Bom Dia!

Hi!

My name is Stacy!

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I am so excited to share a little bit of my world with the world!

Let me tell you about myself and my vision for this site.  I am a second generation Portuguese-American wife and mother of two amazing toddlers living in New England.  My passion is my family, friends and making people happy through creating food, gifts, and events they will love to enjoy.  I am a cook, a baker, a crafter, a party thrower, a garden dabbler and an all around lover of all things home and family.

Join me throughout your week to peek at my creations… look in on some Portuguese-American culture…  pick up a new recipe for a weeknight dinner or plan a fun party menu… find a new fun way to have fun with your kids… or just look at some pretty pictures and maybe get inspired to create your own fun work of art!

So, pour yourself a cup of tea (or coffee or wine or whatever!), get comfy, and let’s get creative!

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Mexi Pasta Salad

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I am always on the hunt for a good summer cookout side.  There are only so many times a person can make a great Potato Salad before you feel like you have potato salad coming out your ears!  I have always enjoyed a good pasta salad though.  So, I made it my mission this summer to perfect a great pasta salad and by golly, I think I got it… In fact, I know I got it.

This pasta salad is something different, out of the box and packed with fresh ingredients and delicious flavors all marrying to become one heck of a side dish.  I served it at a cookout just yesterday along-side some BBQ chicken and grilled Montreal Steak.  But, I can totally see it with some Southwest Turkey Burgers or even just topped with some fresh avocado and Grilled Shrimp or chicken.

The trick is not to gobble it all up before you get it to the party!  I call it “Mexi Pasta Salad” because although I am pretty sure there isn’t an Abuela in Mexico throwing this together, it gives a good solid nod to the flavors of Mexico. With all your basic taco toppings thrown in and some cumin to spice things up, this salad is not your run of the mill deli get.

Add salt to a good size pot… a pot larger than you think you need for the pasta if possible.

Campanelle Pasta is what I am using today, you can really use any type of pasta for this.

Be sure to stir the pasta a few times throughout the cooking process to ensure nothing sticks together.

Here are some of the fresh ingredients you will need.

Some halved grape tomatoes.

Dice up that jalapeno into a nice small dice after removing seeds and ribs. (Unless you like a kick, then you can leave in as much of the innards as you like haha)

Dice up the bell pepper (any color is fine, I like red for it’s sweetness and color)

Once you dice up half your red (it’s really purple, I never understood why we call them red onions) pepper be sure to soak them in water for a bit to take out that onion tang that makes you cry, it’s a bit too strong for a pasta salad.

Roughly chop up half a bunch of cilantro.

Roughly chop a can of black olives. You can use freshly brined black olives if you like, but there is just something about the canned variety I like here.

Now for the little to no prep ingredients… Start with about 3/4 of a bag of frozen corn… If you happen to have fresh, please use that, I didn’t have any handy.

Rinse out a can of black beans.

Drain your pasta… I cook mine just past aldente.  Also, I did not feel like having to wash another bowl, so my extra-large pot (Magic Pot from Pampered Chef) was perfect for mixing everything in together!

In a small mixing bowl, add in 1 cup of may.

To that, add about 1/2 cup of sour cream. This may seem like a lot of moisture, but we are adding a lot to this pasta.

Now the zest of one lime.

You could add in the juice of the lime, but I find the zest strikes just the perfect balance and the juice is really not needed… Save the juice for your Blueberry Mojito!

Next add in about 1/2 tsp of ground cumin.

Now a good pinch of kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

Mix your dressing.

Add corn.

Add beans.

Add dressing.

Drain onions and add in.

Add your chopping block stuff.

Mix together.

And for some extra crunch, add in half a diced english cucumber. If you prefer to use a cuke from your garden, just be sure to seed it first to reduce water content.

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Mexi Pasta Salad

Serves 10-15 as a side

Ingredients:

1 lb. pasta, cooked in salted water

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced small

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 red onion, diced and soaked in water, then drained

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

1/2 English cucumber, diced

1 can black olives, drained and roughly chopped

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

3/4 bag frozen corn or 2 ears fresh corn grilled

For the dressing:

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

zest of 1 lime

1/2 tsp. cumin

kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Directions:

Prepare all ingredients as stated in ingredient list.  Drain pasta.  In a small bowl mix together mayo, sour cream, cumin, zest, salt and pepper.

Add dressing to pasta. Add beans, corn, both peppers, drained onion, tomatoes, cilantro, cucumbers and black olives.  Mix well.  Taste for salt. Pour into serving bowl and chill at least 2 hours.

