Secret Recipe Club


Okay. I did what she said. I got off the couch. And I cooked!!!

And cooked. And cooked some more.

Why, you ask? Because it was my JOB!! At least this month…It was my job to read through Sashi’s wonderful blog – Get Off the Couch and Cook and find something, anything, to cook. NOT an easy job. Her blog is “…not a health food site but the recipes are not bad for you.” Don’t you love that? I like foods that aren’t bad for me. But still delicious. And there is plenty of that here.

Sashi was my ‘assignment’ for March’s Secret Recipe Club and I had to pick at least one recipe.

But if you follow along each month you know I am not in the habit of just choosing ONE recipe. I started out with her lovely soft…

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These are very similar to the bread I make from KAF, where she originally got the recipe, but softer than my bread. They were perfect with burgers, pulled pork, and meatballs. What makes these really nice is that the dough is ‘worked’ in a bread machine then hand rolled and baked. You can make round buns or long hot-dog style. These were supposed to be long hot-dog but my shaping skills are a little rusty.

With the sandwiches I had to have a side…

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YES!, I did say bacon and cheese. Think of these as deconstructed baked potatoes with sour cream, butter AND the bacon and cheese. Without the skin.

    6 slices of bacon
    6 medium Russet potatoes, washed but not peeled
    4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
    ¾ c sour cream
    4 Tbsp buttermilk (or regular milk)
    1 tsp kosher salt
    ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
    1 c (4 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese

Cook your bacon in a large skillet over med heat until crispy, 5-10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Drain on paper towels then crumble. Set aside.
Cut the potatoes into 3/4″ to 1″ pieces and boil until just soft – about 10 minutes. You want them to easily fall apart.
Mix the butter, sour cream, buttermilk, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
Drain the potatoes then add them to the bowl with the butter/sour cream mix.
Smash the potatoes into the butter and sour cream, stirring slightly while mashing the potatoes until just combined, leaving chunky bits.
Using a large spoon, fold in the bacon pieces and half the cheese.
Sprinkle with remaining, or more, cheese and let melt before serving.

Good stuff.

I thought about making one of her desserts, like her Lemon Blueberry Cake, or the Dutch Apple Pie, or some Chocolate Bacon BarkYUM!! but in the end, since I still had cake and ice cream in the house, I went with another savory – Baked Pork Egg Rolls

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I just happened to have some roast pork so these seemed a perfect way to use up some left overs. Stuffed with pork, carrots, cabbage, mixed with honey, peanut butter, mirin, chili sauce and sesame oil these tasty eggrolls were not fried as we are used to but rather, baked. So pretty healthy and not at all bad for me. Just like Sashi advertised for her recipes.

I am definitely going back for more recipes from Sashi. They are easy, fresh, delicious, and not at all bad for me!!!

NOw that my job is done….why don’t you head on over to Secret Recipe Club and sign up to join in the fun.

But between now and then check out the other goodies from the other members. See how much fun they had with their ‘assignments’ this month.

There are a lot of us who were raised in one place and ended up in another. We never forget the foods of our early years. We add to it from the new places we live. We change. We adapt. Our tastes change but never our love of our ‘native’ foods. This is the case for Julie who is The Texan New Yorker. She was my ‘assignment’ for January with the Secret Recipe Club.

Julie proclaims herself as a Formerly Picky Eater. But after deciding she wanted to eat healthier she learned to cook. She was ‘reared’, as we say in the South, in Dallas then moved to the East coast . He recipes are a great combination of Texas and New York and all the adaptations in between.

I have found over the years that just picking ONE recipe from hundreds is IMPOSSIBLE. I count myself lucky if I can whittle it down to 20 or so that I HAVE to make.

So, Julie, here is what I HAD to make from your wonderful Texas to New York recipes.

It was a little chilly in December and January so a nice thick soup was very comforting. In this case Julie’s Broccoli Cheese Soup

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Can I tell you how delicious this was? Full of cheddar cheese and broccoli. I made it directly from her recipe except I sprinkled some additional cheese and some raw broccoli on top.

And what is soup if you cannot have it with some kind of bread. A grilled cheese sandwich is my usual go to with soup but with all the cheese in the soup I needed something to accent the flavor not dilute it. BISCUITS!!

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Perfect to dip into the nice thick soup. I am thinking that the Bacon Cheddar Chipotle Biscuits would also be good with this. Those biscuits are definitely influenced by her years in TEXAS!!

After Christmas I ended up with a couple of pieces of Pumpkin Pie. I knew I couldn’t just toss them, I didn’t need to eat them (so full!!!) and I didn’t want to freeze them. A conundrum! Solved by JUlie with her…

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which I will call a smoothing because somehow that sounds healthier. This is so easy and definitely competes with the pie shakes at Sonic. Think of the all the possibilities if you have ice cream and left over pie – any kind of pie.

