Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Pao de Leite Condensado - Condensed Milk Bread

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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.

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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
 
 
Ingredients
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


Directions:
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.  
 
Enjoy!!!!




Saturday, March 19, 2022

Bacon Spaghetti

 
I grew up in a house with 4 siblings, at a time when we didn't have a lot of money.  Both my parents worked hard to provide for the family, and there was never a time we went without anything, especially food.  

Meals were a big deal, they were not only sustenance for our bodies, but they were a time to come together as a family, sit around the table, and talk about our day and anything and everything in between.

We always had a family member living with us, my greatgrandmother was there from my earliest memories, until the day I married and left South Africa.  At some point, my uncle lived with us too, and then my grandmother and grandfather, and so on.  So family meals meant a big table, filled with people.


It was important to my stepmother and greatgrandmother, to have meals on the table that were filling, but most of all enough for everybody.  It is not cheap feeding a big family, so they had to get creative at times and use what they had on hand.  Lucky for me, our family is Portuguese, and we know how to cook, we learn from a very young age.  Not to toot our own horns, but we are very much aware of what spices go well with what, and can easily and effortlessly make a delicious dinner with a few ingredients.

Bacon Spaghetti, was one of those meals that I loved, and still do to this day.  It is one that I make when I am in a pinch, or need to cut back on the grocery budget, or for example, now that the prices of food and everything else are soaring.

It doesn't take a lot of ingredients, and you can make as much or as little as you need.  Now remember, I don't cook using measurements, I eyeball everything, so I'll try to tell you how to make it, best as I can.

If you do try it, I would love to know what you think, so please come back and leave me a comment down below.


Bacon Spaghetti


Ingredients:
Bacon, cubed (the amount depends on how much you're making, if it's for a lot of people use a pound)
Spaghetti noodles
Onion, diced
Tomato, diced
Tomato sauce
Olive oil
Garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Chili flakes
White wine
Bay leaf
Paprika
Fresh Parsley
Boiling water
 
 
Directions:
In a pot, add a drizzle of olive oil, garlic, diced onion and diced tomato, and cook until onion is translucent.   Add in the bacon, and cook for a few minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, bay leaf, paprika, chili flakes and tomato sauce.  Mix well, then add in the white wine and the fresh parsley.

Cook for 5 to 10 minutes.  

Next, add in the spaghetti noodles, then pour in boiling water, until it covers the noodles completely, about an inch above.  Give everything a good stir, place the lid on and cook until the noodles are to your liking.  Remember to give it a stir once in a while, and check to make sure it has enough liquid, if need be, add in a little more water.  Check the seasonings, and adjust as needed.

I like to cook mine until the spaghetti is al dente, and the sauce is thickened.

Serve immediately!

Monday, February 21, 2022

Menu plan for week February 21 - 28

Good morning everyone, I know I haven't been very good at updating this ol' blog, but I've been trying to get more recipes posted the past few days.

I sure hope you've been enjoying them.  

I plan on posting more frequently, sharing family favorites, new meals we have discovered and continuing to build up on my record of recipes, here on the blog.

If you've been following me for a while, thank you for still being here.  I sure hope you'll stick around.

Here is this week's meal plan, I'm making some old favorites, and sticking to recipes already available here on the blog.  I will be taking new pics for some of them, because they're quite old and have been here for many many years, but I enjoy going back in time, seeing what we were eating, and making some of those comfort foods again.

Hope you enjoy the new menu, and hope it inspires some of you, if you're struggling to figure out what to make for your families.
 
 
Sausage Rice, Fried Okra



Chicken Alfredo, Salad



Meatballs and Spaghetti, Garlic Knots
 


Dad's Favorite Chicken
 
Dad's Favorite Chicken, Mashed Potatoes with Carrot, Salad
 


Sandwich Ring
 

Baked Ziti
 
Baked Ziti, Homemade Garlic Bread


Day 22
 
Honey Mustard Chicken Strips, Waffle Fries, Bacon Thousand Island Chopped Salad










Saturday, February 19, 2022

French Dip Squares

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I love a good french dip sandwich.  There used to be a time, where that is all I would order, when we went out to eat. 

