Recipe Included

    ..of luck…

you get assigned to a blog for Secret Recipe Club that has lots of simple, and tasty, recipes. And that is what happened this month when my Secret Assignment was A Little Bit of Everything which is written by Julie WAY up in the plains Nebraska. And I mean way way up because I am WAY down in the Deep South of Louisiana. She has been blogging since 2009 and has a collection of recipes to prove it.

As usual, and we are all in the same boat each month, it was hard to find JUST ONE recipe for SRC so I tried several. And they were all good. And all simple.

It has FINALLY turned cool here which means I could enjoy a nice bowl of oatmeal {I don’t like oatmeal, or soup, in the summer. Just too hot! I know, I’m weird.} and lucky for me Julie had a Pumpkin Oatmeal on the blog.


It is full of all those wonderful pumpkin pie spices, pecans, and maple syrup. It was just right. I wish I had made more than just 1/2 of the recipe.

There was also a recipe for Butterscotch Pumpkin Muffins


Talk about tasty. Ditto on the pumpkin spices and then add in the butterscotch chips and it was a definite winner.

    1 3/4 cup flour, sifted
    1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 large eggs
    1 cup canned pumpkin
    1/2 cup butter, melted
    1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugars, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Create a well in the middle of the mixture.
In another bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin and butter. Stir in the butterscotch chips. Pour into the well of the dry ingredients. Fold together just until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not ove rmix.
Spoon batter into greased muffin tins. Spoon batter evenly into muffin tins.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Place on a rack to cool.

    Oh, yeah, and then I drizzled some with caramel. MAYBE a little over the top, but hey….

We eat a lot of ice cream year round. Or at least The Hubs does. So I had to make Julie’s Cake Batter Ice Cream.


Okay, it wasn’t completely her recipe. I have fallen in love with the No Churn ice cream so I used her amount of cake batter {3/4 cup} in the no churn. What a great Idea!!! You can have your cake and ice cream at the same time. Add some sprinkles and it’s a party in a bowl!!

So here it is the weekend before the reveal and I still have about 10 items on my list from Julie’s recipes:

Which just happen to be the next three on my list. I cannot put my whole list so you bettr just jump on over to A Little Bit of Everything and check them out your self. AND, when you click on her lists they come up in PINTEREST!! Now why didn’t I think of that?

And for the rest of the SRC delights you can find them by clicking below:

Or the name you might be more familiar with – Eggplant Parmesan.

When we visit antique stores and flea markets the first thing I look for is cookbooks. I don’t NEED any more but they are so fun to look through and sometimes I find one that is ‘reasonable’ and has great pictures and recipes. I found one just like that in North Carolina a couple of weeks ago. Elodia Regante’s Italian Immigrant Cooking . Inside were 150 or so recipes handed down through 4 generations. And each one with a story, picture, and family hints. The whole book is full of stories with the introduction telling the story of Elodia’s grandparents arrival in the U.S., meeting in Little Italy, having children, losing children, and celebrating holidays with family and food. And that is what is wonderful about this book – family recipes: authentic, unchanged for 100+ years except to adapt to American ingredients. I have so many recipes marked and ready to share.

This one caught my eye immediately because I have found/tried so many recipes that really aren’t ‘real’. This one was simple and delicious. I even made her Marinara sauce {1 hour, maybe 2} to go with it.


    3 medium eggplants, peeled if the skin is tough
    6 eggs, beaten
    4 cups Italian bread crumbs
    Olive Oil
    8 cups Marinara sauce {you COULD use your own recipe}
    2 cups grated Romano cheese
    1 1/2 lbs Mozzarella Cheese, shredded


Slice the eggplants about 1/4″ thick. Place on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt. Cover with more paper towels. Weight them down to drain as much liquid as possible. This may take up to an hour.
Dip slices in the eggs and then in the bread crumbs. Fry them until olden brown, drain, and cool. {You can also bake them.}
Place a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of your baking dish. Layer with eggplant, then Mozzarella and Romano cheese. Cover with sauce. Repeat until your pan is just about full. You may get 4 – 5 layers.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes or until the Mozzarella melts.
Allow dish to sit for about 10 minutes to let the ingredients settle before slicing and serving. (serves 6)

