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.
I keep trying to create gluten free recipes for my daughter, Spunky. It’s not always easy though. Especially with baked goods. You usually have to use 2 or 3 different non-wheat flours, and add specialty ingredients like xanthan gum, guar gum, gelatin, or agar-agar. And some things just don’t turn out right when you try to convert them using commercial gluten free flours.
That’s why I was so happy to discover Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour at my local grocery store. My sour cream coffee cake turned out great with it! It really took the guesswork out of converting an old family favorite into a gluten free recipe. I decided to research and learned that there are other brands of cup-for-cup flour replacements out there like King Arthur Flour’s Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour, or Cup4Cup Gluten Free Multipurpose Flour, but since Bob’s Red Mill is what my local grocery store carries, that’s what I used for this recipe. I’ll have to experiment and test the other brands someday. If you have a favorite cup-for-cup gluten free replacement flour, feel free to try it out with this recipe and then let me know how it turned out.
GLUTEN FREE SOUR CREAM COFFEE CAKE
2 cups Bob’s Red Mill gluten free 1-to-1 baking flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-inch tube pan or angel food cake pan.
Mix streusel ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
In another bowl, stir flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.
With an electric mixer, cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Beat in flour mixture alternately with sour cream.
Spread half the batter in the pan, then sprinkle half the streusel over it. Top with the rest of the batter, and finish with the remaining streusel.
Bake for 30-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool cake in pan for 10-15 minutes, then loosen from sides of pan with a knife.
Remove cake from pan and place topping side up on a serving plate.
You can substitute buttermilk or yogurt in place of the sour cream in this recipe.
This cake can be made in a 9×13-inch rectangular baking pan. If you prefer to use a 9×13-inch pan, I would just pour all the batter into the pan and then sprinkle all the streusel on top. It’s a pain to make the layers, though it can certainly be done. Just bear in mind that you’ll have to spread the batter really thinly if you want layers.
Wedge Salad is a typical salad served at classic American steak houses as a starter to your meal. It’s traditionally served with crumbled blue cheese and blue cheese dressing, but blue cheese isn’t one of my kids’ favorite cheeses. I love wedge salad, though, so here’s a version I make for them without any blue cheese in it. If you find you’re really missing the blue cheese flavor, go ahead and sprinkle some crumbled blue cheese on your salad. It’s all good!
(Makes 4 servings)
1 small head iceberg lettuce
6 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 slices sturdy white bread, crusts removed
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
garlic salt, to taste (optional)
1 small tomato, chopped
1/4 small red onion, very thinly sliced
chives, minced (for garnish)
Cut the lettuce into 4 wedges and place them in the refrigerator to keep cold until ready to use.
Fry the bacon until crisp, then transfer to paper towels to drain.
Dice the white bread into small cubes, a little less than a half-inch big.
Melt butter or margarine in a skillet and fry bread cubes, stirring often, until golden and crispy.
Season bread cubes with garlic salt to taste, if desired.
Assemble the salad by placing one wedge of lettuce on each of 4 salad plates.
Pour some dressing over each wedge.
Top with a little tomato, onion, bacon, and croutons.
Garnish with minced chives, if desired.
BACON BUTTERMILK DRESSING
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
Place all ingredients into bowl of a food processor and process until combined.
Chill until ready to serve.
NOTE: Dressing can be made up to 2 days in advance and kept chilled in the fridge.
It’s cherry season and the cherries are out in full force. I see them everywhere – at the farmer’s market, in the grocery stores, on street vendor’s tables – and they’re absolutely delicious! So dark and sweet and juicy.
I picked up a sackful from the store yesterday and decided to make them into a fresh cherry cobbler. I love fruit cobblers, don’t you? Especially when they’re just out of the oven and served warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream melting on the side. Yum! As an added bonus, they make the house smell so good while they’re baking, too!
