I’m sorry! What month did you say this was? What? Already? Well, that year went fast. Now, don’t misunderstand 2014 is not over yet. In fact we still have (at this writing) 7 1/2 weeks left. But it is the last month for The Secret Recipe Club for 2014. Group C won’t post again until January 2015. 2015? Wait! What? Already?

The bright part of the month is finding and then posting (third Monday) new recipes from a new found foodie blog. And this month was just as much fun and just as hard as every other month since I joined SRC back in June 2011. Since that time I have never ever been able to find just one recipe for SRC so I end up making 4 or 5 and then posting about 2 or 3. With so many good dishes and so many great recipes how can I cook just one?

This month I cooked and baked with Lisa of Authentic Suburban Gourmet. Lisa has been blogging since January 2009. What I found on her site was a couple of ‘themes’ for her recipes:

    Friday Nite Bites – a collection of tasty and easy Appetizers;
    Weekly Inspirations“will consist of quotes that resonate with me to a section on my favorite food bloggers to career advise to Bay Area favorites to wineries and restaurants to simply interesting inspirations. I hope you enjoy seeing what inspires me and hopefully will inspire you.” with recipes.

And in addition to those themes – more lusciousness. Such as her


Cheese cake is right up there with bread pudding in my dessert list. There is nothing better IMO than a good rich flavorful cheese cake. And this one is right up there. A decadent toffee flavored cake topped with a rich caramel sauce and pieces of almond/pecan toffee. **SWOON** I made it without the crust (she suggested gingersnaps but…), but next time I think a chocolate cookie crust would be great. And since I completely forgot to add toffee to my shopping list I was forced to make my own.


Oh, the sacrifices we make!

After making THAT cheese cake I had to make something healthy and since it was chilly outside her


    Winter Minestrone Soup

Minestrone is a thick soup of Italian origin made with vegetables, often with the addition of pasta or rice. Yep! That’s what this was. Full of celery, onions, toma…. well, here is her recipe.

    Olive Oil
    4 ounces Pancetta, ½ inch dice {I used regular bacon}
    1 ½ C. Yellow Onion, diced
    2 C. Diced Carrots
    2 C. Dice Celery
    2 ½ C. Diced and peeled butternut squash {I have never thought to put this in soup and we have tons from the garden.}
    4 Cloves Garlic, minced
    2 teaspoon Fresh Thyme leaves, chopped
    26 ounce Canned or boxed chopped tomatoes
    6 to 8 C. Chicken stock
    1 Bay leaf
    Salt and pepper
    1 (15 ounce) can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed {Nope – used crowder peas canned by an Aunt.}
    2 C. Cooked small pasta, such as Tubetti or mini shells
    8 to 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
    ½ C. Dry white wine
    4 Tablespoons pesto
    1 parmesan rind
    Freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving
    Browned chicken meat – altho Lisa didn’t call for this.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the pancetta and cook over medium-low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken stock, the bay leaf, 1 tablespoon salt, parmesan rind and 1 ½ teaspoons pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through. The soup should be quite thick but if it’s too thick, add more chicken stock. Just before serving, reheat the soup, add the spinach, and toss. Cook just until the leaves are wilted. Stir in the white wine and pesto. Depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock, add another teaspoon or two of salt to taste.
I cannot describe how good this was. Hearty, filling, with some toasted whole grain bread. Perfect!!

And then I just had to try one of her Friday Nite Bites and the Pumpkin Empanadas caught my eye because I had just picked, peeled, baked, cubed a few small pumpkins.


I make empanadas, or hand pies, quite often. With fruit. With meat. With left over stew, etc. But I had never made them with pumpkin. With an Indian twist by adding garam masala. One of my favorite spice blends. Instead of serving the empanadas with the Cilantro Mint Chutney I made a Spicy Pumpkin Butter by adding some cayenne to some Pumpkin Butter I had made earlier. I liked the sweet/hot flavor. I think these would be great made with butternut squash or sweet potatoes. And maybe just a smidgeon more garam masala.P1050251

So many recipes with lots of time to try so many more. You HAVE to visit Lisa at Authentic Suburban Gourmet. Thanks for some great recipes, Lisa.