    1 piece of pumpkin pie, homemade or store-bought
    1/2 cup whole milk
    1/2 a pint of vanilla ice cream
    Whipped cream, for serving

Combine all ingredients, except whipped cream, in your blender. Puree until smooth. Pour into glasses and garnish with a generous dollop of whipped cream and some of the pie crust crumbs left in the pie plate.

Makes 2 small smoothies or 1 large smoothie.
How dangerous is THAT!! And how simple.

Now, about those other recipes I have pinned. So much goodness, so little time.

It’s not called the Secret Recipe Club because we have to blog in secret – How 1984 would that be? – but because until the big reveal date our assignment is a secret. Then we can share what we have cooked form our ‘assignment’ and let the world know about all the deliciousness we found. If you want to join in you can find all the information you need by visiting the site. Way too much fun and kitchen adventures to be had.

You can check out all the fun we had this time by visiting below:

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

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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.

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Oh, the sacrifices we make!

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

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    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.

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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.

If you haven’t met Mary you need to do that right away. Along with her chickens, goats, emus, cows, and donkeys. Living on a 5 acre farm all of the creatures keep her busy as does all the wonderful cooking and baking she finds time to do. The pictures of her lovely house and all of the animals are lovely.

Mary – in case you haven’t recognized it yet – is the author of The Egg Farm and my assignment for the Secret Recipe Club for October. I perused her recipes for days, pinning more than I will ever cook, and finally ended up with a few I really really wanted to make asap. The other 20 or so can wait.

The garden gave us tons of tomatoes this year. I put up quite a few and they were still bearing in September when my assignment came through I managed to save two large green ones so I could make Mary’s Fried Green Tomatoes.

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I haven’t made them in ages. These were so good. Nice and crispy. Lots of flavor. I didn’t change her recipe at all.

    2 large green tomatoes, sliced into ½ inch slabs
    Buttermilk sufficient to cover the tomato slices
    Dash of hot sauce
    ½ cup all purpose flour
    ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
    ½ TBS kosher salt
    Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
    Canola oil for frying

Place sliced tomatoes in a glass pie dish. Add a dash of your favorite hot sauce. Pour buttermilk over the tomatoes to cover. This can be done ahead of time and refrigerated for a few hours or overnight. The great thing about letting them set overnight is that the water separated from the solids of the buttermilk leaving a nice thick white layer of buttermilk solids.
In a medium bowl, mix remaining ingredients except the oil. Remove the tomato slices from the buttermilk and carefully press each into the bread crumb/flour mixture. Have oil pre-heated to medium in a large frying pan. Add the tomatoes to the oil as soon as the are coated. Fry the tomatoes until each side is golden brown, turning only once. Remove from oil and allow the oil to drain a bit before placing the fried tomatoes on a plate. Serve immediately.

I usually just use a little flour and cornmeal, but Mary’s addition of the Panko bread crumbs added a great texture.


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Needing something for lunch I made

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The picture doesn’t do it justice. Full of basil and lots of cheese – I used Asiago, Parmesean, and Pecorino/Romano – the flavors really shined through. The only think I did different was to make it crustless. Delicious. Writing this I want it NOW for lunch.


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I love a good simple but filling dish for lunch. I really don’t like sandwiches unless they are hot. I went back to Mary’s blog and found –

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her Asparagus Fritata. And I had just bought some asparagus so I figured it was an omen! Especially since she had JUST posted it. A fritatta is much like a quiche except it is finished under the broiler and is crustless. Perfect!!

    2 tablespoons butter
    ¼ cup diced shallots
    ½ teaspoon salt
    Few turns of black pepper
    1 pound thin spear asparagus spears cut diagonally into 1-inch lengths
    ½ baked potato, cubed
    4 large eggs = 6Tbl egg whites
    1 Tbsp minced fresh chives
    1 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese

Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until soft and translucent.
Add the asparagus cook for an additional 3 minutes. Add in the potatoes (mine were still hot so I added them later.) Save a some spears to top the frittata.
Mix the eggs, ¾ of the cheese, chives, salt and pepper and beat them until a little fluffy. Pour the egg mixture over the onions and asparagus in the skillet. Arrange the reserved asparagus spears on top. Cook until almost set. Pre-heat broiler.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the eggs broil until cheese is melted and browned, and the center is set. Carefully remove pan from oven and slide frittata onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges. Can be served warm or room temperature.

It was a yummy lunch. I had to stop myself from eating the whole thing. Happily, now I have leftovers!!

