Copycat Lofthouse Sugar Cookie Recipe

How to Make These Popular Store-Bought Cookies at Home

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith

Copycat Lofthouse Sugar Cookies
Copycat Lofthouse Sugar Cookies
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Although I love to cook, develop bread recipes, and eat copiously, I’m not real big on “sweets.” My wife, (She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed), on the other hand, enjoys her special treats. In particular, she likes Lofthouse Sugar Cookies. I do have a thing for dark (unsweetened) chocolate, and that dovetails nicely in my blood pressure control program because it’s good for that.

Normally, I buy them at the local Kroger when I’m out hunting and gathering. For the past few weeks, they haven’t been selling them. Unfortunate, right? So I decided, hey, why not make them myself? I found many copycat recipes on the internet, took the best of the elements, rolled up my sleeves, and went to work. Here’s what I came up with, and I hope you try it as well. Share the good news, I always say.



Lofthouse Cookie Ingredients

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cup organic pure cane granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract (more than other copycats specify, but yum)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour (some copycats specify cake flour; your call)


Salute to Baking Experimentation

Preparation Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Line one or more baking sheets with parchment paper. I used 2 baking sheets for some really big cookies, seen in the photo above, and that only used up 3/4 of the dough.
  3. Use your mixer in a large mixing bowl to cream together the butter and sour cream until smooth.
  4. Add in the sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Mix until just combined.
  5. In a much bigger mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt (if you are using it). Add the dry ingredients to the wet in three additions, mixing well after each.
  6. Keeping your hands wet with water, form drop cookies. Roll dough into 2″ balls and place 2″ apart on the prepared cookie sheet/s. Using a flat-bottomed glass dipped in water, press the cookie balls flat.
  7. Bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until the cookies just begin to set up and the bottoms are lightly brown; this is really the critical step. After the first 5 minutes, check every minute. Immediately remove them from the cookie sheet/s and let them cool completely on a cooling rack before applying the frosting of your choice.


I hope you enjoy this copycat Lofthouse sugar cookie recipe as much as She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed did. Let us know in the comment section and vote in the survey on the right.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at Considered Opinions Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Taco Beef and Cheese Sopes Recipe

Not as Well Known as Tamales or Enchiladas but Sopes are a Fast, Versatile, Delicious Mexican Food

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith

Taco beef and cheese sopes
Taco beef and cheese sopes
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So, there is Mexican food and there is Tex-Mex food. In many parts of the country, the two terms are used interchangeably. (Gasp! How unenlightened!) There is some overlap and no clear delineation for all practical purposes. However, whichever one you call it, it’s comfort food all the way! In my opinion, sopes fall on the Mexican side because, unlike the ubiquitous enchilada platter, the further you travel north from Texas, the least likely you are to find them on the menu. But don’t despair, with this recipe you can’t go wrong!

Although the sopes themselves are the basis of this recipe, what you choose to put in the filling can be almost anything. Want an entrée? Want a desert? Bases covered. This recipe is reminiscent of pizza or a taco. Bonus? Even the kids will love it! What a way to sneak some veggies into their diets. As always, use organic ingredients when possible.

Sopes Ingredient List

Taco beef and cheese ingredients
Taco beef and cheese sope ingredients

Ghirardelli Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

Delicious 100% Cocoa Lowers Blood Pressure

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith

Ghirardelli chocolate cupcakes
Ghirardelli chocolate cupcakes
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I’ll have to confess, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. I enjoy the odd Reese’s peanut butter cups or pieces, but regular candy or cake, not so much. I do eat a small square of dark chocolate every day because it’s been shown to lower blood pressure naturally. The ingredient in this Ghirardelli chocolate cupcake recipe falls in that category; it is not processed with alkali, otherwise known as the Dutch method. That kind of processing takes away the hypertension benefit.

*Remember: once you lick the frosting off a cupcake, it becomes a muffin. And muffins are healthy. You’re welcome.

