cheddar bay biscuits and gravy

Cheddar Bay Biscuits and Gravy: G goes rogue again

B made fun of how this looks.  She's just jealous she couldn't eat it.  :P

B made fun of how this looks. She’s just jealous she couldn’t eat it. 😛

The November 2007 Everyday Food recipe is focused on Thanksgiving, so it should come as no surprise that it has waaay more sides than main dishes.  This is great for your average home cook.  Your average home cook isn’t trying to make everything in the issue in a month.  B and I had to get creative to use up all of those side dish recipes.  So my biscuits became a breakfast.  I was walking around downtown thinking to myself about what to do with cheddar biscuits.  I kept thinking “cheddar biscuits, cheddar biscuits”…  Then a wonderful voice in my head added one simple word and said, softly, “cheddar bay biscuits.”  We all have our chain food vices, right?  For D and I, it’s Red Lobster.  I love the fried shrimp and those cheddar bay biscuits.  So I decided to work in some “bay” in the cheddar biscuit recipe by borrowing from some copycat recipes on the internet.  Before I move on to the “and gravy” part…Kyle Kinane’s bit about cheddar bay biscuits and Michael Jackson is genius.  Enjoy.

I had my cheddar bay idea, but I was still stuck on what to serve it with.  Then another genius voice in my head said “biscuits and gravy.”  Like a before and after puzzle on Wheel of Fortune, my head put it together: cheddar bay biscuits and gravy.  Boom.

Ok, this is a combination of three different recipes, so bear with me.  I started with the original Everyday Food Buttermilk Biscuits recipe (Cheddar Variation), but make some cheddar bay changes.  (Here’s a pretty good Cheddar Bay Biscuits copycat recipe that I used as inspiration.)  Follow the Everyday Food recipe with these variations:

1)When you mix all the dry ingredients together, add a teaspoon of garlic powder.  I messed up and forgot it at that step so I had to add it with the cheddar when I kneaded it all together.  That worked out, but I was definitely afraid of over-working the dough.  I should have added it with the dry ingredients.

2)  As for the cheddar part of cheddar bay, the cheddar variation is only in the magazine.  At the part where you knead the dough to combine it, you add 2 cups of grated cheddar.  The recipe also says to add more to the top, but holy moley, that’s already a ton of cheese.  I love cheese more than the next gal, and I left it off of the top.

3)  To finish up the cruise to cheddar bay, I brushed the tops with parsley and melted butter.  Some of the copycat recipes had you mix dried parsley in with the dough, but I don’t have dried parsley and I didn’t think buttermilk biscuits with cheddar cheese and garlic really needed much more!

I had to step back the heat on my oven to about 425 instead of 450 because my biscuits were bigger than the ones in the magazine.  I cut them out with the top of a rocks glass.

Look what washed up on the shores of Cheddar Bay!

Look what washed up on the shores of Cheddar Bay!

Ok, that’s your cheddar bay biscuits.  I must admit that they do not taste exactly like the ones from Red Lobster.  The ones from Red Lobster are far more buttery, but have far less cheese and garlic flavor.  I think you could double the amount of butter and halve the amount of cheese and garlic to approximate the restaurant experience, but I hope you’ll try it my way.

On to the “n’ gravy”.  I got the sausage gravy recipe from the internet only after none of the packages of Jimmy Dean sausage at the grocery store had a recipe for sausage gravy on the side.  C’mon, Dean!  I took this recipe, halved it (huge mistake, we wound up wanting more gravy), but bumped the sausage back up to a 1/3 lb.  I did use whole milk because I have a toddler in the house and one of the perks is that you have whole milk around for cooking and baking.

So how was it?  Do you even have to ask?  It was cheddar bay biscuits with sausage gravy on top.  It was super good.  I just wish I would have made more.  Luckily, I have four more biscuits in the freezer ready to bake.

 

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creamy veggie spread

Creamy veggie spread

on mini bagels...not that you can tell from this picture

on mini bagels…not that you can tell from this picture

I’ve mentioned my index card before.  That’s where I kept the information for my favorite Everyday Food recipes back before this blog.  Well, this is another one that’s on the card and has been since 2007.  It’s a very satisfying recipe even though it’s just low-fat cream cheese/Neufchatel, chopped veggies, salt and pepper.  I’ve never messed with the ingredients or the proportions.  It’s just too good.  Normally, I mess with everything.  Not this.  Make it exactly as you’re told.  One downside is that it gets weird if you hang on to it too long.  It really is only good for a couple days.  The veggies start to break down and release water into the spread and that, in turn, makes the parsley kinda limp.  Oh, and a tip for when you definitely make this: take the cream cheese out and put it into the bowl as your very first step, then do all the rest of the prep into the bowl to give the cheese a little time to soften.  A metal spoon and your arms will be enough fire power.  Otherwise, you’re in for quite a workout trying to mix cold cream cheese and veggies together.

