Easy Sausage Gravy & Cheddar Biscuit Skillet

26 Sep BaconAvecBacon_sausage_biscuit_bake_skillet

I am a delinquent blogger and I apologize. I’ve got pictures of other meals sitting on my phone that were good but this dish made me want to get back to blogging so I wouldn’t forget what I’d done to make it.

It’s certainly not diet food, but this version of sausage gravy and biscuits is a hearty classic American breakfast made in a single pan. So easy!

And I think making the biscuits ‘Red Lobster style’ put it over the top.

Easy Sausage Gravy & Cheddar Biscuit Skillet

BaconAvecBacon_sausage_biscuit_bake_dish

For the gravy
1 pound loose breakfast sausage
3 cups milk
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
fresh ground pepper (to taste)
salt or seasoning salt (to taste)

For the biscuits
2 cups Bisquick baking mix
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp buttermilk powder (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees F.

In a deep oven-save skillet, brown the sausage. (I used some frozen breakfast sausage patties and just broke them up.) When brown, remove the sausage and set it aside but keep the fat in the pan. Add the butter and let it melt. Add the flour and whisk it into the fat. Let the mixture cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly whisk in the milk and let the entire mixture come to a bubble. Add lots of freshly ground pepper and salt (I used seasoning salt for a bit more flavour). Let simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. The sauce will thicken as it cooks. Return the sausage to the gravy and stir to combine.

While the sauce is cooking, combine the Bisquick, shredded cheese and (if you have some) buttermilk powder in a bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredients and lightly stir in the milk with a fork. Do not overmix.

Drop the biscuit mix on to the sausage gravy in heaping teaspoonfuls. I used a large size cookie scoop. Leave about 1 inch between each biscuit.

Bake at 450 for about 12 minutes or until the biscuits begin to brown on the top.

If you’d like to make the biscuits ‘Red Lobster’ style, melt 2 tbsp butter and brush over the biscuits then quickly shake some garlic salt over top as soon as the dish comes out of the oven.

A few sprinkles of parsley finishes everything off.

Serve immediately.

BaconAvecBacon_sausage_biscuit_bake_skillet

Recipe: Easy Crack Pie

17 May

So there’s a dessert place in New York City called Momofuku Milk bar. They make this concoction they call ‘crack pie’ because of how nuts people go for it. It costs $44 per pie and is made with an assortment of expensive, rich and sometimes hard to find ingredients. (Who has freeze dried corn powder in their pantry? Certainly not me.)

And the instructions are certainly not any easier. You have to make cookies from scratch, let them cool then bash them up to make the crust. Then you have to make the custard filling from scratch, including separating EIGHT eggs. Then you bake the whole thing and chill it.

To which I said:

But I kept on seeing this recipe on Pinterest, taunting me. It looked so good but the cost and the million steps kept me from making it till finally I decided there had to be a cheater way that would still taste pretty darn good.

And so I made it. And it was damn good. Crunchy oatmeal crust with a creamy custardy filling with a hint of butterscotch from the brown sugar. I have no idea if it compares to the real thing since I’ve never had it so I cannot vouch for its authenticity, but if I do say so myself, it was crack-tacular.

Easy Crack Pie

Easy Crack Pie | baconavecbacon.com

For the crust:

1 package store-bought crunchy oatmeal cookies (I used PC brand)
1/4 cup butter, melted
5 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

For the filling:
4 cups milk + 2-3 tablespoons (I used 1% but it would be nice and rich with whole milk)
8 tablespoons brown sugar
9 tablespoons Bird’s or Harry Horne’s custard powder
1 teaspoon vanilla

powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat your oven to 350F.

In the food processor, add about 12 cookies and pulse until they’re broken up. Add the brown sugar, salt and butter until the mixture starts to come together a bit. The mixture is ready when you press some to the side of the food processor bowl and it stays. You may have to add a bit more or less butter depending on how moist the cookies you bought were.

Press the crust into the bottom of a 9″ glass pie pan and set aside.

Bring the milk and brown sugar to a gentle boil in a large saucepan on the stove. Dissolve the custard powder in a bit of cold milk and whisk into the boiling milk. Continue to whisk on the heat for about a minute or until the custard begins to get nice and thick. Add the vanilla and whisk to combine.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Continue to whisk every so often as it cools.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. At that point, open the door, turn the oven down to 325 and allow the oven to cool down to 325 before closing the door and cooking for another 5 minutes.

