Common Sense Home Recipes and Kitchen Tips

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These are all the recipes and kitchen tips articles on the Common Sense Home website, featuring everything from main dishes to canning recipes to personal care items. We cook most of our meals at home, and preserve quite a bit of produce from the garden, so our kitchen is always busy.

From our kitchen to yours - canning and preserving recipes, main dishes, side dishes, breads, desserts, snacks, fermented foods, plus handy kitchen tips.

Many of the recipes are family favorites handed down from my mother and grandmother. Please leave a comment if you have a recipe request for the site, or let me know which types of recipes are your favorites.

Shares, Pins and Likes always appreciated to help spread the word about the website!

Canning and Preserving Recipes and Guides

The canning and preserving recipes are sorted by food type. Most of the canning recipes may be processed in a water bath canner because they either have a low pH, added sugar, or both.

Preserving Guides

Botulism – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Tips for Safe Home Canning

How to Can Food at Home – Quick Guide to Safe Home Canning

Altitude Adjustments for Canning (Includes Printable Chart)

Home Food Preservation – 10 Ways to Preserve Food at Home

Home Food Drying – 6 Things You Need to Know to Dehydrate Food at Home

Root Cellars 101- Root Cellar Design, Use and Mistakes to Avoid

Above Ground Root Cellars

Build Your Own Walk In Cooler with a CoolBot Controller and A/C Unit

Home Grain Mills – Comparison of Manual Grain Grinders for the Home

Freeze Drying

Home Freeze Drying – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

5 Best Freeze Dried Foods – Long Term Quality Food Storage

11 Freeze Drying Mistakes to Avoid for Best Storage Quality

Harvest Right Freeze Dryer – Cost Analysis and Optimizing Load Size

From our kitchen to yours - canning and preserving recipes, main dishes, side dishes, breads, desserts, snacks, fermented foods, plus handy kitchen tips.

Vegetables

My boys treat tomato products as their own food group, so each year we put up several hundred pounds of tomatoes in one form or another. I freeze or freeze dry our low acid vegetables, or can them pickled.

Betty's No Can Dill Pickles

Easy Horseradish Sauce with Fresh Horseradish Root – Hot or Cream Style

Pickle Relish Sweetened With Honey

How to Can Green Beans

How to Freeze Green Beans – With or Without Blanching

Pickled Dilly Beans with Garlic and Cayenne Pepper

Gram Irene's Pickled Beets

Rhubarb-B-Q Sauce and Rhubarb-Orange Compote

25+ Asparagus Recipes + 4 Ways to Store Asparagus

Pickled Peppers

Tomatoes

Botanically a fruit, most commonly used as a vegetable, we process more pounds of tomatoes than any other garden crop. Since we have so many tomato preservation recipes on the site, I decided to give them their very own section.

Spaghetti Sauce for Canning (with Fresh or Frozen Tomatoes)

Home Canned Salsa Recipe – Plus 10 Tips for Safe Salsa Canning

Homemade Ketchup – Canned

Tomato Soup – Easy Recipe for Canning or Freezing

How to Can Tomatoes in a Canner or Large Pot

Green Tomato Pickles

Pickled Cherry Tomatoes for Canning, Plus More Cherry Tomato Ideas

Fruits

Fruits are very easy to preserve. They can be frozen, freeze dried, dehydrated, canned or made into preserves. Some of my favorite fruit storage recipes include different spices and flavorings, or a mix of fruits. As long as you follow safe food preservation guidelines, the only limit to flavors is your imagination.

Homemade Fruit Leather – Works with a Variety of Fruits

Dehydrating Apples for Easy Homemade Apple Chips

5 Ways to Preserve Peaches, Plus the Easiest Way to Peel Peaches

9 Ways to Preserve Pears, Plus Tips to Prevent Browning

Dehydrating Pears (With Tips for Prep and Storage)

12 Ways to Preserve Strawberries – Plus Tips to Keep Berries Fresh Longer

Preserve Apples for Year Round Use 17 Easy and Creative Ways

Almond Pears

Spiced Crabapples and Honey Cinnamon Crabapples

Apple Scrap Vinegar – Get More Out of Your Apple Harvest

Jams and Jellies

Jams, jellies and spreads are also very easy to preserve. Many of these recipes are low sugar, and could be stored as freezer jams. My freezer space is typically reserved for selected veggies and bulk meat purchases from local providers, so I can my jams. Ten minutes in a boiling water bath canner and you're done. (In case you remember the days of home canning requiring a layer of wax, don't worry. That's no longer recommended.) If you don't have a water bath canner, you can use a large pot as described in the post “How to Can Food at Home – Quick Guide to Safe Home Canning“.