 

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Low Carb Caribbean Shrimp Bruschetta

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Last year at this time my family and I were just coming back and recovering from an amazing trip to Jamaica where we celebrated my sister and brother-in-law’s wedding!  There was sand, there was surf, there was a beautiful beach chair and tropical drink waiting for me daily, ahhhh.  I’m not gonna lie, it was nice!

Although I won’t be traveling to the Caribbean this year, there is always a vehicle to get me back there if just for a few moments… FOOD  Food glorious food can really take you anywhere in the world and with this dish I am transported right back to those white sand beaches and clear blue waters!

If you are looking for a fancy shmancy appetizer to serve at your next cocktail party or if you are having a fun and festive Caribbean style get together, this dish is easy, delicious and can totally be made ahead and built just before serving!  AND its low carb, gluten-free and super healthy!

Start with a ripened plantain.

Taking the peel off is not quite as easy as with a banana.

Slice thinly on an angle.

Deep fry in veggie oil.

Drain fried plantains on a paper towel.

Immediately salt.

Grab some bacon.

Cut bacon into three segments.

Sprinkle shrimp with some Jamaican Jerk Rub. This one is by Pampered Chef.

Pan fry in either butter or veggie oil.

Now you have three elements ready to go.

Gather these ingredients for your caribbean style pico de gallo.

I am using my Pampered Chef Manual Food Processor today because I want to be able to control just how processed the ingredients get, I want a small dice, but I don’t want to liquefy.

Dice up your tomatoes, red onion and peppers. For this, I am using sweet peppers, but you can totally use jalapeno peppers or even ghost peppers if you want to really go Jamaican!

Place the onion, tomato, peppers and cilantro in the food processor.

Process lightly.

Add the squeeze of half an orange.

Continue to process.  Add in kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.

I added in some Portuguese hot ground pepper. (Pimenta Moida)

Cover the fried plantain with the pico de gallo.

Add a piece of fried bacon.

Add a little more pico de gallo.

Add your shrimp right on top and sprinkle with a bit more cilantro.

Low Carb Caribbean Shrimp Bruschetta

Yield 12 Bruschetta

1 ripened plantain, sliced and deep-fried in 2 cups Canola Oil

12 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined with tail on

4 pieces of bacon, cut into thirds and fried until just crisp

For Pico de Gallo:

1 plum tomato, roughly chopped

1/2 red onion, roughly chopped

3 sweet peppers, roughly chopped

1/2 small orange, juiced

1 small handful cilantro

1 Tbs. Pimenta Moida (Portuguese ground red pepper)

1 tsp. Pampered Chef Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, plus more for shrimp

kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Deep fry 12 slices of ripened plantains, set aside on paper to drain.  Season shrimp with a sprinkle of Jamaican Jerk seasoning and salt. Pan fry with butter.  Set aside.  Pan fry bacon until just crisp, set aside on paper to drain.

For salsa, add in tomato, peppers, cilantro, onion, Pimenta Moida and Jamaican Jerk Seasoning and a pinch of salt and black pepper to taste into a food processor.  Process until a fine salsa is made.

Build your bruschetta = 1 plantain, 1 tsp pico de gallo, 1 pc. bacon, a little more pico de gallo, top with shrimp. Garnish with more cilantro.

 

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Portuguese Chicken & Rice (Arroz com Frango)

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Spring is a funny time of year here in the Northeast.  Some days it’s sunny and you want to stay outside and grill and enjoy the beautiful day and the very next week, you can have 5 days of clouds and rain.  It makes for an interesting trip to the market when trying to plan out meals.  One thing that works rain or shine and really can provide some rainy day comfort is this one pot Portuguese dish, Arroz com Frango (Chicken & Rice)!

I have loved chicken and rice ever since I was a little girl.  What’s not to love right?  There is a juicy flavorful chicken combined with equally flavorful rice and potatoes, not to mention the nuggets of chouriço that are tucked away in there.  It’s really everything you could want from Portuguese cooking all in one spot.

This meal is also quite versatile.  In my house, my dad has always been a big fan of chicken legs, so my mom always made it with just legs.  And if you like that, great, make it just like we do!  But, if you prefer thighs or even breasts, this recipe accommodates that too.  Also, we make this with beer as many of my Portuguese recipes have, but white wine works well too and if you don’t keep alcohol in the house, just use some chicken stock.  It will still be delicious!  The key here is those main Portuguese spices, the crushed red pepper, the chouriço (which is used as much for its flavor as for the meat itself), the garlic and of course the Portuguese All Spice (which can be swapped out for sweet paprika in a pinch).

