I would like to introduce you to Jaida. She is the blogger behind Sweet Beginnings. And she is my ‘assignment’ for October’s Secret Recipe Club.

Her kitchen is in Central Texas and she shares it with her cat, Sunny, and Bubba, her Boston Terrier. She says she loves food and I believe it. You should see the recipes on her blog. There is a little of everything. Including 38 yes, 38, recipes for tacos. I didn’t know there were that many types of tacos. I was tempted to try several, but had to limit myself so I ended up with three of her recipes. It was a hard choice.

Butternut Squash Risotto

    1 cup arborio rice
    3 cups fat free low sodium chicken broth
    1 cup butternut squash soup or puree
    3 cloves garlic, chopped
    3 shallots, chopped
    5 sage leaves, finely chopped
    1 tsp butter or olive oil
    2 oz dry white wine
    1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
    freshly ground pepper
    1 tsp salt

In a medium sauce pan heat chicken broth and squash puree. Keep mixture warm over low heat.
In a heavy saucepan, heat butter on a low flame. Add shallots and garlic and saute until golden.
Add risotto and sage and stir well to coat each grain with butter.
Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed.
Add salt, pepper, and stock mixture 1/2 a cup at a time stirring constantly until absorbed. Continue this process until all the stock is used, about 25-30 minutes from the time you started.
When all the liquid is absorbed, stir in the grated cheese and remove from heat. Serve immediately.

This was a good risotto. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought it might be a little sweet because of the butternut squash. But any sweetness was cut by the sage and white wine which are included in the risotto. I just learned how to make risotto so any time I see a recipe I know I have to try it. So glad I did. We both liked it which I didn’t expect, especially from my Other Half.


Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

    1 cup all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon sifted mustard powder
    1 tsp garlic powder {I think I would use a little more.}
    ¼ teaspoon sifted cayenne pepper
    ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
    2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
    2 tablespoons frozen grated butter (or a combination of lard and butter)
    Approximately 1/2 cup cold milk

Preheat oven to very hot 475°F.
Triple sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.) Mix in mustard powder, garlic powder, cayenne, grated cheese, and chives.
Rub the frozen grated butter (or combination of fats) into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse beach sand.
Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the biscuits will be!
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)
Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about 3/4 inch thick. Using a well-floured 2-inch biscuit cutter, stamp out without twisting six 2-inch rounds, gently reform the scraps into another 3/4 inch layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough). Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.
Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones.
Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly colored on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.
Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.

These were quite good. Each bite gave a hint of garlic which quickly disappeared. For that reason I would add just a little more garlic. I left out the cayenne pepper because I didn’t want a spicy biscuit, just a cheese-y chive-y one. And they were just that! I don’t often make biscuits, but these are definite keepers.

And they were perfect to serve with….

    Loaded Potato Soup

B’s favorite soup is Potato soup. I made lots of it while he was sick and haven’t made it in a while. It is filling, comforting, and warming on a cold day. And since it is only supposed to be 49 in the morning it seemed like a perfect time to make it.

    6 slices of bacon, chopped
    1 medium onion, diced
    3 medium carrots, peeled, quartered and thinly sliced {Left out because I didn’t have any.}
    2 garlic cloves, finely minced
    4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice
    1 tsp dried thyme
    4 c chicken vegetable stock or broth
    2 oz cream cheese
    1/4 c heavy cream or half and half
    1 c shredded cheddar, jack or colby cheese, divided
    2 c steamed broccoli
    3 scallions, thinly sliced

Heat a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove bacon from pan to paper towels to drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of bacon fat in the pot.
Add olive oil if necessary for 2 tablespoons total, and add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, then add carrots and garlic. Allow the vegetables to cook until they start to develop some color.
Add the potatoes and thyme, stirring to combine, and season with salt and pepper again. Add the chicken broth and bring the soup to a simmer. Cook until potatoes begin to fall apart, about 10-15 minutes. Break up potatoes with a potato masher to desired texture. Over low heat, add the cream cheese and cream, if using, and stir until cream cheese melts. Stir in 3/4 cup of the cheese.


Serve topped with the reserved bacon, remaining cheese, steamed broccoli and scallions.

Now that you have seen a sample of Jaida’s offerings you need to go by for a visit.

And stop by the other bloggers (below) who participate every month with Secret Recipe Club. Fun times every month. You should join us.