Saturday, October 05, 2019

Chocolate Chip Banana Bars

Chocolate Chip Banana Bars are not only delicious, but a great way to use up over ripe bananas.

My family tends to go through phases, there are the months where I can't seem to buy enough bananas to keep in the house, and then there are the months were not a single banana is touched.  We are in one of the latter months and so I ended up with a bunch of bananas going so ripe, that they started turning to mush.

I usually will make banana bread, or banana streusel cake, and even chocolate chip banana muffins, but when I saw this recipe over at Butter with a side of Bread, I just knew I had to try.

They are great for breakfast, for a snack, for a mid afternoon treat or even a late night movie watching munchie.


Chocolate Chip Banana Bars

5 very ripe bananas about 1 2/3 cup
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup oil any type- I use coconut
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup mini chocolate chips divided

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 15×10.5 (I used a 13x9)  pan with non-stick spray.

Peel bananas and mash well. Stir in brown sugar, oil, milk and eggs until combined. Add in dry ingredients and stir. Fold in 1/2 the chocolate chips.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle remaining chips on top. Bake 18-22 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely and cut into squares.

Yields 24 bars.


Monday, September 23, 2019

Grandpa Julio's Simple Vanilla Cake

Grandpa Julio was my dad's father.  He was this amazing man with a killer sense of humor and full of stories to tell.

He used to love singing us random little tunes that he had no doubt learned from his own parents.  It never dawned on me why he knew so many Brazilian songs, and it wasn't until I was old enough to realize and know that his father and his father's parents and ancestors, were all from Brazil.

He was the fun grandpa, we would go to the coast on vacation and would watch him swimming in the ocean, he was like a fish, in and out, gracefully swimming, but also coming to stand by us and holding us tight when a big wave would threaten to go over our heads.  We don't swim, our parents don't know how to swim, and my brothers and I don't either.

I have the best memories about my time with him, and I'm glad that I was able to enjoy so much of it because unfortunately he would be taken from us in 1991.  I'm still not completely sure exactly what happened, it seemed to come out of nowhere, one minute he was fine and then next we had a gentleman at our door letting us know that my grandfather had passed out in his car and it had rolled down to hit this man's car.

From that moment, he would have sudden fainting spells, a brain hemorrhage resulting in two holes being drained into his skull to relieve the pressure.  Then while in hospital his heart stopped beating numerous times and he had to be brought back over and over again.

He finally passed away at home, I was there for the last moment and it's an image that will forever stay in my mind.

That was really the only sad memory that I have associated with him, the rest was nothing but good times.  By far the biggest and fondest memory I have is of our childhood, and the times he would just walk into the kitchen and whip up a quick simple vanilla cake for us to enjoy.

He didn't care that it was midnight, he only cared that his grandchildren had requested a cake and so he obliged.

This cake right here, is the one he used to make and no matter how many times I have it, or where I am at the time, I am immediately back in that kitchen, and I can see that handsome smile across the table, gosh I loved my grandfather and miss him so much.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and really hope your family will too.  Let me know if you make it and what you think :)

Grandpa Julio's Simple Vanilla Cake

3 eggs
1 cup of vegetable oil
2 cups of sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
1 cup of milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour

In a bowl, mix together the eggs, oil and sugar, until well combined, about 2 minutes or so.  Next add in the baking powder, cornstarch, milk and flour and beat for another 2 or 3 minutes until smooth.

Grease a bundt cake pan with butter and flour, pour in the cake mix and bake at 350 degrees.  Bake for about 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and then invert into onto a plate.  Sprinkle on some powdered sugar and enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea.

One of the reasons I love this cake so much, aside from the memories tied to my grandfather, is that I am not much into very rich cakes and frosting and all that jazz, I much prefer a simple cake that is not overly sweet.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Two Week Meal Plan

We are halfway through September, Fall is officially upon us, even if Texas is not exactly letting go of it's summer temperatures.

Today I bring you my meal plan for the next two weeks, some of the things coming up may sound a bit strange but my kids suggested some meals from video games that they play.  I know, crazy but I promise there's nothing out of this world.  You should know by now that I don't make anything that requires a lot of time, strange ingredients or things that you wouldn't readily have available in your fridge or pantry.

As always, links are provided for the recipes already on the blog, any unlinked recipes have not yet been posted.  I've pulled out some of my cookbooks and got inspiration for some of the meals, so those recipes will not yet be available for you all.  They will however show up here, soon.

