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In the Kitchen: Top 10 recipes from 2015; delivery that you cook

Now that the holidays are over, it's back to our regular kitchen routines, albeit with some fresh resolutions — or maybe some new cooking gadgets. Thus it's a good time to try a new recipe or two, or maybe to sample one of the new meal delivery services that are available online these days. Which is why we thought we'd bring you a lot of options, on both counts.

We've collected our 10 favorite recipes from the last year, either recipes we've asked for from area chefs or ones we've developed ourselves. If you tried them when the stories first came out, cheers to you; if not, the new year is a good time to put them on your own menu. Or check out a menu that's delivered to your door, in the form of a meal in a box from one of the eight services we've test-driven for you. Because online shopping these days means not only books and clothing and office supplies, but dinner.

— Amy Scattergood

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Our top 10 recipes from 2015

Every year we pick 10 recipes from the last year that we really loved, recipes that we tested in the kitchen, sometimes a number of times, to get them just right. If we've come up with them ourselves, we try them out on each other, on the copy editors and writers in other sections, gathered around the stoves in the Test Kitchen. If we've gotten them from restaurants, we maybe go eat them again, and adjust the recipes with the help of the chefs who created them. Here are our 10 favorites — because with a good recipe, everybody's kitchen is a Test Kitchen.

Perfecto Rocher's paella verda. <a href="http://recipes.latimes.com/recipe-perfecto-rochers-paella-verda/" target="_blank">Get the recipe</a>.
Perfecto Rocher's paella verda. Get the recipe. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Home cooking, with drones!

Well, maybe that was a bit premature: Amazon isn't delivering via drones quite yet, at least last we heard. But those boxes do come a lot faster than it takes a lot of us to make our way to and from the grocery store in L.A. traffic. Which brings us to our story about meal delivery services. We tried eight popular online delivery services — including Blue Apron and Purple Carrot — to see how easy it was to sign up, to order, to get and to make, and not least how their meals turned out on the plate.

Pad Thai from Lighter.
Pad Thai from Lighter. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

More meals in small containers

Speaking of drones and meals in packages, the U.S. Army is looking for volunteers to eat its MREs (Meals, Ready-to-Eat), for a study. About 60 participants will chow down on provided rations for 21 days, then resume a normal diet for 10 days. Researchers will be looking at the meals' impact on gut health, specifically the bacteria within the digestive system. Because there are many ways you can serve your country.

Members of the Army's 101st Airborne take a lunch break of MREs (Meals Ready To Eat) under a concrete bunker.
Members of the Army's 101st Airborne take a lunch break of MREs (Meals Ready To Eat) under a concrete bunker. (Kevin P. Casey / Los Angeles Times)

Your new favorite cookbook ...

... is maybe not the newest chef's farm-to-table cookbook, but a vegan cookbook called "The Taco Cleanse," by four Austin, Texas, writers. It's designed to help you replace every meal for a day, month or however long you choose, with a taco. So in place of a juice fast, you get a churro-waffle taco. And instead of the Master Cleanse, which involves lemon juice and cayenne pepper, try the "minor cleanse," made with tequila and cayenne pepper. See what they did there?

Mighty migas tacos from "The Taco Cleanse," a cookbook with vegan taco recipes designed to help you eat tacos for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Mighty migas tacos from "The Taco Cleanse," a cookbook with vegan taco recipes designed to help you eat tacos for breakfast, lunch and dinner. ("The Taco Cleanse")

Recipes for your New Year's resolution

Many of us are trading — or trying to — the feasts, beasts and all those cookies for something slightly more healthful. Sigh. So if you're looking to eat better, but you're not looking forward to an endless parade of salads, we've got 26 recipes, each with less than 500 calories. And, happily, this includes red velvet cupcakes.

This recipe for chocolate-y, red velvet cupcakes actually clocks in at less than 150 calories, for those watching their figure.
This recipe for chocolate-y, red velvet cupcakes actually clocks in at less than 150 calories, for those watching their figure. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Jonathan Gold's 101 

Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants, the authoritative annual guide to local dining, is online for subscribers.

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