Cupcake Ingredients

  • 1 Cup pure cane sugar (or the sweetener of your choice)
  • 1/3 Cup flaxseed meal (for antioxidants, fiber, protein)
  • 3/4 Cup wheat bran (fiber)
  • 3/4 cup Ghirardelli premium baking unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp Himalayan (pink) salt; it retains all the essential minerals that are removed from commercial salt
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 1 3/4 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 Cups water, boiling
  • Frosting of your choice; or not

Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°.
  2. Put baking cups in your cupcake pans. this recipe makes 31 or so cupcakes, so you’ll need 3 pans that hold a dozen each.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add in the milk and butter.
  5. Mix with a beater, medium speed, 2 minutes. Any stronger and you’ll likely be decorating the wall.
  6. Add in the vanilla extract and the eggs.
  7. Mix well.
  8. Stir in the boiling water.
  9. Divide among the baking cups. Filling them about 80% full each leaves just enough room for rising.
  10. Bake for 30 – 45 minutes. Test doneness by pushing down lightly in the center with your fingertip. If the dent springs up nicely, you’re good to go.
  11. Remove from oven, cool, and frost if desired. I don’t frost mine; She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed does. As Pappy used to say, “Each to his own, said the man who kissed the cow.”
  12. Enjoy!


I came up with this version of Ghirardelli chocolate cupcake recipe to add another healthy option to my snacks, baking, and workout recovery food list. But that aside, it’s just plain tasty.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Egg Spinach Pie Recipe

Comfort Food With Just Enough Spice to Wake Your Taste Buds

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith
Egg and spinach pie
Egg and spinach pie
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I had plenty of time to get hungry yesterday afternoon while I was on a long hike with one of my dogs. I felt creative so I came up with this simple egg and spinach pie recipe. I enjoyed it and I bet you will too. As usual, use organic ingredients when possible.

Ingredient List for the Crust

  • 3/4 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Flaxseed Meal
  • Whole wheat or white flour as needed
  • 1 Cup rice flour
  • 3 Cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
Making dough for the crust
Making dough for the crust


Ingredient List for the Filling Mix

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 can of Rotel Diced Tomatoes with Habaneros
  • 4 Cups fresh spinach, chopped (I suppose you could use the frozen stuff if you prefer)
  • 3 Cups cheddar cheese, diced or shredded

Preparation Steps

  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flaxseed meal, rice flour, and baking powder.
  3. Add in the water and mix well.
  4. Start adding in the whole wheat or white flour a bit at a time, mixing until you have a nice, stiff ball of dough.
  5. Turn it out onto the surface of your choice (I used a casserole dish.
  6. Roll out your dough so that it fits in the dish on the bottom and up the inside walls.
  7. Combine the filling mix ingredients and pour them into the dough.
  8. Bake. Mine took 50 minutes for this first time experiment recipe. When the egg mixture doesn’t jiggle, you’ve got it right.
  9. In the last 10 minutes, distribute the cheese on top so it will melt.
  10. Remove it from the oven, give it a couple minutes, and enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed this egg and spinach dish. Like most of my recipes, this one was developed with substitutions in mind. I had cheddar cheese on hand and it worked out well, but I’ll most likely get a bit more creative next time. Leave a comment if you made a delicious change!

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Ham and Onion Quiche Recipe

Perfect for Breakfast, Brunch, or Dinner

by Kelly R. Smith

Ham and onion quiche served up
Ham and onion quiche served up!
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Who doesn’t like quiche? It’s easy to make, versatile, and works for any meal. How about after a long weekend workout or a post New Years Eve brunch? The ingredient list is easy to procure if you don’t already have it on hand. As far as ingredients and spices go, there’s no limit that I’ve found. All you really need are eggs and cheese. Heck, you don’t even need a crust if you are on a low-carb regimen like the Atkins diet. To explore a broad range of possibilities, check out a quiche cookbook. But I digress. Let’s jump into my ham and onion quiche recipe.

Quiche Ingredients

  • 1 frozen pie crust, thawed, or make your own
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk (whole milk is richer)
  • Kosher or pink salt to taste
  • Freshly-ground pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped cooked ham
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used Parmesan last night, but it’s your call.)
  • 1 or 2 green onions, chopped (hint: reserve the root section with about 3/4 inch of the onion. Plant it in a pot or your herb garden, roots down, covered with 1/2 inch of soil. 99% chance it will sprout.)


Ham and onion quiche done!
Ham and onion quiche done!

Preparation Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 375⁰ F.
  2. Whisk together eggs, salt, pepper, and milk, in a mixing bowl.
  3. In the crust, make 2 layers; each has half of the ham, half of the green onions, and 1/2 cup cheese.
  4. Pour the egg mixture over it evenly.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over it evenly. Note: as you see in the picture above, I used an oven-safe skillet to hold the pie tin because it was SO full. If you have egg mixture left over, that’s OK; cook it up separately. Waste not, want not.
  6. I baked mine for an hour to perfection; I suggest you start checking after about 40 minutes. If the top jiggles when you shake it, it’s not done.
  7. Remove, cool for a few minutes, and enjoy!


