Thursday, August 18, 2022

Orange Ricotta Cake

I've been looking through all my old recipes and cookbooks.  If you didn't know, I am obsessed with cookbooks or all shapes and kinds, magazines, church name it.  

I've amassed quite the collection, enough that I often forget what I have, so it's fun to go back and look.  It's during those moments, that I seem to find the best recipes, the ones that are not only delicious but tried and true, passed down from generation to generation, and the pure definition of comfort food.

This Orange Ricotta Cake is so unbelievably good.  It may seem like a simple cake, but the flavor packs quite a punch and if you're worried about the Ricotta cheese, don't, you won't even notice it's there, aside from giving the cake a soft and fluffy texture.

I am not a fan of very rich, full of frosting, kind of cakes, I much prefer simple cakes.  They are perfect with a cup of coffee or tea.  So this one, is what I would call one of my favorites, and I do hope you enjoy it too.


Orange Ricotta Cake

3/4 cup of butter
1 and half cups of sugar
15 oz Ricotta cheese (425 Gr) 
3 large eggs
1 and half cups of flour
Zest and juice from one orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat the butter and sugar until creamy and pale yellow.  Add in the eggs one at a time.  Next add the ricotta, the flour, zest and juice from one orange, vanilla, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.  

Mix until well combined.

Pour into a greased and floured cake pan.  (I used my 9 inch springform pan).  Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center, comes out clean.

Let cool completely, remove from cake pan and dust with powdered sugar.

Monday, August 08, 2022

Frango no Churrasco - Barbecued Chicken


There are some meals that you have a specific memory associated with. For me, grilled chicken is one of those. But not just grilled chicken, I'm talking about the Frango no Churrasco.  A barbecue chicken that is beyond delicious, grilled to perfection, with the perfect amount of seasonings and just a little kick from piri piri (chilies).

In Portugal, we have a lot of little corner shops, called Churrasqueiras, that sell these divine barbecue chickens.  I used to go with my dad and brothers, on the weekends, down to our local churrasqueira in Sao Joao do Estoril, and we would get a chicken and some kettle cooked chips to go with, or a large order of fries and a salad.

To this day, Frango no Churrasco is one of my favorite of favorite ways to barbecue chicken.

It does take a bit of time, it needs to grill over about an hour to an hour and a half, and needs to basted, every 15 minutes or so.  Basically, I am out there turning the chicken every 15 minutes, and basting it.  It's time consuming, but well worth the effort.


Frango no Churrasco

Ingredients for the chicken and marinade:
1 whole chicken, flattened and cleaned
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Massa de pimentao (red pepper paste, but you can omit if you don't have)
1 whole dried chili pepper, crushed (or 1teaspoon of cayenne pepper)
Salt to taste

For the basting sauce:
50 ml vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon red pepper paste
2 garlic cloves, diced
25 ml beer (you can also use wine)
black pepper to taste
Juice of half a lemon
1 bay leaf
salt to taste

Make the basting sauce, by mixing all the ingredients together, and then set aside.


Clean the chicken, open it up and butterfly it.  It needs to be flat.  Mix the ingredients for the marinade and rub all over the chicken.  Set chicken in fridge to marinade, for at least an hour.  The longer it sits, the better it will be.

Cook over hot coals, turning every 15 minutes, and basting each time you turn.  When the chicken is evenly cooked, and nice and charred, remove and serve immediately.  Cut into smaller portions and serve with homemade fries and a salad.

If cooking on a gas grill, like I did.  Turn on the grill and set each burner to maximum. Keep lid closed and let it preheat for about 20 minutes on high heat, it should reach 400 degrees.  Then turn all the burners down to a low heat.
You can place the chicken directly on the grates, but I prefer to put it in a grilling basket with a handle.  

 Set it on the grill, close it, and then every 15 minutes, flip the basket and baste the chicken. 


Torta de Liquidificador - Chicken Blender Pie


This is one of those recipes that can be used with various fillings.  The most popular is the chicken, but you can also do beef, sausage, or whatever you have on hand.  I bet it would be delicious with a fish filling as well.

Usually on the weekends, we either eat leftovers, or each one does whatever they want, or I make a very quick, meal.  It's always something along the lines of a sandwich or pizza and so forth.

This pie, is something that I love making when I have leftover chicken.  The filling itself is up to you, some make it with a tomato based sauce, I prefer a cream base, but it's totally up to whoever is making it.

The Torta de Liquidificador, is very popular in Brazil, where my great grandparents were from.  Give this one a try, and let me know what you think.

As always, keep in mind that I eyeball ingredients when I cook, so aside from the blender dough mixture, which I'll give you the correct ingredients for, the filling is all just made to taste.


Torta de Liquidificador
(Chicken Blender Pie)

Ingredients for dough:
1 and 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup of water
2 tablespoons of baking powder
1 cup of oil
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups of flour

Ingredients for filling:
Leftover chicken (or 1 pound chicken breasts, cut into small cubes)
1 small onion, finely diced
1 small tomato, finely diced
Half a green pepper, finely diced
Garlic to taste
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Oregano to taste

Shredded cheese of your choice


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
In a sauce pan, add a little bit of olive oil, garlic and the diced onion.  Cook over medium heat until onion is translucent.  Add in the chicken, green pepper and tomato, and continue cooking until tomato is soft and chicken is cooked through.  Next, add in the spices, adjusting to taste, and lastly the cream.

Set aside.

