Thursday, January 10, 2019

Malva Pudding - South African

Growing up in South Africa, I was able to not only continue to enjoy my Portuguese heritage through the meals we ate at home, but also be privy to the wonderful South African food.  Things like Koeksisters, Vetkoek, Mince Roll, Melktert and the amazing Malva Pudding.

I actually took Home Economics in school and I remember making it as one of our projects.  I'm sure I don't have to tell you that Home Ec. was my favorite subject in school, do I?  Especially when it was cooking day.

Anyway, I thought I had shared this recipe with you all, but after looking through the blog this morning, I noticed that I hadn't, and the last time I actually made the Malva Pudding was back in 2014.  Wow, that needs to be remedied and fast.  I think I will make one this weekend.

Malva Pudding

Malva Pudding
Source:  Rhodes


1½ Cups cream
½ Cup butter, cut into blocks
¾ Cups + 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon Rhodes Apricot Jam (Just use whatever apricot jam you have on hand)


2 Tablespoons butter
⅓ Cup + 4 teaspoons dark brown sugar
3 Tablespoons Rhodes Apricot Jam
1 egg
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ Cup of milk
1 Cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoon vinegar

Serve with custard, cream or ice cream.

Place the cream, butter, sugar, salt and Apricot Jam in a medium saucepan, stirring continually over a high heat, bring the sauce to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for two minutes.
Remove from the heat and keep warm.

Cream the butter and the sugar together until the butter is pale and soft.  Beat in the Apricot Jam, beat in the egg.  Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda into the milk.

Sift the flour and the salt together and add to the batter, alternating with the milk.  Beat in the vinegar.
Spoon the batter into an ovenproof pudding bowl that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.

Pour half of the sauce over the batter.

Bake the Malva Pudding in an oven preheated to 350º F,  for 40 minutes or until risen and golden.
Remove from the oven and pour over the remaining sauce a little at a time until all the sauce is absorbed by the hot pudding.

Serve hot with custard, cream or ice cream.

Navajo Tacos

Navajo Tacos, Indian Fry Bread, Indian Tacos, pretty much the same thing.  If you have never heard of Navajo Tacos, let me tell you a little about them.

Navajo Tacos were invented in 1864, using flour, sugar, salt and lard.  The Navajo tribe had been given these ingredients by the US Government, when they were forced to leave their land and make the 300 mile "Long Walk" to New Mexico.  Often times, the food ingredients supplied by the government were rancid, and so the tacos came about using just the simplest of ingredients available to the tribe.

The way that the frybread is served, depends on the region and even the tribe, but it's beginning take place during the 4 years of captivity the Navajo suffered.  So to the, Frybread is not just a meal, it is a memory of a painful and sad time for their ancestors.

The closest thing to a frybread that I'm familiar with, are the Vetkoek which we had back in South Africa, which is either served with some delicious savory curried ground beef, or filled jam.

  Vetkoek with Curried Mince

I actually just realized that I haven't yet shared the Vetkoek recipe with you all, so that needs to happen soon.

Anyway, back to the Navajo Tacos.  My family loves tacos and usually we stick with the crunchy tortilla type, but once in a while, I prefer to take some time and make some Navajo Tacos, they truly do hit the spot.

Navajo Tacos

2 cups of flour
2 and half teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
Oil for frying

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, diced
Cumin, salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili flakes (to taste)
Can of Bush's Southwestern Style Pinto Beans

Shredded cheese
Diced tomatoes
Shredded lettuce
Sour Cream

In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt and warm water.  Mix well until a soft dough is achieved.  You can knead for a few minutes, or pop it in your stand mixer and beat for about 4 minutes or so.  Cover with a kitchen towel and let sit for 20 minutes.

In a skillet, fry the ground beef until browned, add the onion and cook until translucent, add the spices to taste and cook for a few minutes more.  Add in the Southwestern Style Pinto Beans, don't drain.  Mix well and let simmer for 5 minutes.  Set aside.

