The best homemade cooking and baking recipes of 2020

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While 2020 – the year of So. A lot. Cooking. – we may remember a recipe for sourdough, none of us could have crossed our forties on bread alone. Among the editors of Eater, the on-site hideaway brought us into our home kitchens like never before and understandably we have depended on some recipes more than others to keep us going, rediscovering old favorites and to find new gems.

There were a few commonalities among the recipes that we constantly turned to when we had to cook, again. The meatballs were both fun to make and extremely convenient; you could always count on noodles; we finally figured out what to do when we had too many greens in the fridge; and we took time for baking projects.

Below, the recipes on which we have relied this year:


Fried rice with broccoli and eggs: I mainly lived on it during the first months of quarantine. Its virtues are numerous: among other things, it is a simple pantry, very tasty and a great way to use leftover cooked rice. It’s also versatile; although it says “broccoli,” I have made it with many rustic vegetables. Plus, it’s basically a ginger delivery vehicle, which is always a good thing. – Rebecca Flint Marx, Editor-in-Chief

Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce: This year, the recipes that I liked the most are the ones that are barely recipes. This iconic tomato sauce from Italian food legend Marcella Hazan is so ridiculously easy it almost looks like a rip off. You simply open a can of the best tomatoes you can find – spend the extra money on real San Marzanos or imported Datterinos – throw them in a saucepan, add a stick of butter and half a peeled onion, and simmer the stove for an hour. Sometimes I put in a few anchovy fillets or whole garlic cloves if I feel like it.

The best part, however, is that after you’ve eaten your perfectly gravy noodles, you can whip the leftover sauce with cream in a blender for the best tomato soup in your natural life. (I got this advice from strange eyethis is Antoni Porowski’s Instagram and argue that this is probably the only great cooking advice this man has ever given.) – Amy McCarthy, Editor-in-Chief of Eater Dallas / Houston

Sautéed dandelion leaves with eggs: My CSA sent me this recipe a week when we had dandelion greens and didn’t know what to do, and it completely changed my relationship with dark leafy greens in the kitchen. It works because it’s less of a difficult recipe and more of a set of guidelines. Instead of leeks, I used onions, garlic, or shallots. I used mustard greens, kale, and chard instead of dandelion greens when I had them. I topped it with cheddar, parmesan and goat cheese. Literally use whatever you have in this loose order, and add some spices if you want. But it made me eat more vegetables than any other recipe. – Jaya Saxena, editor-in-chief

Chocolate babka: The first time I cooked this recipe, which makes two intensely chocolatey babka buns, I had every intention of keeping one for my immediate family and as a gift – until I see my fiancee and my parents devouring the first loaf voraciously. The next few times I baked it over the year, I successfully gave a loaf of bread – to a friend as a farewell gift when leaving LA, to my sister-in-law as a housewarming gift – and I even cooked it on the spot. of a birthday cake for my partner, who literally replied, “This is the best thing you’ve ever done.” The babka looks a lot like my 2020: arduous, messy, a chance to support loved ones and full of chocolate. – Nick Mancall-Bitel, Editorial Associate

Carbonara spaghetti: Even though I love to cook, working at Eater means eating out a lot. My first forays into the kitchen made me feel a bit like a weak baby bird, so I wanted something easy to do and heartwarming. This means pasta alla carbonara – which only needs pasta, eggs, pancetta (or bacon) and Parmigiano-Reggiano (NO CREAM cc: @italians_mad_at_food). Simply boil the pasta, cook the pancetta, beat the eggs until they are super frothy and mix everything over low heat until you have a thick and creamy sauce. I don’t have a recipe because I learned from my friends in Italy, but this one is the closest. – Erin Russell, Associate Editor of Eater Austin

Saffron risotto: The ability to make a risotto without the hand that does not require constant stirring is one of the main draws of the Instant Pot. This simple yet sophisticated saffron risotto from Melissa Clark’s cookbook Dine in an instant has become a mainstay of our house this year, and it has also spread to my sister’s house, to the point that it will earn a prime seat at Christmas dinner this week. I expect other members of my family will embrace this dish: Clark’s excellent pressure cooker-focused cookbook has found its way under my mom and brother-in-law’s tree this year, thanks to your humble servant. – Missy Frederick, Director of Cities

Pasta with kale sauce: Back when we all started taking shelter in place, I asked food writer and cookbook author Jamie Feldmar to put together the best recipes the internet had to offer for cooking with foods from based. Brilliantly, she also included a list of recipes to turn to when it’s time for something super fresh, including this kale pasta recipe from Ava Genes chef Joshua McFadden, and adapted for the Times by Tejal Rao.