If you have a cherry pitter, use it. It sure makes the work of pitting each cherry a lot easier. I used to be the Room Mom for my kids’ kindergarten classes and one year, as a thank you gift, the children gave me a pretty white basket filled with fresh cherries. Tied to the basket’s handle with a red-and-white checkered ribbon was a silver cherry pitter. I still have that same cherry pitter to this day. It’s proven to be a mighty useful contraption over the years.
FRESH CHERRY COBBLER
4 cups fresh cherries
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 can evaporated milk (or 2 cups fresh milk)
1 cup butter, melted
¼ cup demerara sugar (or plain white sugar), optional
Wash, stem, and remove the pits from the cherries. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter a 9×13 pyrex glass baking dish.
Using a wire whisk, whisk the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
Empty the can of evaporated milk into a measuring cup and add enough water or fresh milk to make it amount to 2 cups.
Add the milk and melted butter into the flour mixture and whisk together well. Batter will be thin.
Pour batter into prepared baking pan.
Scatter the cherries over the top of the batter, distributing them evenly so you get a cherry in every bite.
Sprinkle the top with the ¼ cup demerara sugar, if using.
Bake for about 50 minutes or until top turns light brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
NOTE: You can make this cobbler with blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches or any other fruit you like.
This recipe can easily be halved and baked in a 9-inch square pan for a smaller cobbler.
I had a bunch of blueberries that I needed to use up. Today didn’t feel like a blueberry pie kind of day so I decided to make cake instead. Blueberries and lemon form the perfect sweet and sour flavor combination. Specially if you get blueberries when they’re in season and are at their peak, practically bursting with juicy sweetness. This recipe makes a super moist cake that’s great for breakfast or for an afternoon snack with a nice cup of hot tea.
Speaking of which, I saw a picture somewhere (probably on Pinterest) of a blueberry cake that was cut in small little rounds so I decided to try doing that. I baked one loaf cake with half my batter, but poured the other half of the batter into an 8-inch round pan to make a thinner cake which I cut into little circles with a mini-biscuit cutter. Don’t those look adorable? How perfect for a dessert table or for my annual Mother’s Day tea party!
BLUEBERRY LEMON BREAD
2 cups fresh blueberries
3 cups flour + 2 tbsp. for tossing with blueberries
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup milk
1 cup plain yogurt (can substitute sour cream)
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1 tsp. vanilla or lemon extract
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease bottom and sides of two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.
Toss blueberries in 2 tbsp. flour. This helps keep them from sinking to the bottom of the loaf. Set aside.
Combine 3 cups flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
In another bowl, whisk eggs together; then whisk in melted butter, milk, yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla.
Pour into dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Gently fold blueberries into batter.
Divide batter into prepared pans and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pans.
Make topping by mixing lemon juice and melted butter together.
Brush lemon-butter mixture on top of loaves.
Sprinkle with a heavy layer of sugar while tops are still wet.
NOTE: My kids love the crunchy sugar topping made by sprinkling granulated sugar over the loaves, but if you prefer to have a glaze for the topping, just omit the butter, replace the granulated sugar with 1 cup of powdered sugar, and stir in 2-3 tbsp. of lemon juice till it reaches a good consistency for drizzling.
A nice trick to help you remove a cake from a loaf pan is to line the bottom of the loaf pan with a strip of parchment paper long enough to go up the short sides and stick out at least a couple of inches past the edge of the pan on either side. After your cake has cooled for 10 minutes, grasp the ends of the parchment paper that stick out past the loaf pan and use them like handles to lift the cake up and out. You can then tip the cake on its side to peel the parchment strip off.
This dish is a Tex-Mex favorite. In fact, I hear you can’t go to a church social or potluck down in Texas without seeing one version or other of this dish on the table. It’s not surprising because not only is it delicious, but it can be made ahead of time and it travels well.
