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!
Simple Beet Salad
Summer is most certainly here – hitting over 100 degrees earlier this week before the heat index! I’m trying to stay as cool as possible in the house, so avoiding the oven as much as possible. Thankfully the local farmers’ markets are BOOMING with fresh and delicious produce making it super easy to make healthy dinners that don’t require much cook time. With this simple salad the trick is to slice the beets on the thin side so that they can be cooked in under 7 minutes, nice and crispy on the outside and melt in your mouth delicious in the middle.
To make it even quicker to get dinner on the table, I prepped them the night before so that they could soak in the oils. We enjoyed these with a cold pasta salad, which had also been prepped the night before! I find it so much easier to cook right before bed (and after dessert) and since it’s cooler outside the kitchen doesn’t become a mini-furnace.
Tofu Mushroom Cabbage Stir Fry
Happy 4th of July and with that, welcome to July’s installment of the Secret Recipe Club! This month I got to visit Alaska by way of Anna’s Cheese with Noodles Blog. I loved her in her intro she was up front about blog pictures, something that I’m so bad about that I have my husband do it for me! I found so many incredible recipes on her blog including baked tofu bites and a corn pudding recipe so amazing it survived a divorce. In the end however I couldn’t move past her Pork Mushroom Cabbage Stir Fry after reading that it’s so good it should be in a restaurant. I swapped the pork for tofu and waited until the end to season the dish as tofu has a tendency to go from just right to over salted super easily. I also used baby bella mushrooms as my store was out of the full size variety – luckily Anna’s recipe included the weight so that was a super easy swap to make! She didn’t say what type of cabbage to use so I went with red over Chinese but either would work.
Another fabulous dinner thanks to the secret recipe club! I also reserved a bit of the red cabbage to steam with some apples and ginger for baby girl’s dinner and she was also a huge fan! I’m also in the process of joining some other food groups – hoping that eventually my cooking spark will come back as little one gets older. I still enjoy spending time in the kitchen but it’s no longer the sanctuary it once was.
Austin Black Beans
Hey everyone! Only a week since my last SRC post thanks to May’s bonus week. This week is my “normal” group A post – but there is nothing normal about the blog I was partnered with. I’m very lucky in that I’ve had Leslie’s Cocina de Leslie blog twice so far, once as my regular assignment and once when I decided to adopt a blog while 38wks pregnant. Leslie’s blog has soooo many amazing recipes that when the powers that be offered to switch me for a “new” blog I told them there was NO NEED to be hasty – that I could happily and easily find something new to make. With that, this post was supposed to be all about her Mole Ranchero. While the ingredient list is a bit daunting, the dish came together in no time at all. However my camera man got a bit peckish and ate the sauce set aside for the photo as a post dinner snack. So…back to my very long list of recipes! I had marked her Austin Black Beans when I adopted Leslie’s blog so was thrilled that some nasty weather made it the perfect time to give them a whirl. I used the vegetable oil instead of lard and left out the lime juice due to my allergy. I also added the cilantro straight to my bowl as it tastes metallic to hubby and totally omitted below.
Another great recipe from Leslie! So glad there was an oops and that I got another excuse to explore her blog – think I have a good dozen recipes to try! This meal would also freeze well for the slow cooker, just add the 8 cups of water directly to the slow cooker along with all the ingredients. Instant dinner!!!
Another one of my awesome freezer meals – this time one that also doubles as a great way to clean out the fridge/freezer! Once we had finished prepping my list of meals, I checked what I had left and decided I could squeeze out at least one more meal. This hodge podge of ingredients was fantastic last weekend when Mother Nature decided we needed another round of cold weather, to include snow!
We topped this with cheese but chives, sour cream, guacamole or nothing would also work. As for the vegetables, whatever you have on hand will work.
Spring it starting to make it’s appearance, and with that soup season is slowly coming to an end. We had a chilly blast this past weekend so I decided to do up a batch of minestrone – which is about as simple as it gets. The ingredients are ones I almost always have on hand, if anything just have to buy the tomato juice. Which makes it perfect for the “it came from a can” challenge over that /52weeksofcooking. Instead of using frozen vegetables, just use a can of each: peas, corn, carrots, lima beans, etc – the point of this soup is to show that simple can be tasty.
Nothing like a dish that comes together in record time and only requires one pot. I know that some people aren’t a fan of cooking pasta in soups but I love how doing so gives the pasta some extra flavor. Plus the smaller pasta holds it shape better than the larger guys and don’t get as mushy. However, for those who want more of an al dente taste – cooking the pasta per instructions and then place in the bottom of a bowl before pouring the soup over top. For a real protein punch, add some garbanzo or great northern beans when adding the pasta or use lentils in place of the pasta.
In an attempt to get my kitchen mojo back, I’ve once again joined the /52weeksofcooking group in the hopes that their weekly challenge would get me going again. They are now on week 10 while I’m just now doing my second post – needless to say I’m still a work in progress! This week the challenge was Japanese and while I debated doing a tempura I couldn’t get over the idea of trying a Japanese curry similar to one I had in Pittsburgh a few summers ago. Luckily the internet provided me with lots of ideas, so I took the common ingredients from all of them and then winged the rest of it!
I could say this was a huge hit but that doesn’t begin to cover it – this is one of the only curries where husband has wanted seconds! He couldn’t get over how savory it was – all the flavors working together. So good he didn’t believe it was vegan, BIG bonus there.
Make sure to come back Monday for February’s BONUS Secret REcipe Club post. It’s the 5th Monday of the month and this time the special theme is Spring & Bunnies.