Monday, December 22, 2008

Menu Plan Monday December 22

Happy Monday everyone, this is what's on the menu for this week. As always remember that some days I switch meals around or end up not making them if something comes up, but for the most part I stick to everything on here INCLUDING breakfast and lunch.

Monday 22nd  

Breakfast: Oatmeal, Toast 

Lunch: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches 

Dinner: Impossibly Easy Taco Pie

Tuesday 23rd  

Breakfast: Crepes with Cinnamon Sugar 

Lunch: Hotdogs  

Dinner: Smoked Sausage Alfredo Pasta

Wednesday 24th 

Breakfast: Mini Waffles w/ Blackberry Syrup 

Lunch: Chicken Nuggets w/ homemade potato chips  

Dinner: Christmas Eve Dinner - Shrimp Turnovers, Fried Chicken, Bacon Ham and Sausage Loaf, Chips and Dip, Portuguese Cookie Cake, Tronco de Natal (Portuguese Chocolate Christmas Cake)

Thursday 25th  

Breakfast: Christmas Tree Pancakes  

Lunch: Leftovers  

Dinner: Bacalhau A Gomes de Sa - Codfish Gomes de Sa Style

Friday 26th  

Breakfast: Cereal, Orange Juice 

Lunch: Ravioli, Chicken Soup 

Dinner: Breaded Ranch Chicken w/ Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Saturday 27th  

Breakfast: Bagels w/ cream cheese 

Lunch: Cheese Pizza 

Dinner: Beef Stew w/ potato dumplings  


Sunday 28th  

Breakfast: Bacon, eggs, sausage 

Lunch: Corned Beef Hash 

Dinner: Grilled Steaks w/ Pepper Sauce and Fries


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bifanas - Pork Sandwiches

One of the most common food items on a Portuguese item will be the Prego or Prego no Pao, which is a steak sandwich usually served with fries or salad. It's delicious and it's so easy to prepare. But then you get the pork version, or the Bifana, and these you will see on many restaurant menus too, it's the kind of meal you would order for lunch and let me tell you, the garlic and wine and all that yumminess together makes for an amazing sandwich. So here's how I make mine.... 


Bifanas - Pork Sandwiches

Pork loin chops or pork cubed steaks (you need at least one for each person) 
salt and pepper 
garlic powder 
bay leaf 
white wine 
Portuguese Rolls (or any other roll that is thick and doughy) 
The whole trick to getting that wonderful taste is to marinate the meat for at least a whole day before you cook it. You can do it overnight or first thing in the morning so you can use it for dinner, the longer it sits in that marinade, the tastier it will be. 
I roll mine up and put them in the tupperware bowl and then pour about 1/2 cup of white wine over. Cover it up and place it in the refrigerator. When you're ready to cook, add some olive oil to a skillet and then add the pork steaks, top with some butter and fry until cooked through and nice and brown.


Once they're cooked, slice your bread rolls in half and then take them and dip them into the drippings in the pan. You don't want to cover the bread, just get a little of that tasty sauce on them.

Slice the sandwiches in half and serve with some homemade fries or salad.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Leona's Whipped Short Breads

Another great recipe from Marie at A Year From Oak Cottage, honestly if you've never visited her blog you don't know what you're missing. I've made so many of her recipes and they're all keepers. I didn't add the cherries to mine, I kept them plain because we're not cherry lovers here at home.

*Leona's Whipped Short breads*  
Makes about 36
What can be easier than dumping everything into a bowl and then beating it together? 
Low on effort, but mighty big on flavour. Use the best butter that you can, these are well worth it. 
1 cup butter, softened 
1 1/2 cups flour 
1/2 cup sifted icing sugar 
To decorate: 
bits of candied cherries and fruit icing sugar to dust over the finished cookies 
Pre-heat your oven to 180*C/350*C. Line two baking sheets with some parchment paper and set aside. Place the butter, flour and icing sugar into a large bowl and then turn on your electric mixer. Beat for 10 minutes. 
At first it will seem all lumpy and you won't be able to imagine them ever being a cookie, but persevere. After a bit they turn into a lovely silky mass. Drop by teaspoons onto the prepared baking sheets, about an inch apart. 
Decorate the top of each blog with a bit of candied cherry or fruit. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes until the bottoms of the cookies are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and scoop onto wire racks to finish cooling. 
Dust with some icing sugar just before serving.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies!

