Baking · Breakfast · Secret Recipe Club · Side Dish

Looking Pretty

sconesRoasted Onion and Cheese Scones

Time for October’s Secret Recipe Club recipe – which was originally going to be the final post on this blog (at least for the near future.  However, it was announced yesterday that next month will be the final month for the Secret Recipe Club, so there will be at least one most post!  When it was time for me to pick my recipe I thought it was going to be my last so I decided to go BIG.   I wanted a recipe that was going to push me and WOW was I assigned the right blog!  Baking Fanatic is a blog stuffed with delicious baked goods that I tend to avoid for fear of destroying my kitchen.  Based out of Surrey, Philip is a math teacher with a passion and INSANE talent for baking.  Reading his blog posts I couldn’t help but hear them in the voice of Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood (RIP GBBO) due to his use of “bakes” as a noun.   This was one of the hardest picks ever as every deliciously amazing bake seemed better than the last – at one point I had over 20(!!!!) recipes marked to try.

In the end reason, and having a nine month old, won out and I went with a recipe that was somewhat familiar in that I had worked with each of its “parts” before.   Philip’s  Roasted Onions (done that) and Smoked Cheese Scones were my first attempt to ever make a savory scone and oh my goodness were they worth all the dirty pans.   The original recipe is gluten free but I went the gluten way using the direction provided in the original post.  I did debate caramelizing the onions on the stove for fear of overheating the kitchen but fall has finally decided to arrive – so was able to open the windows and get a nice cross breeze going.

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My scones are not nearly as pretty as the originals since I had to do a drop method for lack of a biscuit cutter.   The end result however was fantastic, beyond fantastic even.  The sweetness of the onions partnered so well with the smokeyness of the cheese – every bite was just packed with flavor.  Since I went grated the cheese was pretty evenly melted but every now and then there was a pocket of gooey “nuggets” of awesome.

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Appetizer · Gluten Free · One-Pot · Quick Weeknight Recipes · Salad · Simple and In Season

Big Noise

Simple Beet Salad

beets

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.

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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.

Baking · Home Cooking · Quick Weeknight Recipes · Secret Recipe Club

Can Dream

Cheese Sticks

Cheese Sticks

Happy May Reveal Day!  This month I was once again partnered with Erin of Making Memories with My Kids for Group A of the Secret Recipe Club.  Her blog is full of fantastic recipes and awesome science experiments – so lots of awesome things to look at.  I was apparently craving carbs when I was checking out her blog as every recipe I flagged was hardcore sinful.  Top of the list were (and are) her apple fritters but every time I got to the store I was unable to nab some Pink Ladies.  Luckily I was able to find some awesome cheddar cheese allowing me to make her fantastic Cheese Sticks!!!   These delicious treats are made using ingredients that I normally have on hand but decided to go the distance and get some really good cheese.  I went for some Vermont Extra Sharp as well as some Vermont Mild White – which is why mine aren’t as vivid as Erin’s!  I also added minced garlic in place of the garlic powder as I prefer the fresh stuff, no risk of vampires in this house!

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Lesson learned on this: read the recipe all the way!  My sticks weren’t nearly as pretty or evenly cooked as I missed the part about having a cookie press which is one of the few kitchen tools I don’t own.   These disappeared pretty quickly here, with both of us enjoying these with dinner and then again for breakfast!  I enjoyed them slightly warm and toasty while Joe was eating them however they were available. Needless to say another successful SRC recipe! I can’t wait to see what June has in store – but first there will be a bonus BBQ and Picnic SRC recipe at the end of the month.

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52Weeks · Home Cooking · Quick Weeknight Recipes

Can I get

Three Cheese Swiss Chard

Mac & Cheese

mac_n_cheese

Sometimes it’s fun to be a bit indulgent, for example using three types of cheese to make mac & cheese.  I try to keep my dairy intake to a reasonable amount as I’m slightly lactose intolerant but sometimes have to just take a lactaid and enjoy the cheesiness of life!  In attempt to tease myself into thinking this dish is at all healthy, I added some swiss chard.  Regardless, it’s all 52weeksofcookings fault as they were the ones who posted a Mac and Cheese challenge – so totally blaming them for all the calories in this dish!

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This Mac&Cheese is so rich that we actually had leftovers for lunch the next day which is something that normally doesn’t happen.  I warmed everything back up on the stove, adding just a bit of olive oil as this dish did not need more diary.  Joe then topped his with Old Bay (shocker!) while I enjoyed mine as is.

Gluten Free · Mexican · Secret Recipe Club

Sweet Summer

Acapulco Tofu

acapuco_tofu_taco

Welcome to March’s Secret Recipe Club!  It feels so awesome to be joining the SRC again after taking my baby break – I missed the fun that comes with being sent a blog to explore.  This month I was given Sid’s Sea Palm Cooking, a blog I was very familiar with thanks to Facebook and previous SRC reveals.  I had a very hard time picking a recipe this month as Sid’s blog is stuffed to the gills with all sorts of recipes including retro favorites and Danish treats.  Two of the “finalists” were part of the Danish block: Baked Omelette and Cauliflower with Herbs.  In the end I could not get past her Chicken Acapulco recipe and decided that I had to give it a whirl.  I replaced the chicken with extra firm tofu and since I was unable to find the McCormick meat seasoning in the original recipe I made my own.

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Fantastic!  The spices and the cheese went together perfectly and by giving the tofu enough time to drain it was really able to soak up all the flavors.  We enjoyed ours taco style for dinner and as a burrito bowl the next day with some Spanish style rice – adding some fresh avocado and green pepper each time.  I had never heard of acapulco chicken (or tofu!) before finding this recipe but now it will be on regular rotation.  It might require a number of bowls but it comes together super quick.  For a real short cut, pick up some fresh made pico de gallo at the grocery store.  Another great recipe thanks to the Secret Recipe Club!!!

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Casserole · Quick Weeknight Recipes · Secret Recipe Club

Happy Birthday

  Mexican “Beef” Corn Casserole

mexican_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!

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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

Appetizer · Gluten Free · Mexican · Secret Recipe Club

Orioles Magic

Nopal Dip

nopal_dip

Welcome to a special August edition of the Secret Recipe Club!  A few months ago it was decided that instead of the 5th Monday of the month being a “buy” week, it would be a time for all four groups to get together around a common theme.  The first theme: Tailgating!  While we’re not really tailgators in this house, we are huge fans of chips and dips and all those other delicious finger foods – we just tend to serve them during (board)Game Days.  This year we did treat ourselves with (partial) season tickets for the Orioles, so have had a few more opportunities to indulge in tailgate treats while at the game.  For this special feature, I was sent to check out Micha’s Cooking Mimi blog which has a bunch of delicious treats.  In fact, the recipe I settled on in the end is really a 2 for 1 as for the perfect Nopal dip you have to first make her Pico de Gallo salsa.   I had to make one change to each recipe, dropping the lime juice from the salsa (allergy) and subbing some black beans in for the ground beef in the Nopal dip.  I’m sure a beef substitute would work, and that had been my original plan, but I’ve had a hard time finding my favorite one lately – which of course is store brand so limited in options.  Anyway – this dip came together super fast and was delicious!

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We enjoyed it with chips (of course) and some burrito bowls for a perfect Mexicanish dinner.   The salsa had the right amount of bite thanks to the two jalapenos which is always an issue for us as many are a bit too mild.  I did notice my salsa came out a bit thicker than Micha’s but not exactly sure why.

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