It’s an easy recipe that has something for the whole family.  Take a look at how I do it…

Start with some fresh chicken. I prefer legs for this recipe, but thighs would be great and if you only do breast, then that works too. I also prefer that it have skin as the skin imparts quite a bit of flavor. It can be removed after cooking if you like.

Start by searing your chicken. (Sorry this picture is so dark! It’s a big dark pot.)

You want to get every side.

Remove the chicken from the pot.

Peel and slice up some hot chouriço.

Chop up a large onion.

Saute the onion in the chicken fat you have just rendered. If not enough fat has been rendered, then you can add some olive oil.

Add in chouriço.

Get a few cloves of garlic.

Smash them with your knife and this makes the peel easy to remove. Add the peeled garlic into the pot.

Chop up about 6-8 potatoes… You want about one small potato per piece of chicken you are using or 1 large for every two pieces.

Add in a bottle of beer. Use that bottle of beer to measure out about 6-8 more of water. (white wine can be substituted for the beer)

Measure out your rice. This is NOT par boiled, medium grain rice. Uncle Ben’s does not work here, neither does any kind of quick cooking rice. Just good old-fashioned rice. I like River Rice.

Add rice into pot.

Add in one small can of tomato sauce.

And one to two heaping Tbs. of ground red pepper.

Add in a good pinch of kosher salt.

Add in Portuguese All Spice. If you don’t have this handy, add in about a tsp. of sweet paprika. (NOT SMOKY)

Keep an eye on it, if the rice needs more water. Once the potatoes have cooked through and the rice is plump and has absorbed most of the liquid, You are through.

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Portuguese Chicken & Rice (Arroz com Frango)

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

3-4 lbs. chicken, skin on

8-10 small potatoes, peeled and diced

4 cups medium grain white rice

1 large onion, diced

1 beer (or 1 cup white wine or chicken stock)

3 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled

1 lb. hot chouriço, peeled and sliced

1 (6 oz.) can tomato sauce

2 Tbs. Pimenta moida (crushed red pepper)

1/2 tsp. Portuguese All Spice

1 Tbs. kosher salt

8 cups water

Instructions:

In a large heavy pot over high heat, sear chicken.  Remove chicken from pot and turn heat down to medium heat.  Add in onions, saute.  Add in chouriço and garlic.  Add chicken back in to pot.  Add in beer, water, rice, potatoes, tomato sauce, pepper, All Spice and salt.  Stir.  Cover and cook on low until potatoes are fork tender and rice has plumped to become fully cooked and absorbed most of the liquid.  Watch pot throughout cooking time, stirring and adding water if needed.  

*This is a gluten free recipe so long as white wine is used in lieu of beer.

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Sausage Patties

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Spring is here and Mother’s Day is upon us.  A Mother’s Day tradition in many a household is breakfast in bed for mom.  Why not make it extra special this year by going that extra mile?  Making homemade sausage may seem out of reach to many, but with this simple recipe, you will not only get a more delicious patty, but a healthier one!

Made from simple ingredients.  It’s always nice to know exactly what goes into our food and be able to control the quality of what we put in our bodies.  These little patties are without casing, which is just one more reason I love them.

These pork breakfast sausages are perfect for freezing and can be ready to go whenever you want to make a special breakfast or just have a quick breakfast ready to go in the morning.  I enjoy them along side pancakes, but they go really well with eggs or waffles or whatever your favorite breakfast food is!

Slice up one small onion.

Place it in the food processor… I am using the Pampered Chef Manual Food Processor.

Process onions.

Process until finely minced.

Add some olive oil into small skillet.

Add onions into skillet.

Run a large garlic clove or two smaller ones through a garlic press and add in.  This Pampered Chef Garlic Press is fantastic.

Add bacon into skillet.

Brown everything up and remove from heat to allow to cool a bit.

Start with a package of ground pork.

Use your favorite bacon.

Snip through some bacon.  These Pampered Chef Sheers are perfect to get this job done!

Prepare your spices.

Add your spices into your meat.

Add in plain bread crumbs.

Add in one egg.

Add in cooled skillet mixture.

Stir together.

Form patties.

You can form regular circular patties… I like a 2″ patty.

Or you can make them into heart-shaped patties for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or a special anniversary breakfast.

Using a medium skillet, turn burner heat to medium.

Add patties into skillet.

