Welcome to the August BONUS installment of Secret Recipe Club!!! Today all posts are focused on “back-to-school” and family friendly dishes which are basically all my family eats these days cuz 9 month old. For this special feature, I was assigned Sid’s Sea Palm Cooking which is PACKED with amazing recipes including caramelized potatoes which I made before. Had this been a normal challenge I would have made her Vandbakkelser because OMGoodness does that look amazing! However, playing by the rules is good so I went with her enchilada casserole. She actually has two of them on her page so I went with a hodge-podge version of both! Instead of chicken, went with all beans per the suggestion of one recipe and upped the spice while reducing the sauce as per the second recipe. (apologizing for any typos in this post as my computer has decided it doesn’t “like” certain letters right now)
Only thing I might do differently in the future is add some chips to the top to give it a bit of a crunch. This came together super quickly and also tasted amazing as lunch the next day – always a nice bonus!
Spinach and Mushroom Stroganoff
In the weeks leading up to little one’s arrival, I tried to prep as much as possible in regards to food so that even if I was functioning on two hours there would still be something edible. With that, about a month before D-day my mom and sister came up from VA for a day of (in my opinion) fun prepping two dozen freezer meals. While a few of them were some old favorites (stuffed shells, enchiladas, and lasagna) that would just need to be popped in the oven, the rest were variations of recipes I had been collecting and tweaking in order to make them freezer AND slow cooker ready. I read soooo many articles about freezer meals, taking notes on what freezes super well (presoaked bagged beans, tomatoes, peppers, etc) and what does not (coconut milk, sour cream, cream cheese) and special items where the other ingredients determined if it would freeze well (tofu is awesome solo or just with veggies but no sauces). Once I had identified what meals I wanted to try I then set out to make the ultimate shopping list while keeping to a very tight under $10 per meal with each meal making 4-6 servings.
Some of these meals, everything is in the bag and it just goes straight in. With others there are things to add day of (extra stock, coconut milk, etc) or a side dish that needs to be prepped. Like today’s dish, Spinach and Mushroom Stroganoff. This was one of the first dishes on my list and is a variation of my standard stroganoff just with more “green stuff”.
One of the biggest tips I can give is if you are having people helping you make sure the ingredients are set up in a way that flows. This is something I did not do and it resulted in lots of extra work until I put my Lean Sigma hat on (yes, I’m a dork) and figured out how to eliminate a good chunk of the transportation/motion waste that was happening. To get the meals out of the freezer bag, place in bag in hot water for 5 minutes then use a knife to cut a slit along the side of the bag, then open the top and peel back from the corner (if using a zipper bag cut the side the zipper is one when closed).
Mexican “Beef” Corn Casserole
Welcome to September’s Secret Recipe Club! I’m always a fan of the first Monday of the month because of SRC, but this month is extra special as today is also my birthday! Plus next week is husband’s birthday so lots of celebrating going on over here. This is part of the reason why I wanted something quick and (especially) delicious for this month’s SRC, something that would work for serving a group of hungry visitors. Thankfully the blog I was partnered with this month was more than up for the challenge as Mostly Food and Crafts is STUFFED with incredible recipes. From Rice and Lentils to Mocha Chocolate Chip donuts (DONUTS!!!) to Tomato Basil Pie – there were so many recipes to pick from. Oh, did I mention she has an entire section on her recipe page dedicated to beans – vegetarian dream! In the end I could not get her Mexican Beef Corn Casserole out of my head, all the taste of a taco without the work. An easy switch from regular beef to “beef” and recipe was good to go!
This casserole was exactly as advertised! All the taste of a fantastic taco without the mess and work that comes with a taco. I served this with some chips and sour cream
Caribbean Beans & Rice
Day 3 of TripleSBites – a saucy, sexy, spicy collection of recipes from 20 incredible bloggers! So far I’ve featured one of my Valentine’s favorite vegetables, a delicious pink treat, and today I’m featuring a spicy dish that is sure to heat things up. I’ve mentioned before how when I first met my husband he wasn’t a fan of the spicy, and how over the years (5 this spring!) he has acquired a taste for the hot, hot, HOT! So when the I was Pirate Jonny’s Caribbean style hot sauce I knew I HAD to use it to make something special for my better half. This dish features a bunch of vegetables along with two types of beans some brown rice and for those that want it: cheese! Basically all the things my husband loves, minus Old Bay.
