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.
Every year, when Thanksgiving would roll around, I would try a new stuffing recipe to serve with our turkey. I tried making chestnut stuffing, cornbread stuffing, caramelized onion stuffing, ciabatta stuffing, cranberry nut stuffing, sundried tomato stuffing, you name it. The kids never liked any of them! Then came the year when I finally gave up and said, “I’m not making stuffing this year.” Strangely enough, everyone went up in arms when they heard that. So at the last minute, I sent Old Goat to the grocery to buy some Stove Top “instant” stuffing. Well wouldn’t you know it, for the first time in years, there wasn’t a lick of leftover stuffing in the bowl!
Well I’m nothing if not a quick learner. Stove Top was the key! Since then, I’ve made Stove Top stuffing every year. I just doctor it up with a few ingredients to make it fancier and no one ever guesses that the stuffing wasn’t made from scratch. The empty bowl each Thanksgiving is a testament to how yummy this stuffing is. And my big smile is the testament to how easy it was to actually make.
The amount of stuffing you make depends on how many people you’re having over for dinner. I usually make 6 boxes for our family shindig, but we have a large family. I’ll post the ingredients for one box of stuffing and you can just multiply it as you need to.
EASY SAUSAGE APPLE STUFFING
1 box (6 oz.) Stove Top stuffing
½ lb. bulk sausage
¼ medium onion, diced
½ stalk celery, sliced
½ – 1 apple, peeled and cut in cubes
Prepare stuffing according to package directions in a large pot.
In a skillet, brown sausage with onion and celery.
Stir in the apple and continue to cook until apple is beginning to soften but isn’t mushy. You can use a half to a whole apple, depending on how much you want.
Drain and discard any grease rendered by the sausage.
Pour sausage mixture into the pot with the prepared stuffing.
This recipe makes a great side dish to serve during the holidays or any time of year really. I got the original recipe from Rosemary, one of the nurses at my office who’s retired now. I’ve changed it up just a smidge to make it more appealing to my family, but the basic recipe is the same. If you want to serve it during other times of the year, you can omit the cranberries and still have a great side dish to go with a roast or some chicken. If you ask me, though, I think this dish is really perfect for Thanksgiving and is wonderful on a plate next to some turkey smothered with gravy and a pile of green beans. Yum! I can’t wait to serve this at our Thanksgiving dinner this year!
HOLIDAY SAUSAGE AND WILD RICE
1 cup brown rice (2 cups when cooked)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. salt
2 boxes (4.3 oz. each) long grain and wild rice blend (like Rice-a-Roni)
½ cup pine nuts (can substitute slivered almonds)
¼ cup butter or margarine
1 small onion, diced
8 ozs. sliced mushrooms
1 bag (9.6 ozs.) turkey sausage crumbles (can use pork sausage)
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup frozen peas
chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
Cook brown rice in rice cooker or stove top. To the cooking water, add the bay leaf, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt.
In another pot, prepare wild rice blend according to package directions.
Place pine nuts on a baking sheet and roast in a 375ºF oven, stirring occasionally, for about 5-10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Melt butter or margarine in a large stock pot.
Sauté onions and mushrooms in melted butter until onions become translucent.
Add sausage crumbles to pot and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Stir in cooked brown rice, cooked wild rice, toasted pine nuts, dried cranberries, and frozen peas.
Continue cooking until peas are heated through.
Transfer to a casserole dish.
Serve warm garnished with chopped parsley, if desired.
I originally saw this recipe on the Martha Stewart website and thought it would be fun to try making it. My family loves the Chinese sausage known as “lap cheong” and I love anything made with puff pastry. Lap Cheong wrapped in puff pastry sounded like a match made in heaven. These little bites were so easy to prepare, besides being tasty and addictive. Don’t forget to serve them with spicy Chinese mustard. It pairs perfectly with the sweet sausage bites.
CHINESE SAUSAGE BITES
1 large egg
1 tbsp. water
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
flour, for dusting
4 Chinese sausages (lap cheong)
1 scallion, thinly sliced on the bias
1/4 cup Chinese mustard
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Whisk egg and water together in a small bowl.
On a lightly floured surface, roll puff pastry to about 10 x 12 inches.
Cut into four 5 x 6-inch rectangles.
Brush egg wash along one long edge of a puff pastry rectangle.
Lay one sausage along opposite edge and roll up, pressing seam to seal.
Place on parchment-lined baking sheet, seam side down, and brush with egg wash.
Repeat with remaining puff pastry and sausages.
Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.
Bake until puff pastry has cooked through and is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
Let cool slightly, then slice into rounds using a serrated knife.
Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with sliced scallions for garnish.
This is such a yummy breakfast casserole. Everyone who tries it loves it! The sausage cooked in the rich creamy sauce is reminiscent of good ole’ Southern biscuits and gravy. The first time I tried this casserole was while on vacation in Oregon with my brother-in-law, Manuel, his wife, JoAnn, and their two beautiful daughters.
Every other year, our family drives up from California, their family drives down from Washington, and we all meet in the middle in Oregon to spend a week together biking, swimming, hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, and generally communing with the great outdoors. We always have such a blast on our trips. The kids never want to go home.
Of course meals are always a fun affair. About a month before we leave, my sister-in-law and I call each other up and plan the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner for each day that we’re going to be on vacation. Once there, we generally help each other with all the cooking, but some meals my sister and brother-in-law make themselves, and some Old Goat and I make ourselves. This dish is one that they made. My SIL found the recipe on Epicurious. It was a huge hit that first breakfast we had it and it has quickly grown to become a family favorite. I make it all the time now, though I’ve adapted the ingredients to fit our large family, and changed the procedure to simplify things up a bit.
SAUSAGE-POTATO BREAKFAST CASSEROLE
2 lbs. bulk breakfast sausage
4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1 pkg. (2 lbs.) frozen diced hash brown potatoes
4 green onions, chopped
3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 green onion, finely sliced, for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Brown sausage in large skillet, breaking up into small pieces.
Mix in flour, then milk, and cook until mixture thickens.
Spread frozen potatoes on bottom of a 9×13″ rectangular pyrex glass baking dish.
Top with sausage mixture, then green onions, and finally cheese.
Bake until potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with additional chopped green onions, if desired.
NOTE: This recipe can easily be halved for a smaller crowd. Just bake in an 8×8-inch square baking dish.
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. There’s something empowering about starting a new day with your family gathered around you at the table, with all the noise and chaos that that involves. Invariably, some challenge will arise — someone realizes they’ve misplaced their homework, someone doesn’t want pancakes, someone is missing a shoe, or any of the myriad things that can go wrong when you’re hurrying to get five kids ready and off to school on time. But ah…. the ensuing peace and quiet after they’ve all left is sublime. And so is the feeling that you’ve just conquered the world after solving every problem they threw at you that morning.
A Breakfast Scramble is a nice, easy breakfast to prepare on rushed mornings. Just add some toast and some cut-up fruit and you’re done with the most important meal of the day!
BREAKFAST SCRAMBLE (Feeds a family of 8)
1 dozen eggs, beaten
2 lbs. bulk sausage
1 pkg. frozen country-style hash brown potatoes, defrosted
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 large red or green bell pepper (or both), chopped
In a medium frying pan, scramble the eggs until they’re just starting to solidify but are still a little wet. Set aside.
In a large skillet or wok, saute the onions, bell peppers and sausage together for 2-3 minutes.
Add the hash browns and stir all together, cooking until the potatoes are done.
Mix in the scrambled eggs and continue cooking until the eggs are heated through.