When I saw this recipe a while back, I immediately bookmarked it because I knew it would be something, that my family and I would really enjoy.  Since Friday nights and weekends, I try to make easy meals, this was the perfect pick for a yummy, fun, easy meal to get on the table.  

I paired these french dip squares with onion rings, but you could do fries, or a salad.  You could even make these for a get together, party and so on. 

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The recipe is from Delish.com so pop on over there for more delicious meal ideas.
 

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French Dip Squares
 
 
Ingredients
2 (8-oz.) tubes refrigerated crescent rolls 
4 tbsp.butter, divided 
2 medium onions, thinly sliced 
4 sprigs fresh thyme, divided 
Kosher salt 
Freshly ground black pepper 
1/4 c. whole-grain mustard 
1/2 lb. deli roast beef, patted dry 
9 slices provolone 
1 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley 
1 clove garlic, minced 
1 c. low-sodium beef broth 
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce 
 
 
Directions 
Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 9"-x-13" baking sheet with cooking spray. Place one unrolled can of crescents on prepared baking sheet and pinch together seams. Bake until edges are slightly golden, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. 
 
Meanwhile, caramelize onions: In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add onion and 2 sprigs thyme and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to soften and turn slightly golden. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. 
 
Build squares: Spread an even layer of mustard onto prepared crescent, leaving a 1/2" border clear on all edges. Top with a layer of roast beef and a layer of provolone. Top with caramelized onions. 
 
Unroll remaining tube of crescent rolls and place on top of onion layer. Press seam into bottom crust to seal all edges. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and brush all over top of crescent dough, then sprinkle with parsley and salt. Bake until dough is golden and cooked through, about 35 minutes. (If dough is browning too quickly, cover with foil.) 
 
Let cool 15 minutes before slicing into squares. 
 
Meanwhile, make au jus: Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant. Add beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, and remaining 2 sprigs thyme, stripped from stem. 
 
Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes until reduced slightly. Serve squares with au jus on the side for dipping. 
 
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Thursday, February 17, 2022

Salmon Croquettes

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I was born in a beach town, and then later moved to Portugal where the ocean was always just a few minutes away.  That meant that the availability of fresh fish, was something we just took for granted.

Fish and seafood have always been something I love but don't eat much of, primarily because I prefer fresh to frozen, but also because I find it so expensive at the grocery stores.

When I lived in South Africa, we had a few fresh fish markets that we would always go buy from.  Anything from cod to mussels, crab and huge prawns, clams, calamari, you name it, we had it, so not having that anymore is quite sad at times.  I miss it, and so once in a while that craving comes in and I try to answer the best way I can.
 
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This past grocery trip, I picked up some Salmon.  It's not something I buy ever, I find it extremely expensive and for a family of four, it just isn't enough unless I really splurge.  But I found a small package for $7, it only had 4 small pieces in there.  Clearly not enough to make it a main part of the meal, so I opted to make it stretch and turned it into some Salmon croquettes instead.

It was so good, so so good.  My 18 year old devoured them and asked if we can have them again soon.  We will see son, we will see.

Anyway, here is the recipe, hope you enjoy it.


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Salmon Croquettes



Ingredients 
1/4 cup diced onion
1 pound fresh salmon, skin removed and diced
Salt and pepper, to taste 
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1/4 cup of bread crumbs
Minced garlic, to taste
1 teaspoon mustard
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning 
Parsley and Cilantro, to taste
 
 
Directions
 
In a small skillet, add a little bit of olive oil and fry the onion until translucent.  Transfer to a big bowl.  To the onion, add the salmon, salt and pepper to taste, mayonnaise, bread crumbs, garlic, mustard and old bay seasoning  and parsley and cilantro.

Mix well, then form into small croquettes.

In a small bowl, add some breadcrumbs, then roll each croquette in the crumbs and set on a tray.  Repeat with remaining croquettes.  Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.