I got this recipe from the Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog. These came out SO good, if you're a chocolate peppermint fan you will enjoy these. 


Lovella - Mennonite Girls Can Cook 
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 farm fresh egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup hot coffee. . or water
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons crushed candy canes


Cream the butter with the sugar. Add the egg and the vanilla and beat well. In a small bowl, combine the hot coffee and the cocoa and stir until no lumps remain. After it has completely cooled, add to the sugar mixture.

Combine the dry ingredients and add to the creamed mixture. Add the chocolate chips and the crushed candy canes.

Drop by a small ice cream scoop onto a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. 


Bake for about 8 minutes for little cookies at 350. 

The shiny spot in the middle of the cookie should have gone dull. . .but don't wait longer than that to remove them from the oven. Melt 1 cup each of chocolate chips and white chocolate chips. 

Put the melted chocolate in a zip loc bag or cake decorating bag and cut a small hole in the corner to squeeze the chocolate onto the cookie as shown. Sprinkle a little bit of crushed candy cane on top of each cookie while the chocolate is still melted.

Yield: 3 1/2 dozen small cookies

Monday, December 15, 2008

Muddy Buddies or Monkey Munch!

One of our favorite snacks and the recipe is right on the back of the Chex Cereal box, but if you've never noticed it or tried it, you don't know what you're missing. You may have heard it mentioned on the Jon and Kate Plus 8 show, Kate makes it for the kids all the time. So here we go....a quick and easy snack and I'm thinking wrapped in some pretty paper and tied with a ribbon would also make a cute gift.

Muddy Buddies 
Origin: Chex Cereal 
Yield: 18 servings 1/2 cup each 
Prep Time: 15 min 
Cooking Time: 15 min


● 9 cups Corn Chex®, Rice Chex®, Wheat Chex® or Chocolate Chex® cereal (or combination) 
● 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips 
● 1/2 cup peanut butter 
● 1/4 cup butter or margarine 
● 1 tsp. vanilla 
● 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar


Directions: Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.


In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. 

Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.

Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Easy Stuffed Peppers!

We love stuffed peppers here but usually I don't have a lot of time to make them, so I always turn to this quick and easy recipe that I cooked up one night.


4 green peppers
1 lb maple sausage
1 small onion, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
salt and pepper
garlic powder
1/2 cup wine
1 1/2 cups cooked rice

In a skillet, cook sausage until brown, add the seasonings, the tomato and the wine. Simmer for 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it and add a little water if it gets too dry.

In a pot bring the peppers to a boil, cook for about 6 minutes or until tender but you don't want them mushy or too soft....make sure there's still some bite to them.

Cook the rice separately, then in a big bowl, mix the rice with the meat mixture.

Stuff the peppers and sprinkle with shredded cheese, spread the remaining rice on the bottom of a baking pan, place the peppers on top and bake in a 375º oven until cheese is melted.


Vanilla Caramels!

Alright ladies, here's the deal, remember those yummy caramels I made last year?

I've had a few of you try them out and then email me and tell me that even though they're delicious they turned into toffee instead of caramels. I wasn't quite sure at first why on earth that would be happening to you guys, so tonight I made a batch and ended up with hard toffee as well.

The only thing I can think of is that I may have cooked them on too high a heat when it's supposed to be slowly cooked over low or medium heat for 15 minutes or until it reaches a temperature of about 248º F.

I'm still going to keep the other recipe and needless to say this toffee that I ended up with is NOT going to be thrown out because it's just that good, but I am in search of a different caramel recipe and found one that I'll be trying tomorrow. So here it is for you, if anyone else wants to try, if you do, let me know what you think.


Vanilla Caramels

2 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup condensed milk

1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup butter or fat
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Cook sugar, corn syrup, condensed milk, and milk together in a saucepan, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until temperature is 248 F., or until mixture forms a firm ball when tested in cold water. Remove from heat, add butter, salt, and vanilla and mix well. Pour into a greased pan. When cold remove from pan, cut in cubes and wrap each caramel in wax paper.
Recipe from a 1953 cookbook

Menu Plan Monday December 15

Happy Monday everyone, this is what's on the menu for this week. As always remember that some days I switch meals around or end up not making them if something comes up, but for the most part I stick to everything on here INCLUDING breakfast and lunch.

