Enjoy These Tried and True Recipes

Where as I could live on brown rice and stir fry, my hubs and four hungry kids need their western food.  Frankly, if I didn’t cook comfort food for them on a regular basis, we wouldn’t be here. They would have burned out long ago.

Maybe the people in your life are different. But if your loved ones are like mine, you will enjoy the following tried-and-true recipes, made with easy-to-find ingredients. Happy eating!


For mornings, these might bring a smile around the breakfast table:

BREAKFAST SAUSAGE (just like Jimmy Dean’s)

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp rubbed sage
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp MSG

Combine well and, the best part, freeze until ready to use.


Enjoy the following bread with almost any meal

WHITE COUNTRY BREAD (no bread machine required)

  • 1 1/2 packets dry yeast (about 1 T.)
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 31.5 oz. flour (about 7 cups) plus 2 t., divided
  • 2 t. kosher salt
  • cooking spray
  • 1 T. olive oil

Dissolve yeast in 2 1/2 cups warm water in a large bowl. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Stir salt into yeast mixture. Gradually stir in 7 cups flour, on cup at a time; beat with a mixer at medium speed until dough forms a ball.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; shape dough into a 12-in log. Divide dough into 3 pieces; shaped each piece into a 4-inch dome-shaped loaf. Place loaves on a baking sheet lightly covered with flour, and lightly coat with cooking spray. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Position oven rack in lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 350°.
Uncover loaves, and brush each with 1 t. oil. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until sounds hollow when tapped (bread might not brown). Remove; cool on wire racks.


HAMBURGER BUNS (no bread machine required)

  • 1 cup warm water (105° to 115°F)
  • 4 1/2 t. yeast (2 small packages)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 t. salt
  • 4- 4 1/2 cups flour

Combine warm water and yeast in a large bowl (I use my stand mixer for this, but you can certainly use a large bowl and a sturdy wooden spoon).

Let mixture stand until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes.

Stir in butter, sugar, eggs, and salt.

Beat in flour, 1 cup at a time, with electric mixer until dough is too stiff to mix (you may use a little less than 4 1/2 cups flour; and you will most likely need to switch to a wooden spoon there at the end).

Cover tightly and refrigerate 2 hours or up to 4 days.

When ready to bake, grease a 9×13 (I use a jellyroll pan). Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a round ball. Place balls in pan.

Cover and let dough balls rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake until rolls are golden brown, 15-20 min. Brush warm rolls with melted butter.


AMAZING BREAD STICKS (omit seasoning for fabulous hot dog buns! and can you tell my tribe loves us some bread)

  • 1 pkg active dry yeast (2 1/4 t.)
  • 4 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 T butter, softened
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 t salt


  • 3 T butter, melted
  • 1/2 t kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  • Pinch each oregano, basil, and rosemary

Place 1/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a mixer; sprinkle in the yeast and set aside until foamy, about 5 min. Add the flour, butter, sugar, salt and 1 1/4 cups plus 2 t warm water; mix (with the paddle attachment or dough hook) until a slightly sticky dough forms, about 5 min.
Knead the dough by hand on a floured surface until very smooth and soft, about 3 min. Roll into a 2-foot-long log; cut into 16 x 1 1/2 inch pieces. Knead each piece slightly and shape into a 7-inch-long breadstick; arrange 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined (or lightly greased) baking sheet. Cover with a cloth; let rise in a warm spot until almost doubled, about 45 min.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush the breadsticks with 1 1/2 T butter and sprinkle with 1/4 t kosher salt. Bake until lightly golden, about 15 min. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 t salt with the garlic powder and dried herbs. Brush the warm breadsticks with the remaining 1 1/2 T melted butter and sprinkle with the flavored mixture.


HOMEMADE BISQUICK (Best part: makes enough to store)

  • 9 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup baking powder
  • 1 cup + 2T dry milk powder
  • 4 t salt
  • 1 3/4 cup shortening

Whisk first four ingredients. Cut in shortening until the texture of cornmeal. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

FOR AMAZING PANCAKES: Mix 2 cups baking mix with 1 t. sugar, 1 cup water, and 1 egg.  Cook on a hot skillet. Double for a hungry family! For happy kids, pancakes can be made in the shape of letters, animals, or other creative shapes.


CREAMY MAC-N-CHEESE (no lumps, even without the processed cheese!)

  • 3 1/3 cups dry macaroni noodles
  • 4 T. cornstarch
  • 2 t. salt
  • 1 t. dry mustard
  • 1/2 t. black pepper
  • 2 cans evaporated milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 T. butter
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Boil macaroni noodles.

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a 9×13 casserole dish.

Combine cornstarch, salt, mustard, and pepper in a medium saucepan. Stir in evaporated milk, water, and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until boiling. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in 2 cups cheese until melted. Add macaroni and mix well (will be runny). Pour into casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese. Bake 20-25 minutes.


HOMEMADE RICOTTA CHEESE (perfect for lasagna)

  • 1 gallon Whole Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2/3 cups Lemon Juice
  • 1/3 cups Basil, Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • 1/3 teaspoons Pepper

In a large Dutch oven or deep pot, heat milk and salt to 185°F, stirring frequently to avoid scalding. Remove from heat and pour in lemon juice. Let sit for 25 minutes while curds separate and form. Do not disturb.

Line a large colander or strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth, placing them over a deep bowl. Slowly pour cheese mixture into the strainer lined with cheesecloth and allow to drain, about 10-15 minutes or until the liquid no longer strains freely (or leave a little moisture for looser, wetter curds).

Place in sealed containers and let chill for two hours.


