Appetizer · Dessert · Gluten Free · Quick Weeknight Recipes · Secret Recipe Club · Side Dish · Vegan

In my Head

Sugared Wine Grapes & 

Garlic Chive Fries 

fries wine-graps

Welcome to a special themed edition of the Secret Recipe club!!!  Whenever a month has 5 weeks the 5th week gets a special theme and is open to members across all of the groups!  The special theme for today is Picnic/BBQ which is rather perfect for Memorial Day.  I was given The Cookaholic Wife which is run by Nichole who is “owned” by Gidget and Itty von Kat – her adorable cats!  I might be a dog person but totally understand the concept of being owned by a pet 😀  I totally failed this month at picking one recipe – but it’s a special day so that makes it okay to do two, right?!?!?  First up: garlic-chive fries!  Garlic + potatoes = WINNER!!!  We had friends over for dinner and these fries were devoured in minutes – and for once my hubby didn’t feel the need to coat his fries in Old Bay.   Next up: Frozen Wine Grapes.  These were the dessert for the same dinner and omgoodness they just made the entire dinner seem so fancy.  The best part is I was able to make them during baby’s morning nap, freeing me up in the afternoon to tidy up the place.  Love love love anything that can be done in advance!


With the fries the only change I made was using minced garlic in place of the garlic salt while the grapes were perfect as is so head over to Nichole’s blog for that recipe!!!   These grapes could also be added to a sangria to give it an extra punch or as a practical alternative to a travel ice bag to make sure your food stays cool while heading to a bbq or picnic.

A bonus reason why you should check out Nichole’s blog?!?!  She’s another Maryland blogger!  I’ll overlook that she prefers Delaware to MD’s Eastern Shore, after all nobody is perfect!  I’m actually finishing this post up from MD’s Eastern Shore so I might be a bit partial.



A little like this…

Vegan Cassoulet 
I am still recovering from my trip to the land of GenCon, for some reason I am unable to go to Indy without returning sick.  I am not sure why this is, but I am greatly annoyed by this fact since GenCon will be hosted there for the next 5 YEARS!  So while the constant coughing is annoying, there is one good thing to come from this Indy-plague… tons of time to convert recipes!  I am currently working my way thru the Joy of Cooking which has given me great insight into the world of Paula Deen and others that share her cooking philosophy i.e. when it doubt fry it, butter it, and/or add bacon!  This recipe is one of those, in the original form it had both sausage AND bacon.  Needless to say that is no longer the case!
1 tbsp olive oil
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
1 lb tofu, cubed
2 cups carrots, diced
2 leeks, diced
1 15oz can white northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 15oz can cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
3 tomatoes, diced (Thanks Mom!)
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
2 fresh basil leaves, diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and garlic, and cook while stirring for 5 minutes.  Add the tofu to the skillet and cook for an additional 5 minutes until the tofu has started to turn golden.
3. Place everything into a large casserole dish.  Add the carrots, leeks, beans, wine, broth, tomatoes, and seasoning. Cover the dish with tin foil and bake for 45minutes.  Remove from oven, stir, and return to oven uncovered.  Cook an additional 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

This dish can be easily modified, and could even be done in a slow cooker for those able to fully function in the morning.  The best part about this dish is the amazing smell that fills the kitchen during the stirring section, there is just something about the smell of cooking beans…that or something about the smell of wine 🙂