Monday 15  

Breakfast: French Toast 
Lunch: Grilled Cheese Sandwich 
Dinner: Take out  


Tuesday 16th  

Breakfast: Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Oatmeal  
Lunch: BLT's 
Dinner: Bifanas (Pork Sandwiches) w/ Fries

Wednesday 17th  

Breakfast: Blueberry Waffles w/ Blackberry Syrup  
Lunch: Beef & Cheese Chimichangas, Salad  
Dinner: Shepherd's Pie

Thursday 18th  

Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Toast  
Lunch: Egg Rolls, Veggies  

Friday 19th  

Breakfast: Cereal, Orange Juice  
Lunch: Cheese Quesadillas  


Saturday 20th  

Breakfast: Bagels w/ cream cheese 
Lunch: Cheese Pizza 
Dinner: Enchilada Chicken Soup 

Sunday 21st  

Breakfast: Bacon, eggs, sausage 
Lunch: Chili Dogs 
Dinner: Sloppy Joes


Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Mini-Chip Butter Crisps

Monday, December 08, 2008

Portuguese Roasted Potatoes

Super easy way to make potatoes, perfect to serve with my Portuguese chicken or roast or steaks or whatever you please.

Portuguese Roasted Potatoes
5 medium potatoes, cut into small chunks 
salt and pepper 
garlic powder 
3 Tbsp. flour 
olive oil 
Wash and cut the potatoes into small chunks. You can peel them first or leave the skin on, I actually prefer the skin on, makes it tastier to me.

Place in a bowl and season with salt and pepper, paprika, garlic powder, flour and olive oil. Toss everything together to coat well.

Transfer to a baking sheet and bake in a 450 º oven (you can cook them at 375 degrees too if you have the time, I was in a hurry so I needed them done fast LOL) for about 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Enjoy!

Frango Estufado - Portuguese skillet chicken

Another family favorite, I mean this one really makes me think of home. There's something about cooking chicken infused with garlic and onions and die for. So here's how I make mine, remember that I eyeball everything I rarely ever follow a recipe unless it's something I'm trying for the first time. 

Frango Estufado - Portuguese Skillet Chicken
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces 
1 medium onion, sliced 
5 garlic cloves, chopped 
5 Tbsp. butter 
1 cup white whine 
salt and pepper 
In a skillet melt the butter, add the chicken pieces and season with salt and pepper. Chop the garlic cloves and add to the skillet, next add the wine and onions and cook on high until the chicken is brown on both sides.... 
turn the heat down to medium and simmer for about an hour. Keep an eye on it and add water as needed so it doesn't dry out and burn.  You want to have a nice gravy left over. 
Serve with Portuguese roasted potatoes.

Menu Plan Monday!

Breakfasts are usually cereal, toast, scrambled eggs, sausage biscuits, muffins etc. Lunch is just for me and hubby while he works swing shift, so we usually just have leftovers or a sandwich. For more menus, head on over to Laura at "I'm an Organizing Junkie". 


MONDAY 8TH - Frango Estufado (Portuguese Chicken) 

TUESDAY 9TH - Slow Cooker Cubed Steaks  

WEDNESDAY 10TH - Rolinhos de Salsicha e Queijo - Sausage and Cheese Roll ups

THURSDAY 11TH - Spaghetti

FRIDAY 12TH - Stuffed Green Peppers

SATURDAY 13TH - Pork Roast and Potatoes

SUNDAY 14TH - Breakfast for Dinner

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Apple Bread!

I love this recipe, it's one I use a lot during the cooler weather. The cake is moist and full of flavor and great on it's own, but I like to eat mine with some whipped cream cheese. YUM!