When time is up, remove from fridge, and fry over medium heat for about 3 minutes on each side.  Serve immediately!

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Beef Burrito Skillet

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I've been trying to make simpler meals, using what I have on hand.  The prices of everything has gone up, and meat is starting to be quite difficult to buy around here.  Long gone are the days where I could get a pound of ground beef for 3 dollars at the base commissary.
 
It makes it harder to meal plan, but it's also quite fun to try and make delicious meals, that stretch, that fill our tummies but don't break the bank.
 
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Using just one pound of ground beef, and a few other pantry ingredients, this meal comes together pretty quickly and when paired with a side salad, it makes for a filling dinner that is sure to please everyone.
 
Recipe is adapted from Life in the Lofthouse.
 
 
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Beef Burrito Skillet
 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef (I use 7% fat)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 can (10 ounces) Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chilies) undrained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) corn drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans drained
  • 1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
  • 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 2 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Colby-Jack cheese

Instructions

  • Spray a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Turn heat to medium-high and then add ground beef to skillet. Crumble beef and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Then add garlic, diced bell pepper and onion. Continue to stir and cook until beef is no longer pink. Drain any grease.
  • Add salsa, Rotel, corn, black beans, jasmine rice, taco seasoning and chicken broth. Stir gently to combine everything. Bring to a boil, once it starts to boil reduce heat to low. Cover with lid.
  • Let mixture simmer, covered, for 15 to 18 minutes, or until rice is tender and thoroughly cooked.Remove skillet from heat and sprinkle the top evenly with shredded cheese. Let stand a few minutes for cheese to melt then serve.
 
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Red Velvet Cheesecake

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If you love cheesecake, and red velvet cake, then this is the perfect combination for you.  So yummy!!!

I made this cheesecake for Valentine's Day, and it was a success.  I wasn't quite sure how it would turn out, because to be honest with you, my experiences with cheesecake, are hit or miss.  Some are phenomenal, some crack, and I've even made one that completely fell apart.

This recipe seemed like a winner, and it was.

There is only one thing I would change, and that is the amount of red velvet cake that I added to the cheesecake mixture.  I found that the amount suggested in the recipe is far too much.  Also, make sure that the cake is completely cold before adding it to the cheesecake, or it will fall apart and end up turning the whole cake pink, like mine.  Not a bad thing, it was still delicious, but far too much cake for the cheesecake ratio.

Aside from that, it was really and I mean really yummy, and I will be making it again.

The recipe is from Restless Chipotle.


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Red Velvet Cheesecake 

Cheesecake

  • red velvet cake prepared but not baked
  • 32 oz cream cheese
  • 16 oz sour cream
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 eggs

Topping

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoonful white chocolate instant pudding mix
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar as needed

 

Instructions

Cheesecake

  • Prepare the red velvet cake batter.
  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • Put about ¼ inch of cake batter in the bottom of a greased and floured 10 inch springform.
  • Use the rest of the batter in a 13x9 or 9 inch cake pan.
  • Bake cakes 20 minutes or until firm and done.
  • Break the cake (NOT the one in the springform) into large chunks and set aside.
  • Beat the cheesecake ingredients together until smooth.
  • Reserve about ½ cup cake crumbs for the top.
  • Fold the remaining cake chunks into cheesecake batter.
  • Pour into the springform pan.
  • Cover the bottom of the springform with aluminum foil, bringing it up the sides.
  • Place pan in larger pan of hot water. Water should come halfway up the sides.
  • Bake for 50 minutes.
  • Turn oven off and leave door closed for 1 hour. Don’t PEEK!
  • Remove from oven, take out of the water bath.
  • Let come to room temperature.
  • Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.

