Our Most Gorgeous Recipes of 2019, According to Instagram
In 2019, we saw flavors that not only delivered, but also dazzled. We’ve complied our best-looking dishes for those occasions when you need a dish that wows. Not only are they a feast for the eyes, but these recipes are some of our tastiest creations yet. But don’t take our word for it—you might just have to see it to believe it.
Foolproof Chuck Steak with Smoky Chimichurri
Thought chuck steak was just a meh budget cut of beef? It’s inexpensive for sure, but it’s a far cry from the stew meat you think it is. In fact, chuck steak—unbeknownst to many—boasts rich, meaty flavor akin to a ribeye, and can be just as tender. This easy recipe uses a technique known as a “reverse sear” to deliver perfectly cooked, tender chuck steak every time. The reverse sear is a great, approachable cooking method for those who want a deliciously salt-crusted, medium-rare steak, but don’t have a ton of experience preparing beef. Rather than searing the steak in a screaming-hot skillet on the stovetop and basting until you think it’s done and ready to rest, this hands-off trick entails cooking the steak in the oven until it reaches your desired degree of doneness (a meat thermometer is really helpful here) and then finishing it off with a quick sear just to get a nice, brown crust on the surface. This gentle cooking method not only removes guesswork for a less-experienced home cook, but also involves less intimidating popping and hissing skillet action. Served with a flavor packed chimichurri, this easy chuck steak is just begging to be layered onto charred corn tortillas for steak tacos.
Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
This vibrant pink layer cake is pure strawberry-on-strawberry goodness, with fresh strawberries going into the cake batter and frosting. One thing to note about the buttercream frosting—it is absolutely bursting with berry flavor, but is easily over-mixed. If you find you've broken your emulsion when whipping this frosting up, no worries. You can simply mix in a little more powdered sugar to restore it. That said, we love how purely strawberry-forward the flavor of this frosting is, so we'd advise being very light-handed when adding extra powdered sugar, as it will dilute the berry flavor. In our opinion, it's better to have a slightly broken frosting that tastes like strawberries than a perfectly pristine frosting that tastes like sugar.
French Onion Soup Casserole
This hearty, homey take on French onion soup celebrates Georgia-grown Vidalia onions, which typically come into season in late April. Naturally sweet Vidalias are perfect for caramelizing, and this indulgent casserole with layers of bread, onions, and cheese is a terrific way to enjoy them. We didn’t think French onion soup could get any more comforting, but we took the Southern route and made it into an even cozier casserole. This dish amplifies the richness of the classic soup you crave, and it’s ideal to serve as a hearty family dinner or pack up and bring to the church potluck. It takes time to slice and caramelize the onions, but you can do this step a day ahead and store the cooked onions in the refrigerator.
Banana Pudding Cake
One of our testers called this "the ultimate banana pudding in cake form." Tender laters of cake, creamy vanilla custard, and bananas come together to create a mouthwatering dessert. Warning: There won't be leftovers.
Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
We’ve got a triple-threat here: Rich red velvet, gooey, fudgy brownies, and tangy cheesecake unite to form a dessert bar everyone will love. These red velvet cheesecake brownies are decadent without being too sweet, thanks to the cheesecake swirl, and a delicious twist on plain old brownies. They slice super clean, but remain gooey and soft. If you like your brownies fudgy bake them on the lower 30-minute end. For cakier brownies, bake longer, up to 35 minutes. Lining your pan with parchment keeps these from sticking to the pan, making them much easier to slice.
Instant Pot Eye of Round Roast Beef
Despite its tempting price tag, you’ve probably walked right on by that eye of round roast in the supermarket meat case more times than you can count… but no more; now, you know exactly what to do with it. This easy Instant Pot recipe transforms what’s typically considered a less-desirable cut of meat into succulent, perfectly rare roast beef with a richly savory jus. You can serve it simply over a bed or fluffy rice, or layer the tender beef onto warm rolls and serve with the luscious jus for dipping. Salting the beef and allowing it to sit, uncovered, in the refrigerator (for at least one hour, but longer if you can) is key to achieving supreme flavor. This step allows the meat to to release surface-level moisture, which makes for optimal exterior browning, and gives the salt time to really make its way into the meat. Additionally, allowing your cooked roast to rest thoroughly is essential to ensuring peak tenderness. That being the case, this is a great make-ahead recipe, especially for easy—and inexpensive—entertaining. Prep you Instant Pot eye of round the day before, refrigerate overnight (this will help lock in those savory juices and make thinly slicing so much easier), slice it up, and then put it out with your warmed jus and all your favorite fixings for a build-your-own roast beef sandwich bar.