Full Listing of All Our Jam, Jelly and Spread Recipes with Photos

Autumnberry-Apple Cider Jam

Apple Blossom Jelly – A Great Use for Flowering Crab Apples

2 Ingredient Apple Jelly

Brandied Cinnamon Apple Preserves

Apple Currant Spread – Low Sugar with a Touch of Cinnamon

Maple Apple Jam

Low Sugar Apricot Jam Recipe – Sweeten with Sugar or Honey

Blueberry Jam – Easy, Small Batch, Low Sugar and Very Blueberry

Blueberry Peach Jam – Low Sugar, Small Batch Recipe

Blueberry Pear Jam – Sweet, Luscious Pears and Ripe, Juicy Blueberries

Cranberry-Pear Jam – Traditional and Low-Sugar

Currant Almond Jelly with No Added Pectin

Dandelion Jelly – An Easy Flower Jelly Recipe with Less Sugar

Elderberry Jelly Recipes – Low Sugar and Sure-Jell Options

Lemon Ground Cherry Jelly

Lilac Jelly

Maple Pear Jelly

Mulberry Jam – Use Fresh or Frozen Berries

Orange Marmalade Recipe (Quick Cooking, Low Sugar)

Peach Jam Recipes – Peach Vanilla and Fuzzy Navel – Freezer Jam Option

Peach Raspberry Jam – “Blushing” Peach Jam is a Wonderful Summer Treat

Pear Ginger Jam

Plum Jam with Walnuts and Rum – Small Batch, Low Sugar

Spiced Plum Preserves – Sweetened with Honey

Queen Anne’s Lace Jelly with Currants – You Won’t Believe the Flavor

Red Raspberry Jelly

Easy Low Sugar Raspberry Jam

Rhuberry Spread – Naturally Sweetened Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam

Rose Hip Jelly from Wild or Garden Roses

Strawberry Jam and Strawberry Banana Jam Sweetened with Honey – Low Sugar Recipes

Strawberry Banana Jam

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Strawberry Vanilla Preserves (Small Batch, Low Sugar)

Striped Jelly – Makes a One of a Kind Homemade Gift

Violet Jelly

homemade alfredo sauce

Main Dish recipes

More often than not, my main dishes and side dishes are put together for most meals without a recipe. I do have a few favorites written down for more consistent results, some of which I have shared here.

Easy Homemade Alfredo Sauce – Great for Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

Church Dinner Chicken

Dutch Oven Pot Roast for the Stove or Campfire Cooking

Easy Chicken Pot Pie Recipe with Homemade Pie Crust

Easy Cheese Quiche Recipe with Fresh, Frozen or Freeze Dried Veggies

Fried Rice the will have them asking for seconds (and leftovers)

Ground Beef and Wild Rice Casserole

Potato Pancakes Like Grandma Used to Make

Sloppy Joes with Homemade Buns

How to Cook Beef Tongue

Quesadillas – Savory or Sweet, Plus a Homemade Tortilla Recipe

August's Chili

How to Render Beef Tallow

Schmaltz – How to Render Chicken Fat, and What to Do With It

Bean and Lentil Recipes – More than 66 Recipes from Soups to Dessert

Side Dish recipes

Vegetables

Onion Pudding

Broccoli, Bacon and Cheese Salad

How to Grow Sprouts

Potatoes/Starches

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

German Potato Salad made with Peruvian Purple Potatoes

Homemade Baked Beans

Haluski – Cabbage and noodles – one of our favorite ways to eat cabbage

Fruits

Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce with 7 Flavor Variations

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup (Olive Garden Copycat)

Soup and Stew recipes

A good bowl of soup is a wonderful thing. Cooking the bony bits of critters into broth is also a very economical source of protein to stretch your budget. Many of my favorite soup recipes remake a bit of leftovers into a whole new meal. Others take advantage of seasonal produce.