Marinara Sauce Salsa al Pomodoro

    1/8 cup minced garlic
    3 Tbl olive oil
    5 lbs ripe tomatoes {I used some I canned this summer}
    1 cup red wine
    1 Tbl oregano
    1 Tbl basil
    1 tsp thyme
    1 pinch rosemary
    Salt and Pepper to taste

Sautee the garlic in a large saucepan until soft but not browned. Remove the pan from the heat.
In another pot boil some water and add the tomatoes just long enough to soften and slip the skins. Smash the tomatoes with a potato masher. Add the tomatoes, their juices, wine and some of the boiled water to the pot with the garlic. {If you used canned tomatoes you don’t have to do this, just add the contents to the pot with the garlic.}
Add the spices and season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer, covered, for about an hour. Two if you have the time. Stir periodically.
{Original recipe page 127}

This was delicious and one of the easiest recipes I have found for the Parmigiana. I made just 1/2 of the recipe and it was plenty for two people.

This month’s Lets Lunch comes to you from Germany. Octoberfest! An annual all out Beer Party held in Munich. It is the World’s largest VOLKFEST or “Public festival” where the beer is served in huge 1 litre steins carried 8 – 10 at a time by comely waitresses. By the way, that’s 8 – 10 in EACH HAND!!

What better way to celebrate Octoberfest if you cannot be there than to cook or bake with beer. Ok, I CAN think of better ways but this is the easiest!!

      Beer recipes all around!!

When I was little we lived in England. We spent four years there and moved 5 times. The Military is really good at that! While there we discovered lots of great food, despite what people said British food can be delicious, one of which became one of my Dad’s favorites – Welsh Rarebit. Or is it Rabbit? Rarebit? Rabbit? No one really knows, or cares for that matter, what it’s called. It is a wonderful easy dish for snack or lunch or dinner. This is the recipe my Mom got from one of her English friends and I still use it 55 years later.


This is NOT just melted cheese, this is melted cheese mixed with beer, cayenne, paprika, and Worcestershire. MUCH better….

    1 lb sharp natural Cheddar {Use the really good fresh cheddar not the shrink wrapped from the grocers. Other wise it will not blend with the other ingredients.}
    2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    1/2 tsp dry mustard {or 2 tsp prepared English mustard}
    Dash Cayenne pepper
    Dash Paprika
    1/2 cup ale or beer
    Buttered toast cut into triangles

Shred the cheese and set aside
Mist the Worcesertshire, mustard, cayenne, paprika and beer in a saucepan and place over low heat until beer is hot.
Add cheese and stir until melted. {Don’t let the mixture come to a boil}. Just keep it over low heat until all the cheese melts and blends with the rest of the ingredients. If it boils, the cheese solidifies and separates from the liquid.
Pour over toast triangles.

So simple. So quick. So good.

I was going to stop there but then I ran across a recipe for Pumpkin Beer Bread and knew I had to try it and include it here.


It is made with Pumpkin Beer which just enhances the flavor of the pumpkin.
This recipe is enough for two loaves or one loaf and some muffins or one loaf and some mini loaves.

    1 15oz can of pumpkin
    1 2/3 cup sugar {I used 1 cup Splenda and 2/3 cup sugar}
    1 bottle pumpkin beer
    1 cup brown sugar
    2/3 cup oil
    4 eggs
    4 cups flour {I used 1/2 AP and 1/2 Whole Wheat.}
    2 tsp salt
    1 tsp baking soda
    2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp ground ginger
    3/4 tsp nutmeg
    1/4 tsp cloves

Preheat the oven to 350 and spray two 9×5 loaf pans
In a mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, sugars, beer, oil, eggs and spices
In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda. Add those slowly to the liquid ingredients.
Pour into 2 loaf pans and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove pans from oven. Let bread cool in pans completely before slicing. (Recipe is from Dessert before Dinner

What else is on the Lunch Menu?

I have a good friend, Tanya, who teaches me how to cook different Asian dishes. Sometimes we cook together. Sometimes she cooks and then explains how it’s made. Sometimes she just gives me a recipe and suggests I try it. This was one of those recipes. It is from her brother who submitted it to his local cookbook. And it is delicious.