Not going to lie – this sauce packs a bit of a punch! However it is more than just a hot sauce, there are other flavors going on which is key to me. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy hot sauce but there has to be something else going on beyond the HOT portion – and this sauce has it. Next on my list is to check out their Guava Girl Hot Sauce, mostly because of the name, but it also sounds like another sauce that will more than just a “hot sauce”.
Note: While I did receive the Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup for free as part of participating in TripleSBites, I was not required to use or mention the product outside of acknowledging receipt of the product. All opinions are totally my own.
Don’t forget to check out the giveaway for your chance to try some of these incredible products! Also, be sure to check out all the other bloggers below!
4 Cheese Pasta Bake
Nothing like a dairy challenge to get my husband involved with planning a meal – so thank you /52weekofcooking for that! He tossed around lots of ideas, and at least one of them will be making an appearance in a few weeks, but for today I’m sticking with a super cheesy pasta dish that comes together in record time. In fact, if you have some pre-made sauce in the freezer this delicious dish can be on the table well within an hour of getting home! This was also my first time testing out some treats from Gourmet Garden, which I got as part of a blog challenge I’m participating in come February. As for the cheeses, well I just grabbed whatever I thought would work – and then grabbed a few more!
Needless to say one must really enjoy cheese in order to enjoy this dish, so if you’re vegan or lactose intolerant this might be a good recipe to skip. It can be easily adapted for gluten free by switching out the whole grain pasta for a gluten free variety, of which there are more and more available! For even more vegetables, I love that there are more and more vegetable flavored pastas – tho it does keep me from making my own. For a super healthy option, switch out the pasta entirely for spaghetti squash – just reduce the cooking time to 25 minutes to prevent the squash from becoming totally dried out.
I have to say, using the Gourmet Garden pastes really sped up the process – and the flavors were fantastic! I only wish more of the pastes were vegan, with the collection I got only the ginger was whey free and while that isn’t a HUGE issue for me it would still be nice. However the convenience of the products is insane and I love that the ingredients are all organic, plus it tells you right on the container how many fresh cloves, bunches, etc went in to the container.
Note: I received a bunch of Gourmet Garden pastes and herbs as part of the #TripleS blog challenge, which starts February 2nd. I was not required to use the products, or post anything about them outside of acknowledging that I received them, so all opinions and experiences are my own.
Poblano Mac & Cheese
First Monday of November – and with that time for the Secret Recipe Club! This month I was sent out of the US and south of the border to check out Leslie’s La Cocina de Leslie blog which is packed full of spicy traditional dishes. I’m a huge fan of spicy food, and over time my husband has also grown to appreciate the delicious that comes from a good pepper. Leslie’s blog had so many delicious treats to pick from, and more than a fair number of them used ingredients or techniques that were new to me – which are my favorite dishes to pick! In the end I decided to go with one that had a new ingredient as well as a new technique – as a bonus it’s a technique that wouldn’t have worked at my old place with our electronic stove. So enough teasing – time to share her incredible Poblano Mac & Cheese which made enough for a fantastic dinner and a tasty lunch the next day. I had to a make a small change due to allergies but since her recipe was already vegetarian perfection it was only the lime/cilantro that had to go away. I used wasabi arugula from Chocolates and Tomatoes Farm but any variety would work – just figured the added spice would fit right in!
I also bookmarked another handful of dishes for the future, most of which will need to wait until next summer when fresh tomatoes are available. The first on the list are her entomatados with the rajas con crema close behind. So many amazing dishes to try – a few of which I had never even heard of! Needless to say this SRC was another smashing success.
Root Vegetable “Lasagna”
Another day, another delicious recipe! I was hoping to start prepping some delicious spring-themed treats but apparently mother nature is not quite ready for that. As I’m writing this the temperature is preparing to drop some 40 degrees, and with the forecasted wind chill we’ll be back in the single digits. So instead of thinking up ways to use the asparagus that will soon be arriving in the market, I’m back to my winter favorites: root vegetables (and mushrooms)! This dish doesn’t really have a name as it’s a bit of a hybrid between an au gratin and a vegetable lasagna. While lasagna noodles could be used I’m trying to think outside the pasta box – and so I decided to use pan fried potatoes as my “pasta” with various vegetables in between.
Once plated this isn’t the prettiest of dishes, lots of white with a bit of green and orange for color – but it’s delicious! I served it with some crusty sourdough, but anything with a good crust will do well when it comes to getting every last bit of the sauce. I’m sending this on over to the amazing Ren who hosts Simple and in Season, and I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that winter will soon be over. As much as I enjoy root vegetables, I’m ready for some fresh greens and spring onions!