Turn.

Cook all the way through.

Flash freeze the remaining raw patties for a half hour in freezer bag laying them flat and then remove as much air as possible from bag and place back in freezer for storage.

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Sausage Patties

Makes 18 2 oz. patties

Ingredients:

1 lbs. ground pork

2 eggs

1 small onion, minced

1/2 cup bread crumbs

5 slices bacon, cut into 1/4″ pieces

2 cloves of garlic, run through press

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. thyme

1/2 tsp. sage

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper

1 Tbs. olive oil

Directions:

In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add in onions, bacon and garlic. Saute until golden brown.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a medium mixing bowl, add in ground pork, bread crumbs, spices and brown sugar.  Stir together.  Add in skillet mixture.  Form into 2 oz. patties.

Heat a medium skillet and add patties without crowding.  Brown patties on both sides (4-5 mins on each side).  (Sugar will caramelize as pictured.)

Serve hot, enjoy!

*Recipe can easily be made gluten-free with the replacement of bread crumbs with gluten-free bread crumbs.

Cover with some plain sauce just to keep the stuffing moist.

Portuguese Style Stuffed Peppers

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Stuffed peppers are a meal all in themselves.  They have protein, grain and vegetable all in one perfect package.  Adding in the chouriço, portuguese ground pepper (pimenta moida) and Portuguese Allspice really bring it into “Portuguese Style” territory!

These are great for a weeknight meal, to bring in to work for lunch or make some of the stuffing, freeze in an airtight bag and stuff fresh peppers whenever you get the inkling!

 

I like the red, orange and yellow peppers myself because they are sweeter, but if you prefer green, go ahead and use green!

Cut each pepper in half lengthwise. This will later lead to a more crispy top on your stuffing.

Seed the peppers removing as much of the white pith as you can.

Dice up a medium onion.

Fresh parsley is important here.

Chop it up.

Use one large can of plain tomato sauce. reserving about 1/3 of it for topping the peppers before they go into the oven.

The meat for this stuffing is made up of half ground beef and half chouriço.

Add in the onion.

Brown everything together in the skillet.

Once browned, add in 2/3 of the can of sauce.

Now add in a couple of cups of cooked white rice. If you prefer brown rice here, that’s fine, just be sure it is thoroughly cooked, this is not the time for aldente anything.

Add in some salt and pepper to taste and your stuffing is ready!

Select a baking dish that will comfortably fit the number of peppers you are looking to bake without being too tight.

Grease the baking dish with some oil.

Place your peppers with the cut side up on your baking dish ready for stuffing.

Stuff each pepper 1 and a half times its size so that it has a nice rounded top of stuffing.

Cover with some plain sauce just to keep the stuffing moist.

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Portuguese Stuffed Peppers

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

2-3 bell peppers, cut in half and seeded

1 lb. ground beef

1 lb. ground chouriço

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cups cooked rice

1 can tomato sauce

2 Tbs. parsley, chopped

1 Tbs. Pimenta Moida (ground pepper)

1/2 tsp. Portuguese Allspice

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

Brown ground beef, ground chouriço and onion in a skillet over medium heat.  Drain if there is an excess of fat (a little fat is ok).  Add in Pimenta Moida, parsley and a little salt and pepper (don’t over do it here) and 2/3 can of tomato sauce.  Stir.  Add in cooked rice.  Stir.

Stuff filling into peppers and place in an oiled baking dish.  Top stuffed peppers with remaining 1/3 can of tomato sauce.  Bake for 30 minutes until pepper has cooked through. Serve hot.

***Gluten-free

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Basic Spaghetti & Meatballs

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It’s not often that you can find a meal that is as great as a Sunday dinner as it is a week night meal, but Spaghetti and Meatballs fits that bill.  We are talking REAL Spaghetti and Meatballs, the kind where you actually roll the meatballs with your own two hands.

I must make this dish a dozen different ways, but this is a nice basic recipe.  If you like to add parmesan to yours, feel free, if you like to add anchovies, go for it… But, this recipe is simple, not too complicated and because the meatballs are slowly simmered in the sauce instead of baked or pan-fried, they are nice and tender and help to flavor the sauce at the same time.

This sauce and these meatballs are also great when you make a big batch and freeze them!  So, put in the effort on a Sunday afternoon, have it for dinner, freeze the rest and a week later, you have a great Wednesday night meal!  Just boil up some more pasta and you are good to go!

Start with ground beef.

Grab some parsley.

Add in some bread crumbs.

