My sister-in-law, Anna, loves Biscuits and Gravy. It’s one of her favorite American breakfasts. Whenever she comes to visit, we always make sure to go out for breakfast and invariably, that’s what she orders. Biscuits and Gravy is an old American favorite, especially down south. It’s literally a biscuit topped with sausage gravy, sometimes also called Sawmill Gravy. For this recipe, instead of just baking my biscuits in the oven, I cooked them in a waffle iron. The little wells made by the waffle iron made perfect little pockets to catch more of the savory gravy. Yum! Added to that, they looked so darn cute! If you don’t have a waffle iron or you’re feeling lazy to pull it out, just bake your biscuits in the oven like normal.
WAFFLED BISCUITS AND GRAVY
1 lb. bulk breakfast sausage
1/3 cup flour
3 cups milk
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 tsp. dried sage, optional
1/4 tsp. pepper, or to taste
1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
8 biscuits, homemade or purchased refrigerated biscuit dough (like Pillsbury)
butter for greasing the waffle iron
Brown sausage in a medium pot, breaking up with a spoon, until completely cooked.
Sprinkle in the flour and stir till flour is all absorbed.
Pour in the milk, stirring well.
Add green onions, sage, pepper, and salt. If using refrigerated biscuits, you may want to omit the salt because store-bought biscuits are pretty darn salty.
Continue to cook, stirring until thickened.
Cover and keep warm over low heat.
Preheat waffle iron on medium-high heat. Brush center lightly with melted butter.
Place 1 biscuit round into waffle iron and gently close without pushing down.
Cook halfway, then close lid completely and continue cooking until biscuits are golden and cooked through.
Repeat with remaining biscuits.
To serve, place a biscuit on a plate and top with sausage gravy.
When you’re looking for a nice accompaniment to a bowl of hot soup or a refreshing salad, you need look no further than this cheesy garlic bread. I even just eat it by itself for a light meal. It’s so yummy and addictive. It’s hard to stop at one slice.
If you want, you could also slice your loaf in half horizontally, then spread the filling on each bread half and bake them till the topping is hot and bubbly. When done, cut the bread into one-inch slices and serve warm. M-m-m!
THREE-CHEESE GARLIC BREAD
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ cup mayonnaise
1 stick butter, at room temperature
4-6 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 stalks green onions, chopped
1 loaf French or Italian bread (not sourdough)
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
In a bowl, combine the cheeses, mayonnaise, butter, garlic, and green onions.
Slice bread into ½-inch thick slices.
Spread cheese mixture on each slice of bread and arrange on baking sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbly.
This recipe for cheese crostini is so simple to make and takes hardly any time. If you’re looking for a nice accompaniment to a crisp salad or a hearty bowl of soup, you need look no further than this recipe.
These crostinis are great served warm from the oven. But let them cool down for a few minutes before serving so you don’t burn the roof of your mouth. When I pull these out of the oven, the family can hardly wait for them to get to the table. I have to slap away the hands trying to sneak one off the baking sheet!
1 loaf (1 lb.) Italian or french bread, sliced
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
1 packet (.7 ozs.) Good Seasons Italian salad dressing mix
1½ cups shredded mozzarella (or other white cheese like monterey jack)
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, salad dressing mix and cheese together in a medium bowl.
Spread over bread slices.
Bake for 10 minutes or until tops begin to brown
NOTE: I like Good Seasons Italian salad dressing mix, but you really could use any brand you like.
My Mom used to make bread pudding for us all the time when we were growing up. It was a good way to make use of stale bread or left-over crusts that she had removed from sandwiches for a party. She would coat her pan in caramelized sugar which would turn into a sort of self-basting syrup for the bread pudding so there was no need to make any kind of sauce to serve with it. We loved it!
The raisins are traditional. I always liked them in my bread pudding but I remember my little sister didn’t so she used to pick them out. It’s totally fine to leave them out if you prefer a bread pudding without raisins. The recipe still turns out delicious even without them!
Rum-raisin is a common and well-loved flavor combination, but sometimes, just for a change, I replace the rum with cinnamon. I mean, who doesn’t love a slice of buttered cinnamon-raisin bread? Right? And that’s what it tastes like.
