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!

Cheese Biscuits

This started as a basic biscuit recipe, but what isn't better with cheese?! We were shooting for something similar Red Lobster's "Cheddar Bay Biscuits." (I have looked at several knockoff recipes, and it's the after-cooking butter mix that seems to be the secret ingredient.)
I have tried grating the cheese and also cutting it into cubes. As the photo shows, the cubes will melt and make little holes in the biscuits... I usually prefer grated cheese, but the bigger cubes do make a stronger cheese flavor, so experiment and see what you like.
This recipe is good for plain biscuits too.

3 c white flour (with the cheese this recipe is not very wheat flour friendly)
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cream of tartar (you can technically skip this, but if you have it do use it, it helps with fluffiness)
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c lard  or room temperature butter (or you can substitute in part bacon grease, but if you do that be sure to add it with the liquid part)
1 1/2 c milk or buttermilk (or milk with 1Tbs of lemon juice in it)
1 egg (optional)
1 - 1 1/2 c cheddar cheese, grated or chopped into little cubes
For that really Red Lobster touch, melt 2 Tbs butter and put in 1-3 tsp garlic powder and 3/4-1 tsp dried oregano. (I like lots of garlic and not much oregano, adjust for your tastes.) Use a pastry brush to put it on the biscuits as soon as they come out of the oven, OR take them out a couple of minutes before they are done cooking and brush it on and then put them back in for the last few min.

Preheat oven to 450.
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Cut in the solid fat (lard or butter) until all is consistently crumbly.
Add liquid ingredients all at once, and stir with a fork just until moistened.
Stir in cheese.

Put in blobs on a baking sheet (just like cookies). If you have parchment paper that is really nice because otherwise the cheese will often melt out and stick to the pan.
Bake at 450 for 10ish minutes.

Potato Soup (Zuppa de Toscana)

In its original incarnation this recipe was chopped potatoes with some hot dogs thrown in, but after an inspiring visit to Olive Garden my husband suggested putting in pork sausage instead of hot dogs, and the rest is history... I'm pretty sure that everyone who has tried this soup loves it.
Don't scrimp on the salt. It needs it. Potatoes absorb a lot of salt. Using sausage helps, but you'll still need more.

serves about 6

6 large potatoes, cut into 1/2in cubes (peel them first if you use russets, but you can leave part or all of the skins on if you use reds or golds)
1/2-1 onion, chopped little
1 lb ground pork sausage (actually 3/4 is plenty, but they come in 1lb portions usually...and it works)
salt and pepper
parsley (fresh is good in little sprigs, or use about 1Tbs of dried flakes)

Put the cut up potatoes and onions in a large saucepan, with just enough water to cover them. Boil them until they are soft (adding water as needed).
Meanwhile, cook up the pork sausage. When it is cooked through, set aside on a paper towel to let some of the grease come off (it's good if it's still a bit greasy though).
Return to the potatoes etc and drain off some of the water (leaving just a cup or so in the pan). Put in the sausage. Add milk to cover, and warm it on low or med-low heat but don't allow it to boil (milk gets ikky if it's boiled). Add salt (start with at least 2 tsp) and pepper. Use a potato masher to smash around in there until about half of the potato chunks are pulverized. That will give a nice thick consistency to the soup, while still having good chunks to chew on.
Add parsley.

Serve with a garnish of fresh parsley if you like.
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