In a small skillet, add oil for frying.  You don't need a lot, I usually add about 2 inches of oil, I just don't like drowning my food in excessive amounts of oil.  Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, roll into a ball and then flatten to a disc that is about 6 inches wide.

Fry each one for a minute or so until golden brown, then flip over and cook the other side until golden brown as well.  Drain on paper towels.

To serve, spoon meat mixture onto each disc, add the toppings to your liking. 

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Beef S.O.S

My husband loves everything that I make, but one of his favorite meals is also one of the easiest and cheapest meals to have.  If it were up to him, he would eat S.O.S every single day and be just fine with that.

If you are military or have military background or even been around military people in general, then you will no doubt have heard about the good ol' S.O.S.  Technically it's called S*** on a Shingle, and I don't think I need to tell you what the S word stands for LOL

It's something that military folk of all branches are quite familiar with.  The dish seems to go all the way back to World War I and an Army field kitchen, although the recipe itself first appears in a Manual of Army Cooks from 1910.  So, as you can see it has definitely been around for a very long time. 

This is definitely one of those meals that not only go far, but are perfect for when you need to cut back on your food budget.  There seems to be a love/hate relationship for people with this meal, but we think it is absolutely fantastic, and filling.

There are SO many ways to make this recipe, so I'm giving you my way of making it, I'm sure you can find a ton of different versions online.

Beef S.O.S

1 lb ground beef
2 cups milk

3 tbsp all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic (optional but I like to add some in)
Sliced Bread

In a medium sauce pan over medium high heat, brown the ground beef, then season with salt and pepper.  I sometimes add a little garlic too. Drain grease. Sprinkle the flour over the meat and stir to combine, then slowly start pouring in the milk all the while mixing well so as not to allow the flour to become lumpy.

Serve over sliced bread.  (you can toast the bread if you wish, we either toast it or just have it as is)

One Pan Portuguese Roast Chicken

I think everyone knows how to prepare roast chicken, and there are so many variations out there and family recipes passed down from generation to generation.

Much as I love cookbooks and trying out new recipes, some days I prefer to stick to the way I have grown up cooking, the meals that I remember from my childhood.

This is a very simple way to make roast chicken, it may seem a little different to what you're used to making but it's equally delicious.  It is also a one pan meal, and that is always great as it saves on having a pile of dishes to clean up.

I do hope you'll give it a try :)

One Pan Portuguese Roast Chicken

1 pound chicken (I used thighs, but you can use a whole cut up chicken, or legs, or breasts, whatever you prefer)
Minced Garlic
Salt and Pepper
2 large potatoes
Small red onion

Now here's the deal, if I'm not following a specific recipe, I always cook from the heart, which means I eyeballs the ingredients.  It's hard for me to give specific measurements, but I'll try to give you an idea of how much I used.

First thing, wash and clean your chicken well.  Place the chicken in a big ziploc bag, then squirt in some vinegar, add about 1/2 cup of mayo and 1/4 cup mustard, some minced garlic cloves (I used about 4 that I mashed in my mortar and pestle), salt and pepper to taste and some paprika.

Close the ziploc tightly and give it all a good mix, then pop in the fridge for a few hours.  It's even better overnight, but usually I'll do it either in the morning, or around noon to cook for dinner.

When you're ready to cook.  Dump the whole contents of the chicken into a casserole dish, or a baking dish covered with foil.

Add a layer of sliced onion on top, and then top with thick sliced potatoes.  Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for about an hour or until chicken and potatoes are completely cooked through.

When done, you can serve right away, or if you wish, you can remove the foil and place back in the oven to broil a bit.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajita Crunchwrap

Oh my goodness!!!

Just oh my goody, gosh, this is delicious.  I've shared a recipe before for an actual Crunchwrap like the ones from Taco Bell, and then I also shared one for a Sheet Pan Crunchwrap which is phenomenal as well.

Today, I'm bringing you a Sheet Pan Chicken Fajita Crunchwrap just is just as delicious.

What I love the most about these Sheet Pan meals, is that they are perfect for get togethers, family dinners and so on.  I love meals that I can stretch for a big crowd and this is one of those, for sure.