At this point the custard should be starting to brown very slightly and become less giggly. If you still think it’s not set enough, you can bake for another 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature or in the fridge.

Dust with powdered sugar right before serving.

Recipe: Easy Sour Cream Coffee Cake

30 Mar

Now is the winter of our discontent.” – Shakespeare

Just when mother nature had us fooled into thinking spring was here, she’s dumped another layer of snow on us. She must not have heard that it’s almost April. This has been a long, hard winter in more ways than one and I’m in serious need of some sunshine.

Until then, this coffee cake will appease me. I’ve been making it for years now so I was pretty surprised that I hadn’t blogged it yet. It’s a great way to use up a bit of leftover sour cream before it gets funky.

 

Easy Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Sour Cream Coffee Cake | baconavecbacon.com

For the cake:
1 1/2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup sour cream (light is OK, haven’t tried using yogurt instead, but it would probably be fine)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the crumble topping:
2/3 cup Bisquick
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter or hard margarine

In a medium sized bowl, combine the sugar and Bisquick with a spatula. Add in the egg, sour cream and vanilla and stir well to combine. The mix might look like it needs a bit more liquid at first, but don’t fret, it’ll come together. Scoop the mix (it’ll be thick) into an 8-9″ round or square cake pan, greased and lined with parchment.

In another medium bowl, add all of the crumble topping ingredients and use a pastry blender to combine until the butter is about the size of a pea. Pour the topping over the cake and spread evenly over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 35 minutes. It’s best warm from the oven, but a quick zap in the microwave is equally fine over the next few days.

This recipe also freezes well. I slip a whole cake into a large ziplock and suck the air out with a straw before stowing it away later. Remove from the bag and let it defrost on the counter, covered,  for a day before serving.

 

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars

21 Feb

sarah

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted to the blog. Before Christmas I was working two jobs so work life intervened. Then, just when work quieted down a bit, my best friend found out the cancer she had been battling was back, and it was back with a vengeance. We lost Sarah earlier this month, just before her 34th birthday. Everyone – including her – thought there would be more time. Time for a bit more fun, a few more long talks, reminiscences, goodbyes.

To say it’s been difficult for everyone who loved her is an understatement. She was an amazing wife, mother, friend and surgeon and her passing leaves a void that can never be filled.

I’m sure all the self-help gurus would frown at this, but when life gives me lemons, I like to add some sugar to make it slightly more palatable. This recipe is pretty much the epitome of comfort – chocolate chip cookie dough in bar form. The best part is that it’s no bake so it requires basically zero effort. Try it out if you’re having a bad day, or even better make it for someone else who’s having a rough go of it.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars
(from Life’s Simple Pleasures)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars | baconavecbacon.com

Dough
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups mini chocolate chips (reserve 1 teaspoon)

Topping
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2/3 cup milk chocolate chips

In a stand mixer or large bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. With the mixer on low, alternate adding in the flour and sweetened condensed milk and mix until combined. Fold in the mini chocolate chips with a spatula.

Line an 8×8-inch pan with tinfoil or parchment.  Press the cookie dough into the pan with lightly floured hands.

For the topping, combine the peanut butter and milk chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and heat until smooth.  Spread the mixture over the cookie dough bars. Sprinkle with the reserved mini chocolate chips.

Chill the bars for 1 hour or until topping is firm.

Recipe: Vanilla Apple Spice Cake

3 Nov

There’s something comforting about the flavour of apple pie. Sweet, tart and spicy all at once, it’s always a treat.

That’s why I always keep a jar of apple butter in the house. It’s really like concentrated apple pie flavour in a jar that you can spread on just about anything whenever you get a pie craving. Best of all, the brand I buy – Wellesley – contains no added sugar or colouring so it’s a lot healthier than a slab of apple pie.

But me being me, had to go and take this pretty healthy ingredient and pair it with something very unhealthy – cake. The result was a beautifully moist cake, with rich icing, offset by the spice and tartness of the apple butter filling. I bought it in to work and it quickly disappeared.