That’s all there is to this easy ham and onion quiche recipe. It may be fairly basic but it’s not hard to see the many possible variations you can come up with depending on your mood. I’m a big believer in experimentation in the kitchen.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Delicious Foods To Eat For Weight Loss

by Kelly R. Smith

Eat a healthy, balanced diet
Eat a healthy, balanced diet
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You might think, like many people, that losing fat weight is always about specific food deprivation and sticking to a banned list. Generally, the list consists of foods that you love the most. Strategies like intermittent fasting really do work; I’ve been doing it for a couple of months and have lost over 10 pounds. But frankly, it’s just not for everyone. But what if I told you about some delicious foods that are assumed by some to be on the banned list but shouldn’t be? Well, it’s true.

Make the Switch Back to Whole Milk

Dairy fat bad; 2% good. Right? So everyone says. In a study by the American Journal of Nutrition, they concluded that, “We observed that higher intakes of high-fat dairy products but not of low-fat dairy products were associated with less weight gain,which seemed to be driven by intakes of whole-fat milk and butter.”1 Why is that? Essential fatty acids are removed when the milk is skimmed. This is the component that can help you feel fuller more rapidly and stay full longer with full fat products, which cuts down on habitual, excessive overeating. Also, when individuals reduce the fat in their diets, they tend to replace it with sugary beverages and other refined carbohydrates.

Spreads Made From Nuts

Peanut butter, Nutella (chocolate hazelnut), and other nut-based favorites deliver healthy fats and an impressive amount of protein and fiber, as well. Peanut butter offers a blend of 8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons along with 2 grams of fiber. The Harvard Gazette reported regarding a study, “The regular nut-eaters were found to be more slender than those who didn’t eat nuts, a finding that should alleviate fears that eating a lot of nuts will lead to overweight.”2 The best way to get nuts into your diet other than toast spreads for breakfast is snacking on a couple spoonfuls of nut butters in between meals to control your appetite. That’s good news for me!

Pasta Is Your Friend

Low-carb diets like the Atkins and Ketogenic diets will help you lose weight lightning-fast, but they have their own issues. They are not really “lifestyle” diets; they are restrictive and what about when you eat out? They rely on ketosis, a normal metabolic process that will cause even teetotalers to blow positive on a breathalyzer test. But whole grain pasta takes a long time to digest, leaving you with a steadier source of fuel to support energy levels.

Get Cracking With Eggs

They are high up there in high-quality protein, healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals. They are a low-calorie, nutrient-dense food when it comes to both snacks and meals, such as a big omelet. They come in at just 70 calories each so there’s no reason not to enjoy the whole egg, yolk and white combined (shell excluded of course). Yes, egg yolks are a significant source of your dietary cholesterol, but recent studies have now proven that dietary cholesterol has less of an effect on blood cholesterol than was once thought. The most recent evidence suggests that eating whole eggs (in moderation) is safe, and some studies even demonstrate that they may assist in your weight loss when they are eaten in lieu of refined carbohydrates.

Chicken on the Dark Side

You should remove the skin but dark meat poultry (leg and thigh) tends to be more tender, juicy, and rich in flavor than its white meat counterparts. This requires not only less butter or oil to cook it up with, but also less of your favorite sauce or creamy condiments that your breast meat requires. To make things even better, it’s a great source of lean protein that will leave you more satisfied at meal time, so you will be less likely to overeat later. Chicken also makes great jerky if you have a food dehydrator.

The Decadence of Dark Chocolate

One or two squares of this rich, satisfying chocolate will reduce your stress levels and help to curb cravings for other sugar-loaded treats as well. High stress levels has been known lead to cortisol hormone spikes. These increase your appetite and emotional eating behaviors. The desirable benefits of dark chocolate (not regular candy bars) are specific to the concentration of cocoa flavonoids. These have been shown in studies to have multiple health benefits, such as improving blood flow to the brain and reducing the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels, blood sugar and blood pressure. The higher the percentage of cacao, the greater the benefits.