Give it a try.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajita Crunchwrap
Source: Tasty

4 chicken breasts, sliced
3 onions, sliced
5 peppers, sliced
2 tbsp fajita seasoning
3 tbsp olive oil
9 large flour tortillas
1 tsp melted butter
2 cups cheddar, grated
2 cups spicy tortilla chips

For the dip:

1 cup sour cream
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp fajita seasoning
1/2 cup pickled jalapenos
1 tbsp honey
juice 1 lime
salt, to taste

Pop the chicken, peppers and onions on a large roasting tray with the 2 tbsp fajita seasoning and oil. Roast for 25 minutes at 200°C, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, mix everything together for your dip and set aside.

Brush your butter across the base of a sheet pan. Lay 7 tortillas down on the bottom of the pan.  Put in half your cheese, half your chicken, all of your chips, then the rest of the chicken and cheese.

Fold over the tortillas, then lay over a sheet of wax paper, and weigh down with a heavy tray.

Bake for 30 minutes at 180°C.

Panda Express Chow Mein - Cheap Meals


A few months ago I was on the hunt for some cheap, inexpensive, easy meals to make.  Once in a while I like to try and cut my food budget down by making meals that are not only cheap but that the family will surely enjoy.  That is not always as easy as it may seem.

I came across a channel on Youtube that provided just that, she called it Dirt Cheap Budget Meals but they looked SO incredibly yummy, which peaked my interest.

We as a family, love Panda Express and especially their chow mein, so when I saw that she had a recipe for a knock off Panda Express Chow Mein using none other than Ramen Noodles, I KNEW that was definitely going to be on the menu.

The verdict:  We absolutely LOVED it, and is actually on the meal plan for the next two weeks, again.

Panda Express Chow Mein
Source:  Queenn Callier

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons oil
4 packs Ramen Noodles (I used Beef Flavored)
2 packets of Ramen noodles seasoning
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1 tsp Shredded ginger root
1 Tbsp Honey (Can substitute with sugar)
2 tsp Garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups Shredded Cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup sliced celery
Optional:  I added in some cooked chicken breast that I chopped into bite size chunks

Cook the ramen noodles with the two packets of seasoning, as you normally would.  Set aside.

In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, ginger, honey, garlic powder and pepper.  Set aside. 

In a skillet, or a wok, add the butter and the cabbage, cook for 15 minutes.  Add in the celery and the carrots and cook for 15 minutes more.

Add in the oil, then the cooked ramen noodles and finally the soy sauce, mix well and let fry for a few minutes.  Serve immediately.

If you're adding in chicken or any other meat, do so when you add the ramen noodles to the skillet.


Chicken Sopa - Church Cookbook

When my husband and I were newlyweds, we traveled to Oklahoma to visit his family.  We had our daughter at the time, she was just about a year old and at my husband and his family's request, we had her baptized in their local family church.

As we arrived at the church, there were a stack of cookbooks, you know the church cookbooks that used to be so common?  My mother in law asked me if I would like one, she knew I loved cooking, and wanted to gift me one because there were recipes from her, her mother and her niece featured in the book.

I was thrilled.

Over the years I've tried many of the recipes and maybe because they're simple homecooked dishes, they tend to be some of the best family meals around.

One of the recipes featured in the cookbook is from my husband's cousin Cindy.  I just made it again a few weeks ago and realized I hadn't shared it on the blog, so here it is.

A simple Mexican flavor inspired casserole that I'm sure your family will enjoy :)

Chicken Sopa

1 pound chicken, cooked and cut into bite size pieces (you can use leftover roast chicken as well)
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles

1 cup chicken broth
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
12 (6 inch) corn tortillas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  Put the chicken into a mixing bowl. Add the chicken soup, mushroom soup, green chiles and broth. Mix well.

In a 9x13 inch baking dish place a layer of corn tortillas to cover the bottom, then a layer of the chicken mixture, then a layer of cheese. Continue to layer, like you would lasagna, until all of the chicken mixture is gone.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and brown. Let cool and serve.

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.