Then some Worcestershire sauce.

Add basil and half and half to moisten the bread crumbs.

Saute some onions.

Add in an egg as a binder.

If you wet your hand, it’s easier to form the meatballs.

Make golf ball size balls.

Get them ready for the sauce.

In a large pan start with olive oil.

Saute some onions.

Add in some garlic when your onions are soft.

Next add in som San Marzano whole tomatoes. You really want the whole tomatoes here, because you know they aren’t just giving you left over scraps, these are good.

Add into your pot with your onions.

Take a potato masher gently to the tomatoes. If you go crazy here, you will be wearing tomatoes, so easy does it.

Get them good and mashed.

Now add in some tomato paste.

You need to give it time to melt in.

Mix it in well.

Add some Worcestershire sauce here as well.

Now a palm full of Italian seasoning mix.

Mix.

Gently drop meatballs in.

Make sure they are all nestled in well.

Get some sauce over top of them.

Cover and simmer on low.

Add in some parsley.

Stir it in.

Cook your pasta to package instructions for aldente pasta and drain.  I am using Barilla’s Spaghetti Rigati because it has ridges that help to hold on to the sauce!

Ladle in a ladle or two of sauce to coat pasta, do not over sauce!


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Spaghetti & Meatballs

Serves 8

Ingredients:

1 lb. Spaghetti Rigati (or your favorite cut of pasta), cooked aldente to package instructions

Meatballs:

2 lbs. ground beef

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1 onion, small diced and sautéed until tender

1/2 cup half and half or whole milk

1 egg

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1/4 cup basil, chopped

2 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. Italian seasoning mix (optional)

Sauce:

2 large cans San Marzano whole tomatoes

1 small can tomato paste

1 onion, diced

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1/4 cup basil, chopped

4 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce

2 Tbs. olive oil

2 tsp. Italian Seasoning Mix

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper

1/2 cup red wine (optional)

Directions:

For Meatballs:

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Wet hands and form golf ball sized balls.  When sauce is ready, place in sauce and gently simmer.

For Sauce:

Saute onion in olive oil.  When tender, add whole tomatoes, mash with potato masher until broken down to your liking.  Add remaining ingredients.  Add meatballs, bring to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes.

To plate:

When pasta has come to aldente (after sauce is ready), drain and add in 2 ladles of sauce.  Coat pasta with sauce. Top with meatballs.  Serve hot and enjoy!

 

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Bunny Hair Bow

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Happy Easter everyone!  My daughter doesn’t go anywhere these days.  She is two and she is already developing her own sense of fashion!  Right now she is on a “princess” trend so she is all about dresses and hair bows.  When I made this Bunny hair bow for her she was super excited and wore it to the Easter party she was invited to last weekend!

My daughter is finally getting enough hair to use traditional hair clips, but this can definitely be made with the alligator clips that grasp onto baby fine hair as well.  I used a combination of sewing and hot glue for this one, take a look at how I did it.

Some of the supplies you will need are grossgrain ribbon in a white and pink… or whatever color bunny you like with a contrasting color for the inner ear. A spool of tiny pom-pom ribbon, some pink thread (or matching your contrasting color) a glue gun and two googly eyes. You will also need your clip and some fraying solution.

Start out by deciding how big you want your ears. I cut my ribbon about 3″ each for the ears.

Then stack your main color (in my case white) and your contrasting color (in my case pink). And form a tall loop.

Now place a small stitch at the bottom to hold the shape in place.

Once this is done just trip any fraying you see. This doesn’t need the fraying solution because it will be glued shortly.

Now form a bow with a length of ribbon that is your main color. I do this two ways. Either this wa or with that end that is in the front placed behind. You can see the difference at the end.

Place a small stitch to hold.

Now clip off two tiny pom-poms forming a “V” shape.

Now all your preparations are ready. Choose which clip you prefer and cover with your main color ribbon to blend in.

Here are all the pieces.

Stitch the pom-poms onto the bow.

Now dab two bits of hot glue for the ears, they go on first.

You will want to work quickly here.

Now add another dab of glue for the bow itself.

Now glue on the eyes and the little square of pink for the nose and you’ve done it!

Just be sure to go back and use the fraying solution on the ends of the ribbon that are exposed. This is a very important step whenever working with ribbon of any kind.

