A new year is a time to look ahead and plan for the future. While we may often like to forget the past — most of 2017, for instance — and just move on, it would be somewhat unproductive to actually start completely over with each change of the calendar year. Instead, I think we have to take what we’ve learned and do better.
I wanted to take this week to look back at the past five years of recipes I’ve contributed to this column. That’s right, as of this past November, it has been five years of Rutland Bites and the Rutland Reader. While I enjoy trying new recipes for this column and whenever I cook for friends and family, I don’t want to forget what works.
I started thinking about this the other week when some friends were talking about one of the recipes in their rotation of meals. It had me considering the idea of a rotation. I save recipes I like and want to make again, but I don’t have anything resembling a rotation. For whatever reason, I’m always looking for something new and better. In the process, I think I drive myself (and my girlfriend) a bit crazy.
That’s why I’m starting 2018 with what works. I know there will be plenty of new in 2018, but maybe just not every day. If you already have a meal rotation, you’re way ahead of me. If not, maybe now’s the time to start, and maybe some of my favorites below will make it onto your rotation as well.
I picked 25 of my favorites from the past five years. Looking back on all the dishes I’ve shared, it wasn’t easy. I entirely forgot about some of these and look forward to referencing them more often. I categorized them by season. For me, rotations by season make the most sense, but do what works for you. There are snacks, dinners, desserts and more here. You can find all of these recipes at rutlandreader.com. Just type the recipe name into the search bar at the top of the page. I also included the month and year of when they originally ran.
Rosemary Chipotle Roasted Nuts, December 2013. This mixed-nut snack is full of flavor and entirely addicting. It’s perfect for a holiday party and gift giving.
Winter Coleslaw, January 2014. With carrots, red cabbage and apple, this coleslaw packs crunch. It’s also made without mayo, so it’s a winner in my book.
Bok Choy Peanut Noodle Bowl, January 2014. I don’t eat bok choy often enough, and this recipe reminded me why I love it and should make a point of eating it more.
Orange Maple Glazed Carrots, November 2014. A super-quick side for a vegetable I almost always have on hand.
Lamb, Chickpeas and Winter Vegetables, February 2015. I want to cook more lamb, and this dish made it entirely approachable, despite lamb being a less-popular meat here in the U.S.
Swedish Meatballs, February 2016. Meatballs are the star of the meal here, with a creamy mushroom sauce and tart jam on the side.
Pork Won Tons, May 2014. I love the idea of making up a batch of these, freezing them, and cooking as needed.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese, July 2014. This was my first time making cheese, and it couldn’t have been easier.
Fig Bars, March 2015. I love figs and I love these bars. Way better than store-bought.
Oat and Coconut Milks, October 2016. Nondairy milk is so easy to make at home. And cheaper!
Gloucestershire Pie, February 2017. A variation on shepherd’s pie. Because let’s face it, our spring is basically just an extension of winter.
Cherry Cola Ham, January 2017. Give your Easter ham a burst of flavor in this unusually good preparation. Don’t forget the cherry onion chutney on the side.
Pickled Watermelon Rind, September 2014. A surprisingly good use of a scrap of food that would otherwise go to waste. Serve with any grilled meat.
Summer Fruit Galette, August 2014. When there’s no time to bother with pie and you have fruit to use up, this is the next best option.
Grilled Parmesan Herb Zucchini Slices, August 2016. Summer brings zucchini. Too much zucchini. This recipe solves the problem.
Heirloom Tomato Pie, August 2016. It’s a pie made entirely of tomatoes. Need I say more?
No-Bake Mango Cheesecake, April 2017. I had given up on cheesecake. Then I made this.
Spring Green Pasta, May 2017. Loaded with herbs, this pasta is good all summer long.
Korean Vegetable Pancakes, August 2017. Just chop up whatever vegetables you have for these and you’re good to go. A versatile and handy recipe to know.
Baked Stuffed Apples, October 2013. These comforting apples are my ideal fall or winter dessert. Think of them as self-contained apple crisp vessels.
Medieval Beef and Bacon Pie, March 2014. From the official “Game of Thrones” cookbook, this beef pie is both perfectly sweet and savory. I’ll be making this one again real soon.
Borsch, February 2014. A simple, yet classic soup good for warming up on a cold night.
Spicy Sweet Potato Black Bean & Corn Tacos, January 2015. Here’s a fast, vegetarian dinner that I should definitely keep on rotation for busy weeknights.
Traditional Cornish Pasties, September 2015. A trip to England included many of these easy to carry meat and potato pastries.
Crispy Garlic Brussels Sprouts, November 2016. Another fast vegetable side dish.