You can make a low-fat version of this dish by substituting reduced fat cream of mushroom soup, reduced fat cream of chicken soup, and reduced fat cheese. It turns out just as yummy.
I like to serve this dish with some sour cream and salsa on the side. I never have any leftovers when I make it. Try making this easy recipe for your next weeknight dinner or office potluck and you’ll see what I mean.
KING RANCH CHICKEN CASSEROLE
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped (can substitute red bell pepper)
1 can (10 oz.) Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or use your favorite – I like Mexican blend)
2 stalks green onion, chopped (optional for garnish)
Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
Sauté onion, bell pepper and poblano pepper until onions start to become translucent.
Stir in chicken, soups, Rotel, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Remove skillet from heat.
Tear 4 tortillas into 1-inch pieces and scatter on bottom of prepared baking dish.
Top with 1/3 of chicken mixture and 1 cup cheese. NOTE: It’ll seem like you don’t have enough chicken mixture to fill the layer to the edges of the dish, but don’t worry. Just spread the filling really thin. It’s okay to have some empty spots. Once you bake it, it’ll all fill in and be just fine.
Tear 4 more tortillas into pieces and make a second layer of tortillas, 1/3 chicken mixture and 1 cup cheese.
Tear the last 4 tortillas to make a final layer with the last of the chicken mixture and top with 2 cups of cheese.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until casserole is bubbling and cheese is browning at the edges.
If desired, garnish with chopped green onion before serving.
NOTE: This casserole can be made ahead of time and refrigerated up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month. To cook from frozen, thaw in refrigerator overnight, then bake as directed.
Everybody knows Pillsbury’s famous Taco Crescent Ring. Well, this is a play on that recipe but made into a yummy breakfast dish. I just love crescent roll dough, don’t you? It’s so versatile and you can do so much with it from sweet desserts to savory meals. This recipe is really easy to put together and is great for a breakfast or brunch shindig.
CRESCENT BREAKFAST WREATH
1 can (8-ozs.) crescent roll dough
breakfast meat: ½ lb. bulk breakfast sausage, browned; or ½ lb. ham, chopped; or 8 slices of bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
¼ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped green or red bell pepper
1 cup frozen hash browns
6 eggs, beaten
1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, colby, monterey jack, or any kind you like)
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. (I didn’t have any so I used waxed paper.)
Unroll crescent roll dough and separate into eight triangles.
Arrange triangles in a circle on prepared cookie sheet with the short ends of the triangles towards the center and overlapping a little, and the long ends pointing outwards to form a sun shape.
Fry the onions, bell pepper, and hash browns in a large frying pan until potatoes begin to brown.
Remove from heat, add cooked meat to hash brown mixture and stir together well.
Scramble the eggs in a skillet until eggs are almost cooked but still moist.
Stir scrambled eggs into hash brown mixture.
Spoon filling over overlapping portion of crescent rolls, using your hands to help press and shape the filling into a ring.
Pull points of triangles up over filling and tuck under dough in center to form a ring.
Carefully sprinkle cheese over top of ring.
Bake 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and crescent rolls are golden brown.
Cool slightly to allow filling to set.
Slice into wedges and serve.
NOTE: To transfer the wreath to a serving platter, carefully run a spatula between the ring and the parchment paper to separate them, then slide the wreath onto the platter.
No, nobody died. So why “funeral potatoes” you ask? Well, you know how people always bring food to a wake or a funeral when someone passes away? Funeral Potatoes are one of those dishes that’s frequently brought to that somber gathering. Hence, the name. It’s basically a simple potato casserole made with frozen hash browns. There are many versions of the recipe floating around out there. This is how I make mine. It’s super easy to prepare and everyone always likes it. The best part is, it’s not just for funerals. You can serve it any time of the year. It makes a great side dish for a busy weeknight dinner with the kids. I’m actually making it for Easter Sunday brunch this year.