Add the dough ingredients to the blender, starting with the wet ingredients first, and then the dry.  Blend until well mixed.  You should have a creamy looking batter.

Grease a baking dish.  I use a 13 by 9.  Then pour in half of the batter, spoon the chicken mixture over it, evenly.  Sprinkle on shredded cheese (if you like more cheese add more, if you don't want as much, add only a little, and if you don't want cheese, feel free to omit it).

Then pour over the remaining batter and using a spoon, evenly spread it out.  

At this point, you can sprinkle on more cheese if you like.  I don't always do that, just depends what mood I'm in.

Bake for 50 minutes or until pie is cooked, and browned on the top.

{ Big Mac Sloppy Joes }


I have been working on my new meal plan, for the next two weeks, and I have added a few recipes that are not only easy to make, but easy on the food budget too.  With prices going up so much lately, we're all trying to cut corners, continue feeding the family, but not able to buy like we used to.

I'm trying my best to cook from the freezer, fridge and pantry, and serving meals that are still delicious, and able to fill tummies as well.

These Big Mac Sloppy Joes, couldn't be easier to make, don't take a lot of ingredients and taste just like your local McDonald's Big Mac Burger.  It's also a fun twist on the well known sloppy joes.

Hope you enjoy!


Big Mac Sloppy Joes
Ground Beef Mixture 
1 1/2 pounds ground beef 
1/2 yellow onion , finely chopped 
1/4 cup hamburger pickles , chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 
McDonald's Secret Sauce Recipe:
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup French dressing
2 tablespoons sweet relish
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
/8 teaspoon salt 
To Assemble (Double Decker):
8 hamburger buns , (with seeds)
2 cups iceberg lettuce , shredded
12 hamburger pickle chips
4 slices American cheese
Brown your ground beef halfway, about 3-4 minutes, in your large skillet then add in the chopped onions, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Cook the beef until fully browned, about 3-4 minutes, then add in the chopped pickles and stir. 
Mix the McDonald's Copycat Big Mac Sauce ingredients in a medium bowl and stir well. Add 1 cup of the secret sauce to the pan, reserve the rest for your buns. Cook 1 additional minute then serve on sesame hamburger bun using the stacking order below.  
Stacking order from the bottom up: 
Bun bottom 
Secret Sauce
American Cheese 
Bun Bottom 
Secret Sauce 
Bun Top 


Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Pao de Leite Condensado - Condensed Milk Bread


I was having a craving for a sweet bread.  In Portugal we have a few sweet breads, with a special one for Easter called Folar.  The Folar usually contain hard boiled eggs in the center.

I will probably make one for Easter this year, and share the recipe with you here, as well.
The recipe I'm bringing you today is for a condensed milk sweet bread, which is not only divine, but so easy to make as you use a blender for the liquids and then just mix with the flour and rest of the dry ingredients.  Before going into the oven to bake, you brush on a egg yolk and milk mixture, which in turn give it this beautiful brown color, and a distinct taste that is unbeatable.

You can also turn these into rolls if you wish, but the fun part really is in the preparation, as you cut the dough into slices which in turn produce a loaf that is practically ready to cut.

This makes a delicious toast slathered on with butter, or you can make french toast, or a sandwich too.  If you like Hawaiian bread, you will love this one.
The recipe itself makes 3 or 4 loaves, depending on the size of the loaf pan you are using. 

Pao de Leite Condensado - Condensed Milk Bread
4 eggs
3 tablespoons butter (or  75 grams)
2 cups of milk (480 ml)
1 can condensed milk (395 grams)
3 tablespoons sugar (36 grams)
1 teaspoon salt (2 grams)
8 cups all purpose flour (1.120 kg)
Half a tablespoon Yeast (15 grams)
For glaze:
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk

In a blender, add the eggs, butter, milk and condensed milk, and blend until well incorporated.
In a separate bowl, add the yeast, sugar, flour and the salt.  Remember not to let the salt and yeast touch, so that the salt does not kill off the yeast.  I always add my yeast and my salt on opposite sides of the bowl.
Pour the contents of the blender into a big mixing bowl.  Then start adding the flour mixture, a cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.  When it becomes hard to stir, transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth but still slightly tacky.  
Transfer into a well oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel, and let rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
Punch dough down, transfer to a floured surface and cut into 4 or 3 equal parts (depending on the size of your loaf pans or if you're making 3 or 4 loaves).
Take each dough ball and roll out into a rectangle, do not roll too thin.  Then start rolling the dough back up, as if you were making cinnamon rolls, pinching the seam at the bottom and both sides.  I just take both sides of the dough on each end and pinch to close.  

Next, take a dough cutter or a big knife, and divide the roll of dough into equal parts.   I usually cut in half, then half again and half again, etc.  It doesn't really matter how many parts you cut it into, obviously the more cuts you make the thinner the slices will be.  I did 16 slices in each loaf, so I cut the dough into 16 equal parts.

Next, carefully lift the whole loaf up, keeping the slices together, and place into the loaf pan.

Do the same with the remaining dough balls.

Cover with a kitchen towel again and let rise for another hour or until it has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 355 degrees.   In a small bowl, mix together 1 egg yolk and 2 tablespoons milk.  Brush over the prepared loaves, and then bake in the oven for 16 to 18 minutes or until brown and cooked through.  Just keep an eye out, obviously each oven is different.

Once the loaves are out of the oven, brush each with a little butter, remove from pan and let cool completely.
I keep my bread in a ziploc bag, and usually as with all my other bread, I keep it in the fridge so it stays longer.