Topping

  • Whip the heavy cream until it starts to thicken.
  • Add the teaspoon of instant pudding mix and 1 tablespoon of sugar.
  • Whip until soft peaks form.
  • Taste and add more sugar if needed.
  • Spoon on top of cooled cheesecake.
  • Sprinkle with reserved red velvet cake crumbs.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Amish Chicken

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Amish Chicken
 
 
Ingredients: 
6 -8 chicken pieces, cleaned 
1 cup flour 
2 teaspoons garlic powder 
1 tablespoon salt 
1 teaspoon pepper 
2 teaspoons paprika 
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream 
1 1/2 cups water 
 
 
Directions: 
Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour and spices and arrange skin side up in a baking dish. Mix the cream and water and pour over the chicken. 
 
Bake at 350* for 1 1/2 hours or until the skin is golden brown. Review from my followers: Excellent recipe! I love Amish food and this really hit the spot! 
 
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Oreo Truffles - Valentine's Day

 
 
I know it's a little late in the game, after all, Valentine's Day is today.  But, if you are looking for a quick and easy, but really really and I mean REALLY good treat for your loved one, these are it.

Jasmine (my daughter) made them for her boyfriend, for their Valentine's Day Date, and let me tell you, they are phenomenal.  She is just now starting to learn to cook and bake, or rather, she is just now starting to actually want to cook and bake.  For a momma who has cooked her whole life, this is the best feeling ever.

So I'm guiding her, teaching her, especially the Portuguese recipes, after all she is half Portuguese, and watching her get comfortable in the kitchen.

I started by helping her in the beginning, but now she is much more comfortable following recipes and getting things done on her own.

I thought it would be fun to bring some of her creations here to the blog, as an incentive and motivation, perhaps, to younger girls who are just getting started in the kitchen, or feel nervous or intimidated and think they will never be able to do it.

If Jasmine can, you can!!!

Without further ado, let's jump right in to this delicious treat.


Oreo Truffles
Yield: 17


Ingredients:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
36 Oreo cookies, finely crushed
12 ounces white candy melts
12 ounces milk chocolate, melted
Valentine's Day sprinkles


Instructions:
Cover large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  When done, mix cream cheese and cookie crumbs until blended.

Using a cookie scooper, shape cream cheese mixture into balls and place on the baking sheet.  Freeze for 20 to 30 minutes.  You can also do this step the day before and let them chill in the fridge overnight.

While the oreo balls are in the freezer, melt the white candy melts and milk chocolate in two separate containers.

When the oreo balls are finished chilling, dip them in the white candy melts and place them back on the parchment paper covered baking sheet.  Drizzle with the milk chocolate.  

Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.



Monday, January 10, 2022

Creamy Bratwurst

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When I think of making Bratwurst for the family, it is usually the same ol thing.  Shove it in a bun, drizzle on mustard or ketchup, or sauerkraut, and call it good.

But truth be told, it's a little boring and I'm quite tired of that.  So, I had seen this Portuguese recipe for creamy sausages, using a different kind of sausage than Bratwurst, but since my family love brats and they were on sale at my local commissary, I went with those.

You can still serve it on buns for a fun quick lunch, or turn into into an easy dinner meal served over mashed potatoes or rice.  We had ours with Basmati rice and it was filling and delicious.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.  


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Creamy Bratwurst

Ingredients:
Bratwurst sausages (however many you want, I used two packages for this recipe)
Olive oil
2 small onions, thinly sliced
Half a red pepper and half a green pepper
Garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Nutmeg to taste
Paprika
Diced Tomato
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Little bit of water
2 teaspoons mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 can Media Crema (or heavy cream)


Method:
In a pot, add a drizzle of olive oil, the garlic, onions, garlic to taste and peppers.  Stir to combine and cook over medium heat until onions are translucent.  Add in the salt and pepper to taste, nutmeg, paprika, diced tomato and tomato paste.

Stir to combine and dissolve the tomato paste, then add in the bratwurst.  Pour in about half a cup of water, cover and let it cook for about 10 minutes or until bratwurst is cooked through.

Open lid, stir the bratwurst, then add in the mustard and mayonnaise, mix well, then pour in the small can of media crema.  Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes to thicken up.

Serve immediately.