The Starch and the Sauce

Most sauces use starch as a thickening agent to thicken and reduce viscosity. The most common starches are cornstarch and wheat starch, usually in the form of flour. How does this thickening process between starch and sauce work? Understanding the Sauce Before the Starch Sauces come in an infinite variety of flavors and types. The basic dessert sauce is a mixture of a liquid, a sweetener, a fat, and a starch. Dinner sauces are similarly constructed without the sweetener. The sweetener can be sugar, brown sugar, honey, or more. The fat gives a pleasing “mouth feel” to the sauce, usually …

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How to Make Stuffed Pork Chops (with Recipes)

Stuffed pork chops are one of those foods that are easy to make for the family on a busy day and impressive enough that you can present them to company. Stuffed pork chops are one of the most versatile main dish foods that we know. Both sweet and savory fillings go well with pork chops so you can stuff them with an endless array of choices. They work in both the summer and winter. Since you can grill them as well as fry or bake them, you can cook them on the patio when the weather is nice. How to …

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How to Bake Bread Machine Mixes in Your Oven

You don’t have to own a bread machine to enjoy the variety of bread machine mixes. And you don’t have to make blocky, square loaves with holes in the bottom. You can make wonderful rolls, traditional sandwich loaves, and artisan loaves with or without the aid of a bread machine. In this article, we will tell you how to convert any bread machine mix into great breads by hand or with your stand-type mixer and in the oven. Prepare the Bread Machine Mix: Heat the butter until it is almost melted. (If your mix calls for butter, it will be …

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Cheese and Bacon Stuffed Pork Chops

Cheese, bacon, and pork are a great combination, and there’s nothing better than stuffing it all together in a juicy pork chop. These cheese and bacon stuffed pork chops are delicious and are sure to impress the tastebuds, picky eaters, and dinner guests. Who can say no to crispy bacon mixed with creamy melted cheese anyway? We’ll tell you just how to make them. Quick Notes From the Test Kitchen This stuffed pork chop recipe calls for a mild cheese, but suit your preferences. Be sure and close up the opening with toothpicks to keep the cheese from melting out …

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Learn How to Bake Bread on Your Grill

Choose a FREE Bread Mix! Add it to cart and use code “Z123” at checkout. Baking your bread on the grill can provide a nice respite from the midday heat, and you don’t have to add the extra heat into your kitchen while it’s baking. Enjoy the fresh air and fresh-baked bread at the cabin, on the patio, or the next family reunion as your neighbors turn their noses upwind to get a swift of the aroma of fresh-baked bread wafting over the fence. Believe it or not, you can bake your bread on the grill, and we’ll tell you …

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Roast Chicken with Apple Cornbread Dressing

More than the fruits and vegetables of the harvest, the fall season is a season of leftovers. What better way to use leftover cornbread than in an apple cornbread stuffing to pair with roast chicken? The apple and nuts really spice up the familiar flavors of stuffing, making your dinner of leftovers unforgettable. Skillet Cornbread Recipe (with walnuts) Ingredients 1 cup yellow cornmeal 1/2 cup buttermilk 2 tablespoons butter 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 1 cup chopped walnuts 4 large eggs Directions Mix the cornmeal with …

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How to Form a Bread Loaf

We’ve already discussed how to mix bread dough, remembering to allow enough time for your yeast to work its magic and getting your dough just right. Now it’s time to go over how to form a bread loaf. In this article, we will discuss how to form the perfect bread loaf by hand, whether it’s free-standing or going into a bread pan. Basics of Forming a Bread Loaf Forming a bread loaf doesn’t have to be as hard as we often make it out to be. In fact, it’s pretty simple once you get the hang of it, and you’ll …

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Fresh Tomatoes and Cheese Baked French Toast

This baked French toast is a type of cheesy baked custard that works as a main dish for brunch, lunch, or dinner.  It also works well as an overnight French toast because you can let the bread slices and egg mixture sit in the fridge overnight, so all you have to do in the morning is bake it and top it. This is a great dish for tomato lovers. Choosing the Bread for Your Baked French Toast The rule for French toast has always been to use a thicker bread, and that’s even more true for baked French toast. The …

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How to Make an Easy Dinner with Pigs-in-a-Blanket using Biscuit Dough or Bread Dough

Pigs in a Blanket with cheese in the center

Save up to 60% off on the bread mixes for your pigs in a blanket. I grew up with pigs in a blanket. Loved them. My mother wrapped biscuit dough around sausages or hot dogs. They were quick and easy and her kids were excited about them. She could add a salad and maybe some chips and had an easy meal. A blanket wrapped around a hot dog—or better, a brat—sure beats a store-bought bun. A narrow strip of cheddar down the center of the dog makes them even better.