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Bunny Hair Bow

White grossgrain ribbon (or brown or gray etc)

Pink grossgrain ribbon (or blue etc)

Tiny pom-pom ribbon

2 googly eyes

clip

hot glue

fray check

scissors

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Chouriço Stuffed Roast Beef (Carne Assada com Chouriço)

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Carne Assada com Chouriço has always been one of my mother’s signature dishes.  Whenever it is time for a special dinner, you can find her making this delicious somewhat fancy version of Portuguese Roast Beef.  On any given holiday whether alongside the turkey at Thanksgiving, the Codfish at Christmas or the Ham at Easter, most Portuguese people will always serve a secondary main course dish.  My mother loves to make a good Portuguese roast beef.  Sometimes it  is just the traditional version with chouriço and potatoes on the side (which is delicious), but when she has the extra energy, it is done this way.

Any type of beef cut can be used for this process, but I would suggest something that does not have a ton of connective tissue to get through.  You will want something that is rectangular in shape and thick enough to accommodate the chouriço.  What I have used today is a 2 lb. boneless chuck tender roast.  You will then need one link of chouriço.  Whether you chose hot or mild, makes no difference really, it’s all personal preference.  The point is to impart the flavor of the chouriço into the meat.  (And to have a pretty awesome presentation)

The sauce here pulls the entire dish together and allows for added moisture without being a braise.

Start with a beef roast. This one is a 2 lb. boneless chuck tender roast.

You will need one link of chouriço and a good sharp knife. I am using hot chouriço, but mild would be fine here as well.

In order to impart the flavor of the chouriço into the inside of your roast you first need to peel the link like so.

Once your chouriço is ready to go, you can prepare your meat. Your goal will be to make a cut the length of the chouriço as close to the middle of the roast as you can creating a pocket in which to insert the chouriço.

Start with a horizontal cut. Please be careful in this process, you are sort of doing it blindly.

The next cut will help you to form an “X” in the meat. Again this should be the length of the chouriço link.

Next you need to carefully and slowly introduce the chouriço to the meat.

Remember there is a bit of a curve to the link, so easy does it.

Once the meat is stuffed, sprinkle with kosher salt.

Be sure to rub in and let sit until sauce is ready.

The end of your roast may taper off, at this point tuck in so that it can cook more evenly.

Place in a baking dish that will allow for potatoes on either side and not much else. You will want everything to have contact with the sauce.

Chop one large onion.

Place some peeled potatoes in the pan.

Sprinkle with the onions.

To start the sauce, use one 6 oz. can of plain tomato sauce.

Peel about 6 cloves of garlic.

Mince.

Add to the tomato sauce.

At this point you can also add in some pimenta moida, my mother does, I didn’t on this time around.

Add in some Portuguese All Spice. If you don’t have this spice handy, add in some mild Paprika.

Add in some kosher salt.

Add in olive oil and stir.

Pour sauce over roast and potatoes.

Be sure it is completely covered.

Cover in foil.

After one hour in the oven, remove foil.

Roast in the oven for an additional 30 minutes.

Remove roast from pan and let meat reast. If the potatoes need more time, return them to the oven.

Place foil over the meat for about 10 minutes or so.

After the resting period, slice about 1″ slices.

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Carne Assada com Chouriço

Serves 8

Ingredients:

1  2lb. beef roast

1 link of chouriço, hot or mild, peeled

8 medium potatoes, peeled

1 onion, chopped

1 6oz. can plain tomato sauce

1 tsp. kosher salt

6 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. Portuguese All Spice or mild paprika

2 Tbs. olive oil

2 Tbs. Pimenta Moida (optional)

Directions:

Prepare meat by creating a long “X” shaped pocket lengthwise in the meat.  Insert peeled chouriço into the pocket.  Sprinkle meat with some kosher salt and rub in.  Let stand in the roasting pan while preparing the sauce.  Also place potatoes and onions in the roasting pan.

For the sauce:

Combine tomato sauce, oil, garlic, salt, Portuguese All Spice and Pimenta Moida.

Pour sauce over the meat and potatoes.  Cover tightly with foil.  Roast in the oven for 1 hour.  Remove foil, rotate potatoes and return to oven for an additional 1/2 hour.  Remove from oven and allow to rest tented with foil for 10 minutes before cutting.  Slice in 1″ pieces and serve hot.  Enjoy!

*Gluten-free

 

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Bunny Cake

done1 A good friend of mine Lisa, who you may remember from her recipe ‘Stuffed Jalapeno’s’, decided to have a little Easter party for her daughter and her friend’s this past weekend.  My two little one’s were invited and as I never like to show up to a party empty-handed, I decided to bring a little cake along!