How to Make Homemade Chicken Broth for Great Flavor and More Nutrition – How to make a proper chicken bone broth, the foundation for most of my soup and stew recipes, and basic chicken soup

Beef Stock Recipe – How to Make Stock from Scratch – another foundational recipe

Gram Irene's Oyster Stew

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup, Olive Garden Style

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Cream of Mushroom Soup (Includes Gluten Free, Dairy Free Options)

Toscana Soup, Olive Garden Style

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Broccoli Cheese Soup with a Surprise Ingredient

Cheese Soup in Homemade Bread Bowls

three loaves of homemade bread

Bread and Cracker recipes

Bread has been called the “staff of life” because it is so widely used for sustenance. I come from a long line of bakers. My mom's first job as a teen was doing the weekly baking for a neighbor, and we had a family catering business for nine years where everything was baked from scratch. Commercial baked goods often use preservatives and other ingredients I try to avoid.  In your own kitchen, you control what goes in the mix.

Yeast Breads

Our Favorite Easy Homemade Bread Recipe

Basic Sourdough Bread

Potato Bread using Leftover Mashed Potatoes

Crusty French Bread

Betty's Buttermilk Rye Bread

Duncan's Meat in a Loaf

Never Buy Bread Again – 14 Homemade Bread Recipes

For additional bread baking tips, check out “Troubleshooting Tips to Help You Bake the Perfect Loaf of Bread“.

How to Make Seasoned Croutons

Quick Breads

Best Ever Cornbread Recipe

Brazilian Cheese Bread – Gluten Free

Cranberry Orange Bread

Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Swirl + a “Must See” Muffin Tips List

Always Moist Banana Bread Recipe (Easy, Great Flavor)

Gluten Free Banana Bread

Rhubarb Bread

Cheesy Garlic Zucchini Bread

Mom’s Best Zucchini Bread Recipe – A Homestyle Country Classic

Crackers

Sourdough Crackers (Easy Recipe with 5 Flavor Options)

Homemade “Wheat Thin” Style Crackers with Soaked Flour

Rhubarb pudding cake has a delicate sugar crust, and rich pudding bottom. It's easy to make using fresh or frozen rhubarb, and can also be made gluten free.

Sweets

My baking history also led to a lot of dessert preparation. In this section you'll find a mix of old and new. There are traditional family recipes handed down from my mother and grandmother, as well other familiar old time flavors. Over the years I've added lower sugar and gluten free options, too.

Edible Shot Glasses or Mini Serving Cups – Fun and Easy to Make

No Bake Cheesecake (Easy Recipe, Fun Serving Ideas)

Old Fashioned Chocolate Pudding – gluten free

Indian Pudding Recipe with Cranberries and Maple Syrup – gluten free

Fried Apples with Maple Cinnamon Glaze (No Refined Sugar)

Honey Caramel Corn – gluten free

Maple Popcorn – gluten free

Hungarian Nut Rolls – Sweet, Nut Filled Pastries – A Family Holiday Treat

How to Make Kolache

Pumpkin Spice Scones

Gram Irene's Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Grandma Catherine's Polish Doughnuts

Bavarian Cream Bonnet – decorative Easter Brunch recipe – gluten free

Cakes

Easy Apple Cake with Caramel Topping

Mom’s Best Chocolate Pudding Cake Recipe

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache (Gluten Free)

Red, White and Blue Cake

Strawberry Shortcake with Strawberry Whipped Cream

Old Fashioned Rhubarb Pudding Cake

Dandelion Wine Fruitcake

Grandma Catherine's Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yule Log Cake (Bûche de Noël)

chocolate chestnut brownies on white plate

Cookies, Bars and Brownies

Easy Chocolate Brownies

Chocolate Coffee Cookies (Reindeer Print Cookies)

Cranberry Cookies made with fresh cranberries and nuts

Sourdough Brownies – these are great for using up excess starter that is not completely active

Chocolate Chestnut Brownies -gluten free, grain free, dairy free, no refined sugar

Maple No Bake Cookies – easy drop cookies

Honey Sweetened No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Cranberry Chestnut Bars – gluten free, grain free, dairy free

Easy Christmas Cookies – One Dough, Three Different Cookies

Maple Macaroons – Refined Sugar Free, Gluten Free, Delicious!

