaccia with peanut butter for a fresh, sophisticated spin on PB&J.
Recipe: Apple Flatbread
Bake store-bought pizza dough to make a convenient and versatile canvas for apples, cheese, and herbs. Serve as appetizers or the main course.
Eggs Simmered in Tomato Sauce
Recipe: Eggs Simmered in Tomato Sauce
In this dish, inspired by Middle Eastern shakshuka, crushed tomatoes make a simmer sauce for poaching eggs.
Recipe: Carrot-Apple Soup
The smart technique for this simple soup eliminates the need for sautéing the vegetables, which preserves the bright color and flavor of the carrots and results in a brighter, more refreshing soup. To keep it vegetarian, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
Apple Stack Cake
Recipe: Apple Stack Cake
Use six disposable 8-inch aluminum cake pans to create the layers of this stunning cake. Prepare the filling up to three days before assembling the cake.
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Tart
Recipe: Caramel Apple Cheesecake Tart
It may look like a chore, but this cheesecake tart calls for a relatively straightforward preparation: First, press the crust into the tart pan. Next, mix the cream cheese filling, fill the tart shell, and bake. Finally, gild the pie with sautéed tart apples, and paint them with melted apple jelly for a jewelled effect.
Cornbread Pudding with Whiskey Caramel
For a different look, bake in 8 to 10 lightly greased 8-oz. ramekins in a jelly-roll pan. Reduce covered bake time to 25 minutes; reduce uncovered bake time to 10 to 15 minutes.
Easy Apple Butter
Recipe: Easy Apple Butter
This spread is autumn's sweetest sensation, stealing the show as a condiment and lending rich flavor to some our favorite fall recipes.
Test Kitchen Tip: Use a wooden spoon to draw a line through the apple butter on the bottom of the pot; if the line holds for 5 seconds before the apple butter merges back together, it's finished cooking.
Chicken-and-Wild Rice Skillet Casserole
This rustic meal, a company's-coming riff on the old-school chicken-and-rice number, is held together by a tangy gravy flavored with country ham and mushrooms. This dish is perfect for weekend nights when you have more time to devote to ingredient preparation – it takes some time for these ingredients to come together to form one of the most delicious casseroles we’ve ever cooked. We can attest that this dish is worth the wait. Nutty wild rice helps sop up all the good chicken gravy so you don’t miss any flavor. Jazz up the classic comfort food recipe with fresh toppings like flat-leaf parsley and crunchy sliced almonds.