References

  1. Susanne Rautiainen, Lu Wang, I-Min Lee, JoAnn E Manson, Julie E Buring, Howard D Sesso, American Journal of Nutrition, Dairy consumption in association with weight change and risk ofbecoming overweight or obese in middle-aged and older women:a prospective cohort study, https://watermark.silverchair.com/ajcn118406.pdf
  2. The Harvard Gazette, Research also shows people who eat nuts weigh less, https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2013/11/eating-nuts-reduces-risk-of-death/

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Panama Canal Zone Johnny Mazetti Recipe

by Kelly R. Smith

Canal Zone style Johnny Mazetti
Canal Zone style Johnny Mazetti
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A lot of people will tell you that this dish originated in Columbus, Ohio, but it is safe to say that no group of people have enjoyed it as much as Zonians. Some variations on the name are Marzetti and Marzotti, but whatever you call it, it’s just the thing to wash down with a bottle Cerveza Panama (or Balboa or Atlas if you prefer; people seem to be polarized on this).

Following is my list the traditional ingredients, but when I put some things in parentheses, that just means that these are substitutions I have experimented with and enjoyed. You are encouraged to do the same. You won’t be the first or the last, and there are many variations out there. Who knows what old Johnny would say about that?

List of Ingredients (Organic where Possible)

  • 3/4 lb. grated cheddar cheese (or mix it up; I last experimented with half cheddar and half asiago)
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 large green bell pepper (or yellow or red)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (I like red onions)
  • As much minced garlic as you like
  • 1 16 oz. can of tomato sauce (or Pace Picante Sauce, hot or mild)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 can of Arturo Sauce if you can find it; Amazon has it, (otherwise, 8 oz. can of tomato sauce)
  • 1 can of mushrooms (I prefer bulk shrooms; shiitake, baby bella, or portobello)
  • 1 8 oz. can of tomato paste
  • Black and/or green olives, with or without the juice, about 7 oz. total
  • 18 oz. package of egg noodles (or try my egg noodle recipe)
  • Optional: Hot peppers! (I said Panama, right? Aji chombo or habaneros works for me.)

Directions

Preparing Johnny Mazetti
Preparing Johnny Mazetti
  1. Cook the ground beef and vegetables in a large skillet.
  2. Add in all the sauces.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 350 F.
  4. Add the olives and mushrooms.
  5. Remove from heat and cook the noodles.
  6. Mix it all together and place it in a 9” X 13” glass baking dish.
  7. Spread the cheese on top.
  8. Bake for 1 hour.
  9. Remove and enjoy.


This batch of Johnny Mazetti this size will serve 6 to 8 people, depending on appetite. This is a particularly good dish as a recovery food after a long run or after a hard workout. It is also one of those foods that gets better when reheated after being frozen or refrigerated; something about the flavors mingling together. It’s best served with cold beer or wine. Enjoy!

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Ranch Dressing Cheeseburger Recipe

by Kelly R. Smith

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Ranch dressing chesse burger
Ranch dressing chesse burger

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This recipe was updated on 12/29/20.

In our home the ranch dressing cheeseburger is the go-to sandwich when the mood hits for comfort food a la Americana. This recipe is just my humble twist on the old classic hamburger. The beauty of this dish is that the range of condiments and fixings is endless. As always, use organic ingredients whenever possible. Read on.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef. Or, ground bison if you’ve got deep pockets.
  • Buns; I prefer whole wheat.
  • Vegetables of your choice. In the photo above I used red onion, tomato, spinach, and a slathering of avocado on the bun that’s covered up.
  • Condiments of choice. That’s barbecue sauce you see in the photo. She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed says it looks like burnt bun. Belay that misconception!
  • Cheese of choice. Mine was Swiss, hers was jalapeno jack.
  • 1 packet of ranch dressing powder. I suppose Hidden Valley is the standard but in my experience, the Kroger brand is the same thing for half the price. Dollars to donuts that it all comes out of the same factory.
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Put the meat in a mixing bowl and crack the eggs into it. The reason for 2 eggs rather than one or none is that the ranch dressing powder will make the patties crumbly when you go to flip them. The eggs prevent that. Besides, who couldn’t use more vitamins and minerals? Just say no to nutrient deficiency.
  2. Open the packed of dressing powder and set aside within reach.
  3. Mix the meat and eggs well with your (washed) hands.
  4. Mix in the powder. Your hands are slippery by now; that’s the reason for pre-opening the packet.
  5. Form the patties. I like to make 1/3 lb. patties rather than 1/4 lb.
  6. Cook the patties in your preferred method, skillet, outdoor or countertop barbecue grill, or otherwise.
  7. Assemble your burgers and enjoy!