Saturday 09/21 - Bowties and Blush

Sunday 09/22 - Homemade Pizza

Monday 09/23 - Sour Cream Taco Bake

Tuesday 09/24 - Chicken in Cream Sauce, Mash, Salad

Wednesday 09/25 - Durotar Warrior's Pie

Thursday 09/26 - Slow Cooked Easy Cheesy Ravioli Casserole

Friday 09/27 - Ham Steaks, Scalloped Potatoes

Saturday 09/28 - Ogri'la Chicken Fingers, Onion Rings

Sunday 09/29 - Leftovers

Monday 09/30 - Chicken and Sausage Ragu, Salad

Tuesday 10/01 - Korean Beef Bowl

Wednesday 10/02 - Skewered Peanut Chicken, Sesame Noodles

Thursday 10/03 - Pork Schnitzel, Potato Salad, Best Beans

Monday, September 16, 2019

Tarte de Leite e Canela - Portuguese Milk and Cinnamon Tart

Tarte de Leite e Canela is a delicious, creamy tart made with the simplest of ingredients.  

Tarte de Leite e Canela

Tarte de Leite e Canela

I love a good milk tart, I find that it is one the simplest desserts to put together, and it always seems that you've spent hours on it.

It is very much like a custard tart in that it's filling is creamy, creates it's own sweet pastry like crust and that sprinkling of cinnamon on the top just take this tart to the next level.

Other tarts you may like:
Almond and Orange Tart
Melktert (South African Milk Tart)

Tarte de Leite e Canela

This is such a quick dessert to make, and it is sure to impress your family and friends.  I've made this one a little different in that I substituted normal Vitamin D milk for Lactose Free Milk so that my daughter could enjoy it too, as she is Lactose intolerant.
Tarte de Leite e Canela - Portuguese Milk and Cinnamon Tart

1 and 1/2 cups of sugar
1/4 cup of melted butter
4 eggs
1 cup of flour
2 cups of milk (I used Lactose Free Milk)
Cinnamon (to taste)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Grease a round cake pan with butter and dust with flour.

In a stand mixer, mix the sugar and butter, then add in the eggs, flour and mix well.

Add the milk, stir well and then let stand for ten minutes.

Pour the prepared batter into the pan, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center, comes out clean.

Remove from oven, let cool slightly and then remove from pan. 

Tarte de Leite e Canela

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Lasanha de Pao - Bread Lasagna

Lasanha de Pao is your typical lasagna but using bread slices instead of lasagna noodles.  The slices are nestled between spoonfuls of delicious meat sauce and homemade bechamel sauce.

Lasanha de Pao

Lasanha de Pao - Bread Lasagna

I love a good lasagna and I learned how to make it the traditional way, which is using lasagna noodles.  I'm not saying that I don't still do that, but when I have leftover bread that has gone stale and needs to be used, the last thing I want to do is be wasteful.

This is a great way to make a much loved family favorite, but also use what you have on hand.  The rest of the recipe remains the same, use your favorite meat sauce, use white sauce or ricotta or whatever you wish, but I'm going to show you how I make mine by kicking it up just a little notch.

Other lasagna recipes you may enjoy:

Zucchini and Bacon 3 Cheese Lasagna
Skillet Lasagna
Hot and Spicy Lasagna
Meat Lovers Lasagna

Lasanha de Pao

I'm not going to show you all the steps to this lasagna because there are so many different ways, and people have their favorite meat sauces or fillings.  I'll just basically show you how I made mine.  I make my own meat sauce from scratch, as well as the white bechamel sauce, and you can find the steps to those in my previous lasagna recipes above. 
Lasanha de Pao - Bread Lasagna

1 and half pound meat sauce (use your favorite, homemade or store bought, your choice)
White Bechamel Sauce
Sliced Ham
Sliced Cheese
Sliced Bread (I used my homemade bread)
Shredded Cheese

In a baking dish, add a little of the meat sauce to the bottom of the dish.  Cover with bread slices, then spoon half of the leftover meat sauce, half of the white sauce, cover with sliced ham, sliced cheese and add another layer of bread slices.

Top with the remaining meat, remaining white sauce and cover with shredded cheese.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted and brown.

Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Lasanha de Pao

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Fatias Hungaras - Hungarian Coconut Slices

Fatias Hungaras or Hungarian Kalaare what we would consider a cinnamon roll, but with a coconut filling and drizzled with a warm vanilla milk, straight out of the oven.

Hungarian Coconut Slices

What exactly are these Hungarian slices and where do they come from?

If you research online, you will find that these sticky buns are quite common throughout the world.  And although their origins are not quite known, they are believed to have first originated in either Greece, Rome and Egypt.

Though referred to by different names like the the Chelsea Buns in England, Cinnamon Rolls or Sticky Buns here in the States, or the Schneken in Germany, these Hungarian Darázsfészek have been lovingly adopted by the Brazilians and given their own spin.

No matter what name you given them, they are a treat that your family and friends will no doubt, fall in love with.

