Saturday, November 10, 2018

Best Homemade Sandwich Bread

 I've made a lot of bread in my life, but this one by far is my family favorite. I bake 3 loaves every week because my husband refuses to have store bought bread for his lunches, he loves mine THAT much LOL

White Bread
Source: Brown Eyed Baker

  • 4½ teaspoons instant yeast (two 0.25-ounce packets)
  • ¾ cup + 2⅔ cups warm water, divided
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 (43 grams) tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 9 (1.3 kg) to 10 (1.4 kg) cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, for brushing


  1. In the bowl of a mixer, stir to dissolve the yeast in ¾ cup of the warm water, and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2⅔ cups water, sugar, salt, room temperature butter, and 5 cups of the flour and stir to combine.
  2. Using a dough hook, mix on low speed and gradually add the remaining flour until the dough is soft and tacky, but not sticky (you may not need to use all of the flour). Continue to knead until a soft ball of dough forms and clears the sides of the bowl, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and turn it over so it is completely coated. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a draft-free place to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Gently press it all over to remove any air pockets. Divide the dough in two and, working with one piece at a time, gently pat it into a 9×12-inch rectangle. Roll up the rectangle, starting on the short end, into a very tight cylinder. Pinch to seal the seams and the ends, tuck the ends of the roll until the bread, and place into greased 9-inch loaf pans. Cover the loaves loosely and place in a draft-free area until doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.
  5. Position an oven rack on the lowest setting and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  6. Brush the loaves with some of the melted butter. Bake the loaves for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating halfway through, until golden brown (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 195 degrees F).
  7. Remove from the oven and immediately brush with more of the melted butter. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and cool completely before slicing. The bread can be stored in an airtight bread bag or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 4 days. It can also be frozen for up to 1 month.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Pressure Cooker Beans with Bacon


If you're looking for a quick and simple, but fantastic bean recipe, you have found it.  It is incredibly easy to put together and with the help of the pressure cooker, you will have fantastic flavorful beans, in no time at all.


Pressure Cooker Beans with Bacon

1 pound of pinto beans
1 small onion, finely diced
6 slices of bacon, diced
Crushed garlic, about a tablespoon
Salt and pepper to taste
Cheiro Verde 
Olive oil
Bay leaf

Wash your beans well, then soak in water overnight.  Throw out any bad beans, little stones, or any beans that float to the top.

Before cooking the beans the next day, give them a good wash until the water runs clear.

Add a little drizzle of olive oil to the pressure cooker, and set to Saute.  Stir in the garlic, salt and pepper and bacon and cook until crispy.  Click the cancel on the pressure cooker.

Next goes in the beans and the water.  You need to add water to at least 2 finger widths above the beans.  Some people add 3 cups of water for ever cup of beans, but I usually just do as I said above. 

Set the pressure cooker to Manual High and cook for 35 minutes.  When the time is up, do a quick release and check the beans.  If they are not yet cooked, add more water and return to the pressure for another 10 or so minutes.

I don't usually have a problem with the beans not cooking, especially the pinto beans.  You will notice at this point that the beans may seem kind of runny, at this point I turn the pressure cooker back to the Saute function, mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with a little bit of water, and add that back into the beans, stir and let it cook until thickened.

You can recheck the seasoning at this point, add more salt if needed.


Carne de Panela - Portuguese Beef Tips


I love food, always have and I think I always will, and I may sound very biased, but without a doubt, for me, one of the best foods on earth, is Portuguese.

You may say that I only think that because I'm Portuguese, but that's not necessarily true, seeing that I also think Mexican, Chinese, Indian and Italian are some of the best too.

For me though, growing up in a Portuguese home, learning to cook from a very young age and being surrounded by flavor, fresh ingredients and nothing but the simplest of homemade meals, created a love for real comfort easy dinners.

I was never one for gourmet, never one for expensive or intricate recipes or exquisite weird ingredients.  Cooking needs to come from the heart, and most importantly from your home and what you have on hand.  A little of this, a pinch of that, and a finished dinner that will stick to the ribs and leave everyone asking for more.

The recipe I'm sharing with you today is one of the simplest ways to prepare a pot of beef tips that can be served with mashed potatoes, or rice, pasta, whatever your heart desires.

