Gluten Free · Mexican · Secret Recipe Club

Sweet Summer

Acapulco Tofu


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.


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!!!


Appetizer · Gluten Free · Mexican · Secret Recipe Club

Orioles Magic

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!


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.


Asian · Gluten Free · One-Pot · Slow Cooker · Vegan

As Fast as You Can

Aloo Baingan (or Spicy Potatoes with Eggplant)

Aloo Baingan

Over the past week I’ve been reminded of the deep and undying love I have for my slow cooker.  While it’s getting on in age, it’s dependable and loyal – constantly serving up delicious dishes with very little effort.  This past year I received a new book just for this technological wonder “The Indian Slow Cooker“, and boy was I ever thrilled.   I’ve made a few recipes directly from the book in the short time I’ve had it, and have already started adjusting dishes in order to better fit my family.  Today’s recipe falls in to that second category, as the original dish required adjusting flavors halfway thru the cooking time – which (for me) negates the purpose of a slow cooker.  When I use a slow cooker, I want to toss things in and forget about them until it’s time to eat.  Maybe some slight adjustments at the end, adding cheese or breadcrumbs or similar topping, but mostly just want to be done with it as fast as possible.


This dish has a bit of a kick to it, but can be cooled down by dropping out the chilies or adding some plain yogurt to take the edge off.  We both enjoyed ours as is, serving over top of some brown rice.  One of these days I’m going to figure out how to make naan and then I’ll be all ready for a real Indian dinner.


Hey Baby

Herbal Tuna Salad with Hummus

This recipe is a marriage of two of my favorite salads: Rubino‘s Italian Tuna Salad and Gordon Biersch‘s Pita Hummus Salad.  I decided to modify them and come up with a dish that had the best of both flavor profiles while being quick and easy.  I had intended to add some tomatoes to this dish but my garden did not cooperate.  Any type of pasta could be used for this dish, including orzo but there is something about the tri-colored pasta noodles that add the right pop in taste and color.  For the dressing I decided to do a simple oil-based herbal dressing but a balsamic or red wine vinaigrette would work as well.  The trick is to make sure the dressing doesn’t overpower the dish, so NO ranch!

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  • 1 lb tri-colored rotini pasta, cooked and cooled
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 tins tuna, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 6 basil leaves
  • pinch of salt/pepper
  • 1/2 cup hummus (here for BEST recipe)
  1. Mix the pasta, onion, and tuna.  
  2. Blend together the remaining ingredients and then pour over the pasta, toss well! 
  3. Top with 1-2 tbsp of the hummus and then enjoy 🙂
This is also one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day, just add a little more oil before refrigerating in order to prevent the pasta from drying out.  
Simple and In Season

Truly Scrumptious

Farmers’ Market Quiche

Fresh local vegetables are starting to show up at the local stores once again, which is my favorite time of the year.  There is something about eating a piece of broccoli knowing that it spent its entire life in a 10mile radius.  It tastes sweeter, earthier, and just all around tastier!  To make it even better I found a new monthly blog group via Maison’s Cupcakes that celebrates local seasonal vegetables.  Simple and In Season is a linky match-up group that celebrates local seasonal produce in all of its splendor.   I have been looking for an excuse to make a quiche for the past few weeks however I couldn’t find the right vegetables.  However last weekend everything changed, and suddenly the corn was from the Eastern Shore instead of the Carolinas while the broccoli was from my county.  The cilantro?  From my front porch! This quiche is the perfect celebration of everything to come as the weather gets warmer!

Ingredients (serves 4-5)

  • 1 9 in crust (I used Joy of Cooking’s recipe for Press-in-Pan Butter Crust)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup corn off the cob
  • 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp cilantro


  1. Preheat the oven to 375.  Press the crust into a 9 in quiche pan and cook for 15minutes.  Turn oven to 425
  2. In a large bowl mix the eggs with the milk until the whites disappear.  Add the broccoli, onion, and corn and continue to stir well.
  3. Pour the egg mixture into the precooked crust.  Bake for 30minutes.  Remove and top with the cheese and cilantro then bake for an additional 15minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean out of the center and the crust is slightly brown.  Enjoy!

The best part about quiche is that it serves well cold, making it perfect for a light snack.  If having the quiche for dinner then it makes a simple breakfast for the next day, just cut and eat!