OLD-FASHIONED BREAD PUDDING
4 cups bread cubes (cut with a knife or tear into pieces by hand)
¼ cup raisins
4 cups evaporated milk
6 whole eggs
½ cup butter or margarine, melted
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. rum, optional (or could substitute 2 tsp. cinnamon)
Toss bread cubes and raisins together in a large bowl.
In another bowl, whisk all the remaining ingredients together with a wire whisk until well combined.
Pour the milk mixture over the bread cubes and stir together well.
Let soak as long as possible, preferably overnight.
To Cook Bread Pudding:
1 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp. water
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Place sugar and water into a 2½ – 3 quart metal bowl.
Heat bowl over low heat on stove top until sugar is completely melted and begins to turn caramel-colored, swirling bowl quickly to coat bottom and sides with caramel. Make sure to use oven mitts because the bowl will get hot!
Set bowl aside to let caramel coating cool and harden, about 5 minutes or so. Don’t worry if the caramel cracks as it sits. This is normal.
Pour bread pudding mixture into the bowl that has been coated with caramel.
Cover tightly with tin foil.
Place in large roasting pan and fill roasting pan with enough water to come at least halfway up sides of bowl. This is called a water bath.
Put into oven and bake for about 1 hour. To test for doneness, remove foil cover and jiggle bowl back and forth. You want to see a slight jiggle in the center of the pudding.
When done, remove bowl from water bath and place on a rack to cool to room temperature.
Transfer to refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours. You could also eat the bread pudding warm if you want to.
To serve, run a thin knife around the edge of the pudding to loosen it from the pan.
Invert pudding out onto a serving plate with a lip to catch the sauce.
If you prefer, you can make the caramel sauce by just melting 1 cup of plain sugar without adding any water to it. This goes much faster, but it can burn faster too, so watch your caramel carefully!
You could also cook the caramel in a saucepot or skillet. Once the caramel reaches the color and consistency you want, quickly pour it into whatever container you’re making your bread pudding in, swirling the container to coat the bottom and sides.
Mom also had what she called her TIPID VARIATION (economical variation):
Croutons are cubes of bread that have been coated in butter or oil and then baked or fried until crisp. They’re wonderful sprinkled on soups or salads, or used as a topping for casseroles. You can buy ready-made croutons from the grocery store but why bother when homemade croutons are a hundred, no, a thousand times better and are sooo easy to make?
They can be seasoned in a variety of ways. In place of garlic powder, you could use anywhere from ½ to 2 teaspoons of italian seasoning, herbes de Provence, dried dill, Greek seasoning, chili powder, curry powder, fresh cracked black pepper, or whatever seasoning strikes your fancy. You could make parmesan croutons by adding ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese to the butter, or make fresh cheese croutons using cheddar, swiss, gruyere, emmentaler, or asiago by sprinkling 1 cup or so of the grated cheese over the croutons halfway through baking.
These garlic butter croutons are my family’s favorite. They’re so good and smell divine while they’re baking. It’s all I can do to keep the fam from gobbling them all up before dinner! Feel free to use fresh garlic instead of garlic powder if you like. The garlic powder just makes it super quick and easy to do, but fresh garlic is equally delicious.
HOMEMADE GARLIC BUTTER CROUTONS
1 loaf (about 1 lb.) french or italian bread or texas toast
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, melted
1½ tbsps. granulated garlic or garlic powder
½ tsp. garlic salt, optional (we like a little salt on our croutons, but this is completely up to you – feel free to omit the salt if you like)
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
With a serrated knife, cut bread into ¾ to 1-inch cubes.
Combine melted butter, granulated garlic, and garlic salt (if using) in a gallon-size ziploc bag.
Quickly add bread cubes to bag and seal well.
Shake like mad till bread cubes are completely coated with garlic-butter mixture.
Spread bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake about 15 minutes or until golden and crispy.
Cool completely and store in an airtight container.
Make sure to use a good, sturdy bread. A light, airy loaf will just turn soggy. This is better made with stale bread so try to purchase your bread a day or two before you plan to make the croutons so the bread will have a chance to dry out a little.