I paired mine with some simple buttery white rice and some homemade pressure cooked beans with bacon.  (the recipe for those will be up shortly)


Carne de Panela - Portuguese Beef Tips

1 pound of stewing beef
4 garlic cloves
Tablespoon of kosher salt
Chili flakes to your liking
Cheiro Verde (This is a mixture of parsley and cilantro, to taste
Olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
Half a green pepper, diced
15 oz. can of tomato sauce
2 cups of water

Using a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic cloves along with the salt, paprika and chili flakes.

In a pot, add a little bit of olive oil and the garlic mixture you just crushed.  Stir, then add the beef cubes.  Cook over medium heat until nicely browned.

Next, add in the rest of the ingredients and mix well to combine, check the seasonings and add more salt if needed.  Cover and let cook over medium heat until meat is tender and the sauce has reduced to a nice thick gravy.

Cheiro Verde - Parsley, Cilantro and Green Onion

If I were to translate the name in Portuguese to English, it would sound so ridiculous, that you would probably laugh and laugh for days.

Cheiro Verde basically means Green Smell or Green Scent.  Go ahead and laugh LOL

It is basically a mixture of parsley, cilantro and green onion.  I use it in a lot of my Portuguese recipes, and it really does help bring out the flavor.

The best part is that it is frozen, so I can pinch off little bits at a time, and add to my food.  It's just another way to make meal prepping quicker and easier.


Cheiro Verde - Parsley, Cilantro and Green Onion

Green Onion

Start by washing the parsley, cilantro and green onion, being careful to remove any wilted leaves.

Spread them out over some paper towels to dry completely.  When dry, rough chop the green onions, removing the roots which you can place in a small glass container with a little bit of water, to regrow.  I've been doing this for years and only really need to buy green onions once in a while.

Remove the stems from the parsley and cilantro.  I don't remove ALL the stems from the cilantro and parsley, but the majority, leaving just the bit closer to the leaves.  Give them a rough chop too. (you can finely dice them too if you prefer)

Mix all three in a freezer safe tupperware container, and place in the freezer.  It keeps for up to one month.

For cooking, I usually just add enough to my taste, depending on what I'm making.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Mint Chocolate Mug Cake

Y'all......mug cakes are one of the easiest and most versatile recipes to keep on hand.

You know how sometimes you get a craving for something sweet, but you don't want to have to whip up a whole cake?  This is the perfect way to get rid of that craving, and since the possibilities are endless, you can do chocolate, vanilla, caramel, whatever you want.

This Mint Chocolate Mug Cake came about last week, when I was craving chocolate and had none on hand.  It turned out SO SO good and definitely hit the spot. 


Mint Chocolate Mug Cake
Adapted from: Table for Two

1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon mint chocolate chips

In a big mug, add all the ingredients and give them a good whisk to make sure everything is incorporated. 

Add the mint chocolate chips to the middle of the cake batter.  Don't mix, don't stir, just drop and leave it alone.

Microwave on high for 70 seconds. Carefully remove from microwave and enjoy.

This truly is the fluffiest, softest and moistest mug cake, you will ever have.

Pressure Cooker Bangers and Mash

It's no secret that one of my favorite kitchen gadgets, has been my pressure cooker.  The versatility and the endless ways we can prepare food in it, is by far one of the best investments you could ever make for your kitchen.

I received mine two years ago for Christmas, and I've actually requested another one for this year, that's how much I love mine.

One thing I find quite a lot of fun to do, is adapting recipes from the oven or stove, to make in the pressure cooker, I just find that it cuts down cooking time dramatically and sometimes, when our days are super busy, it really helps get a good home cooked meal on the table.


Pressure Cooker Bangers and Mash

6 thick sausages
olive oil
1 cups water
1 packet of onion gravy mix

Turn the pressure cooker on to Saute, and then add a drizzle of olive oil, add the sausages and cook until brown.  When done, pour in the cup of water and the packet of onion gravy mix.  Press the cancel button on the pressure cooker.

Pop on the lid, make sure the valve is set to seal, then cook on Manual High for 6 minutes.  As soon as it is ready, click cancel/keep warm, and do a quick release of the steam.  I like to pop on a kitchen towel over the valve when releasing the steam so it doesn't sputter everywhere.

If the gravy is very thin, you can turn on the saute feature again and add in about a tablespoon of cornstarch, mix it well to avoid clumps and let sauce thicken.

Ono's Hawaiian Grilled Chicken

While stationed in Arizona, we came to find a ton of amazing restaurants, and to this day, some of our favorites remain in Phoenix, AZ.  It is one of the reasons we are looking to visit sometime next year.