This 5-star cinnamon apple cake is one of our best-ever recipes and can be served as dessert or a breakfast coffee cake. The cream cheese in the batter gives the cake lots of moisture, while the cinnamon sugar topping is dense and crumbly. The cake is best warm out of the oven, and will keep for a week after you've baked it. Toss in walnuts or pecans to the batter for an added nutty crunch.
Skillet Cinnamon Roll With Cranberry Glaze
Why make a batch of cinnamon rolls for a crowd when you can make one giant roll that everyone can share? This big roll looks impressive, but it’s not a difficult task—if you’ve made cinnamon rolls before, this isn’t much different. You can use up any leftover cranberry sauce from holiday dinners in the pink glaze, which isn’t so fruity it denotes that classic cinnamon roll flavor. If you need to make part of this ahead of time, let the dough rise ahead of time, then transfer to the fridge to chill overnight. In the morning, remove it from the fridge and let stand 15 minutes before continuing with the rest of the recipe.
Cookie Butter Cheesecake
This decadent cheesecake harnesses the addictively toasty power of speculoos cookies in the crust, in a layer of the filling, and in an over-the-top delicious caramel sauce you’re gonna want to pour over everything (we highly suggest you do). Perfect for a holiday gathering or other special occasion, this cookie butter cheesecake recipe is guaranteed to please. We tested using Biscoff cookie butter, but feel free to use your favorite brand of speculoos spread.
Cajun Shrimp Alfredo
Kick up the weeknight dinner routine with this easy (and cheesy!) Cajun Shrimp Alfredo. Incredibly creamy and offering a mouthwatering Cajun kick, this just-spicy-enough pasta dish delivers major flavor with minimal effort. We opted to keep it classic using fettuccine noodles, but any pasta shape will work great!
Cranberry-Pistachio White Chocolate Bark with Sea Salt
Microwaving the chocolate helps keep the temperature below 92°, ideal for tempering. Use the best-quality white chocolate you can find (not those labeled "baking chips").
Snickerdoodles are already a classic cookie, but add chai and they become irresistible. Cinnamon, cardamom, and a touch of black pepper intermingle beautifully to create a warm, buttery cookie that tastes like the beloved winter drink. Try dipping them in coffee or tea, or leaving them out with some milk for Santa.
Spicy Thai Coconut Chicken Soup
Apple Cream Torte
A cream torte is like a cross between a cake, a custard, and a dutch baby. The tender-sweet varieties of apples used here soften more readily than some when baked, making them a better match for the delicate cake. Look for Northern California and Northwest varieties at your local grocery store or farmers' market from August through November. Five great Western apple varieties in the Cameo, Gravenstein, Ida Red, Pink Pearl, and Sierra Beauty.
Garlic Knot Chicken Parmesan Sliders
Chicken Parmesan meets a garlicky, buttery roll in this super simple yet impressive recipe. Everything comes together quickly with the help of pizza dough, but you could also use dinner rolls like Hawaiian rolls to skip a step and save time. Dress them up with wine, or dress them down with beer and bring them to a tailgate. These sliders also pair nicely with a salad or chips and dip.
Instant Pot Pumpkin Spice Candied Walnuts
Yet another way to enjoy pumpkin spice this season. Gift these to friends as a festive treat, or enjoy them yourself with an autumnal beer. Make sure to use pure maple syrup, as pancake syrup will taste artificial and will likely overwhelm the spiced flavor.
Savory Sausage, Veggie, and Gnocchi Soup
Turkey sausage, sweet butternut squash, earthy mushrooms, shallots, and spinach come together to make a big bowl of delicious comfort. The colors stay intact, and the sausage is perfect for sopping up with some crusty French bread. Best of all, it’s fast and easy, and you can dress it up or down. Turkey Italian sausage has less fat, but still retains lots of flavor. Brown the shallots and mushrooms first—since the turkey sausage doesn’t have much fat, it will burn on the bottom of the pot. This soup also works well as leftovers, especially with crusty bread.