Chocolate Mint Sandwich Cookies

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Chocolate Raspberry Granola Cookies

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Walnuts and Dried Cranberries

Maple Buttons – Thumbprint cookies with Maple Cream

Maple Leaf Cookies Made with Real Maple Syrup and Maple Glaze

Raspberry Ribbon Cookies

Sugar Cookie Snowflakes – An Easy Sugar Cookie Recipe, All Dressed Up

Sourdough Cookies

Tigernut chocolate chip cookies – gluten free, nut free (tigernuts are tubers), paleo friendly

Family Favorite Christmas Cookies

Fudge and Truffles

Coconut Oil Fudge – Easy, Delicious, No Baking Required – gluten free

Easy Chocolate Truffles – gluten free

Chocolate chip cookie dough truffles made with almond flour and coconut oil – gluten free

Homemade Mounds or Almond Joy Bars with Coconut Oil – gluten free

Make your own homemade mounds bars and almond joy bars with no refined sugar and natural coconut, coconut oil and cocoa powder.

Pies, Crisps and Crumbles

Easy Apple Crisp

Zucchini “Apple” Crisp

Cranberry-Apple Pie to Brighten your Holiday Table!

Strawberry-raspberry pie with shortbread crust and whipped cream topping

Old Fashioned Rhubarb Custard Pie

Easy Cranberry Walnut Pie

Easy Peach Cobbler Recipe with Canned Peaches

Best Pie Crust Recipes Plus Tips for Perfect Pies Every Time – Nut Crust (gluten free), Coconut Crust (gluten free), Shortbread Crust, Mama's Pie Crust

Raspberry Cream pie – rich, sweet-tart, and delicious

Zapple Pie – Zucchini Apple Pie – So Good They Won’t Believe it’s Zucchini

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble  – Gluten Free, Quick and Easy

From our kitchen to yours - canning and preserving recipes, main dishes, side dishes, breads, desserts, snacks, fermented foods, plus handy kitchen tips.

Breakfast Dishes

Eggs and leftovers are common in our kitchen for breakfast, but sometimes we dress things up a bit. It's fun and easy to whip out the waffle iron and crank out some big, beautiful waffles. (Plus, given the prices of waffles if you go out, you can cover the cost of the waffle iron in a couple of meals, and eat in your pajamas.)

Almond Flour Pancakes – Keto Friendly, Grain and Gluten Free

The Best Whole Wheat Waffles

Pumpkin Spice Waffles with Maple Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Spring-Ahead Brunch Bake

Easy No Bake Granola Cookies That You Make in the Dehydrator

Chia-Blueberry Porridge

Live Culture Foods/Probiotics/Ferments

Live culture foods have become big business in recent years, but you can make your own versions at home for pennies on the dollar. These probiotic foods and drinks use healthy bacteria for fermentation. When you eat them, they can aid digestion and improve gut health. This is more important then ever since so many of us are treated with antibiotics during our lifetimes.

How to Make Sauerkraut

“Clean the Garden” Kimchi

Lacto-fermented Homemade Ketchup

How to Make Beet Kvass and Health Benefits of Beets

How to Make and Flavor Water Kefir

My first experience with homebrew kombucha - step by step kombucha brewing instructions, plus a quick explanation of some kombucha health benefits.

Kombucha

Kick the Soda Habit – Brew Your Own Kombucha

How to Make Kombucha

Water Kefir Versus Kombucha – What’s the difference between water kefir and kombucha?

Flavoring Kombucha and Kombucha Testimonials – Tips for flavoring kombucha and stories about how people I know have been helped by kombucha

Kombucha Q and A and More Flavoring Ideas – More flavoring ideas and all the Q and A from the comments in a more readable format

How to Flavor Kombucha – Holiday Flavors – Fun seasonal flavor ideas.

How to Make Coffee Kombucha

Snack recipes

Sometimes a snack, sometimes turned into a meal, these recipes are easy to make. Choose your favorites – savory or sweet.

