I post recipes here the way that I make them, so of course you should feel free to adapt these to what your family likes!
To make this blog user-friendly, I put tags for each major ingredient of each recipe, as well as for type of dish, and ethnicity, so you can go to the list on the side here (scroll down) and search for specific things.
If you like a recipe, please comment! If you have a yummy adaptation, please leave that in the comments as well!

Bread-Making Secrets

Here are a few bread-making tips to help the aspiring bread maker!

Yeast needs a warm safe place to grow--most recipes call for putting yeast in warm water for a bit before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. The water should be just warmer than skin temperature, but not hot. Too hot will kill the yeast, but too cold will not stimulate it. This is one reason why most recipes call for warm water or milk--it warms the whole dough so that it can accept the yeast.

Add just a pinch of sugar to the yeast as it sits there--yeast loves sugar, and will grow fast and bubbly for you! (Do take care, as I've had it bubble right over onto the counter more than once!!) Happy yeast helps make a nice airy bread though.

Yeast is inhibited (or even killed) by fats and salts. So don't put yeast with butter/oil or salt until after it's growing well. (This is one reason that many recipes call for adding at least some flour before adding the yeast, and also why many recipes say to scald the milk--scalding the milk helps destroy its natural enzymes which would battle with the yeast.)

When you are kneading, put flour on the counter, but get your hands wet with water (rather than flouring them also). I was skeptical of this at first, but it has worked well for me. Basically if you add flour from both the counter and your hands, then it is making the dough stiffer as you work...however if you balance the counter-flour by having water on your hands, it helps maintain the texture of the dough. And no, I don't get sticker hands--if anything, they seem to be less-sticky when I do it this way!

Here is the great secret about kneading. One of my friends told me this, and she heard it from her grandmother...it's certainly a married woman's secret, but I have found it to be perfectly accurate! How do you know when you've kneaded the dough enough? When it feels like the family jewels! ☺

Beef Stroganoff

The original recipe I found used ground beef and an onion soup mix, but I've adapted it, added some things, and made it yummier and healthier to boot!

1 c Leftover beef (from steak, roast, etc) chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 chopped onion
3/4-1 c sour cream
1-2 cans cream of mushroom soup
4 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
4 c cooked pasta
(amounts are pretty flexible, I just put approximately what I use--I don't measure!)

Set noodles to cook (they will need around 15 min, and everything else will cook within that time)
If beef is not pre-cooked, then put beef and onion in a hot skillet and saute until meat is cooked and onions look glassy (to prevent sticking, add a little oil if beef is not fatty). If beef IS pre-cooked, then just saute onions, and add beef after onions are glassy. Mix in Worcestershire as the beef cooks.
Dump in sour cream and cream of mushroom soup with the meat/onions, and stir in pan until mixed and warmed-through.
Serve over noodles!

5 Minute Chocolate Cake

This isn't my own recipe, but I had to post it here so that I'd have it saved somewhere that I could find it again!

Single Serving Chocolate Cake in a Mug

(seriously, isn't that the greatest idea?!)

Fast, Cheap, and Easy ("bangers & mash" goes American)

In Britain (so I hear) they will take mashed potatoes and then slice up some bangers (a sausage that my husband tells me actually isn't very good) and they mix it together and call it "Bangers and Mash." Here is my variation--the kind of meal that takes 5 minutes to make yet is a step up from PB&J, and even has a hint of healthy.

Mashed potatoes (I confess to using instant)
1 can of corn (drained)
some hotdogs, bratwursts, or kielbasa.

Make the mashed potatoes, mix in the corn.
Chop up the meat and either mix it in or serve it on the side. (I prefer to serve it on the side because it's easier to adjust proportions, but I do mix them up as I eat...)
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