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Beer & Cheddar Risotto


I can't tell you how long I've wanted to make a beer risotto.  I'm not kidding when I say that I surround myself with many lists of dishes that I want to make.  Beer risotto is on at least 2 of the 4 lists...although I can't actually find one of the lists so maybe that number will shoot up to 3 once I find it.  This is a very efficient process, let me tell you.  I'm truly a well-adjusted adult.  {Sarcasm}

For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was matched up with Sarah from Sarah's Kitchen.  Sarah is a non-American (like myself!) and has been living in the US since 2002.  I'm so excited that I was assigned her blog this month since I feel as if our tastes are pretty similar.  Most of her recipes jumped out at me from the start!  I have to give  honorable mentions to several recipes that I really, really (no, like really) wanted to make: Chili Con Queso Pasta Bake, Chile Rellenos Casserole, and Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits.  (Shrimp and grits is definitely on List #1 and potentially also on List #3.)  Out of all these, though, the Beer and Cheddar Risotto won out. I cannot tell you how excited I was to make this.  It was also worth the wait.  Risotto is one of my favorite dishes and if we just add beer and cheese, I'm pretty sure that makes this the most perfect dish ever.

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Pecan Crunch Cake


If there's one thing left to master in all the foodie land, it must be the bundt cake.  More specifically, I'm talking about the fact that I can't turn out an intact bundt cake to save my life! I guess that's what icings are for...

Alright, in reality, I have a lot of food-related things left to master, but bundt cakes are inching up higher and higher on that list.  I feel as if I do all the buttering and flouring that I can and yet...ugh.  Someday my bundt cake will be perfect, if it's the last thing I do.  Guess what that means for this blog.  Yep, get yo'self ready for some summer-, fall-, and winter-themed bundt cakes!  Everyone gets a bundt cake!

This month, I decided to make a bundt cake for my Secret Recipe Club.  I look forward to this "reveal" every month, as it gives me a chance to get to know new-to-me blogs.  This month I found Bizzy Bakes!  I love the recipes on her site and was excited to see a pecan crunch bundt cake.  I love pecans and I seriously need some excuses to use them more often in recipes.

Once I made this, there were some...uh...issues, getting my cake out of the bundt pan (of course!!!!), but I simply drizzled icing over the top of the it and everything was all good once again.  I never object to extra sugar.  Don't tell my trainer.  I personally recommend pouring the icing on top, but if you're better than I am at turning out bundts, you could totally go the "naked" route.  You know, if you're into that.  Thanks for the recipe, Bizzy!

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Stuffed Savory Prosciutto & Cheese French Toast

I totally got called out over this french toast last weekend.  There I was, finishing up my weekly group workout class and boasting about how I've been working towards eating healthier lately.  Then my friend sidles up and says "Hey, what about that stuffed french toast you posted to your Instagram account yesterday? And those chocolate donuts, and those cappuccino muffins, and that biscoff cheeseball?"

OK, I get it.  It appears that I may be a health-food fraud.  BUT!  It's not very interesting to post that apple or avocado that I'm snacking on to Instagram.  And no one wants to see me eat scrambled eggs for the third time in four days.  Decadent meals, though?  I got you covered!

This time, I had a solid excuse.  It's Secret Recipe Club time!  I was matched up with Cindy from Hun...What's For Dinner.  She's got a multitude of recipes that I fell in love with, especially the Grilled Mac and Cheese with Pulled Pork Sandwich.  However, I finally settled on making the Stuffed Savory Ham and Cheese French Toast.  I didn't have any ham on hand, but I did have prosciutto, so I figured that would do as a quick substitute.

This french toast was creamy, cheesy, and slightly salty/sweet.  It was so easy to make that I can't wait to recreate it for a brunch someday.  In fact, I may have promised two of my old coworkers that I would host a brunch for them pretty soon.  I may have been slightly tipsy when I promised this, but I guess a deal's a deal.

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Sausage and Mushroom Risotto

I should probably be embarrassed about this, but I'm not.  I must admit that I've had a box of arborio rice (aka risotto rice) staring at me from my pantry since I moved into my new apartment.  To put this into perspective, I moved in back in April 2013...