Have an abundance of perfectly ripe strawberries on your hands? Sounds like you’re ready to make jam. We know what you’re thinking—but trust us, making your own strawberry jam at home is surprisingly easy, especially with this foolproof recipe in hand. The ingredient list is concise, but every element plays an important role. Adding water at the beginning of the cooking process keeps your sugar from burning before the berries can begin to release their juices; however, the water evaporates as the jam simmers, so it doesn’t dilute the final product. Meanwhile, utilizing pectin to thicken the jam allows you to encapsulate some of the strawberries’ fresh vibrancy, rather than having to extensively stew the berries down to reach a rich, jammy consistency. Red wine vinegar brightens the strawberry jam’s flavor without making it distinctly tangy. And a finishing touch of butter takes care of the little white air bubbles that can make a jam cloudy. Your completed homemade jam can provide a welcome burst of farm-fresh berry flavor to any number of foods; try it on biscuits or toast, spooned over oatmeal or ice cream, drizzled onto waffles or pound cake, whisked into a vinaigrette, or dolloped onto a cheese board. And for a herbaceous flavor variation on your next batch of strawberry jam, try adding 3-4 sprigs of an herb like basil, mint, tarragon, or thyme to the jam while it cooks (simply remove and discard the herbs before jarring).
Bisquick Topped Blueberry Cobbler
This biscuit topped blueberry cobbler recipe couldn’t be easier. Breaking out your trusty Bisquick baking mix keeps the recipe effortless, but you could also top the vibrant berry filling with a simple homemade drop biscuit dough as well. Using ripe, juicy blueberries gives this summertime favorite the perfect level of sweetness, while vanilla extract contributes a floral depth and a little bit of aromatic lemon zest lends a lovely balance of brightness. Served warm with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, this easy cobbler can’t be beat.
Lucky Charms Cookies
Hearts, stars, horse shoes, clovers, and blue moons, pots of gold, and rainbows, and the red balloons… all stirred into a buttery, cereal inspired cookie dough. In addition to all of the signature marshmallow charms, these Lucky Charms cookies have ground cereal incorporated right into the dry mixture for the sugar cookie dough. In other words, yes, they are magical.
Oreo Cookie Pie
Oreos on Oreos on Oreos. This Oreo pie recipe is super easy and a must-make for any fan of Milk's Favorite Cookie.
Marinated London Broil with Potatoes, Broccoli, and Roasted Garlic Aioli
This sheet pan dinner couldn’t be easier (or more delicious), and utilizing inexpensive London broil, it’s one you’ll come back to again and again. Serving this budget-friendly dinner with a shortcut aioli takes the entire meal up a notch with minimal effort. In testing, we even found that using jarred roasted garlic, rather than preparing your own, absolutely delivers on flavor. London broil will be labeled as such in many supermarkets, but you can also substitute flank steak or top round.
Cheesy Stuffed Pizza Crust Ring
You know how as soon as you grow into a fully formed adult human, you realize that the best part of a delivery pizza is the part you’ve been foolishly tossing aside (for your parents to eventually graze on)? Well we decided to make up for lost years by making this cheesy stuffed crust ring, no pizza necessary. Of course, we all know the only thing better than a standard hand-tossed pizza crust is a stuffed crust. We flavored this cheesy ring of bready glory with a seasoning blend inspired by the masters—Domino’s—and served it up with a delicious blend of the two most perfect crust dipping sauces: ranch and marinara. Warm from the oven, this cheesy appetizer perfect for a Super Bowl party, or any other game day gathering.
Goat Cheese Poppers with Honey
In addition to being a delicious appetizer that feels special, these Goat Cheese Poppers with Honey make for extra awesome croutons on salads and as "meat" balls for vegetarian pasta dishes. Be sure to bring your oil to the right heat before adding the poppers--if the oil is not hot enough, you will end up with a soggy, greasy mess instead of crisp poppers. Available at most stores that carry kitchen equipment for around $10, a kitchen thermometer is an incredibly worthy investment.
Overnight French Toast Casserole with Bourbon-Maple Syrup
This indulgent brunch casserole is ideal for entertaining because it must be assembled and chilled eight hours in advance. In the morning, all you have to do is pop the dish in the oven and let it perfume your whole house as it bakes. A splash of bourbon enhances the maple syrup’s caramel sweetness, but you can omit the alcohol if you prefer. Whether you add bourbon or not, be sure to choose the good stuff: 100% pure maple syrup.