One such place was Ono Hawaiian BBQ.  Their food was so good, but so good, that we went back constantly.

I only wish there was an Ono's in Texas, but alas, there isn't.

So with that in mind, I went on the look for copycat recipes that could recreate this wonderful food, and found one for our favorite chicken, so I thought I would share it with you.  If you have an Ono's nearby, I highly recommend checking it out.

By the way, the proper way to make this chicken is by grilling it, but I adapted the recipe to use my cast iron skillet instead.


Ono's Hawaiian Grilled Chicken
Adapted from: Best Recipes Ever

Boneless skinless Chicken Thighs (thin, if needed use a mallet to flatten the chicken)
1 C. packed light brown sugar
1 C. soy sauce
4-5 cloves of garlic chopped
1 1/2 T. fresh ginger root chopped
1/4-1/2 large onion sliced

For the prepared chicken:
1 stick of butter
Green onions

In a bowl, mix the brown sugar and soy sauce together. Add in the garlic, ginger and onion.  Pour the mixture into a ziploc bag, add the chicken thighs, make sure the bag is closed tightly and then give it all a good shake.  Let it marinade for a few hours, or even overnight. 

Heat up a cast iron skillet with a little bit of butter, add the chicken thighs and cook until brown and cooked through. 

In the meantime, place a 13x9 inch casserole dish in the oven, at about 250 degrees F.  Add a stick of butter and let it melt. 

As the chicken gets done, transfer to the casserole dish and keep it in the oven where it will be swimming in all that buttery goodness.

Once all the chicken is done, cut up some green onions and add to the chicken. 

Monday, September 24, 2018

{ Pork Chops in Mustard Sauce }

You guys, I have one of the tastiest pork recipes for you all.

I love pork but I get a little tired of making it the same way, over and over again.  I don't know, I just find that pork is a bit harder to find good recipes for, and that's probably just me, but anyway, in my attempt to find a different way to fix pork, I turned to my old Teleculinaria Portuguese Cooking Magazine.

The Teleculinaria magazine is a really old one but is always filled with the yummiest recipes.

Back to the pork.  No joke, this was one of the tastiest meals we've had in a while, I paired with some Pressure Cooker Twice Baked Potatoes and a salad, and everyone raved.

Pork Chops in Mustard Sauce

8 pork tenderloin chops (I use the pretty thin ones and usually make 2 for each person)
Salt and pepper to taste
Butter to fry the chops
2 cups Heavy Cream
1 tablespoon Spicy Mustard (you don't have to use spicy, just make sure it's a good mustard, not the yellow hotdog mustard)

Season the chops with the salt and pepper and some fresh garlic.  Set aside and let sit for about 30 minutes.

Fry the chops in some butter until nicely browned and completely cooked through.  Transfer to a baking dish to keep warm. 

In a small bowl mix the heavy cream and the mustard.

In the skilled you fried the chops in, scrape up the bits, add the heavy cream and mustard mixture, and mix well.  Let it come to a boil so that it thickens a bit, then pour over the chops.  Sprinkle on some parsley and serve immediately.

Pressure Cooker Twice Baked Potatoes

I have a lot of kitchen gadgets and appliances and enjoy trying them all out.  I can't really say that any of the appliances I have bought, have been a disappointment, but I can for sure say that some have become my favorite to use and I try to use them as much as I can, sometimes daily.

My pressure cooker is one of those.  Not just for it's convenience, but I love putting it to the test and making things in it that I would never have thought of doing.

Last week I made some delicious pork chops (recipe will be up after this one), and to go with them I wanted twice baked potatoes, but it was a super busy day and by the time I got around to dinner prepping, I realized that I wouldn't have an hour or more to wait for the potatoes to bake in the oven.

Obviously, I turned to the pressure cooker, looked through my user manual, searched a few online tips and tricks and went for it.

Guys????  They came out so good that I will never bake them in the oven again.

Let me tell you real quick how to make these delicious potatoes.

Pressure Cooker Twice Baked Potatoes

4 medium russet potatoes
2 cups water

Wash the potatoes well and then poke them a few times with a fork or knife.  In the meantime, placeyour trivet inside the pressure cooker, you don't want the potatoes to touch the bottom of the pan. 
Add 2 cups of water, close the lid, making sure the valve is set to seal.  Press the Manual Button for 25 minutes on High pressure.