I'm probably in the minority when I say that I think risotto is one of the easiest things to make.  I feel as if I overlook it so often in my attempt to whip up other dishes or treats that I feel I haven't "done" yet.  Risotto is simple and delicious and cheesy and I-just-need-to-reach-for-that-darn-box!

When I opened the cupboard door for the umpteenth time and saw the risotto again, I finally decided that it was time for action.  Even though I have an endless list of risotto recipes bookmarked online and torn out of magazines, I had recently been assigned Heather's blog, Join Us, Pull Up A Chair, this month's Secret Recipe Club.  There are so many tasty recipes on this site that you really must do yourself a favor and check it out!  While I tried to give each recipe a fair shot at being "the one" for this month, I have to say that I definitely honed in on the Baked Sausage and Mushroom Risotto recipe.  Come on!  You know I feel some kind of way about sausage.  Once we add in the mushrooms, cheese, and risotto, this was a clear winner in my eyes.

Another disclaimer here: I didn't bake the risotto like the original recipe recommended.  I wanted to, but I ran out of time and just quickly finished it on the stovetop.  I did use all the ingredients though, so I'm about 100% sure the taste was spot on, which is a good thing because this risotto was insanely delicious!  All I can say is that you must give this is a shot if you even only halfway love this combination of ingredients.  Don't walk to your kitchen.  Run!

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Garlic Lime Salmon

I feel as if it's been forever since I've made a Secret Recipe Club post!  We took a break for the holidays and now we're back!

Since I've been blissfully working from home for the past few weeks (wait, can we ever be "blissfully working"? .... hmmmm), I've been trying to incorporate more seafood into my diet.  I rarely make seafood because I am not interested in eating frozen seafood.  While I have no objection to cooking salmon that was raw and was then frozen, it's completely another thing to eat salmon that has already been seared, roasted, baked, whatever, and then frozen.  Yuck.

So here we are, with me making salmon for dinner while actually living at home.

This month, I was excited to be assigned Angela's blog for the SRC, which is appropriately named Angela's Kitchen.  Angela's blog is chock full of recipes just waiting to be made.  She is also an expert on gluten- and dairy-free recipes.  From all the recipes I looked at, I decided to make a salmon dish (of course!) but I would also suggest popping over and having a look-see at Angela's site.  There's so much to learn and her information would be especially helpful to those of you living gluten- and dairy-free.

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Baked Eggnog French Toast with Cranberries and White Chocolate

Let's get Christmas-y up in here.

I've been super busy lately traveling for my job, but this is just too good to keep away from you guys.  Baked eggnog french toast is the new business.  And we add some cranberries and white chocolate to make it festive.  I will definitely keep this breakfast item in the repertoire for the future.  I think I can also tweak this to make it work for various seasons.  Not that this particular recipe isn't completely amazing.  It is.

I got the luck of the draw this month when I received the Cheese Curd in Paradise blog for the Secret Recipe Club.  Ashley has blogged about so many recipes that I want to indulge in, but unfortunately I can only choose one for this post.  That special "one" turned out to be this recipe.  Once I laid eyes on it, my mind was immediately made up.  I made this recipe when my family came to visit me the weekend after Thanksgiving.  It was the perfect indulgent post-Thanksgiving brunch item and we all fell in love with it.  I allegedly had two servings.  Let me tell you that it was worth it.

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Beer Caramelized Mushroom & Onion Tart

I want to eat all the mushroom and onion things!  This tart allows me to do just that.  I used to be really into tarts, and by being "really into tarts", that means that I used to make them a whole lot more than I do now.  I really enjoyed that they were so easy to whip and so I could have a quick and tasty meal.  In the past week, I have had numerous work obligations, a surprise conference to attend, a 24-hour trip down to Baltimore and back, and an emergency stop to the dentist to check out a filling.  So, all I really want is a hot freaking lunch to get me through each day.

Enter Sid from Sid's Sea Palm Cooking.  I was assigned Sid's blog for this month's Secret Recipe Club, and it was pretty difficult to choose which recipe I wanted to make.  However, after I saw the mushroom and caramelized onion tart, I was sold.  In fact, I was so excited that I decided to pour beer in the pan of veggies as well.  Sorry, but...beer.  Hope you don't mind, Sid!

