Sunday, January 15, 2006

Comfort Food for A Cold Day

Breakfast this morning was one of our favorites, Biscuits and Gravy. I grew up eating my mother’s made-from-scratch biscuits, and sometimes she made gravy to go over them. She always made sausage patties; I crumble the sausage up and use it as the base for the gravy. But we both agree that Jimmy Dean sausage is the best. I’ve tried other brands such as Farmer John , Tennessee Pride, and Jones, but they either had too much grease or didn’t taste as good. I get the Hot flavor, and sometimes even add more red pepper. Another thing I don’t do is make biscuits from scratch. While I cook a lot from scratch, I cut corners when I can to save time, and in this case I use the refrigerated biscuits from Pillsbury. About 7 years ago we started putting scrambled eggs on top of the biscuits before we put the sausage gravy on top. DH says it started (for us) in a restaurant in Buena Vista, Colorado when we were camping. I really don’t remember that part, but I do remember having a variation of Eggs Benedict where roasted asparagus replaced the Canadian bacon. Yum! But I’ll agree with DH in that putting the scrambled eggs on top of the biscuits is really tasty.

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Biscuits with Sausage Gravy and Scrambled Eggs
for two-three people

1/2 lb. breakfast sausage (I prefer Jimmy Dean Hot)
1/4 c flour
2 c milk
1 t chicken bouillon powder or granules
1/2 t black pepper
1/4-1/2 t ground cayenne pepper (optional)
4-5 eggs or equivalent in Eggbeaters
nonstick cooking spray
freshly baked biscuits of your choice

In a large skillet, brown the sausage over medium-high heat, crumbling it into smaller pieces as it cooks. When it’s almost completely brown, sprinkle with flour. Continue to cook another 2 minutes. Add milk, bouillon powder or granules, pepper, and cayenne, if desired. Lower temperature to medium low, and continue to cook, stirring often, until thickened. Spray another skillet with nonstick cooking spray and scramble the eggs. Split biscuits on plates. Top with scrambled eggs, then with the sausage gravy.

After breakfast, I drove down to San Bernardino for my monthly trip to Costco. I get most of my groceries at the commissary at March Air Force Base, with supplemental trips to Vons, Stater Bros., and the produce market, but there are a few things that I always buy at Costco. One is the boneless, skinless chicken breasts. They come wrapped in pairs, ready to freeze and later thaw as needed. Now that it’s just DH and me, and we both need to eat less, one package of two breasts is perfect for a meal.

Another item I get at Costco is the 5-lb. bag of shredded cheese. When I get home, I take all that cheese and separate it into 5 quart-size zip bags. These go into the freezer so I always have shredded cheese available.

Bacon is another Costco purchase, as it comes in 4 one-pound packages for less than $10. Sometimes bacon is on sale for about that much at the local markets, but it’s nice to get stocked up with the 4 pounds.

I think it’s a form of insecurity–this overwhelming need I’ve always had to have food in my freezer and cabinets. DH sometimes says we have too much food in the house. I say he’s wrong–you can NEVER have too much food.

Dinner tonight comes from both the freezer and the vegetable bin: Teriyaki Beef and Pepper Bowls, and egg rolls with sweet and sour sauce for dipping. Yes, a little Japanese with a little Chinese. We were just in the mood for both tonight. I’ve thawed a 1-lb. package of beef sirloin and a freezer bag of already-cooked brown rice, made some sweet and sour sauce for the egg rolls (definitely NOT made from scratch), and will cut up a yellow bell pepper I bought at the produce market yesterday. I’ll be making about 2/3 of the recipe below, since there’s just the two of us.

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Teriyaki Beef and Pepper Bowl

1 lb. flank steak or sirloin
steak, thinly sliced
1/2 c teriyaki sauce (I use Mr. Yoshida’s Gourmet Sauce)
1/2 med. onion, thinly sliced
1 T vegetable oil
2 bell peppers, any color, cut into strips 1/4” wide and about 2 inches long
1 8-oz. can sliced water chestnuts, drained
2 c hot cooked rice

In a bowl, marinate meat, teriyaki sauce, and onions for 5 minutes; drain and discard marinade. In large skillet or wok, heat oil until hot. Stir-fry meat and onions until meat is lightly browned. Add peppers and water chestnuts, sauté until peppers are heated through. Divide rice into bowls and top with teriyaki beef. Add additional teriyaki sauce if desired

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Sweet and Sour Sauce

1 T + 1 t vinegar
2 T Splenda
1 T + 1 t ketchup
2 t cornstarch
1/3 c water

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan; heat over low heat until thick. Serve hot or cold.

Dessert is a “retro” favorite: sugar-free Jell-o to which I added sliced bananas and topped with light Cool Whip. Every once in a while we like Jell-o with different fruits added (peaches, fruit cocktail, mandarin oranges, strawberries, etc.). I remember Mom would make orange Jell-o with grated carrots in it, and would call it a salad. Must be a Texas thing.

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4 comments:

Catesa said...

Hi Cyndi, thanks for stopping by my cooking blog! we also call passion fruits maracuja (good spelling by the way) here, very delicious even the juice :) to eat them you just cut them in half and scoop all the insides with a spoon or suck it out... its kind of like eating a kiwi but more slimey lol its slimy and crunchy and citrusy. lovely stuff, very fresh and wonderful on a hot summer day. Or even in the winter ;)
have a good day.

Cyndi said...

I guess they'll be in season later; I'm going to have to give them a try!

Patti said...

Hey Cyndi, that beef looks really good. This is going on my to try list.

My DH is always telling me we have too much food also, and too many cookbooks, too many cooking gadgets, yada, yada, yada. I guess you can't understand unless you are a foodie.

Alicat said...

Thank you for partcipating! The round up can be found here:
http://somethingsoclever.typepad.com/weekend_cookbook_challeng/2006/02/wcc2_roundup_.html

:o) ~Alicat