UNBELIEVABLE ICE CREAM (without an ice cream maker)

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 (14 oz.) Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • Stir-in of choice (broken candy bars, crushed oreos, ect.)

Whip heavy cream to stiff peaks in large bowl.

Whisk sweetened condensed milk, butter, and vanilla in large bowl. Mix well. Add stir-ins of choice.

Fold in whipped cream.

Pour into a 2-quart container and cover. Freeze 6 hours or until firm. Store in freezer.



  • 7 cups oats
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/3 cup milk powder
  • Dried fruit, if desired (I used dates!)
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 T. vanilla

Stir oats, coconut, milk powder, and dried fruit (if desired) in a large bowl.

Bring oil, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla to a boil in a saucepan until foamy.

Pour hot mixture over dry mixture; stir. Bake on cookie sheets at 250° F (125° C) for 30 minutes; stir. Bake 15 minutes; stir. Bake 15 more minutes; stir. Bake 15 more minutes; stir.



  • 3 C. whole milk
  • 1 C. heavy cream
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

Whisk together milk, cream, sugar, and eggs in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened and will stick to the back of a spoon. Do not boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into mugs and sprinkle with nutmeg; serve.



  • 1 cup cold cream
  • 3 T. powdered sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla

Beat cream (with cold beaters in a cold bowl, if possible) until cream begins to thicken. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until stiff to your liking. Store in a sealed container in the fridge.


What do you enjoy making? What recipes make your overseas life more livable?  Let us know how these recipes go for you!  

Photo Credit: ginnerobot via Compfight cc


  1. Amy July 9, 2014

    My clan also is all about the bread!  I was always scared of making homemade breads until we moved to Kenya-now I make it quite often! We too eat many Western meals and our new favorite copycat recipe (thanks Pinterest!!!)  is actually a sauce…Chick-fil-A sauce!  And graham crackers (not as crispy as US store bought, but still good).

    Copycat CFA sauce
    Source: Kneady Sweetie
    Serves: 4
    ½ cup Mayo
    2 tsp prepared mustard
    1 tsp lemon juice
    2 tbs honey
    1 tbs smokey BBQ sauce

    Graham Crackers
    1 cup whole wheat flour
    1½ cups all purpose flour
    ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
    ½ teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    ½ cup butter, chilled & cubed
    ¼ cup honey
    ¼ cup water
    1 teaspoon vanilla

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    In a food processor or mixer combine the first 6 ingredients
    Add cubed and chilled butter to the mix and pulse/mix by hand until it resembles coarse meal
    Add honey, water and vanilla and continue to mix until it all combines
    Remove and shape the dough into a flat disk
    Roll dough out until ¼ inch thick. Cut into crackers or shapes. Combine the dough scraps and roll out again to cut more shapes
    Place cookies on a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes
    Cool and serve

    I hope these bring a smile to someone else’s child as it does to my two munchkins!

    1. Brittany July 10, 2014

      I have to agree that Pinterest has been awesome in helping me with copycat recipes for my family!  We eat as much western food in our home as we possibly can.  When we first moved here I really tried to make Romanian food in my home, but then I asked myself, why am I doing this?  My family certainly doesn’t prefer most Romanian food!  So as long as I have the ingredients on hand, I may as well do my best to make our favorites!  They don’t taste the same here, and require some tweaking, but my family appreciates it.  And when Romanians come over, they enjoy trying Western foods!

  2. Danielle Wheeler July 9, 2014

    Can’t wait to try these recipes!  I have to ask, Kayla, do you find fresh basil in China for the ricotta?  If southern China has basil, I might just move. 🙂 I have not been able to find it in the north!

  3. Kayla Rupp July 10, 2014

    Yes, Danielle, we have basil at Metro! Cheap, too. I guess for the purposes of cooking Thai food. And please DO move south! 😉

  4. Ashley Felder July 10, 2014

    This post makes me happy. 🙂 In the 4 years we’ve lived in China, we haven’t been near any good local restaurants. Bummer locations every year. So, I cook Western food 3-4 times a week! But, I don’t mind…now. It took a while to figure things out, but my family definitely appreciates it! Otherwise, it’d be quite the hike for take-out every night! But, funny thing is, now that we’re back in America after not being here for 2 years, my young boys have no idea what SO many of the foods here are! My hubby and I are devouring some things, remembering the good ol’ days, and my boys are staring at their plates wondering what in the world we served them. Ah, the joys of TCKs. Thanks for this gem of a resource!

  5. Jill July 10, 2014

    I can’t wait to try all of these out!  3 years living in Malawi and my recipe collection is getting old!  Thank you for the yummy new foods to try!  We love it when we find overseas worker recipes because you know what we can and can’t usually get!  Other recipes call for ingredients only found in the States or at least in more developed countries!  Can’t wait to get cooking!  Thank you!

  6. Lindsay Novara July 11, 2014

    Here’s a link for a no-knead bread recipe that a friend made for lunch recently. It’s uber easy and ends up tasting like artisan bread. My friend added asiago cheese into the dough and on top of the bread too! I’m sure it would be just as delic if asiago cheese isn’t available in your country of service.. . Enjoy!





  7. Jilida July 11, 2014

    I live in Japan, and while we don’t have many lasagna noodles, we do an abundance of ramen noodles (not the same as the dried stuff in American packages) that I cheat into spaghetti and make spaghetti pie. The recipe is from the sister of a woman whose kids I used to nanny before I moved overseas. I use mozzarella instead of cottage cheese and once I substituted tofu for one of the cheese layers, with decent results. Anyway, here is her recipe:


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