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Panqueca de Carne Moida (Brazilian Crêpes with Meat Filling)

Crêpes are really thin pancakes and they can be used in both savory and sweet recipes. I grew up eating them at home – my Mom makes the best ones! In fact, this is a very special recipe post because during the testing and photo shoot I had the chance to be hands-on in the kitchen with my Mom; and since she is the crêpes expert, this time I could take a step back and watch the process, photograph, and take some really good notes. We had a lot of fun! The whole family ended up getting involved: my husband, my 4-year-old, and even the baby ended up participating on the process.

Cooking with my Mom is an opportunity that I unfortunately do not have very often. She still lives in Brazil and I live in the US. But I just recently had my second baby boy so she flew to Indiana to spend some time with us. When baby William give us a little break, I often ask her to help me prepare some of the recipes I grew up eating.

My Mom’s “Brazilian Crêpes with Meat Filling” are delicious and fairly simple to make (the step-by-step with pictures is helpful!). You can make the crêpes in advance and store in the fridge for a couple of days. You can also be creative with filling: besides the meat and vegetables, I also love to use shredded chicken with corn. For the sweet lovers, my absolute favorite is dulce de leche. Once you have the crêpes ready, the possibilities are endless and SO GOOD!!!

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Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

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Are you looking at the picture above and thinking “WOW! This lasagna looks yummy”? Now, I am going to break you the news: it is not lasagna, but a much lighter and healthier dish, that still has the heartiness and comforting flavors of regular lasagna. How? Thanks to a delicious vegetable that works very well with all kinds of pasta sauces: spaghetti squash! I often use this wonderful vegetable as a substitute for pasta with the addition of any pasta sauce, especially when I want something hearty, but gluten-free and light. I am not going to lie to you and say it tastes just like lasagna noodles, because it doesn’t. It is different, but it works in a way that adds flavor and texture to any “pasta-like” dish. It is gluten-free, lower in calories and carbs if compared to regular noodles. But above it all, it tastes really really really good!!!! I used sweet Italian sausage in the sauce, with the addition of carrots, onions, tomatoes, green peppers and fresh herbs and I layered with ricotta and mozzarella – just like regular lasagna. It worked!!!  My husband was licking the plate! Replace the Italian sausage with more vegetables, if you want something meatless. All the vegetables used in this recipe were locally grown (most of them organic) and they were delivered at the convenience of my door steps by Green Bean Delivery! To get a PROMOTIONAL CODE and learn more about this great service provided by Green Bean Delivery, read my Cook’s Notes on the bottom of the recipe…  Spaghetti squash is on season now and I hope you get to try it in this dish!

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Pulled-Pork Sandwiches

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Pulled pork sandwiches have to be one of the most flavorful go-to meals of any casual party. Moist and delicious they are always a crowd pleaser. This version has an unexpected ingredient that leaves people wondering: red pepper jelly! Yet time consuming, this recipe is very easy… Plan well your time and you can make this a day or two ahead of serving. My favorite kind of bread for pulled pork is Hawaiian roll, which totally relates to the kid inside of me, but any kind of fresh bun will be great. Serve with tortillas and top with salsa and you will get pulled pork tacos. There is no way to go wrong with this one!

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Madalena

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Comfort food, all I want is comfort food!!! I am expecting our second child right now, and all I crave are the meals that my mom used make for our family back on the days I lived in Brazil. Similar to the Shepherd’s Pie, Madalena is a traditional Brazilian recipe and it is usually served with rice and beans on the side. Comforting and creamy, this casserole can be made in advance and baked the next day. It reheats well and it tastes even better the next day, which makes for a very practical weeknight meal year-round. Enjoy!

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Lamb Roulade with Tomatoes and Gouda, Mint Pesto, and Farofa

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The mint pesto and the farofa (a typical Brazilian side dish) make this tomatoes and Gouda stuffed lamb irresistible!

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Pork Tenderloin with Dried Apricots-Gouda-Mascarpone Filling, with Cashew Rice Pilaf and Farofa (Lombo Recheado com Damascos Secos, Queijo Gouda e Mascarpone, com Arroz de Castanha-de-Cajú e Farofa)

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Christmas in Brazil is celebrated on the evening of the 24th and dinner is served only after mid-night, on the 25th. It might sound kind of crazy for most people here in the US, but it is just how it is done down there... Since people wait for supper for a long time, it better give them some sustenance! This meal translates very well what a traditional Brazilian Christmas supper looks like. In this recipe, the pork tenderloin is moist and well seasoned, with a creamy and sweet filling, complimented with the richness of cashews from the rice and crunchiness from the farofa. This family recipe was passed over to me by a friend, and I am excited to present it to you. Enjoy!