One of the perks of editing is seeing a story before everyone else, and I started cooking this recipe almost as soon as I finished reading the draft. Kale is one of the things I tend to buy out of obligation and then complain about having to do something with it. But this sauce is so Well. It’s lighter than a pesto, very vegetable, and requires a whole bunch of kale. It is also easily adaptable; I like to add lemon juice and crushed red pepper flakes, but you can also experiment with different green vegetables. – Hillary Dixler Canavan, editor-in-chief of the restaurant

Spicy Coconut Turmeric Chickpea Stew: This might be the least original entry, but hey, popular recipes are popular for a reason. I had spent months resisting Alison Roman’s hashtag recipes, including #TheStew (turned off by its mundane ubiquity, as well as the somewhat culturally muted void in which it was apparently conceived). But one night in 2020, my husband (the cook of this household) finally decided to try the spicy chickpea stew – and we quickly fell in love. As mostly vegetarians (at home, at least), we’re suckers for any hearty, one-pot vegetarian dish that can serve as a weekday dinner for the both of us. This one is ideal, with stuffed chickpeas, wilted greens that make it healthy, and our most used pantry ingredient: coconut milk. – Ellie Krupnick, Director of Editorial Operations

Somen salad: I turned to a handful of recipes on Onolitics, my favorite Hawaiian food blog, when culinary fatigue set in and it was too hot in the summer to tackle complicated recipes. But the (chilled) dish I kept coming back to was this simple and refreshing somen salad. It’s easier to make than a boxed mac and cheese and it made me nostalgic for Hawaii. – Bao Ong, Editor-in-Chief of Eater NY

Meatballs on weekdays: I have made these meatballs more than ten times, always with turkey. They’re extra moist, super easy to assemble, and make great leftovers. They’re so good I’m going to make them again for Christmas Eve – so meatballs on weeknights AND special occasions. – Alyssa Nassner, artistic director

Snickerdoodles: I am lucky to have Cooking during the week author Michelle Lopez freelances for me from time to time, and her baking blog, Hummingbird High, has become my go-to place for dessert recipes. There are quite a few knockouts in her archives, but the raspberry sumac snickerdoodles in her book are my absolute favorite cookie – they’re incredibly sweet and just slightly chewy, with a lovely flavor. For those who don’t want to buy the book, his basic snickerdoodle recipe will do – just roll them in a mixture of processed freeze-dried raspberries, sugar, and a few teaspoons of sumac instead of the sugar. standard cinnamon. – Brooke Jackson-Glidden, editor of Eater PDX

Pasta to normal: I certainly made this recipe a long time before my quarantine, but it has remained a staple in my home throughout the pandemic. I am lucky to have a garden that produces a lot of eggplants, which I have roasted and frozen. Now I take it out of the freezer whenever I’m feeling lazy. Toss it with tomatoes, garlic, cayenne peppers, pasta, cheese and lots of capers. He always comes out very well. Brenna Houck, editor-in-chief of Eater Detroit

Whole roasted cauliflower and whipped goat cheese: I didn’t think my repeat quarantine recipe would be a literal head of cauliflower, but here we are. I went on a cookbook ordering the Frenzy between March and May, and ended up falling for this charred cauliflower recipe from Alon Shaya’s eponymous name. Shaya, a dish that evokes the puffy and buttery cauliflower heads stuffed in pitas at Miznon in Tel Aviv. I did this several times over the months, but with more fervor in July and August, when I was experimenting with a mostly plant-based diet. The cauliflower turns black as it should when you turn your oven up to 500 (I’m going a little hotter than the recipe suggests), and gives on the first stab. I don’t usually make the whipped goat cheese, but sometimes I sprinkle the head with grated parm for a tangy, salty bite. – Nicole Adlman, responsible for cities

Pan-fried chicken meatballs with tomatoes and chickpeas: Meatballs are fun to make because there are so many iterations of the simple fleshy spheres, and who doesn’t like to crush things with their hands? A colleague from Vox Media had praised the recipe for chicken meatballs from enjoy your food over the summer so i decided to give it a try. The results were delicious: the feta brought a nice brine, the harissa added a hint of spice, and I’m generally a fan of anything chickpeas and tomatoes. The recipe is already a staple in my collection of must-have recipes. I once made it with chopped halal chicken thighs, which lend themselves to a meatball, honestly. – Nadia Chaudhury, Editor-in-Chief of Eater Austin



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