Lisa is a full-time working mom and she did an amazing job with the party, the kid’s had so much fun.  She put out a great spread for lunch,  had an Easter egg hunt, coloring, a pin the tail on the Bunny game and Easter baskets to top it all off.  The kid’s didn’t stop talking about it afternoon after leaving!

I baked my own recipe for chocolate cake and buttercream, you can certainly use a box cake mix for this recipe.  However, I would use a real buttercream for filling and decorating.  Also, feel free to use any flavor cake for this.  Then just collect your candy and nuts and you can get started.  The only real rule here is to get creative!

Here are most of your ingredients… You will need three layers of prepared cake, frosting, green sprinkles, chocolate eggs or some sort, bunnies, a spreading spatula and a cake stand.

I decided to go with three different buttercream frostings. I am doing a strawberry buttercream filling, vanilla buttercream colored green for the top and chocolate buttercream for the sides.

Start with any flavor cake baked into three layers.

Start by spreading your filling on each layer. You will want to try to divide your filling in half for this.

Be sure not to go all the way to the edges because when you place your next layer on, it will spread from the weight.

Place the next layer on.

And repeat with the remaining filling.

Place the third and last layer on top.

Next I like to add on the side frosting, spreading evenly, but it’s supposed to mimic dirt, so a little roughness is nice here.

Once you have it all spread on be sure to go up over the edge just a bit and then clean up the plate.

It’s always a good idea to trim the cake bottom… Here I’ve used sliced almonds that mimic rocks in the dirt, but you can really trim with anything you like.

Once this stage is complete, move onto the next step.

Pile your green frosting up on top, right in the middle of the cake.

You will want to be sure you are gentle with this step so you come just to the edge of the top of the cake, spreading evenly.

Now go around the edge of the top of the cake with your chocolate eggs.

I like to go around with a little turn and it is ok if there is green on the outside of these… you don’t want them falling off.

Move all the way around the cake.

Pile up some sprinkles right in the middle of the top of the cake. My sprinkles are an Easter mix with cue little eggs in them. Use whatever you like here. Even brown sprinkles would be cute.

These Peep bunny’s come in rows, so when you detach them from each other, they will have a raw edge.

To mask that raw edge, simply take another bunny and rub the sugar from the back of the bunny on the raw edge of the one you will be displaying.

And it does a good job of masking it.

Now to affix the bunny’s to the top, you will need some tooth picks or serving picks as I am using here.

Insert the tooth pick or serving pick into the bunny.

Once it goes in about halfway, you are ready to use.

I use three different color bunny’s here, you can get creative, use the same color or use 5 bunny’s (I like to stick to odd numbers)

Be sure they are placed just as you like.

Bunny Cake

Serves 12-16

Ingredients:

3 8″-9″ cake layers (any flavor)

4-5 cups buttercream frosting, divided (see recipe below)

1 bag chocolate candy eggs

1/4 cup sliced almonds

1/8 cup green sprinkles

green food coloring

1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

3 Peep bunnys, assorted colors

8-10 chopped strawberries (optional)

Directions:

Divide frosting in 4 parts.  Two parts will be filling, add chopped strawberries or any other flavoring if desired.  Add green food coloring to third part until desired green color is acheived (usually 4-5 drops).  Add melted chocolate to fourth and final part.

Place first cake layer on cake stand.  Add one part of filling and spread.  Place second cake layer on top.  Spread second part of cake filling. Place final cake layer on top.

Spread chocolate frosting on sides of cake.  Trim bottom of cake with sliced almonds.

Spread green frosting on top of cake.  Rim the top of cake with candy eggs.  Pile up green sprinkles in center of top of cake.

Pierce Peep bunny’s with toothpick’s and affix to the top of cake in a decorative fashion.

Enjoy!

Basic Buttercream Frosting

Yield 5 – 6 cups

Ingredients:

3 sticks softened unsalted butter

6 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/3 cup milk

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Cream butter with an electric mixer.  Turn speed to low and add in confectioner’s sugar.  Add milk.  Add vanilla.  Beat until smooth.

*Gluten-free

 

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Tiramisu Trifle

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One of my favorite gifts to give is a dinner party… especially for men.  I never know what to get them, really and I do know that the way to make just about any man happy is to make him a good meal! It’s also a lot more personal.  I love that at a dinner party you truely get to spend quality time with the people you love.  It’s a favorite birthday gift, but this year I decided to add a dinner party gift to both my brothers-in-law for Christmas.

