Using a Secret Ingredient When Cooking Dinner

My guests didn’t know.

My kids didn’t know.

Only I knew the secret ingredient when I made dinner the other night.

Who says you can’t throw in something unusual, a secret-weapon ingredient, when cooking a traditional dish?

Last weekend my husband and I worked long, hard, hot hours in the yard and garden. We harvested beets, cooked them in the pressure cooker, and when it came time to cook dinner a couple days later, guess which ingredient I used when making enchiladas?

I combined beets and tomatoes for the topping, and layered beets on the inside of the enchiladas.

Beets. Precious beets.

And it was delicious.

It’s fun to make your guests swoon, trying to guess the secret ingredient, or to see their faces when they take that first bite.

When’s the last time you cooked with a secret ingredient and what was the reaction of our guests?

14 comments on “Using a Secret Ingredient When Cooking Dinner”

  1. I love secret ingredients. I’ve made chocolate cake with beets. I made muffins with dandelions. I shave kohlrabi into coleslaw. Chili powder gives brownies a pleasant kick. People always compliment my cooking then I reveal the ingredient. There’s a quick look of terror when they think, “Oh my God I can’t believe I just ate that” – – then they look down at what they’re eating, realize they love it, and then polish it off.

    The thing about secret ingredients is they force people to be open minded. Plain beets are gross. But beets mashed into chocolte cake are delish! Dandelions are annoying weeds, but in a salad or muffins they are powerfully nutritious greens. I’m glad RE endorses secret ingredients!

  2. I love beets and these photos are so pretty! I am a huge beet fan too and was just thinking of posting a recipe with them sometime soon as well.

  3. I adore sneaking in secret ingredients! The last one was when I slipped some oysters in to the dressing ;-)

  4. I always feel like we’re border-line scurvy people over here, and my husband has a gluten free diet, so I bought The Sneaky Chef cookbook- not because my kids won’t eat, but because she had great explanations of the benefits of fuits/veggies and the purees and ways to use them in other recipes has been helpful. Noone has even tasted them in the recipes and I feel like we’re getting an extra boost of natural vitamins.

  5. Oh, wow.. that IS unusual! It leaves my taste-ination in a quandry, now I must try it just to see what it tastes like.

    So daring!



    hip pressure cooking
    making pressure cooking hip, one recipe at a time!

  6. Oh, girl, my husband would love your cooking! He’s a beet fan. I am not nearly so intrepid in cooking or in eating. My enchiladas would be plain old boring tomato-topped.

    I must say, though, isn’t the COLOR of beets just smashing?? I don’t eat them, but I do admire them. From afar. :)

  7. I just love beets. One of my fav veggies!

  8. Not a fan but love the color! When we lived in Germany, the large white ones were curley cut and salted as a fest snack. Yummy! The red canned ones were standard on the side of a salad in resturants. I use light touches of cinnamon on pork tenderloin and when brewing coffee. Too much is well, too much.

  9. I’m a beet lover. That concoction looks delicious!

  10. Oh now see beets and I are in love. IN LOVE. This is absolutely gorgeous Sandy! I’m coming over, baby.

  11. I would have never thought of that, not sure I’d try it, but it looked good and I LOVE beets. I’m sure I’ve used some secret ingredient, I just can’t think of any. I have used mashed sweet potatoes in brownies before and that was yummy!!

  12. I wouldn’t have thought to add beets to enchiladas but I do enjoy them in salads with feta cheese.

  13. Beets? Really? I wouldn’t have guessed that. Pretty sure I won’t be trying it soon. I tend to put all sorts of vegetables into our meals though. I can’t think of any secret ingredients necessarily. I use fresh whole wheat in a lot of baked goods and people are always surprised by that.

  14. Nope. I’m drawing the line. No beets in my enchiladas. LOL! I’m sure that they are delicious but I can’t, I just can’t. You still love me? LOL!

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