July: tips to manage meals during school holidays

July has arrived and with it the long awaited winter holidays (in Brazil, the summer holidays are in December and January). Plan yourself ahead and avoid the chaos that could happen at home. Fill the refrigerator (and the freezer) with basic preparations that work as versatile meals, such as cooked rice and beans; and some ready to eat meat (how about a roast and other recipe with vegetables?). Choose those ones that work as a main meal and that the leftovers can become fillings for pies, sandwiches and a pasta sauce.

 

Ground beef is the champion of versatility and figures in many traditional preparations in our cuisine: from appetizers, such as egg ball (Brazillian version of Scottish eggs), buraco quente, croquettes; to main dishes, such as beef roulade, meatball, oven rice. It also goes well in pancakes, with polenta and filling pastries. See 15 recipes with the ingredient at brasilagosto.org/en/recipes. The same premise applies to cured meats, such as charqui, jerked beef and carne de sol. Understand the difference between the three here.

 

For those more keen on cooking, my suggestion is to prepare a tortéi, Brazilian fresh pasta that resembles a ravioli. The classic recipe uses pumpkin, but you can use different fillings and even play with bolder (and delicious) combinations, like bananas with cheese, and sausage in cachaça. When the dough is ready and filled, put it in the freezer (still raw). Minutes before serving, just boil it in plenty of water. Haven’t you had time to make a sauce? No problem, just butter them and add some fresh herbs!

 

A classic of all my holidays, in the Bahia’s countryside, were the so-called “frying pans”. Despite the name, these preparations are stews prepared in an ovenproof dish. They are always made with a protein – cod, maturi, crab and aratu – covered with whipped egg whites, and put it in the oven do gratin.

 

Are you going to travel? Keep an eye on the food stalls by the road where you can find places selling fresh local produce. In general they have good prices and are healthy. Fruits like mango, pineapple and strawberry, beaten with a little water and sugar to taste, become popsicles and creamy ice creams. In both cases, the first stage of preparation is similar: make a juice with little water and sugar to taste. For popsicles, just put the juice in molds. For ice cream, put everything in a bowl and freeze. When it starts to freeze, take it off and whisk it with 1 egg white, mix it well and return it to the freezer until it gets firm. Half an hour before serving, take it again to the mixer.

 

Another tasty tip: take time to enjoy breakfast with no rush, with appetizing foods that hardly fit in the tight school time routine. My suggestions: tapioca or banana porridge, cornmeal bread, homemade bread with jam or a good omelette. And cakes, lots of cakes – see 7 cake recipes at brasilagosto.org/en/recipes.