recipe scrapbook

July 30, 2008

Happy National Cheesecake Day!

Filed under: ashley — Ashley @ 12:37 pm

It’s July 30th, and that means it’s National Cheesecake Day!
The joys of this day speak for itself, so head down to your local Cheesecake Factory and enjoy a celebratory slice of cheesecake for just $1.50. Or, be a real superstar and bake your own cheesecake for your loving friends and family!

That’s it for me, until next time…

July 28, 2008

Steamer Pot

Filed under: recipes — Ashley @ 6:34 pm

This past weekend I turned 25 years old and spent my wonderful birthday weekend on the shores of Wilmington, NC. In addition to the abundance of great food, shopping, and relaxation in the air, my fiancé and I had lunch at a quaint little restaurant on the pier.

With fresh seafood being their specialty, we ordered a Steam Pot as our entree. The meal was absolutely delicious complete with fresh steamed shellfish, vegetables, and sausage. Of course it inspired me to attempt to recreate my own steam pot here at home, so below you’ll find my recipe and interpretation of a tasty Seafood Steamer Pot. Steam pots are really easy to make, so feel free to use this as a guide and come up with your own recipe; add or subtract as much as you’d like.

AJ’s Seafood Steamer Pot


2 lobsters, 1-2 lbs each
2 lbs King Crab legs
2 lbs large shrimp (shell on)
2 lbs mussels
2 lbs steamer clams
2 lbs oysters
2 lbs crawfish
2 lbs Kielbasa sausage (sliced)
2 lbs small red potatoes (halved)
2 stalks of corn (halved) (obviously use more if you’re serving more than 4 people)
1 large Vidalia onion (thick chop)
5 cloves garlic (chopped)
3 cups dry white wine
Olive oil
Ground black pepper
Cayenne pepper
Kosher salt

Butter Sauce:
Tabasco Sauce
Malt Vinegar
Fresh Ground Pepper
Pinch of Kosher Salt


*This Steamer Pot can be cooked on the stovetop, outdoor grill, or fire pit with grill plates.

1. Clean all of your shellfish in preparation for steaming, if it didn’t come from the store that way.
2. In a large, deep stockpot, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until they become translucent.
3. Pour in 1 cup of white wine. Stir in ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt to taste.
4. You’ll want the items that take the longest to cook at the bottom of the pot (tip from our waitress). I would start with the potatoes and corn, then sausage. After that, start adding the shellfish; clams, oysters, mussels, shrimp, crawfish, crab legs, and lobster.
5. Pour in the remaining white wine.
6. Cover with a lid, and cook over medium-high heat for about 15-20 minutes; you should see steam coming from the pot.
7. Reduce your heat source, and steam for another 15-20 minutes. Your steamer pot is done when the potatoes and corn are tender, the sausage is cooked all the way through, the clams, mussels and oysters are open, and the shrimp are bright pink, and the crawfish, crab legs, and lobster are a bright red. (Tip: If at anytime you begin to loose too much moisture, feel free to add some additional splashes of wine, or even a light seafood stock to keep the steam going.)

Most people like eating the steamed seafood right out of the pot, but to make sure they get some of those tasty vegetables and spicy Kielbasa, try spooning out all of the contents onto a very large serving bowl or deep edge platter, and pour the cooking juices over top for dipping. Serve with crusty toasted French bread, and have a few lemons halves on hand too.

There are no real measurements for the butter sauce; just something my fiancé came up with at the table. Obviously, the butter will be your base and then add the Tabasco Sauce, Malt Vinegar, and seasonings to your liking.

That’s it for me, until next time…

July 22, 2008

Spaghetti Dinner

Filed under: ashley, recipes — Ashley @ 2:09 pm

This past weekend, my fiancé and I hosted a very wonderful spaghetti dinner. It was our attempt to turn a day that commemorates an unfortunate accident in our lives into a day of fellowship and togetherness.

We had friends, co-workers, and neighbors over. I’ve raved about the incredible culinary skills of my intended, and as usual, he rose to the occasion. The night before our big dinner, he slaved over the stove creating two very delicious spaghetti sauces. One with spicy Italian turkey sausage, fresh herbs and spices, and several chunky vegetables; the other sauce was created for our vegetarian friends and had fresh chopped mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, and red and green peppers. We served the sauces with regular spaghetti noodles, and whole-grain noodles as well.