Vanilla Apple Spice Cake

Vanilla Apple Spice Cake | baconavecbacon.com

Prepare one box vanilla cake mix (or spice cake!) as directed or doctor it up. (See directions for kicking up a cake mix here.) Pour into two 8″ round baking pans that are well greased and floured. Bake and set aside to cool.

While the cake is cooling, whip up this vanilla buttercream frosting:

1 cup salted butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk

In a stand mixer, whip the butter for 2-3 minutes until it is almost white in colour. Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla and 3 tablespoons milk. Beat on low speed for 3-5 minutes, adding in the last tablespoon of milk if the buttercream needs to be thinner.

To assemble the cake, place 1 of the cake rounds on your serving plate and spread 3/4 of a cup of apple butter in the center of the cake keeping it about 1 inch away from the edge. Top with the second cake round and place 2 – 3 bamboo skewers through both layers to keep it from shifting while icing the cake. Remove the skewers when the cake is fully iced. Sprinkle the top of the cake with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Enjoy with a big glass of milk.

 

Recipe: Easy Mini Cinnamon Caramel Rolls

19 Oct

I’ve yet to meet a person who could say no to a cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven. Add some gooey caramel to that mix and it’s downright irresistible.

Unfortunately fresh homemade caramel rolls aren’t exactly  easy or quick to make. The method my mom used when I was growing up would severely cut into my precious weekend sleep in time so instead I made this shortcut version and I wasn’t disappointed.

So buttery and gooey, these are a surefire winner, so much so I’m slating them for Christmas morning breakfast. An extra benefit, they’re tiny so you don’t have to feel bad about eating more than one!

Easy Mini Cinnamon Caramel Rolls

Easy Mini Caramel Rolls | baconavecbacon.com

1/3 cup packed brown sugar + 4 tablespoons (reserved)
1/3 cup butter, cubed
2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 tablespoons milk (or cream)
1 tube Pillsbury crescent rolls (I used the less fat version)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)

In a small microwavable bowl, add the 1/3 of a cup of brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and milk. Microwave on high, stirring once every minute until the mixture gets smooth and bubbly. Pour into a well greased 9″ pie pan (sprinkle the pecans on top if you’re using them) and set aside.

Open the crescent rolls, unroll the dough and separate it into four squares along the perforated lines. Pinch the dough along the diagonal perforations to seal.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of brown sugar on each slice along with some cinnamon and roll up jelly roll style starting from the long side. Pinch the seams to seal.

Cut each log into 8 or 9 pieces and place, cut side down on top of the caramel in the pie plate.

Bake at 375 for about 16 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool for about a minute before inverting on to a serving plate.

I defy you to eat just one.

 

Taste Test: V&V Supremo Chorizo

16 Oct

For those of you following along, you know that I like to head to New York state to pick up grocery products that aren’t necessarily available in Canada.

One of the products that has consistently made the list the last few trips has been V&V Supremo brand chorizo sausage. In fact, last trip I may or may not have purchased $50 worth of it (enough to last the winter) at Price Chopper.

This is a Mexican style chorizo: fresh, not dried like the Spanish style, and with an awesome spicy kick. I’ve tried both their beef and pork versions and while both are awesome, I’d give the edge to the beef. While the pork has a richness, the beef has an extra depth of flavour that the pork is lacking.

The chorizo comes in packs of two half pound portions for around $6. I find one is enough for a meal for me and Mr. Bacon and it defrosts very quickly so it’s a great last-minute dinner.

So what do I make with it?

So far we’ve used it as a great ready-made filling for tacos and for a Mexican spin on this fritatta recipe.

In this one, I nuke the potatoes until soft, peel the skins off and dice them. While the potatoes are nuking I cook the chorizo in a frying pan, squeezing out the flavourful fat with a spatula and reserving the meat on a plate when it’s done. Then I fry the potatoes in the chorizo oil and add 6 eggs beaten with a splash of milk. The chorizo gets sprinkled on top when the eggs are mostly cooked through along with a handful of crumbled feta cheese (or queso fresco if you can find it). Then I throw a lid on top and let the eggs finish cooking through. It’s a crazy good dinner or a great brunch.

I’m dying to try more ways to use it like queso fundido, nachos  and as a stuffing in tamales.

Next time you’re in the US, pick some up – you won’t be disappointed!

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