Category: Secret Recipe Club

Sweet Roasted Acorn Squash (Secret Recipe Club)

It’s always fun to have my Secret Recipe Club assignment be a blog I know well.  Lesa from Edesia’s Notebook has been blogging since 2007 and has a TON of great recipes on her site. Like most of us food bloggers, she doesn’t like making the same recipe twice, so she’s had plenty of meals to tell us about.

Last week I had a ton of acorn squash from my CSA, so I did a search on Lesa’s site to see what she had.  Her Roasted Acorn Squash recipe intrigued me so I decided to give it a try. I wasn’t so sure about using Nilla Wafers so I made half of them with Rice Krispies just in case the Nilla Wafer version was too sweet.  I’m glad I did, because I really enjoyed the Rice Krispies on there.  They added a bit of crunch without any extra sweetness (the brown sugar took care of that!).

This is my last month participating in Secret Recipe Club.  I’ve had so much fun doing it and am grateful to have been a part of it for so long.

Sweet Roasted Acorn Squash (Secret Recipe Club)

Ingredients

  • 4 small acorn squash, about 1 lb. each
  • Kosher salt
  • Olive oil
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp vanilla
  • ½ cup Rice Krispies

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. Split the squash in half and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Set the squash halves, cut sides up, on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Drizzle with olive oil.
  3. In a bowl, cream the butter with the sugar, and vanilla. With a brush or a spoon coat the cut sides of each squash half with the butter mixture. Sprinkle with the Rice Krispies.
  4. Use a fork and make a few holes in the flesh of each squash half, so the butter mixture has room to spread its flavor throughout.
  5. Bake until tender, about 30 minutes.
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No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls (Secret Recipe Club)

I’ve made no-bake chocolate peanut butter cookies before (you combine some chocolate, peanut butter, etc. on the stovetop then mix it in with oats and such) but these are a little different.  These Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls are more like crunchy truffles, and they’re wonderful.

I was assigned The Lean Green Bean for this month’s Secret Recipe Club.  Lindsay is working toward becoming a Registered Dietician and I always really enjoy reading blogs from food and nutrition experts, so this was right up my alley.  She also runs a really cool program called Foodie PenPals where she matches up fellow foodies and they send each other care packages every month filled with deliciousness.  I love that idea!

So…these balls (hee hee).  They’re chocolatey and crunchy and decadent.  I loved them so much and can’t wait to make them again and play around with the ingredients.  I changed the recipe just a little bit based on what I had on hand, but next time I’ll definitely be adding dried cranberries to give it a little tartness to counter-balance the sweetness.  And I’ll chop up some dark chocolate instead of using semisweet chips.  Here’s how I made it:

no bake chocolate peanut butter balls

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls (Secret Recipe Club)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c honey

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, chia seeds, and almonds.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the chocolate chips, honey and peanut butter. Microwave on low, stirring after each 10 second interval, until melted and mix well to combine.
  3. Add the melted mixture to the oat mixture and mix well. Form into balls and refrigerate until chilled. (I had to sort of squish them in my fist to get the mixture to stick together.)
  4. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
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Creamy Bacon Avocado Pasta Salad {Secret Recipe Club}

I'm writing this post on the train back from NY.  I'm starting to decompress from 3 days of absolute loveliness, and I'm really excited to post again and share this Creamy Bacon Avocado Pasta Salad recipe with you. It was surreal to be surrounded by all things "blog" yet not post at all during that time.  I barely even checked my email!

Anyway, my assigned blog for this month's Secret Recipe Club was The Daily Dish Recipes.  Nicole is a mom of 5 kids (they're practically the Brady Bunch over there!) and she's constantly cooking and exposing her kids to new and different foods, helping them learn to eat a varied diet free of boxed and canned "convenience foods."  I can appreciate that approach, because that's what I'm trying to do with my son.  I was discussing this very topic over the weekend and was telling that person that one of my proudest moments was when my son said he didn't like the bread at school because it wasn't "healthy bread" (they use white bread and we only have whole wheat in our house).  The molding of a young child's mind about making smart decisions with regards to what they eat is so important, and it's always nice to see someone else following a similar philosophy.

I feel like I've been making a lot of desserts and sweets lately so I wanted something savory from Nicole's blog.  She recently posted this pasta salad recipe and we happened to have all the ingredients already in the house.  I made a few changes from the original (swapped the pasta for whole wheat shells, omitted the olives, used turkey bacon, and replaced 1/2 the mayo with greek yogurt) and it turned out absolutely delicious.  My husband stuck his finger in the dressing and said it was "Awesome!"  

bacon pasta salad

Ingredients
  • 1/2 lb. dried whole wheat pasta shells
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 tsp. dry dill
  • 1 lemon (juiced) (reserve a few tablespoons to coat the avocado)
  • 1 c. halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 avocados, pitted and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 5 slices of bacon, cooked, drained and cut into 1″ pieces
Instructions
  1. Boil the pasta as directed on the package. Drain and then rinse with cold water to cool the pasta.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, garlic salt, the dill and the juice from the lemon. Remember to save a few tablespoons of the lemon juice for the avocado. (keeps it from browning).
  3. In a small bowl, toss the avocado in a few tablespoons of lemon juice. (TIP:  Squeeze ALL the lemon juice into the avocado bowl, toss well and then the remainder gets poured into the mayo mixture).
  4. Pour the drained and cool pasta into a large serving bowl. Add the tomatoes, sliced bacon, and the avocado. Gently stir in the mayo mixture.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal {Secret Recipe Club}

I wasn’t a big fan of baked oatmeal before today.  Something about the texture just didn’t sit right with me.  Ever since I discovered steel cut oats, I like my oatmeal with a bit of “pop” and haven’t made regular oatmeal since.  But when I was browsing my Secret Recipe Club assignment this month, I kept coming back to this recipe for Baked Blueberry Oatmeal.