Oh, and there's goat cheese involved in this business as well.  You're welcome.

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Mexican Mac & Cheese

Let's take a pause on all this pumpkin stuff. I can only handle so much. (PS - That's totally not true.) What is totally true is that I have too many other recipes that I want to make as well. Plus, let's face it, I'm going to bore my taste buds to death pretty soon.  Even though there's only one pumpkin recipe on my blog this season, that doesn't account for all the pumpkin coffees, lattes, sauces, and desserts that I've been eating on the side. I prefer not to talk about it. This may be the reason my jeans are having a hard time buttoning these days. Ugh. Yup, let's not talk about it.

I want to show you this Mexican Mac and Cheese that I found on SeattleDee's blog, On the Move-In The Galley. OTM-In The Galley was my assigned blog for this month's Secret Recipe Club. SeattleDee has a ton of tasty recipes on her site, but I didn't have enough time to make them all, so I decided to go with the recipe that "spoke" to me the most. Enter this dish.

Surprisingly, I have only one other mac and cheese recipe on this blog. I think it's because in the Bahamas we tend to bake our macaroni (It is "macaroni", not "mac and cheese".) and it has a slightly different texture than other mac and cheeses that I've come into contact with over the past few years. So I don't know what it is about this recipe but it pretty much drew me in and I knew I had to make it.

Please note that this recipe will not help me fit into my jeans this season. I'm a self-sabotager. But I am going to be a well-fed self-sabotager.

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Bubble Up Pizza

Can we discuss how I've never heard of bubble up pizza before?  Where was I?  I can tell you where I wasn't.  I wasn't scarfing down this deliciousness.  That's what I wasn't doing.

Since football season is back in full swing, I could totally envision myself making this for friends who come over to watch the big game.  That is, if my friends would actually come to my apartment to watch the game.  Hint: they won't.  Why?  I happen to be living large in the land of the early 2000's and I am still hanging on to my 27" box television.  No HD in sight.  You may think that this troubles me.  It doesn't.  In fact, I still love my box television.  As long as it works I'm never getting rid of it  However, it does eliminate me as a host for the big game.  So I guess I'll have to make this wonderful pizza and take it to someone else's place for a good time.

This recipe came to me via Julie over at Little Bit of Everything.  I initially considered creating a spectacular fall (aka pumpkin) recipe for this month's Secret Recipe Club,  but when I came across this pizza I just knew that it was "the one".  And how could I resist anything which involves those refrigerated biscuits?  I ate those things countless times as a kid so of course I couldn't pass up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make pizza out of them.

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Zucchini Muffins

I feel it's time to deal with the zucchini situation that we typically find ourselves living in around this time of year.  You know what I mean.  Zucchinis are being harvested out of your gardens in droves.  Or, in my case, zucchinis are overflowing in the supermarkets.  Let's face it.  Hoboken is not known for its great gardening opportunities.

Still, I love these little green vegetables and can't wait for this time to swing around every year.  Recently, I've been loving a simple side of grilled zucchini slices as a snack or a side dish with dinner.  However, when I was assigned the blog Jane's Adventures in Dinner for this month's Secret Recipe Club, I discovered her recipe for Airy Zucchini Muffins.  Clearly I needed to get a little snazzier with my zucchini fare.

I've previously made a zucchini bread and I can vividly recall how delicious that was, so I was quite excited to give these muffins a shot.  Jane's recipe was so quick to whip up that the task which took the longest was the grating of the zucchini.  Seriously.  These muffins came together in minutes and they were simply delicious.  I ended up using cranberries instead of cherries in the recipe simply because I believe in using what I have already in my pantry if I can.  Other than that, I pretty much followed the directions given.  The muffins were as promised: light, airy, and delicious.

I liked that these muffins aren't too sweet, which makes them a perfect for breakfast sustenance.  I also ended up freezing several of these so I can defrost them overnight and have a quick meal on the go the next morning. (Come on. You know I can't resist freezing things!)

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