    5 – 6 Tbl salt
    5 – 6 Asian Eggplants peeled and cubed
    5 Tbl oil
    6 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
    4 – 5 Tbl Basil leaves, chopped
    2 Tbl sugar {I would use less next time – very sweet!}
    1/2 cup soy sauce
    4 – 5 Tbl cilantro, chopped

Soak the eggplant in water with the 5-6 Tbl salt for about 15 minutes. Strain and rinse.
Heat the oil. Add the eggplant and fry for about 5 minutes. Flip them over and continue to fry until crispy with soft centers.
Add the sugar, garlic, and basil. Stir fry about 2 minutes.
Add the sugar and soy sauce. Stir fry an additional 3 minutes or so.
Serve over rice.

I’m always looking for new ways to cook eggplant especially when the garden gives us a great bounty – or someone else’s garden. And frying is not always an option.

Thanks, Tanya, for another good recipe.

Now! About that deconstructed wonton soup…..

Last week we said good bye to Chef Pepin. This week we are saying hello to our new chef – Ellie Krieger. In case you don’t know her already you can see her Bio HERE! We will be cooking with her for the next six months. And that is exciting. I was introduced to Ellie’s wonderfully tasty and healthy recipes almost 6 years ago when I joined Craving Ellie in my Belly. That group is now defunct but I loved the first dish I made – Peach French Toast Bake and I’ve never looked back. And now I get to cook with Ellie twice a week because, with 6 other ladies, I am cooking my way through Ellie’s newest book Weeknight Wonders over at Eating with Ellie.. Twice a WEEK!! That’s what I call good times!

I’ve had my eye on several Ellie Dishes so I figured I would use one of those to introduce Ellie Krieger.


This is her Mushroom, Onion, and Gruyere Quiche with Oat Crust

The crust is made with rolled oats, butter, and buttermilk and just a pinch of flour. And it is wonderfully crispy and tasty. The crust is layered with shredded Gruyere cheese and then piled with mixed mushrooms before being covered with an egg/milk mix. Talk about good. It was hard NOT to eat the WHOLE thing!


    Cooking spray
    3/4 cup rolled oats
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    3 tablespoons cold, lowfat buttermilk


    4 teaspoons olive oil
    1 medium onion, sliced thinly into half moons
    4 ounces sliced mixed mushrooms, such as cremini, oyster, shiitake {I used button and a “Forest Blend” of dried ‘shrooms.}
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dry)
    3 large eggs
    2 egg whites
    1 1/2cup low-fat 1% milk
    3 Tbl AP flour
    3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese (about 1-ounce)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch pie dish with cooking spray.

Process the oats, flour, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 3 times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until you get a pebbly course texture. Add the buttermilk and pulse until the mix comes together. Form the mixture into a disc and chill for about 45 minutes.Place it between 2 pieces of parchment paper and roll out into a circle about 10 inches in diameter. {As you can see I made mine in a rectangular tart pan so I had to roll it out differently and then patch it here and there.}

Remove the top sheet of waxed paper. Transfer the crust, still on the other piece of waxed paper to the pie dish, then remove the waxed paper from the top. Press the crust gently into the dish. Bake for 9 minutes, then let cool. {I completely missed this part about pre-baking but it came out just fine!}

To prepare the filling, heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large nonstick pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil to the pan and heat over a medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have released their water and begin to brown, about 6 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper, mustard, and thyme.

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, egg whites, flour, and milk.

Sprinkle the cheese into the pie crust. Top with the mushroom-onion mixture and pour the egg mixture on top. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake for 35 minutes or until knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting into 6 wedges and serving.

I was wondering why Ellie had the cheese sprinkled on the bottom. Usually it is mixed in. But then I took my first bite and the first flavor was the smokey Gruyere I used and THEN the mushrooms. Perfect! And lots of ‘shroom flavor.

Definitely a repeat.


The recipe is on page 23 of Ellie’s Comfort Food Fix and a different version on FoodTV

See how the others welcomed Ellie over at I Heart Cooking Clubs

It’s reveal day for Secret Recipe Club. The day we trot out the new recipes we have discovered on our ‘assigned’ foodie blog. The day we glorify the fun dishes we have made from someone else’s kitchen. This month I Homesteaded with April over at Angel’s Homestead.

April lives on three acres with her husband and lives by her definition of Homesteading:

    Engaging in a give-and-take relationship with the earth. Growing your own food, cooking from scratch, raising backyard livestock, collecting rainwater, simplifying your life, reducing your impact, and living in harmony with nature.