1-1/3 c. all purpose flour 
3/4 t. baking soda 
1/2 t. salt 
1/2 t. cinnamon 
1/2 t. ground cloves 
1/2 c. oil 
1 c. sugar 
2 eggs 
1 t. vanilla extract 
2 apples, cored, peeled and chopped 
1/2 c. chopped nuts (optional) 
1/2 c. raisins (optional) 
Combine first 5 ingredients; set aside.Mix together oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla.Add apples, nuts and raisins;stir in flour mixture, blending well. 

Pour into a greased and floured 9"x5" loaf pan; bake at 325 degrees for one hour. Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Flaky Beef Pie!

Another one of our favorites and you won't believe just how easy it is to make. 


1 lb maple sausage (you can use ground beef if you don't like the sausage) 
1 onion -- chopped 
1 clove garlic -- minced 
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce 
1 small can mushrooms 
1 teaspoon salt 
2 round- 9". pre-made pie crust (you can also use the rectangles that come in the box)
2 cups leftover steak from Crockpot Steak Burritos 
Brown onion, garlic and beef. Add tomato sauce, mushrooms and salt. Add leftover burrito steak. Heat through. 
Grease pie plate and line with dough. Add the filling. Take second pie, remove dough from foil liner and place on top of meat filling. 

Crimp the edges to seal and poke some holes on top. Bake 425 deg. 20-25 minutes. 


NOTE: I used a bigger baking pan, so what I did was remove the dough from the foil liner, tore it into big pieces and covered the bottom of the pan. Added the meat filling and then took the second pie dough and tore it into big chunks for the top.

Crockpot Steak Burritos!

These burritos are SO good. Just pop all the ingredients into the crockpot and 8 hours later you have the juiciest, most tender flavorful meat for Burritos.

I got this recipe from my Taste of Home Cookbook. Because it calls for flank steaks and those are pretty pricey, I ended up going with a different cut of meat. I used Round Steak instead but I'm sure a good cut of roast would work great too. Nowadays I have to go for what's inexpensive.

I didn't use all the meat, I kept about 2 cups for the following night's recipe which was a Flaky Beef Pie. So good!
Crockpot Steak Burritos


  • 2 flank steaks (about 1 pound each)
  • 2 envelopes taco seasoning
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 10 flour tortillas (8 inches)
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped seeded plum tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup sour cream


Cut steaks in half; rub with taco seasoning. Place in a 3-qt. slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Top with onion, chilies and vinegar. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or until meat is tender. Remove steaks and cool slightly; shred meat with two forks. Return to slow cooker; heat through.

Spoon about 1/2 cup meat mixture down the center of each tortilla. Top with cheese, tomato and sour cream.

Fold ends and sides over filling. Yield: 10 servings.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Arroz de Peixe - Fish Rice

I'm pretty lucky that my kids love fish, we don't eat it as often as I would like because I really don't like the frozen kind and being here in Arizona, it's not like we have readily available fresh fish. For this meal though, frozen flounder or any other kind of fish works just fine. 


 Arroz de Peixe - Fish Rice

1 lb. frozen flounder, thawed and cut into bite size chunks 
1 medium tomato, chopped 
1 medium onion, chopped 
olive oil 
2 garlic cloves, chopped 
salt and pepper 
1 bay leaf 
1 can of corn 
3 cups of water 
1 1/2 cups of uncooked rice 
In a large skillet, add a little bit of olive oil, onions and tomatoes, garlic and seasonings....cook for a minute or two until the onions are tender.

Add the fish and mix well. 


 Add the can of corn and stir. Cook for about 2 minutes, then add 3 cups of water and the rice.


Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is cooked through. You may need to add a little more water so it doesn't stick, just keep an eye on it. Remove the bay leaf and serve.

Saucy Meatloaf!

I got this recipe from one of my Gooseberry Patch cookbooks....the meatloaf is wonderful, so tasty and moist. Just perfect.


1-1/2 lbs. ground beef (I used turkey)
1/2 c. quick cooking oats, uncooked
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1-1/2 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 c. tomato juice
1 egg

Combine all ingredients; mix well.  Pat into an ungreased loaf pan; pour sauce on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1-1/2 hours; let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Makes 8 servings.

Stir all ingredients together; mix well.

6-oz. can tomato sauce
3 T. vinegar
2 T. mustard
3 t. brown sugar, packed
2 t. Worcestershire sauce