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A Guy’s Blueprint for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is just days away. Are you ready to wow your sweetheart? We have dinner in restaurants often. That’s nice, but we do it often enough that it doesn’t have the impact that Merri Ann deserves for Valentine’s Day. When we were first married, those first few years before we were inundated with crying babies and a thousand other things, I made dinner on special occasions—I mean white linens and roses and the best steaks I could buy. (Merri Ann loves a good steak). It’s not a lot of work, it just takes planning. I don’t even know where …

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Three Ways to Make a Meal Out of Your Leftover Mashed Potatoes

So, what do you do with all your leftover mashed potatoes? Make a quick meal out of them. After all, most of the work is already done. Meal #1: Make a grilled cheese sandwich and a mashed potato salad  It doesn’t have to be a grilled cheese sandwich. Any sandwich will do. Mashed potato salads are super quick and easy, not much more than stirring in mayonnaise and condiments. So, a sandwich and a mashed potato salad is a quick, easy meal. And if you like potato salads, you’ll like mashed potato salads.  Use the same ingredients as you use for …

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How to Make Your Brownies Look Like They Came from a Bakery

Choose your brownies and make them so that they cut neat and square.  Our New York Dessert Brownies were designed for that.  If you want a gooey brownie, choose Uncle Bob’s Extra Moist Brownies but freeze them for an hour to make them firm before cutting. STEP 1: Line your pan with parchment paper.  Spread shortening in the pan to hold the paper in place.  Don’t worry; the fat will be outside the paper, not on your brownies. STEP 2: After removing the pan from the oven, grab the edges of the paper and lift the cake from the pan. STEP 3: Using two cooling …

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How to Make Stuffed Pork Chops (with Recipes)

Stuffed pork chops are one of those foods that is easy to make for the family on a busy day and impressive enough that you can present to company. Stuffed pork chops are one of the most versatile main dish foods that we know. Both sweet and savory fillings go well with pork chops so you can stuff them with an endless array of choices. They work in both the summer and winter. Since you can grill them as well as fry or bake them, you can cook them on the patio when the weather is nice. How to Stuff …

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A Guide to German Pancakes and Pannekoeken

The Perfect Summer Fare Pannekoeken and German pancakes are perfect for summer.  It’s a great way to take advantage of the seasonal harvest from berries through apples—even though putting syrup on them like pancakes is delicious. They’re quick so you’re not stuck in the kitchen long.  In our kitchen, a pannekoeken bakes in eleven minutes.  And you don’t have the oven on long enough to heat up the house. But most of all, they’re luscious.  Your family love them.  Guests will be delighted.  And you can make a different variation every time so no one gets tired of what you …

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I Work With a Bunch of Geniuses

“God gives talent. Work transforms talent into genius.”  -Anna Pavlova- Back in my college days, we studied a British behaviorist, I believe his name was James Hardy, who postulated that there were 16 kinds of genius. That included musical, spatial, mathematical, and 13 more. When I did a little Google research, I found similar models though the number of types varies based on the researcher and how he measures and categorizes. The point is there are many kinds of genius. Hardy concluded that nearly everyone was a genius at something. That means that you’re a genius. That’s been a helpful …

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Merri Ann’s Crock Pot Potatoes

This is the recipe that Merri Ann used for Easter dinner mashed potatoes.  It’s a combination of several recipes that she found on line with her own simple seasoning.  Good potatoes! Most recipes called for Yukon Gold potatoes but we used russets.  We mashed them right in the crock pot.  If we had mashed them with the paddle in the stand-type mixer they would have been fluffier but that would have been an extra step and an extra dirty bowl. She used seven pounds of potatoes which maxed out a large crock pot.  The recipe below is scaled back to …

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Chicken and New Potatoes Skillet Dinner

This is our all-time favorite chicken skillet dinner—chicken and new potatoes slathered in sour cream. We’ve been making it for years, ever since we lived in Alaska where we grew scads of potatoes (yes, veggies grow well in The Land of the Midnight Sun—at least the cool weather crops). Anyway, try this while there are still some of those good little red potatoes available. Chicken and New Potatoes Skillet Dinner Recipe It’s hard to go wrong with chicken, new potatoes, and sour cream. This recipe mixes the three in a stovetop, skillet dinner that is easy and almost foolproof. It …

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How to Make Simple Meals with Spices

Teeny Tiny Spices Taco Seasoning

How to Make Simple Meals with Spices It’s been two years now since we started carrying spice blends from The Teeny Tiny Spice Company of Vermont. I’ve used them every week—it seems like every day. I love them. Last night I opened a can of soup from the grocery store. It was bland. I solved that with Ras El Hanout. I fix scrambled eggs, often with meat, corn, or cheese added. I liven them up with a spice blend. I use the Mexican spices the most. See all the spice blends from Teeny Tiny. In our store, we have sample …

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Really Easy Pulled Pork Sandwiches

On Sundays, we invite our children and their families over for dinner.  Last Sunday, Merri Ann and I made pulled pork sandwiches.  They were very good and very easy.  Here’s how she did it.  She bought five pounds of carnitas which is boneless and inexpensive but any pork roast will do.  Five pounds was more than enough and Ben and Paige, our youngest son and his bride, took extras home. She put the meat in the crock-pot before church and added enough root beer soda pop to make sure it was well covered.  (Don’t worry about adding too much.)  She …

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Four Steps to Easy Dinners

Dinner is a challenge. It’s not that we don’t know how to cook but after a long day at work and with a dozen things to do at home, it just takes time and energy.What do we fix for dinner?We could put something in the crock-put before we leave for work. We’re not that organized (I’m not that organized) and the crock pot is utilized for Sunday duty. I love stir-fries but Merri Ann doesn’t like them. There are other choices like casseroles (they usually take too long), tacos, and soups, but what to fix for dinner usually centers on …

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