I’m already a big fan of Nutmeg Nanny, and was so happy to have been given her blog as my assignment this month.  If you’re not familiar with her, please do yourself a favor and get over there right away.  Her photos are completely drool-worthy, and her recipes are creative and inspired.

As for this recipe, I finally decided to go for it because blueberries are amazing right now and I had all the rest of the ingredients already in my pantry, which is always a wonderful thing.

One thing I was nervous about was the maple syrup.  I don’t like maple-flavored stuff, but I needn’t have worried.  You can’t taste the maple flavor at all; it just adds a sweetness to the oatmeal.  (BTW, don’t use the corn-syrup stuff.  Use REAL maple syrup.)

This breakfast treat will definitely be making it into our regular rotation.  It was SO GOOD.  I’ve been converted to a baked oatmeal fan, officially.  Thanks Nutmeg Nanny!

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal {Secret Recipe Club}

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal {Secret Recipe Club}

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 ripe bananas - cut into 1/2" slices
  • 1 pint blueberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven 375 degrees.
  2. Butter a 2 1/2 quart baking dish and cover bottom with banana slices. Then sprinkle half of the blueberries over the bananas and set aside.
  3. In medium bowl, mix together oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir to combine.
  4. In another bowl beat together milk, egg, butter, vanilla and maple syrup.
  5. Add oats to dish and gently pour milk mixture over oats.
  6. Sprinkle the top with blueberries and cook in oven for 35 to 45 minutes until the top is golden brown and the oatmeal is set.
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Dark Chocolate S’mores Pie (Secret Recipe Club)


This month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment was very exciting for me.  I regularly read Alli ‘n Sons and feel like I know her and her two boys so well that it was almost like visiting a friend’s house and going through her recipe box.  And what a recipe box it is!

When I get SRC assignments, I tend to think about what kind of food/meal I want to make and then browse their site based on that category.  I started off this assignment thinking that I’d be making breakfast, so I chose her French Toast Fingers.  But then as I kept going, I saw her recipe for Homemade Chocolate Syrup.  So that made the short list too.  But then…THEN…along came Dark Chocolate S’mores Pie.  Oh holy hell.  That’s the one, baby.

Since I made Funky Monkey S’mores a few weeks ago, I’ve really had s’mores on the brain.  Plus, it’s summer.  S’mores DEFINES summer.  So, s’mores pie it is.  Er…was.  Because that stuff didn’t last long around here.  We invited the neighbors over to help us eat it and I definitely didn’t hear any complaints.

One small hitch…I don’t really like pudding.  I know, I know.  I’m weird.  But it’s a texture thing.  Just like I don’t like yogurt without some sort of SOMETHING in it (fruit piece, granola, etc.).  I just don’t care for the smooth texture of pudding.  However, with a graham cracker crust and toasted marshmallows on top, I could make the sacrifice.

I stayed pretty true to Alli’s recipe.  I just reduced the sugar a little and I don’t think it made a difference in the outcome.  It was still pretty darn sweet.  Here’s how I made it:


Dark Chocolate S’mores Pie
From Alli ‘n Sons

Ingredients:


Crust:

  • 1-1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • Scant 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted

Pudding:

  • 4 egg yolks (save the whites for breakfast tomorrow!)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 6 Tbsp dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 cups skim milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Topping:

  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows

Directions:


For the crust:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar.  Add the melted butter and mix until combined.  Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan, using the back of a spoon.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool completely.

For the pudding:

  1. In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks with a whisk and set aside.
  2. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder and sea salt in a medium saucepan.  Heat over medium heat.  Slowly whisk in the milk, stirring until smooth.  Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring often.  Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly, then remove pan from heat.
  3. Temper the egg yolks by slowly whisking 1/2 cup of the hot chocolate mixture into the yolks (do this very slowly or you’ll have scrambled eggs).  Whisk in an additional 1 cup of the hot chocolate mixture into the chocolate/yolk mixture, and then return the mixture to the saucepan with the remaining chocolate.  Boil over medium heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.  Pour the filling into the pie crust and allow to cool.  Once cool, chill in the refrigerator at least for a few hours.

For the topping:

  1. Preheat your broiler.
  2. Cover the pie with the mini marshmallows and broil for 30 seconds or so, until the marshmallows are lightly browned.  Keep a VERY close eye on the pie while you’re doing this, or the marshmallows will burn.

Prep ahead tips: You can make the crust ahead of time, or even use a store-bought graham cracker crust if you so choose.

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