I discovered not only some easy and delicious recipes but some great ideas for the home as well. Like a great Emergency Substitution Chart when you run out of every day ingredients, Gardening 101 but since this is a COOKING Club…

If you been reading about my SRC adventures you KNOW I cannot make just one dish. I just find too many to decide on less than three. I mean it’s hard enough to narrow down to that let alone JUST ONE! I had decided to cook a roast for Sunday Dinner this month. That is something I don’t do often anymore for just the two of us. I remembered seeing that April had a Crock Pot Beef Roast on the blog so I used that one.


It was nice not having to worry about the cooking. And fragrance of that roast cooking wafted through the house all day.

To go with the roast that night I made her…


So good! I usually just cut the butternut in half, deseed it, and then nuke it adding cinnamon sugar after the fact. THIS was so much better!!! And so simple!!

    1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups, cubed)
    2 tablespoons pure olive oil
    2 tablespoons Organic Coconut Sugar I used Turbinado instead.
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Place squash cubes into a large bowl, along with the olive oil, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and salt and toss together until the squash is well coated.
Spread the squash into one layer on a large foil covered baking sheet that has been lightly greased. Don’t crowd them or the pieces won’t brown.
Roast squash for 25 to 30 minutes, depending on your oven, turning the squash over and rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time, until the edges are browned and centers are tender.

Not wanting to stop there I made the dinner complete with her Fluffy Dinner Rolls.


If you need some rolls in about an hour or less THESE are the ones you need to make. These were the best rolls I have ever made. And I have made a lot of rolls!!!

It won’t be long before I go back and make her Philly Cheese Steak Pizza, Pecan Pie Muffins, or her Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits.

Thanks April for some great EATS!

You can check out the other Secret Assignments by clicking below

It’s MYSTERY BOX CHALLENGE week again with I Heart Cooking Clubs. I love a good challenge. Especially when I can meet the challenge.

This weeks mystery box contents:

    Salmon (fresh, smoked, canned),
    Green Peas (dried, fresh or frozen),
    Parmesan Cheese,

    Apples (Any color/kind),
    Blue Cheese,
    Bread Rolls/Buns, and

I managed to complete the challenge with three of the ingredients, weak, yes, but still…


Gratin of Ziti and Vegetables

I love making dishes with the fruits of our garden and this one had it all – squash, tomatoes, eggplant, corn. I cannot think of a better way to use these all up.

    2 quarts water
    4 ounces ziti or penne
    3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
    1 onion (about 8 ounces), peeled and coarsely chopped
    4 ounces string beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1 cup)
    1 small eggplant (about 8 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 1/22 cups)
    1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
    1 pattypan (or other type) squash (8 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups){ I used zucchini.}
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    2 ripe tomatoes (about 10 ounces),cut into 12-inch pieces (2 cups)
    2 ears sweet corn (about 1 pound), husked and kernels cut off (1 1/2 cups)
    1/2 cup black olive shavings, preferably from Nyons olives { I used kalamata.} (about 2 dozen olives)


    l slice fine-textured white bread, processed into crumbs in a food processor (2/3 cup)
    1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
    1/2 cup minced chives

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cook the sizi in boiling water with salt until al dente. Drain and briefly run ziti under cold water. Cover, and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet then add the onion and beans.
Cover and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
Add the eggplant and herbes de Provence. Cover and cook, over medium heat for another 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Then add the squash, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook 2 more minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat. Mix in the tomatoes, corn, and olive.
Mix in the cooked pasta and pour the mixture into an 8-cup casserole dish.
In a small bowl mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan, OO and chives. Pour the mix over the pasta and veggies.
(Note: The dish can be prepared to this point, covered, and
refrigerated for up to 8 hours.)
Bake the gratin at 400 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes {mine took about 22 minutes} until nice and brown. Serve immediately


This was very very good. But it was also very very very dry. I went back to the recipe to see if I had left something out, but I followed it correctly. The crumbs on top did not stay well on the dish, but were good mixed in. I will make this again, but it really needs some ‘juice’ of some kind. {Original recipe is on page 102 of Jacques Pepin’s Table.

The other Mystery Box dishes are probably delish. Check them out at I Heart Cooking Clubs.

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