1 bag (28-32 oz.) frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
¼ – ½ cup butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 can (10½ oz.) cream of chicken soup
1 can (10½ oz.) cream of potato soup
1 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
¼ cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped (optional)
2 cups French’s crispy fried onions
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Take hash browns out of the freezer and set them on the counter to thaw a little while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. This makes them easier to mix.
Melt ¼ cup butter in a skillet. If you want more buttery potatoes, you can melt up to ½ cup.
Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent but not brown.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sauteed onions, soups, sour cream, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and parsley, if using.
Stir in the hash browns until well-combined.
Spread mixture into a 9×13 casserole dish.
Sprinkle French’s fried onions on top.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until sides begin to bubble and top is golden brown.
TOPPING VARIATIONS: Toss 4 tbsp. melted butter with 1½ cups panko bread crumbs, or crushed crackers, or crushed cornflakes, or crushed potato chips.
Did you know that February 2nd is National Tater Tot Day? It’s an easy day for me to remember because it’s also my only brother’s birthday. Tater tots are an iconic American food that was created in the early 1950’s. The founders of Ore-Ida were trying to figure out what to do with all the little leftover pieces of potato that they had tons of everyday. They chopped up the potato pieces, mixed them with flour and seasonings, then forced the mixture through the barrel of an extruder, slicing off little one-inch pieces as the mixture came through. And so the tater tot was born.
Actually, when the little potato nuggets were first created, they didn’t have a name for them so the owners of Ore-Ida decided to have a name-the-product contest among their employees. The name “Tater Tots” was submitted by a young mother named Clora Lay Orton. Everyone loved the name and she won the contest.
It’s hard to believe that when the inexpensive tater tots were first sold in stores in 1956, they didn’t exactly fly off the shelves. Today, Americans consume approximately 70 million pounds of them per year! It’s safe to say the lowly tater tot has finally found its place in society, from school cafeterias to the ever popular food truck. It’s certainly found its way to our dinner table!
CHEESY BACON TATER TOTS
1 bag frozen tater tots
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup ranch dressing
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
6 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
2 stalks green onions, chopped
Bake tater tots according to package directions.
While tots are baking, combine sour cream and ranch dressing in a bowl.
Drizzle sour cream mixture over baked tater tots.
Sprinkle cheeses over the top.
Place under broiler until cheese is completely melted.
Remove from broiler and top with crumbled bacon and green onions.
Return to broiler for 2-5 minutes to warm up the bacon.
This recipe is one of those that’s been around forever under one name or another. It was given to me by one of the nurses at work. She’s been making it for years and she said it’s always a hit at her house. I’m glad I got the recipe from her because it was a hit with my family, too, though I did tweak it a little (as always). I increased the peaches, cut down on the sugar, and added vanilla extract. I can tell it’s going to become a favorite at our family get-togethers and at potlucks, too. This one is a definite keeper!
PEACHES AND CREAM CAKE
1½ cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 pkgs. (3.4 oz. each) cook & serve vanilla pudding (do not use instant)
1 cup milk
6 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 large (29 oz. each) cans sliced peaches
2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sugar
6 Tbsp. peach syrup from can
½ tsp. vanilla extract
cinnamon-sugar, for sprinkling on top (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9×13 pyrex glass baking dish.
Drain both cans of peaches, reserving 6 tablespoons of syrup for later.
In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and vanilla puddings together.
Add milk, butter, and eggs.
Beat together with an electric mixer, about 3-4 minutes.
Spread in prepared baking dish.
Arrange peach slices to cover top of batter.
Beat cream cheese in a bowl until smooth.
Add sugar, peach syrup, and vanilla, and beat until well-combined.
Spoon over peaches, then smooth with a spatula.
Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over cream cheese mixture.
Bake for 35-40 minutes.
NOTE: To make cinnamon sugar, the ratio is 1/4 cup sugar to 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Store in an airtight container. For this recipe, you’ll probably only sprinkle about a couple of tablespoons or so over the top.