Other sweet bread recipes you may enjoy
Butter Pecan Rolls
Quick Cinnamon Rolls
Paezinhos de Leite - Portuguese Sweet Milk Rolls
Hot Cross Buns

Fatias Hungaras - Hungarian Coconut Slices
Source: Dika da Naka
Yield: 15 slices

For the dough:
1 cup (240ml) of warm milk
1 packet of dry yeast
2 eggs
3 tablespoons of sugar
½ teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of butter or margarine
3  cups (420 gr) of all purpose flour

For the coconut filling:
2 and ½ tablespoons of butter or margarine
½ cup of sugar (90 gr)
1 cup of sweetened coconut (about 50 gr)
3 tablespoons of milk

For the vanilla milk glaze:
1 cup of milk ( 240 ml)
½ cup of sugar ( 90 gr)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of sweetened coconut to sprinkle on top

For the dough - In a big bowl, add in the warm milk, yeast and 3 tablespoons of sugar.  Mix well and let rest for 5 minutes.  Next, add in the eggs, butter and one cup of flour.  Mix well, then add the teaspoon of salt.  (if you add the salt in with the yeast, it will slow down the yeast's fermentation, so I always add the salt either on the opposite side of the bowl or after some flour has gone in).

Add in the remaining 2 cups of flour, mix well, then turn onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough is soft and not sticking to your fingers.  Sprinkle a little flour in the bowl, and place the ball of dough back in.  Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for an hour, until doubled in size.

For the filling - While the dough rises, mix all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

When the dough is done rising, turn it onto a floured surface and using a rolling pin, roll into a big rectangle, about half a centimeter (or a quarter of an inch, about) thick.

Spread the filling over the dough, then roll up starting from the longest side.

Cut slices about 2 fingers wide and place in a greased 12x by 13 pan.

Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and set in a warm place to rise again, for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown.

For the vanilla milk glaze - While the rolls bake, place all ingredients in a saucepan and heat slowly until sugar is completely dissolved.

Once the slices are done baking, remove from oven, and while warm, pour the vanilla milk over.  Sprinkle on some sweetened coconut.

*These sweet slices can be left out, but not in a warm spot.  They are good for 3 days.  I usually only leave them out one day, then prefer to place them in the fridge so they last longer.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Meal Plan Friday #7

Friday segment spotlighting the meals for the week ahead. Why Friday? Because I grocery shop Bi-weekly, on Fridays.

Welcome back to my Meal Plan Friday!!!

Hi everyone.  It is Friday and you know what that means, another Meal Plan for you all.  I have a bit of a mismatch this week, a few Portuguese meals, some new recipes and some old favorites.

The Cuban sandwiches are new, so I'll be sure to share that recipe when I make them.  Every other recipe is on Full Bellies, Happy Kids and I'll have those linked up for you.  Saturday we are having some Panda Express take out.  We basically only eat out every two weeks, and it's usually quick easy things, once in a while we will go to our favorite buffet restaurant or try some other restaurant, but y'all food is not cheap and to go out with the family is close to $100.

Now, let's talk desserts.  I will be completely honest and tell you that I have NOT made any desserts at all the past week.  So the 2 desserts from last week will be what I'll make this weekend and the next week ahead.

 Dad's Favorite Chicken with Mashed Potatoes

 Panda Express for dinner

 Cuban Sandwiches with Chips

Gnocchi Bolognese with Salad

 Portuguese Pork Chops and Potatoes

Chicken Curry with Rice

 Sausages in a tomato sauce with homemade fries

Mexican Cinnamon Cookies

Peach Cream Pie

Friday, July 19, 2019

Meal Plan Friday #6

Friday segment spotlighting the meals for the week ahead. Why Friday? Because I grocery shop Bi-weekly, on Fridays.

Welcome back to my Meal Plan Friday!!!

Hi everyone.  Hope you're having a wonderful Friday, I am so happy that it's the start of the weekend again.  There's nothing like being able to get up without the sound of the alarm.

Friday means another meal plan for you all.  I don't even know if anyone is still following this blog, and that's ok because I did take a bit of a hiatus for quite a long time, but if you're still around, I hope you're enjoying the weekly meal plans as well as the new recipes I've been adding.  I am trying very hard to get back on track with his blog and to share many more wonderful meals with you. 

There is only one new recipe on the plan this week, and that is for the Nacho Tater Tots, so as soon as I make it I will of course share it.  The rest of the meals are true and tried family favorites, most have recipes up already and I'll be sure to share those with you.

For desserts, I ended up not yet making the Mexican Cinnamon Cookies, I will make those this weekend, along with a Peaches and Cream Pie.  I have quite a few cans of peaches that I need to use up.  Will probably do a Peach Cobbler as well.

Rosemary and GarlicMeatloaf, mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus

Rosemary and Roasted Garlic Meatloaf

Grilled Pork Tenderloin, BLT Pasta Salad, Corn on the cob

BLT Pasta Salad

Nacho Tater Tots

Beef Stroganoff, Rice and Salad

Crockpot Beef Stroganoff

Sausage Potato Skillet


Mexican Cinnamon Cookies

Peach Cream Pie