Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Biscuits & Gravy With Green Beans

This month I participated (loosely) in a pantry challenge that I heard about on another blog.  I love following this woman for a couple of reasons - I have to be frugal with my grocery budget, and I have a family who is rather picky about what they eat, so luckily Jessica makes husband and kid-approved meals. 

For the month of August I managed to spend under $200 on groceries for my family (consisting of the dear BF, my daughter, and my step-daughter).  I'm very proud of that number, but I have to say that I am so. tired. of. chicken.  So tired.

For September I think I will attempt to get more creative, and really go hard with the couponing, price matching, and wag jag deals, in order to stay within budget and keep the bellies happy.  I'll post my progress and grocery bill totals as I go.  If I can stay within $300 for the month I will be one happy camper (since it's now time to go back to school which means I need extra food to pack lunches).

This recipe was so simple, so delicious, and so cheap!  I've never made biscuits and gravy but have always been intrigued by the dish.  It really is down home comfort food - and can be made for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I cheated a little and bought Pillsbury biscuits, but next time I might try making my own.


Biscuits & Gravy With Green Beans
2 cans Pillsbury Flaky Biscuits
1 package of pork breakfast sausages, casings removed
flour (about 2 Tbsp)
milk (about 2 cups; adding more as required, see below)
seasoning salt & pepper to taste
green beans
1 Tbsp butter
garlic powder to taste
parmesan cheese to taste

For the biscuits, follow the directions on the can (or you can make your own!).  While they are in the oven, you can work on the gravy and green beans.

For the gravy, brown the meat over medium heat.  Add seasoning salt & pepper.  When the meat has been browned, add the flour and stir constantly for about 2 minutes.  The meat will look very dry - that's ok.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and gradually add the milk.  Eyeball it until you have achieved your desired consistency.  I added about a cup at a time.  Stir in between additions because the sauce will thicken as you do.  Season with more salt & pepper. 

For the green beans, boil salted water over high heat.  Once boiling, throw the green beans in for about 2 minutes.  Turn off the burner and drain.  Return the beans to the pot and warm burner (with the heat off) and add butter, garlic powder, and cheese.  Stir over warm burner until the beans are fully coated.

When it's time to serve, you might need to add a little more milk to loosen up the gravy as it thickens fairly quickly.  I turned my burner back on to very low heat, and slowly added in a bit more milk.  It was perfect.

We have leftovers, so when I reheat I will add milk again. 

Delicious, easy, frugal, and oh so comforting!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Repeat after me...'to die for'.  Say it again...'to die for'.  These cupcakes are to die for!!  They are so good - dense, sticky, messy, salty, sweet, and oh so bad for you!!

My daughter wanted to bake on the weekend, and since this whole salty/sweet craze has taken over the world, I went in search of a salty caramel cupcake recipe.  This is a great one, and it wasn't as difficult as it looked.  We had a lot of fun making them, and even more fun eating them.  I'm sure you will too

Salted Caramel Cupcakes
12 T butter
1 1/2 c dark brown sugar
3/4 c light brown sugar
3/4 c whole milk
1 3/4 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 T butter at room temperature
1 1/2 c sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 c whole milk
chocolate covered caramels, or any other treat you enjoy
3/4 c reserved sauce
3 c powdered sugar
4 T butter at room temperature
2 T milk
sea salt (coarse or fine, you choose - I used coarse)

Sauce - in a large saucepan over medium heat melt butter & sugars & milk together.  Bring to a boil, let boil for 3 minutes, remove from heat and let cool.  Cupcakes - preheat oven to 350.  Line muffin tins with liners.  In a bowl combine flour, baking powder & salt.  Mix together.  In another (larger) bowl beat butter & sugar over medium speed for 3 minutes.  Add eggs and vanilla and continue beating until combined.  Add flour & milk, beating on low speed until just combined.  Pour a little batter into each liner, put your candies/chocolate on top, then continue filling until about 3/4 full.  Bake 25 minutes.  Remove & let cool 10 minutes.  Buttercream - while the cupcakes are cooling combine the buttercream ingredients in a bowl and beat for 2 minutes.  After cupcakes have cooled the 10 minutes, poke a few holes in each one with a skewer or sharp knife.  Pour about 1 T of the caramel sauce over each one, allowing the sauce to absorb into the holes.  Let them cool completely, then frost.  Sprinkle lightly with the sea salt and enjoy!!

I'm not even going to bother putting the nutritional value, you don't want to know. Leave these for "cheat" days when you don't care how much you are eating.  They are worth it, trust, me!

Cheesy Mashed White Beans With Kale, Parmesan and Fried Egg

I can't even begin to describe to you how delicious this meal was.  I really can't wait to make it again.

I was in the mood for a vegetarian meal, and had picked up some kale at the grocery store.  I'm not too familiar with kale and how to use it, so I went searching through my recipes and found this one from Serious Eats.  I love beans and eggs, so why not put them together with some kale?  What the heck - I gave it a go.

The richness of the beans, the creaminess of the egg yolk, and the firm crunch of the kale are SO amazing together.  I used white cheddar instead of parmesan, but I can't imagine going wrong with any cheese.

So delicious.  The whole family loved this one, I hope you do as well!

Cheesy Mashed White Beans With Kale, Parmesan, Fried Egg

2 garlic finely minced
2 cans white beans drained & rinsed
½ c heavy cream
3 oz grated sharp white cheddar
2 oz parmesan, plus more for serving
Salt & pepper
3 c finely shredded kale
2 tsp juice from 1 lemon
4 eggs
¼ c finely sliced scallions

Heat 1 T EVOO in saucepan over medium heat until shimmering.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute.  Add next 2 ingredients plus ½ c water.  Bring to simmer, then mash beans lightly with potato masher.  Add more water until a loose, porridge-like consistency is reached.  Stir in cheddar and parmesan and season to taste with salt & pepper.  Keep warm.  Heat 2 T EVOO in skillet over high until shimmering.  Add kale, season with salt & pepper.  Cook, tossing frequently, until wilted and starting to crisp, 4 minutes.  Stir in lemon juice and transfer to a bowl.  Heat remaining T of EVOO in skillet over medium-high until shimmering.  Add eggs, season with salt & pepper, and cook until whites are set but yolk is runny, 3 minutes.  To serve, stir half of the scallions in beans and adjust consistency with water if necessary.  Transfer to warm bowls, top with kale, and then eggs.  Sprinkle with remaining scallions and parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Slow Cooked Teriyaki Beef

This is honestly the easiest recipe I have ever come across.  I have no idea where I originally got it, but I've been making it for years, and it's a perfect comfort-food meal.  Thanks to the ease and simplicity, it's a roast that doesn't have to be reserved for a Sunday dinner.  This can be made any day of the week with almost zero prep time.

I usually serve this with rice and broccoli.  The gravy is a great consistency for the rice to soak up.  Add chili flakes or some cayenne if you like a little spice (I usually add it after since the kids don't particularly like spicy food).

Slow Cooked Teriyaki Beef

2 1/2lb beef blade
½ c soy sauce
2 garlic cloves chopped
1” chunk ginger chopped
1 T sugar
1 T cornstarch
1 tsp sesame oil

Place meat in crockpot.  Combine everything else and pour over meat.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.