That’s all there is to my take on the ranch dressing cheeseburger recipe. I hope you like it. Here are a few more of my creations; I only post those that have been spouse-approved so no worries! Share with your friends.

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Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.

About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Shepherd’s Pie Skillet Recipe

by Kelly R. Smith

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Shepherd's pie skillet style
Shepherd’s pie skillet style

The weather is starting to cool off and that means two things — it is time for a flu shot and comfort food is the order of the day. This recipe for shepherd’s pie fills the bill nicely. Easy, frugal meals is just what we need as we spend more time at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. One good thing about this meal is its flexibility. There are any number of substitutions and additions you can make. So, let’s get started.

Shepherd’s Pie Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 box Beef Pasta Hamburger Helper (or the flavor of your choice)
  • Hot water/milk called for on Hamburger Helper box
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
  • Hungry Jack mashed potatoes for 6 servings
  • Water and butter called for on mashed potatoes box for 6 servings
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Chopped parsley (amount to taste)

Preparation Steps

  1. Using a 10-inch skillet, cook beef over medium-high heat for 5 – 7 minutes, stirring often, until brown. Drain the grease. Stir in hot water, milk, sauce mix, uncooked pasta (from the Hamburger Helper box), and thawed vegetables. Heat to boiling, stirring frequently.
  2. Reduce the heat. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the pasta and vegetables are tender. Remove the pan from heat.
  3. Make the mashed potatoes as directed on box for 6 servings. Spoon and gently spread mashed potatoes over pasta mixture. Sprinkle with the cheese. Cover; let stand about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

That’s all there is to the shepherd’s pie skillet recipe. You can substitute a different type of cheese, type of Hamburger Helper, and add additional spices. It’s all good.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Synbiotics; What Does It All Mean?

by Kelly R. Smith

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The health benefits of probiotics
The health benefits of probiotics

This article was updated on 10/26/20.

Everywhere we turn nowadays we hear about probiotics. But what about prebiotics and synbiotics? Actually, they all work hand in hand. Here’s the rundown.

  • Probiotics. WebMD says, “Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for you, especially your digestive system. We usually think of these as germs that cause diseases. But your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called ‘good’ or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy.” When you lose the “good” bacteria that inhabit your gut, after you take antibiotics for example, probiotics can help replace them. The two main types are lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. You can get them through dairy and supplements.
  • Prebiotics. The Mayo Clinic tells us, “Prebiotics are specialized plant fibers. They act like fertilizers that stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.” They are found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, mostly those that are rich complex carbohydrates, such as fiber and resistant starch. These carbs aren’t digestible by your body, so they pass through the digestive system to become food for the bacteria and other microbes. When your balance is off it can affect your metabolism.
  • Synbiotics. ScienceDirect says, “Synbiotics are a combination of prebiotics and probiotics that are believed to have a synergistic effect by inhibiting the growth of pathogenic bacteria and enhancing the growth of beneficial organisms.” Evidence suggests that synbiotics influence the microbial ecology in our intestines. This is true in both humans and animals and synbiotics play a role in alleviating various illnesses.

Knowing what we know about prebiotics, probiotics, and synbiotics it becomes clear that we should maintain our diet with various types of foods in mind, organic whenever possible. This includes milk, cheese, fermented foods like kimchi and kombucha, whole grains, miso, fruits, and vegetables.

Benefits of Probiotics

  • Improves immune function. They assist in the treatment and/or prevention of many common conditions. Some of these include diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.
  • Protects against hostile bacteria to prevent infection. Under normal (balanced) conditions, your friendly bacteria in your gut outnumber the unfriendly ones. Probiotics stand duty as gut-beneficial bacteria that create a physical barricade against legions of unfriendly bacteria.
  • Improves digestion and absorption of food and nutrients.
  • Counters the negative effects of antibiotics. When you contract a bacterial infection, antibiotics are most often prescribed to as the immediate solution. That’s a Godsend, but unfortunately, nothing good comes free, and antibiotics kill bacteria arbitrarily, decimating both good and bad bacteria in your intestinal tract. By eliminating beneficial bacteria, your body is susceptible to a number digestive issues. Myself, when I go to the grocery store to have an antibiotic prescription filled, I also stock up on yogurt with active cultures.
  • Boosts heart health.
  • Lowers cholesterol. Probiotics contain bacteria that are effective in lowering total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Taylor Francis Online says, “Numerous clinical studies have concluded that BSH-active probiotic bacteria, or products containing them, are efficient in lowering total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.”

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.