If you’d rather use fresh garlic instead of garlic powder, finely mince 4 cloves of fresh garlic and use that in place of the garlic powder.
Use real butter and not margarine. Margarine has a high water content and could turn your croutons soggy. Also, my family loves the butteriness (is that a word?) of these croutons but if it seems like too much butter for you, just cut the amount down to half a cup.
I needed a side-dish to take to a barbecue. Well what could be better than cornbread and a veggie salad? Enter Cornbread Trifle. This recipe has a lot of my favorite components for barbecue side dishes. Plus it looks so beautiful all layered up in your trifle bowl. It’s guaranteed to wow everyone with its gorgeous looks and just wait till you taste it! It’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser for sure!
This recipe makes a lot so you’ll need a large trifle bowl. Otherwise, be prepared to have some leftover veggies (which are great tossed with chopped lettuce and ranch dressing the next day).
1 box cornbread mix (I used Krusteaz Honey Cornbread mix)
sour cream (amount according to milk called for on cornbread package)
¼ cup milk
1-2 jalapeño peppers, depending on how spicy you want it
1 lb. thick sliced bacon
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup ranch salad dressing
1½ cups chopped tomatoes
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
½ small red onion or sweet vidalia onion, thinly sliced
2 cans (15-oz. each) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (15-oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
8 ozs. smoked gouda cheese, grated (If you can’t get smoked gouda, you could use smoked cheddar or even just plain sharp cheddar cheese)
1 green onion, thinly sliced
Make the Cornbread:
Preheat oven as per package directions and grease an 8 or 9-inch baking pan.
Cut off the stem end of the jalapeños, then remove the inner membrane and seeds.
Finely mince the jalapeños.
Prepare batter following the directions behind the box, but replace the milk with sour cream to make the cornbread moister.
Add ¼ cup milk and the minced jalapeños to the rest of the ingredients for the cornbread batter.
Bake according to the time and temperature directed on the package.
Turn out onto wire rack and allow to cool completely.
Cut cooled cornbread into approximately 1-inch cubes.
Prepare the Bacon:
Lay the bacon slices on a foil covered sheet pan.
Bake at 400ºF for 15 minutes or until brown and crispy.
Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and cool.
Stack the crispy bacon and cut them into ½-inch pieces.
Set aside ¼ cup of bacon pieces for garnish.
Make the Dressing:
Place the mayonnaise and ranch dressing in a bowl.
Whisk together until smooth and well blended.
Prepare the Veggies:
In a bowl, combine tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, corn, black beans, and cilantro.
Stir to combine well.
Assemble the Trifle Layers:
Place half the cornbread on the bottom of a large trifle bowl. Press down lightly.
Top with half the veggies.
Next half the cheese.
Then half the bacon. Don’t touch the ¼ cup you reserved for garnish.
End with half the dressing.
Repeat the layers a second time ending in dressing.
Garnish the top with the green onions and reserved ¼ cup bacon.
Chill in refrigerator at least an hour before serving.
Summer is State Fair time in California. The State Fair makes me think of corn dogs. I love corn dogs. Corn dogs bring back warm, fuzzy memories of state fairs and carnivals past. There’s nothing like wandering around the fair taking in all the sights and smells with a corndog-on-a-stick smothered in mustard clutched in your hand.
I saw a recipe for mini corn dog muffins on the Kraft website and thought they looked like fun so I decided to try it. They turned out so good! The Kraft recipe has you poke a little cube of cheese into the muffin next to the hotdog. That actually sounds yummy to me too! I’m going to have to try that next time! I remember eating cheese dogs when I was a kid. A cheese dog was basically a hotdog-on-a-stick but with a log of gooey, melty cheese in place of the hotdog. They were oh-so-good!
If you can’t make it to the State Fair, give these tasty little muffins a try. They’re baked so they’re a healthier alternative to a deep-fried corn dog, but they’re every bit as nostalgic and addictive!