We wenyto a huge car show in Mississippi with 6 other people I took dessert. Mary’s Irish Cream Cupcakes caught my eye for two reasons. First – I love chocolate and second so does our cousin, Randy. Cuppys it is! These were so good and gone quickly. I did take pics but they are lost in cyberspace. You’ll just to trust me.

Thanks, Mary for some amazing recipes.

If you want to visit with the other members of Secret Recipe Club check out the link below. Lots of good stuff there!!

    Today is Monday, you know what that means!
    It’s time for fun with Annie, fun with Annie, baking with Annie is fun.

Okay, if you were a Micky Mouse Club Fan you know I changed the words just a smidgeon. Fun with Music just didn’t fit, but I had fun with Annie these last few weeks. Annie is the writer, baker, recipe developer,and photographer behind Annie’s Noms!which I was lucky enough to be assigned for this month’s Secret Recipe Club. And when she says Baker she means BAKER!! So many wonderfully luscious treats to be had and me trying not to eat sweets. But I did manage to find some recipes that fit in with our weekly menu and gave me some tasty dishes to add to the regular lineup. Thanks, Annie!!

I found a recipe for Chicken Bacon Pot Pie and Chicken Cobbler and I couldn’t decide which one to make – so I made both – Kinda sorta. I put the two recipes together and came up with the best Chicken Pot Pie I have made in a long time. Creamy, with a cheesy biscuit on top!

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BACON!! How can you go wrong with adding that to just about anything? Let’s call this one Chicken Bacon Cobbler.

    1 tbsp oil
    1 Tbl butter
    2 boneless chicken thighs, sliced into small chunks
    1 onion, sliced thinly
    3 slices of bacon, diced
    2 heaping tbsp chicken gravy granules {Like Annie I didn’t have time to make gravy so I used part of a packet of gravy mix.}
    2 tbsp cream
    1 carrot, thinly sliced
    1 cup frozen peas
    Water, added to the consistency you want your gravy
    salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

In a large saucepan or wok heat up the butter and oil. Add the bacon and fry until almost crisp. Add the onion and cook until soft stirring occasionally. Remove the bacon and onion and set aside.
Add the chicken to the pot and stir, allowing the chicken to brown. Add the bacon and chicken back to the pot.
Add in the gravy granules and water til you get a gravy consistency.
Add the cream, and salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer until gravy thickens, about 10 minutes.
Mix in carrot and peas.
Place mixture in small 10 oz cups or bowls.
Top with a cheesy biscuit and bake until biscuit is nicely browned. {I used my regular biscuit recipe but Annie has one on the Cobbler recipe.}

I did relent and make something sweet. How could I resist with all the lovely sweet treats on Annie’s blog?

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Honey Madeleines

I love making Madeleines. {After my first batch with TWD turned out like BLOBS I bought a pan and it doesn’t stay in the cabinet long.} It’s a cookie/cake and so versatile. Annie’s had plenty of honey and were the perfect dessert.

I did make Annie’s

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Wholemeal Oat Bread

which was great for toast. We always need bread and I try to make only whole wheat these days. The only change – I added some 7 grain cereal we picked up earlier this year.

I had fun going through Annie’s lovely treats and now I will have to go back and try out her:

Notice they are all sweet treats, but then, that’s what Annie is all about!!

You can see what the other SRC members made by visiting the links below.

Today is Monday. The thrid Monday of the month. So you kow what that means. SECRET RECIPE CLUB REVEAL!! Always a fun day. This month I was fortunate enough to be ‘assigned’ Rachel’s Blog The Avid Appetite. According to her short self description,

    A few years ago I could barely boil water.

Well, after reading through her blog and her gret collection of recipes and kitchen adventures I think she is LONG past that part of her life. So. Many. Good. Things. Way too many to try for just SRC. So after picking my way through lots and lots I ended up with Three quick tasty treats.

Starting with her Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie for Breakfast and ending with a quinoa dish for dinner. But lets not get ahead of ourselves.


BREAKFASTP1040933-001Rachel says if you don’t like Sweet Potatoes don’t try this one. And she is rght. It is a major flavor. And very simple. But you have to think ahead because the small sweet potato has to be cooked and cooled first. Then you just mix that with 1 C milk, 1/2 frozen banana
1 packet sweetener of your choice and a 1/2 = 3/4 Tsp of Pumpkin Pie Spice. Run it all through the blender with some ice cubes. Breakfast!


I needed something really quick for LUNCH one day. bingo – Rachel to the rescue.

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Skillet Tortilla Pizzas.