When the potatoes are done cooking, place a dishtowel over the release valve.  I always do this because sometimes it sputters water everywhere.  Do a quick release of the valve and then remove the potatoes carefully.  I used tongs for this.

Let the potatoes cool just enough so you can handle them, then slice them in half.  Using a spoon remove the inside into a bowl.  Now for the filling, you can make your baked potatoes however you prefer.  Some people do a simple mash with milk, salt, pepper and butter.  Some people use mayonnaise or sour cream, whatever you want.

I use butter, salt and pepper, some garlic powder and a little bit of sour cream to make them nice and creamy.  I also like to add bacon bits and cheese to the mixture.

Scoop the filling back into the potatoes, sprinkle on some green onions, and you're done.

If you wish, you can also sprinkle on some shredded cheese and pop them under the broiler to melt the cheese. 

Beef Casserole

Today I'm bringing you a recipe that is sure to become a hit in your home.

Imagine if you will a Cottage Pie, but instead of mashed potatoes, you use cubed fried potatoes and a delicious white bechamel sauce that will make it all yummy and creamy.

I've been trying to get back into cooking and baking on a daily schedule, and most importantly coming up with and trying new recipes.  I always menu plan but it gets a bit tiring making the same things over and over, and it feels like the past year that is what I've done.

So out come the old cookbooks for inspiration.  I truly do hope you enjoy this one, as always if you try it, I would love for you to let me know in the comments below.


Beef Casserole

1 pound ground beef
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves (I used two teaspoons of my homemade diced garlic)
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
Olive oil
White Bechamel Sauce (I'll tell you below how to make it, if you don't know how)
1 teaspoon oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Bay Leaf
Shredded cheese of your liking (I used mozzarella)
Oil to fry

In a pot, add a bit of olive oil (I eyeball, but it's about 1 tablespoon), add the diced onion, garlic and bay leaf.  Cook over medium heat until onion is transparent.  Add the ground beef and brown.  Next, pour in the diced tomatoes with their juice, oregano and salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer until the meat is cooked through and there is hardly any sauce left.

In a separate saucepan, add 2 tablespoons of butter and cook over medium heat until melted, next add in 2 tablespoons of flour and stir vigorously and cook for just under a minute.  Pour in milk, a little at a time, stirring with a whisk to make sure there are no lumps.  I season it with a little salt, pepper and a dash of nutmeg.  ( I always add nutmeg to my white sauce).    Bring to the boil and stir constantly until the sauce thickens.

Once meat and sauce are done, set them aside.

Fry the cubed potatoes in oil until golden brown, drain on paper towels.

In a casserole dish, pour in the meat mixture, remember to remove the bay leaf.  Add the fried potatoes on top and spread them on evenly.

Pour over the potatoes the white bechamel sauce, then top with shredded cheese of your choosing.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with Parsley and serve immediately!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Garlic in olive oil - For cooking

There are a couple things I do after grocery shopping.  I not only put the groceries away, but I leave out certain items to prep for the upcoming weeks, like fruit, veggies and so on.

One thing I always make, is my garlic for cooking.

I find it easier to have it readily available to add to whatever I'm cooking at the time, and I also don't like the store bought minced garlic, it has a weird taste to me.

This is so easy to throw together, takes but a few minutes and it cuts down on prep time when you are needing garlic for a specific recipe.  I'm Portuguese, so garlic is pretty much in every single dish I make.

Garlic in Olive Oil

1 head of garlic
Olive oil

First thing you're going to do, and this is merely to make it easier to peel the garlic cloves, is to place them all in a bowl of water.  Let them sit for about an hour.  I do this first thing when I get home, and then let them sit while I get the groceries put away.


Peel the garlic cloves, you'll notice that the skin comes right off. 


Next, chop them up finely.  You can do it by hand, or pop them in a blender, I use my handy Pampered Chef Chopper.


Give them a really good chop, then transfer them to a small mason jar.  Now the size of the jar will depend on the amount of garlic you have, I find that for one head of garlic, the small 4 oz. jar works fine.


To finish off, pour in some olive oil just until it covers the garlic.  That's it!!!

Pop it in your fridge and it's ready to use. 

It really is an easy way to have your own fresh minced garlic ready to use.  If you want to make a larger amount, just use the same process, remembering to cover with olive oil to the top.