The way I make I try to make it an extra special gift is to ask them to pick a country and I will design a dinner with that country in mind.  My brother-in-law, JR, picked Italy for his country this time around, so he and my sister came over last Sunday and we had ourselves a nice little dinner party and a fun game of cards (Quiddler). So we started with a Lobster Risotto, then moved onto Spaghetti and Meatballs (recipe soon to come) with garlic bread and finished things off with giant individual Tiramisu Trifles!  And if do say myself, everyone was pleased!

This trifle recipe is simple, the recipe is easy to follow, it’s a bit less expensive than most recipes you will find and it’s egg free (I did this for time’s sake , not for allergy sake, but hey, if it works for you great!).  Some of the cost is cut down because it is a mixture of cheeses, half Mascarpone cheese (a mild Italian cream cheese) and half American cream cheese (which is less than half the cost of Mascarpone).  Also, making the cake portion with a box mix instead of buying traditional lady fingers gives the trifle a fun different texture and adds in some savings as well.

To make my Angel Food Cake, I am just using a simple box mix… which involves this flour mix and water, so easy. But, if you prefer you can

Add the required water from package instructions.

Mix.

Bake in a square pan like this or in an angel food cake pan.

I start the process of breaking the cake apart by making some cuts. But the real work will come with breaking apart with my fingers.

Remove and break apart as you place in glasses.

Start with one bar of softened American cream cheese.

One 8 oz. Mascarpone cheese. This is like an Italian cream cheese that is slightly less tangy and a bit softer.

Add in the Mascapone.

Add in confectioner’s sugar.

Add in cream

The cheese mixture should be nice and smooth and fluffy now.

To make real whipped cream add cold whipping cream or heavy cream into the bowl of a cold electric mixer, start the mixer going on med/high with the whisk attachment until foamy. Add in confectioner’s sugar and beat until a whipped cream forms. Careful not to over whip turning your mixture into butter :)

Make some espresso.  If you don't have an espresso machine, you can buy some instand espresso powder and brew some that way or just make a cup of very very strong coffee.

Make some espresso. If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can buy some instant espresso powder and brew some that way or just make a cup of very very strong coffee.

Espresso has this natural head of foam on top… If you don’t have a machine, don’t worry about it.

Start by adding in a bit of cake and some espresso, enough to soak the cake.

Now some cheese mixture. When completing this step, be sure to get the mixture to all the edges of the glass effectively sealing off the layer… this way, when you place the cake on top the espresso will settle into the cake in that layer instead of sinking to the bottom.

Next a bit of whipped cream… and repeat… In this size glass I am able to do three layers.

As the glass gets larger, the amount I am putting in fills in a larger space so I am using more.  Just be sure the cheese filling kind of seals off the layer below it so the esspresso is able to really soak into the cake.

As the glass gets larger, the amount I am putting in fills in a larger space so I am using more. Just be sure the cheese filling kind of seals off the layer below it so the espresso is able to really soak into the cake.

Top with a good amount of whipped cream and some chocolate shavings.

Top with a good amount of whipped cream and some chocolate shavings.

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Tiramisu Trifle

4-8 (depending on size of glasses)  ingredients:

1/2 prepared Angel Food Cake (mix and water)

1 8 oz. package cream cheese

1 8 oz. package Mascarpone cheese

1/3 cup plus 3 Tbs. Confectioner’s sugar

1 pint heavy whipping cream, divided

1 cup prepared espresso, cooled

chocolate shavings for garnish

 Directions:

For cheese layer – combine softened cream cheese, Mascarpone cheese, 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream and 1/3 cup Confectioner’s sugar in an electric mixer and beat on med/high with the paddle attachment until smooth and fluffy about 3-4 minutes.

For the whipped cream layer – Place the remaining heaving whipping cream in the cold bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment.  Beat on med/high until foamy.  Add in 3 Tbs. Confectioner’s sugar and continue beating on high until a whipped cream forms.  (About 2 minutes) *Careful not to over beat.

For the cake layer – Prepare per package instructions and allow to cool fully before using.  Break apart with fingers until you have pieces roughly the size of quarters.

To build – Line up 4 large glasses or 8 smaller glasses for ease of use.  Add in cake, drench with a couple Tbs. espresso, add 2-3 Tbs. cheese mixture (being sure to touch all sides), add in 2-3 Tbs. whipped cream.  Repeat process until you reach the top of the glass.  Top with remaining whipped cream and sprinkle with chocolate shavings.

Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours before serving.  Remove from refrigerator about 20 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!