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Saturday, January 29, 2011

What's the Secret Ingredient?

I have been cooking for my family for over 3 decades.  During that time I have made food that was delicious and food that wasn't so good.  There were times that i'd add secret ingredients because of an over abundance of a certain food that would spoil if it wasn't used OR because I didn't have the actual ingredient and needed to substitute OR just to trick the kids into eating something nutritious.
Usually, as I served the food that had good things in it, I'd ask the kids; "What's the secret ingredient?"  They'd guess until someone got it or I'd tell them and they'd be fine with it. Other times I'd ask about the ingredient AFTER they consumed the meal.


Here are a few secret ingredients I've used:
♥ bananas/applesauce/blended peaches in pancakes
♥ powdered milk mixed with store bought milk and served in the original carton
♥ zucchini in "apple" pie - (I had some angry kids when they found that out)
♥ liver - passed off as "steak" (That was another meal with angry kids)
♥ white beans instead of shortening in cookies
♥ onions that were blended so no one could actually see them in the food
♥ Different spices and flavors


The other day I made Mahogany Velvet cupcakes.   The recipe is from Weight Watchers and they have a secret ingredient that I have never used before! This ingredient is red, grows underground, and it can be pickled.
Can you guess what the secret ingredient is?



If you guessed beets, you are 100% correct!

My family AND the neighbors were split on the flavor.  Because I knew there were beets in the recipe, that's all I could taste.  I'd give it 1 1/2 stars out of 5.   I'm not going to give you the recipe unless you REALLY want it!

What ingredients, besides love, have you secretly put in recipes?

20 comments:

Kristina P. said...

You are a master! And white beans instead of shortening? I had no idea.

Yvonne said...

I'm not a beet fan, so I'll pass ; )

I'm not a very creative cook--I REALLY FOLLOW THE RECIPE.

And can I say, I cannot imagine trying to pass liver off as steak.

Have a great weekend.

Garden of Egan said...

Connie, I am appalled! I can't fathom blending up onions so they couldn't find them.
Really.

OK....it was brilliant! I totally love onions and my family loathed them. I always told them that when they cook they can do what they want. Never had any takers.

I don't think I would have done the beet juice though. That sounds nasTAY beyond reason, and I like beets.
I say just save up the points and eat a real cupcake.

You are a tricker that is for sure.

Barbaloot said...

I think I'd be pretty angry about the liver/steak thing, too. Yuck.

Still, points for creativity:)

karen said...

I second what Barbaloot said - Liver passed of as steak? That's just mean. I have heard of the beet thing, but have never tried it. I don't like beets at all, but I've seen them used in recipes for kids to try to get them to eat their veggies without them realizing it. Sounds like they might realize it though.

Mikki said...

My mom used to make that zucchini apple pie. She'd also make zucchini bread. I thought both were actually pretty good.
Hmmm, I don't think I've mastered the art of sneaky baking yet. But I definitely should.

Valerie said...

Too bad they tasted so beet-y. They sure look pretty.

Joanie said...

Sure must be an interesting tasting cupcake.
I never substitute ingredients, (Jenda Jauda)

Momza said...

I add zucchini to spaghetti sauce,
regularly.
Just shred it in the food processor,
then add it while the sauce is cooking. The kids never notice.
I also add fresh spinach to the sauce along with onions, also minced.

I had fresh spinach to fruit smoothies--can't hide the green, but the kids don't mind the flavor.

If there's a way to hide veggies, I do it!

Kerin said...

Beets? Hmmm.

I have done all the tricks that you mentioned , with the exception of liver.
No one around here would ever buy it.
I guess it's true what my dad used to tell us. " If it's good , spit it out. It can't be good for you".
He also used to tell us that "life is short.... eat dessert first!"
Have a great week :)

Cherie said...

Oh you are good!!
I have added zucchini and onions to things secretly.
The funniest was just an all out lie I used to tell Brittany. She would not eat pork when she was little so if we were having pork chops or something with chunks of pork in it (like stir fry or something) I would just tell her it was chicken and she ate it just fine.
She wasn't super duper happy when she figured it out! Ha ha
It's still something we reminisce about at Holiday tables!

Tracy said...

You are indeed a brave woman!! I would never try any of those substitutions, because I wouldn't eat any on them!! I'm extremely picky and I would probably be able to smell the difference!! Yes, I said smell and yes, I know I'm weird!! But good for you for trying!! AND...I think I'll pass on asking for the cupcake recipe!! ;-)

gigi said...

I like beets but bot pickled or in my cup cakes! You are a funny girl.

Camille said...

personally, I'd prefer more sprinkles on top of my cupcakes...

and I'm still upset about the L & O...

Mimi Sue said...

I'm on WW too. So far so good but I tend to save up a few points and eat a real cupcake! I kind of get grossed out where weird ingredients are involved. Mimi

Kazzy said...

I am just glad to know you are human after all. :)

Cheeseboy said...

Didn't some famous actress write a book about sneaking food in kids food? I think so. But I doubt she was this sneaky. Nicely played, mom. Nicely played.

Gerb said...

Ever made black bean brownies? They're really not bad.

I wrote a couple of years ago about my favorite secret ingredient to add to recipes. I wish I knew how to do the CLICK HERE kind of links in comments, but since I don't here's the huge link: http://gerbsrandomthoughts.blogspot.com/2009/04/secret-ingredient.html

Vanessa said...

ooooh beets! my kids love beets, I might bug you for that recipe. ok I would be mad about the steak thing too ;)

-vanessa inevergrewup.net

VICKYFF said...

Well deserved! I really enjoy your blog and am impressed by your finds. Keep it up!
Sweet memories.
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