    1 8″ tortilla {I found these great low cholesterol tortillas at W-M by Ole Mexican Food – Sundried Tomato)
    1/4 C pizza sauce (easily spread with a pastry brush)
    1/4 cup cooked sausage and/or sauteed mushrooms.
    1/4 C Cheese of your choice {I used Fiesta Blend}
    2 tsp grated parmesean cheese
    2 tsp light butter

Lightly butter both sides of the tortilla and lay in a skillet over medium heat. When bottom starts to brown, flip it over.
Spread with the pizza sauce, cheeses, and other ingredients. Top with Parmesan.

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Making these little pizzas gave me a chance to use a little tool I found in My Mom-n-Laws kitchen. P1040927 It made cutting up the cooked sausage so easy.

And then for DINNER I added Rachel’s

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Mediterranean Quinoa

    2 C low sodium chicken broth (I used Veggie broth)
    1 C dry quinoa, rinsed
    1/3 C kalamata olives
    1 tomato, seeds removed & diced
    juice of 1/2 lemon
    2 handfuls baby spinach
    7 Spice {Found this at a local mid-eastern market: allspice, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, corieander, caraway, nutmeg}
    salt and pepper, to taste

Place the chicken broth (+ water) and quinoa in a small saucepan over high heat. Once boiling, stir, reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 12 minutes.
After 12 minutes, stir in, olives, tomato, lemon, and spinach. Cover and cook 3 minutes more. Season with salt, pepper, and spice to taste. Serve warm.

The 7 Spice really added some good Mediterranean Flavor. I served it with some baked fish and it was perfect since I added a little 7 Spice to the fish coating. YUM!!

Now – about those other other recipes I have marked:

Thanks, Rachel, for some great tastes. I’m looking forward to some more of your recipes. And I reall think you ARE a long ways past BOILING WATER!!!!

Want to know what the other Group C members made for SRC. Check out these posts!

I have been in a baking funk. I haven’t felt like doing ANY baking. Which is unusual for me. I LOVE to bake. Even when it’s hot. I bake. Until recently. Thank goodness for SRC because the blog assigned to me was so full of goodies to bake I just HAD to get back into the kitchen. In case you are wondering, SRC is the Secret Recipe Club. Each month we are assigned a blog to cook from and, in Group C, we REVEAL on the third Monday of the month. This month’s assignment was a good one because thanks to Jamie at Our Eating Habits I am out of my baking slump!

I usually pick two or three recipes to feature on the SRC post. Usually savory. But this time I went strickly for baking goodies.

We started out with Jamie’s

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    Blueberry Muffins

This is the first year our Blueberry bushes have yielded enough berries to actually use in something. So exciting to know I will have fresh berries in the freezer.

    3/4 cup milk
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    1 large egg
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup Stevia
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1. Mix together the milk , oil, and egg. Reserve 1 tbl dry ingredient mix. Add remaining dry ingredients to liguid and stir until just combined. Toss berries with about 1 Tbl flour mixture. Gently fold in blueberries.

2. Line muffin tin with paper liners (or grease) and scoop in batter. Bake at 400 degrees for 22 minutes. Original Recipe

I added a simple Lemon glaze. Perfect for Breakfast. Snack. Dessert. Blueberries!

Then we were completely out of cookies, so…..

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Cookies

    1/2 cup butter, softened
    3/4 cup brown sugar
    1/4 cup white sugar + 1/2 cup Stevia
    3/4 cup peanut butter
    1/4 cup Eggbeater
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup whole wheat flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup rolled oats
    1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Beat together the butter, peanut butter, sugars and Stevia.
2. Add Eggbeaters and vanilla, beat together again.
3. Add flours, baking soda, and salt, mix until just comes together.
4. Beat in chocolate chips and oats.
5. Bake for 8 minutes at 375 degrees, transfer to cooling rack. Original Recipe

The cookies didn’t last long. Between the Peanut Butter and the Oatmeal in the cookies they made for one perfect cookie.

The Man eats sandwiches most days for lunch so I bake bread every week. This week I used Jamie’s recipe for

    French Style Baguettes

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Jamie’s recipe made 2 large baguettes but I made 4 by cutting the dough into smaller pieces. I also subbed out some Whole Wheat for some of the flour. These were good and made great sandwiches. Just the right amount of ‘chew’ with the WWF. So much better than ANY store bought bread. You can find the recipe HERE!

So I am out of my Baking Funk. Spending the day with Jamie in the Kitchen was just the therepy I needed. Of course with all the other recipes I pinned there will be more days spent in the kitchen with Jamie.

Discovering new foodie blogs through SRC is always good for one’s baking psyche. Check out the other discoveries from the SRC members below.


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