MINI CORN DOG MUFFINS
1 pkg. (15 oz.) cornbread muffin mix (I used Krusteaz)
6 beef hotdogs, each cut into 4 pieces (about 1-inch)
Preheat oven to 400ºF and grease 24 mini muffin cups.
Prepare cornbread muffin mix according to package directions.
Fill muffin cups half full with cornbread batter.
Push a piece of hotdog down center of batter in each cup.
Bake 10 minutes or until light golden brown.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then remove from muffin pan.
I got this recipe from one of the girls at work. She said her mom makes it for them all the time. I’d never heard of biscuit dough made with 7-Up so I was really curious to try this. The biscuits turned out pretty good. The recipe makes a super sticky dough but if you sprinkle your work surface generously with extra bisquick before turning the dough out, and then sprinkle the top of the dough with more bisquick before patting it flat, it really helps a lot. You could substitute flour for sprinkling if you like.
4 cups bisquick baking mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup 7-up
½ cup butter
Preheat oven to 425ºF.
Place butter in a 9×13″ pyrex baking dish and put into oven to melt the butter.
Remove baking dish from oven once butter is melted.
Mix bisquick, sour cream and 7-Up together in a bowl. The dough will be very soft and sticky.
Sprinkle extra bisquick onto work surface and turn dough out.
Sprinkle a little more bisquick on top of dough.
With your hands, gently pat the dough to about 1-inch thick or so. These biscuits don’t rise very much so you want to have your dough be fairly thick.
Cut out 12 circles using a biscuit cutter or an overturned glass.
Arrange biscuits on top of melted butter in baking dish. A bench scraper or spatula helps to transfer the soft dough from the work surface to the baking dish.
Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.
Note: I like to cut 2½-inch diameter biscuits which fill up my baking pan nicely, but you can certainly cut them larger or smaller. It’s up to you to decide what size you want your biscuits.
I keep seeing recipes for pull-apart breads everywhere…. pull-apart cheese bread, pull-apart bacon ranch bread, pull-apart cinnamon bread….. Well, I had some leftover Costco pesto sauce and I wanted to use it up before it hit the expiration date so I thought, “why not pull-apart pesto bread?” It sounded like it would be good, don’t you think? So I made a quick stop at the store to buy a french bread boule and some provolone cheese. Here’s what I came up with.
PULL-APART PESTO CHEESE BREAD
1 round french boule (bread bowl)
1 lb. sliced white cheese, such as provolone, swiss, monterey jack, etc.
½ cup butter
⅓ cup basil pesto
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Lay a sheet of aluminum foil on top of a cookie sheet and place the bread on it.
Slice the bread lengthwise being careful not to cut all the way to the bottom of the loaf.
Next slice the bread crosswise, again taking care not to cut all the way to the bottom, so you have little 3/4-inch squares.
Insert slices of cheese into the cuts between each bread cube, cutting cheese as necessary to fit.
Melt butter in a small bowl in microwave.
Add pesto to melted butter, stirring to combine well.
Spoon all over bread making sure pesto butter goes into the cuts.
Wrap foil closed over bread.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Open up foil and bake an additional 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and top is golden brown.
Transfer bread to a platter and serve immediately. To eat, everyone just pulls a little cube of bread out.
NOTE: This bread is best served warm out of the oven.
I saw a recipe for these roll-ups in a magazine years ago. I don’t remember which magazine it was, but I always remembered them and had it in the back of my mind to try them some day. Well, my Mom was here to visit and I wanted to fix her a cup of coffee and an afternoon snack to go with it so I thought it would be good to try making them today. I couldn’t find the recipe I copied down all those years ago, but I had a general idea of what to do. They turned out really yummy! Definitely one for the family favorite archives!
CINNAMON CREAM CHEESE ROLLUPS
1 loaf white bread
1 pkg. (8 ozs.) cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup melted butter or margarine (add more as needed)
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Cut crusts off bread and save for later use. (I love making bread pudding with them.)
Blend cream cheese, ¼ cup sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth.
Spread a little cream cheese mixture on each slice of bread.
Roll each slice into a log, pressing ends lightly to seal.
Pour melted butter into a pie plate.
In a second pie plate, combine 1 cup sugar and cinnamon.