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.
BEST GRANOLA EVER
- 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.
PERFECT WHIPPED CREAM
- 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!