Creamy veggie spread

*adapted from Everyday Food Issue #47 November 2007 p. 52

  • 1 8 oz packaged Neufchatel cheese
  • 1 carrot, peeled then grated with a box grater
  • 1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed), finely chopped
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced.  Keep the white part, the light green, and just a bit of the green green
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley

Set the cheese in a medium bowl.  Prep the rest of the ingredients into that bowl, giving the cheese time to soften.  Season with coarse salt and fresh ground pepper.  Stir it together with a metal spoon.  Spread on bagels or crackers.  Use it within 3 days.  Everyday Food says 5.  I’ve never been lucky enough to get it to last that long.

Huevos and another cocktail!

Huevos rancheros

Fiestaware = FTWare

Fiestaware = FTWare

This is a dangerous recipe.  Why?  Because it’s super good and it makes a ton of food that you know won’t be good leftover.  I’d be stupid not to eat 5 eggs by myself, right?  oof.  If you split this meal between two people, you will eat too much.  Guaranteed.

Sure, I can eat 5 eggs...

Sure, I can eat 5 eggs…

Let’s take a look at the recipe.  The sauce itself is delicious and easy.  You puree canned tomatoes, a jalapeno, some onion, and some garlic in the blender, then heat it for a while.  Super easy.  Makes me think I should be putting rancheros sauce on everything.  I do have one small bone to pick here.  The recipe calls for a 14.5 oz can of whole tomatoes.  I have never in my life seen a 14.5 oz can of whole tomatoes.  Whole tomatoes only come in the big cans.  Maybe if you’re buying the fancy, fire-roasted tomatoes, they come in smaller cans, but not for me.  So I used 1/2 of a big can.  Lucky for me, the tex mex chicken and beans in an upcoming November issue (stay tuned) could use 1/2 a can of tomatoes.  You are blending them, so I have a hard time seeing why a 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes wouldn’t do just fine.  Anyhoo, here’s the sauce:

sauce rancheros

sauce rancheros

The whole thing is built on an oven-toasted tortilla.  Mine got a little tough.  Perhaps I overcooked it?  I think maybe a plain unbaked tortilla would be just fine.  For toppings we had avocado, Jack cheese, chopped cilantro, and homemade yogurt instead of sour cream.  That’s a move from my childhood.  We never had sour cream.  My mom always put out non-fat yogurt instead.  It’s all well and good until she puts out the vanilla flavored yogurt.  Vanilla refried beans!  Yum!

They do look a little brown...

They do look a little brown…

The D cocktail recommendation for this meal is the La Paloma.  It’s Squirt and tequila.  Sound like a poor woman’s margarita with bubbles?  It is.  What’s wrong with that?

La Paloma, which is Spanish for....the Paloma

La Paloma, which is Spanish for….the Paloma

Pear and Granola Muffins

Pear and Granola Muffins

http://www.marthastewart.com/317980/pear-and-granola-muffins

October 2003, pg. 35

Image

“We, I mean YOU, have to make these again!” my husband exclaimed while chewing his second pear and granola muffin in five minutes.  After that statement, Everyday Food’s, ‘Pear and Granola Muffins’ are now in my go-to recipe collection.  I’m a big fan of bringing baked goods to friends’ and families’ houses when we spend a night or two.  Typically I bake some kind of scone or muffin, with the majority of recipes coming from the Martha Stewart collection.  So the pear and granola muffins will fit right in.

I used D’Anjou pears from the grocery store.  I had to wait several days for the pears to ripen, so plan ahead if you want to make these muffins.  I was able to make 15 muffins not a dozen.  There were more than 2 cups of cut fruit from the two pears.  The more fruit the better!  My local Weagman’s grocery store had several choices of bulk granola.  I went with the ‘plainest’ available.  It had a few nuts and was sweetened with honey.  I was very happy with the choice.  Every few bites of the muffin I would taste a cashew, which was a pleasant surprise.  The taste and texture of the muffins were spectacular!  The pears were tender and the amount of cinnamon complemented the fruit wonderfully.

Aesthetically, the muffins looked perfect!  The tops were a beautiful golden brown with chunks of pear, adding topography to the muffins.  I did leave the granola crisp topping off the muffins.  When possible, I cut the down the amount of sugar and salt a recipe calls for.  These two ingredients seem to be in all processed food, so when I have control over putting salt and sugar in food, less is sometimes better.   In this case, just omitting the topping reduced the sugar by ¼ of a cup and wouldn’t impact the overall integrity of the muffins.

Great recipe and I would highly recommend it.  If you plan on making the pear and granola muffins, make sure the fresh fruit is ripe.   I hope you enjoy the muffins as much as my husband and I did!

Healthy Start for dinner

Dill feta scramble

Opa!

Opa!

This is a “healthy start” breakfast recipe, but I don’t generally have time to make much of a breakfast nor do I typically have enough time to make much of a dinner, really.  So this was a breakfast for dinner at our house.  But, really, who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner.

It’s a very tasty and simple recipe.  Pretty much the entire recipe can be found in the name: dill, feta, scramble (eggs).  The recipe has you adding more egg whites than eggs, but D and I decided against that.  Why?  Gluttony and not wanting to try and figure out what to do with an egg yolk besides throw it away or make custard.  I don’t typically make custard on a Thursday…

If you’re looking for a nice, Greek-ish recipe for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and you happen to have dill in the house, this is a good one to try.  One another note, this would be a good recipe to shop for the same week that you plan to make the salmon with mustard dill sauce in this same issue.