Read more: Pork Tenderloin with Dried Apricots-Gouda-Mascarpone Filling, with Cashew Rice Pilaf and Farofa...

Pulled-Pork Sandwiches with Chimichurri and Onions Sauté

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My guests put together their own pulled-pork sandwiches, since I arranged the ingredients in a “pulled-pork sandwich bar” (sorry, no pictures of the buffet table). I wanted to make things easier for the hostess (me!) and more fun for the guests – who could pick and choose sauces for their own sandwiches. Everything was easy and perfect for entertaining! The pork was tender and moist (thanks to Chef Andrés Dangon method). The sides were delicious and complimented the pulled-pork very well! Check it out.

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Hamburger with Chimichurri Sauce and Provolone

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This hamburger recipe gets a delicious South American twist: chimichurri sauce! This tangy and flavorful Argentine sauce combined with Provolone and home-made hamburger patties is my husband’s new favorite. This is the ultimate grilling experience!

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Quinoa with Sausage, Pine Nuts and Spinach

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Quinoa is a very healthy grain and it can be used as a more nutritional alternative to rice or pasta. 

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Fig and Prosciutto Risotto

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The sweetness of the fruit balances the prosciutto and cheese in this delicious dish. 

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Beef Tenderloin with Dried Porcini and Fresh Mushrooms

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This easy recipe is very elegant and flavorful. Perfect with a glass of Bordeaux.

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Easy Penne with Mustard-Marsala Tenderloin

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If you are looking for a quick and easy meal to impress someone special, this is what you have been looking for!

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Lamb Stew with Raisins, Pine Nuts and Mint

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By marinating the lamb overnight the flavors in this stew become much deeper, which makes prep time on the stove top much faster so all the ingredients make a statement.

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Pork and Vegetables Grilled Quesadilla with Fresh Mozzarella and Gouda Cheese

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In this quesadilla recipe, the marinade from the pork brought a unique, fruity flavor to the mix. The grilled vegetables added a smoky taste which has become even more accentuated by also grilling the quesadilla. I am all about creating new flavors!

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Pork Tenderloin with Apricot-Pomegranate-Miso Marinade

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The combinations of ingredients in this marinade is very unique. The result is a lightly sweet, fruty and spicy flavor that goes wonderful not only with pork but also with chicken and fish.

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Gnudi with Veal Ragù

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Gnudi (pronounced "nu-dee") is a type of gnocchi made from ricotta cheese and a little bit of flour. The result is a dumpling that some describe as "nude" ravioli, or filling without the pasta. It is fantastic!

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Chimichurri

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Chimichurri is a flavorful sauce, with lots of fresh herbs, garlic and olive oil. Especially delicious over steak, Chimichurri is originally from Argentina, but it is also popular in Uruguay and in the South of Brazil. I became obsessed with this sauce after I went to Argentina in 2011, so when I came back home to the US I developed my own Chimichurri sauce. My recipe has the additional flavors of aged balsamic vinegar, which gives a touch of sweetness; and smoked paprika, which obviously gives a touch of smokiness. I love it drizzled over any cut of steak, and even over dark meat chicken and salmon, but my favorite cuts to serve with chimichurri are tri-tip and rib-eye. It sure elevates the flavors of any steak. Enjoy!

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Sausage, Mushrooms, and Herbs Stuffed Bell Peppers

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This colorful dish is crazy good! And since it is also low-carb you don't have to feel bad about eating a little extra.

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Cynthia’s 3 Favorite Marinades for Pork, Chicken, or Fish

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There is nothing better than grilling outdoors when the weather is nice! For that reason I wanted to share with you, once more, my most favorite marinades. They are incredibly practical because all of them work well for chicken, pork or fish, so you can use either one of them on the protein you have on hand. Marinades add great flavor to the meat, but they do need time to work: fish needs at least 4 hours, and other meats need 8 or up to 48 hours. First, season the meat or fish with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then place it in a large sealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over. Remove as much air as possible from the plastic bag before transferring to the fridge. When ready to grill it, remove from the bag and pat dry. Happy summer everyone!!!

Read more: Cynthia’s 3 Favorite Marinades for Pork, Chicken, or Fish

Brazilian Stroganoff (Estrogonofe de Carne)

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Believe me or not, this recipe is comfort food in Brazil! Down there, it is served with white rice on the side, instead of pasta. This traditional Brazilian recipe is fairly easy and quick to make and everyone has it's own version. My recipe has some great flavors from rosemary, cognac (or brandy), brown sugar, and fresh mushrooms. The use of good quality, tender steak is important; since the meat is seared and then cooked for just a few minutes into sauce. I hope my friends from all over the world (including Brazil) enjoy this easy dish!

Read more: Brazilian Stroganoff (Estrogonofe de Carne)