Monday, August 29, 2022

Macaroni and Cheese Meatloaf Casserole


Ok, so macaroni and cheese is delicious, and meatloaf is delicious, but what if you join these two in one pan? When I first heard of this casserole, I must admit that I was quite intrigued and not sure if it would work. 
So I saved the recipe, and last night, I made it for dinner. I was so worried that the meatloaf would not cook properly and that we would end up with raw meat, which is never a good thing. But, it cooked perfectly, and then topped with the creamy macaroni and cheese, it turned out to be one of the yummiest casseroles my family has ever had. 
So good, so easy to make, it was enough for us to enjoy at dinner, for the hubby and daughter to take to work, and there is just a little left over, because my 19 year old son scarfed it down sometime during the night.

I am thinking you could do your favorite meatloaf recipe for the base, and then your favorite macaroni and chese recipe as well for the topping, although, the original recipe is DELICIOUS as is. 
The recipe is from the blog, This is NOT Diet Food. I chuckled at the name because that is right up my alley, I know I need to watch what I eat, but friends, this is one of those meals that you have to throw caution to the wind, scarf it up and enjoy every single regrets. 

Macaroni and Cheese Meatfloaf Casserole 
1 cup ketchup 
1 cup Sweet Baby Ray's Hickory & Brown Sugar barbecue sauce 
2 lbs lean ground beef 
30 Ritz Crackers 
2 oz Lipton onion soup mix 
2 eggs 
3 cups macaroni noodles 
2 cups milk 
10.5 oz condensed cheddar cheese soup 
1 tsp salt 
1 tsp pepper 
1 tbsp garlic powder 
1 tbsp onion powder 
4 cups shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese blend 
Preheat oven to 350F. Dump ketchup and barbecue sauce into a medium mixing bowl and stir until well combined. Set aside. Dump ground beef into a large mixing bowl. Place Ritz crackers in a large Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to crush them. Pour the cracker crumbs into the bowl with the ground beef. 
Add the onion soup mix and eggs to the bowl with the ground beef. Add 1/2 cup of the ketchup and barbecue sauce mixture to the bowl with the ground beef. Use your hands to mix all of the ingredients together until fully combined. 
Dump the meatloaf mixture into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish and press it out evenly. Spread the rest of the ketchup and barbecue sauce mixture on top of the meatloaf. Place the dish in the oven and bake the meatloaf for 30 minutes. 
While the meatloaf is in the oven, cook the macaroni noodles according to the directions on the package and then drain. Pour the milk and cheddar soup into a large mixing bowl. Whisk until no lumps remain. Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder to the bowl and whisk well again. 
Add the cooked macaroni noodles to the bowl and stir until all of the noodles are coated in the liquid. Add 2 cups of the shredded cheese to the bowl and stir well again. Once the meatloaf has baked for 30 minutes, remove it from the oven. 
Pour the macaroni mixture on top of the meatloaf and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle the remaining 2 cups of shredded cheese on top of the meatloaf. Return the dish to the oven and bake until the cheese on top is completely melted and just starting to brown. 17-20 minutes. 
 Remove the casserole from the oven and leave it to sit for a few minutes before slicing and serving. 

Cowboy Casserole


Cowboy Casserole. 
I have a similar recipe already on the blog, and it is equally as good, but this one just kicked it up one notch.  I found the recipe over at Restless Chipotle, and knew my family would really enjoy this version.
It uses staple ingredients already in your pantry, it comes together quick, and 30 minutes later you have the perfect weeknight meal, ready to fill tummies.  I've always been a fan of one pan casseroles, not just for the easy clean up, but they truly do embody the concept of comfort food.
You can adapt this recipe for the slow cooker too, by layering the ingredients, and cooking on LOW for 6 hours.  Be sure to spray your slow cooker before hand.  
Casseroles you may enjoy:


Cowboy Casserole
32 ounces Tater Tots 
1 pound ground beef 
1 cup onions and peppers mix from the frozen section 
10 ounces Ro*Tel tomatoes 
2 cups corn kernels 
10.5 ounces cream of mushroom soup undiluted 
2 cups Cheddar shredded 
1 cup sour cream
Place Tater Tots in a greased pan and put them in a 425F oven for about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. Add the ground beef and onions & peppers mix to a skillet. Cook until the meat is no longer pink. 
Add the Ro*Tel and simmer for 5 minutes to let the extra liquid evaporate. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream, cream of mushroom soup, corn, and ½ cup of cheese. Stir until blended. Spoon into the bottom of a greased 13x9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with ¾ cup of the remaining cheese. 
Top with the Tater Tots, arranging them in a single layer. Cover with the remaining cheese. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. You can stop at this point and put the casserole in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bake at 425F for 20 minutes. Remove aluminum foil. Bake 10 more minutes, or until the top is golden brown. 
Serve hot.

Slow Cooked Creamy Chicken Chili


As our temperatures start dropping, my mind immediately shifts to Fall and Winter cooking, although to be honest I am a person who eats whatever she wants, whatever time of the year.  Soups in July?  Yes!

Chili in the middle of August?  Why not?

This chili comes together using very few ingredients, but still makes for a delicious filling meal.  I paired it with homemade corn bread and some tortilla chips, and it was a meal that the whole family enjoyed.

Slow Cooked Creamy Chicken Chili


2 boneles sskinless chicken breasts
1 (11-oz) can corn, drained
1 (15-oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (10-oz) diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup cooked chopped bacon
1 (1-oz) packet ranch seasoning & salad dressing mix
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 (8-oz) package cream cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Add chicken to the slow cooker, then top with the remaining ingredients.  I break the cream cheese into smaller chunks before stirring it in. 

Cook on LOW for 8 hours.
When done, break the chicken into smaller chunks, or shred if you prefer.  Serve with sour cream, green onion, shredded cheese or any other topping you wish.  

Copycat Starbucks Banana Bread

Today, I am sharing the recipe for a copycat Starbucks Banana Bread.  It is so good.  What I love about it, is that it's just the perfect combination, it's not overly sweet,  and it's also really easy to make.

If you have bananas that you need using up, this is the perfect recipe.  Now I know we all have a ton of banana bread recipes, I think it's probably one of the most made recipes all over the world.  I myself have quite a few, even posted here on the blog, but it never hurts to have one more right?

Give this one a try and let me know what you think, it's become my go to banana bread.

Recipe comes from My Frugal Adventures.

Copycat Starbucks Banana Bread

2 cups flour 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
 ¼ teaspoon salt 
1 egg 
1⅛ cup sugar 
 ½ cup vegetable or canola oil 
 2 tablespoons buttermilk or milk 
½ teaspoon vanilla 
3 bananas mashed very well 
 ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional) 
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Add flour, baking soda and salt to a small bowl and set aside. Mix egg, sugar and oil and stir until well combined 
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir well. The mixture will be thick and dry. Next add milk, vanilla and bananas and stir until incorporated. 
Mix in walnuts and pour into a loaf pan. 
Cook 50-75 minutes, checking regularly until a knife comes out clean. 

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