I was in charge of the rest of the menu and decided to stick with the Italian theme. I made my very own veggie tray with two dipping sauces, and tossed a homemade Caesar salad with Romaine lettuce, crunchy croutons, a light covering of Caesar dressing, a splash of lemon juice, a few shreds of Parmesan cheese, and several turns of fresh ground pepper.

For dessert, we had angel food cake with a strawberry sauce swirl covered with powered sugar and vanilla icecream, and regular and chocolate Cannoli.

The night was a lot of fun, and everyone enjoyed the food. My fiancé and I had a great time too, and greatly appreciated all of our friends coming together to be with us during a normally hard time of year.

That’s all for me, until next time…

July 10, 2008

It’s Wedding Season!

Filed under: gift ideas, wedding ideas — Ashley @ 12:41 pm

Wedding season is in full swing, and Secret Ingredients Cookbooks are perfect for wedding gifts.

Our Keepsake Cookbooks are very popular wedding gifts and favors. Our Keepsake books are about $30 and include as many recipes as you like (we recommend no more than 150), as well as a personalized Dedication, and one full color photograph. These cookbooks are even great for family reunions, favors, and special occasion gifts. The Keepsakes are 4”x6” and are professionally bound like a high-quality paperback book with a laminated cover. Keepsakes can be a great shower gift for the happy couple or even used as favors for the Weeding Party.

Our Cookbook Kits are $125 and help you create a cookbook using your home computer or favorite pen. The Cookbook Kits have the same traditional and classic look of the Heirloom books while also giving you the freedom to place as many recipes and photos wherever you like. Plus, you can add to your book throughout the years!

The kit includes your choose of favorite binder and recipe paper color, and divider set, pre-punched paper to use with your home computer and printer, splash guards to protect your pages from kitchen spills and splatters, A Keepsake box for your cookbook, and directions on how to use your favorite word processing program to print your recipes.

Parents of the Bride and Groom can use the Secret Ingredients Cookbook Kit to create a treasured family gift for the new couple. The new couple can also take matters into their own hands by ordering a Cookbook Kit and encouraging wedding guests to share their favorite family recipes, photographs and stories.

That’s all for me, until next time…

July 4, 2008

Happy Fourth of July!

Filed under: ashley — Ashley @ 12:17 pm

Being from South Jersey, my 4th of July celebrations always ended with an awesome fireworks show either down at the shore in Wildwood, New Jersey… or even better, the Fireworks Spectacular at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, the birthplace of our nations’ independence.

Please enjoy a clip of that wonderful display of pyrotechnics just below.

We here at The Secret Ingredients wish you all a very happy and safe Independence Day!

That’s all for me, until next time…

July 1, 2008

Patriotic and Yummy!

Filed under: recipes — Ashley @ 8:05 pm

Independence Day is this Friday. Here’s a quick and easy recipe you can make and bring to any 4th of July celebration, the classic American Stars and Stripes Cake (Flag Cake).

Stars and Stripes Cake

2 pints of strawberries
1 pint of blueberries
1 tub of whipped topping
1 box of your favorite white or yellow sheet cake mix


1. Bake your sheet cake as directed on the box. You can make two separate sheet cakes, or if you feel confident in cutting and balancing skills, you can cut one sheet cake in half lengthwise.
2. Roughly chop 1 pint of the strawberries. You can sprinkle a little sugar on the berries to bring out their natural juices.
3. Top the bottom layer of the sheet cake with a generous helping of whipped topping. Sprinkle the chopped strawberries on top.
4. Add the top layer.
5. Cover the top layer of the cake with the remaining whipped topping.
6. In the upper left hand corner of the cake, arrange your blueberries in a small square (this will represent the star section of the flag).
7. You’ll need around 20 whole strawberries cut in half to create your stripes. Once the berries are sliced, you can arrange them in the strip formation on your cake.

*You can use raspberries instead of strawberries, or both.
*For an added richness, you can fill the center of the cake with whipped topping, and ice the top of the cake with an actual icing.
*This cake can be decorated and presented in two different ways. If you’re simply transporting it from the kitchen to the dinner table, try removing it from the cake pan and decorating and presenting it on a rectangular cake plate. If you do that, you may want to cover all of the sides with the whipped topping, or just the top to show the center layer. If the cake does have to travel, it may be best to simply present it in a cake dish and just decorate the top layer.

That’s it for me, until next time…

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