Strawberry-Banana Gummy Candy

Pumpkin Leather – portable pumpkin pie

Zucchini Gummy Candies sweetened with fruit juice

Finger Jello Made with Fruit Juice and Knox Gelatin

5 Awesome Apple Dip Recipes – Classic Caramel Cream, Chocolate Almond, Pistachio and Blue Cheese, Maple Bacon and Walnut Ricotta

Crispy Nuts

Maple Candied Walnuts

Cranberry-Walnut Powerballs

Crispy Pepitas

Boiled Eggs

Classic Deviled Eggs and Guacamole Devils

3 Ingredient Sandwich Spread or Dip

Ground Beef Jerky

Double Bacon Liver Pate

zucchini gummy candy with no Jello or pectin

Cheeses

When we had a friend with a cow, I experimented with a variety of cheese recipes. These are some of our favorites.

Fresh Home Mozzarella Cheese in 30 Minutes plus ricotta

Easiest Homemade Cheese Ever – Fromage Blanc Soft Cheese

How to Make Large Curd Cottage Cheese

Drink recipes

Old and new, hot and cold – water is good, but sometimes it's nice to mix things up.

Honey-Sweetened Lemonade with Honey-Lemon Ice Cubes

Chia Fresca

Hot Cocoa – From Scratch Recipe, Double Chocolate

Spiced Hot Cocoa mix

Best Eggnog recipes – 7 Ways to Love Your Nog

5 Amazing Spiced Apple Cider Drink Recipes + One for Adults Only

Rhubarbade

Easy, Delicious Wassail (It Smells Like Christmas!)

See also “Live Culture Foods”

5 bottles of homemade pear wine

Wine, Beer and Hard Cider

We don't regularly imbibe fermented beverages, but when there's an excess of something fruity, wine is an easy preservation method. Many of our bottles are shared with friends or given as gifts.

Easy Strawberry Wine Recipe – Perfect for Beginners

Pumpkin Wine

Dandelion Wine

Elderberry wine

Pear Wine

Rhubarb Cherry Wine – Hot Pink Spring in a Bottle

Quackgrass Wine

How to Make Hard Cider

Herbal and Personal Care Items

Given the level of questionable ingredients in so many items today, we switched to making homemade versions of products that we use regularly. It allows me to use ingredients that I trust, and we save money by buying raw materials in bulk or growing our own.

How to Make Elderberry Syrup with Fresh or Dried Elderberries

Immune Boosting Herbs in Finger Gelatin

Thieves Vinegar – Immune Booster and Germ Killer

How to Make Liquid Sweetener from Homegrown Stevia – Homemade Stevia Extract

How to Make Homemade Extracts – Vanilla, Lemon and Almond

Black Walnut Tincture – How to Make it and Use it Safely

Preparedness – Homegrown Medicinals

Plantain “Medicine Leaf” Infusion

How to Make a Salve with Infused Oils

Easy, Non-toxic Homemade Deodorant

Super Easy Hard Lotion Bar Recipe

Make your Own Perfume with Essential Oils

Do It Yourself Laundry and Household Cleaners

DIY Cleaners Made with Essential Oils

DIY lotion bars

Kitchen Tips

Small things can be big time and money savers in the kitchen. We live out in the country, so I often make do with whatever is available. I also try to take good care of my kitchen tools so they last a long, long time.

12 Baking Tips for Great Results and a Stress Free Kitchen

Natural Stove Cleaners

E coli – What is it, and why so many recalls?

Protect Yourself from Salmonella and E coli Naturally

4 Reasons Wooden Cutting Boards are Best

7 Things You Should Never Do to Your Cutting Board

35+ Handy Kitchen Substitutions – Printable Cheat Sheet

12+ Easy Homemaking Tips for the Busy Homesteader

The World's Cheapest Cherry Pitter

The Best Way to Use Up Extra Zucchini

Easy, No Sew Kitchen Scrubbies from Produce Bags

Why Do Onions Make You Cry? Plus 5 Tips to Keep You Tear Free

Working with Cast Iron

Cooking with Cast Iron – How and Why to Get Started

How to Season Cast Iron Cookware

How to Restore Cast Iron Cookware

Getting Started with Dutch Oven Cooking

Originally posted in 2012, last updated in 2019.