Sausage Gravy

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Sausage Gravy
courtesy of Self Proclaimed Foodie

Ingredients

  • 1 pound spicy pork breakfast sausage (store-bought is fine, but I highly recommend you make your own, see below)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Buttermilk biscuits, for serving

Method

In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the sausage until brown and crumbly. If excess oil, drain while keeping a solid tablespoon of the sausage oil in the pan. Add the butter and stir well until melted.

Reduce heat to medium. Sprinkle sausage with flour, stir, and allow to cook for several minutes.

Add the milk and stir. Continue stirring occasionally over medium heat until gravy thickens, 5-10 minutes. Add fresh ground black pepper, as desired.

Serve over buttermilk biscuits.

NOTES

HOLY. MOLY. Never did I think I would be able to make sausage gravy and biscuits equivalent to those served in roadside diners in the south, but this was IT. If I had known how easy it was, I would have started making this long ago. Insanely good. Easy easy. And you can cut the recipe right in half or double it with the same result (though the thickening time will be less/more if you do so). Going to keep this one on hand for life.

If you want to make your own sausage, as I did, this is a great recipe:

Spicy Breakfast Sausage

Ingredients

1 lb ground pork
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dried sage
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Method

In a small bowl, mix together all the seasonings until well combined. Add the ground pork and work in the seasonings with your hands or a fork, until evenly distributed.

Banana Nut Muffins

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Banana Nut Muffins
barely modified from Simply Recipes

Ingredients

  • 2 large or 3 small, ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon strong brewed coffee (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1-1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (toasted or raw)

Method

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.

Thoroughly mash the bananas in a large bowl. Stir the melted butter into the bananas. Mix in the sugar, egg, coffee and vanilla extract.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in another small bowl. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture, a third at a time, stirring until it is just incorporated. (Do not over-mix! Over-mixing will result in dense, tough muffins.). Fold in the chopped walnuts or pecans.

Lightly spoon the mixture into prepared muffin tin. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes. Check for doneness by pressing down on the top of the muffin. If it bounces back, it’s done. You can also test by inserting a skewer or other tester into the center of a muffin. If it comes out clean, it’s done.

Cool on a rack.

NOTES

Not-too-sweet nutty banana goodness. These are a fabulous change of pace from the usual banana bread and a pretty healthy start to the day on top of that. Nice to have another quick breakfast food in my repertoire!

Peanut Butter Honey Banana Bread

Peanut Butter Honey Banana Bread
from Chow

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted, plus more for coating the pan
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup mashed very ripe banana (from about 3 medium bananas)
2/3 cup unsalted chunky natural peanut butter (or substitute 2/3 cup unsalted creamy peanut butter + 1 ounce chopped peanuts)
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk

Method

Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a 9-by-5-inch metal loaf pan with butter; set aside.

Place the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps. Set aside.

Place the measured butter and both sugars in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the eggs, banana, peanut butter, honey, and vanilla and whisk until smooth.

Add half of the reserved flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined.

Add half of the milk and stir until just combined. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and milk, stirring until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake until the bread begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 70 to 75 minutes.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of the pan and turn the bread out onto the rack to finish cooling. Once completely cooled, store it in an airtight container at room temperature.

NOTES

Do I even have to explain how good this is? Peanut butter + honey + banana. COME ON. I like mine warm with peanut butter or nutella, but I’ve been eating it the last few days plain and it’s perfectly wonderful all on its own.

And I’m posting this as is for now, but I already foresee a “version with chocolate chips” update coming. Because obviously.

Cranberry-Orange Pecan Bread

Cranberry-Orange Pecan Bread
adapted from Chow

Ingredients

Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 medium orange (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 2 medium oranges)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick), melted and cooled slightly, plus more for coating the pan
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole cranberries, thawed if frozen, sliced in half
1/2 cup (2 oz) pecan chips

Glaze
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup orange juice

Method

Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with butter; set aside.

Place the flour, sugar, orange zest, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps. Add the orange juice, melted butter, egg, and vanilla and stir with a spoon or rubber spatula until just combined. Stir in the cranberries and nuts, if using, until evenly distributed.

Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan, pushing it into the corners and smoothing the top. Bake for about one hour, or until golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

When the bread has about 5 minutes cooking time left, bring 1/3 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup orange juice to boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Once removed from the oven, pierce the top of the hot loaf several time with a cooking chopstick (or small knife) without touching the bottom of the loaf in pan. Pour the hot sugar mixture over the loaf.

Cool for 30 minutes in pan on a wire rack, then turn bread out of pan and cool completely on rack.

NOTES

So damn addictive, this one. I am a major quick bread kick. It started with the basic Banana Bread, graduated to variations on that theme, then moved on to the fruit and nut ones. I am a sucker for easy baking, especially when it yields such delicious results.

Big kudos to Steve: the first loaf I made of this, it had no glaze. He suggested I do an orange sugar, the same as the lemon sugar that goes on my Blueberry Lemon Bread. GENIUS. It made it twice as amazing. Even better – since this bread recipe seems to solve the softness/cracking issue I have with THAT one, I have it in mind to redo that bread with this recipe’s ratios. Trading one bits of a recipe for another’s bits of a recipe to make the perfect result. Love that.

Banana Bread

Banana Bread
via Food Network

Ingredients

1 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.

Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan, invert onto rack and cool completely before slicing.

NOTES

Best. Ever. There is a reason the rating for this recipe sits firmly at 5 stars after hundreds and hundreds of reviews. It’s simple yet flawless. I’ve made it three times in the past week with consistently awesome results.

You can add nuts if you wish, of course, but I have chosen to leave it as is for a base recipe. Perfect by itself, with coffee, or warmed with a bit of butter or smooth peanut butter on top.

Chorizo and Egg Burritos

Chorizo and Egg Burritos
(make ahead)

Ingredients

8 ounces chorizo (I use my homemade version)
8 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup shredded cheddar (optional)
10 flour tortillas, large taco size

Method

Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add the chorizo and let it sizzle for about 5 minutes or until cooked through (my homemade version releases quite a bit of liquid, but it all cooks up in the end).

Push the chorizo to one side of the pan and pour in the eggs.

Let the eggs sit for a few minutes, then stir to combine with chorizo. Continue to stir together until eggs are completely cooked.

Remove from heat and sprinkle the 1/2 cup cheese on top (if using).

Set up the egg pan next to your stack of tortillas.

Transfer a chunk of the chorizo and egg mixture to an open tortilla. I weigh my mix and divide by 10, but if you don’t have a kitchen scale, just estimate the best you can.

Roll them into small burritos (fold one vertical side in, then the other, then roll roll roll, tuck in the sides) until all the mixture and tortillas have been used.

Store in Ziploc freezer bags. To reheat, place on a paper towel and microwave on high for 1 minute. If you’ve let it defrost just a bit, start at 40 seconds and add more time if needed.

NOTES

I am not nearly the chorizo and egg fan that Steve is, but WOW, these are delicious. Steve eats his with a little chunky mild salsa and I eat mine with drops of habanero hot sauce. Fantastic either way.

I’ve been wanting to try these for quite some time now so that I would have a third breakfast option in addition to my Baked Oatmeal and Egg Bake. These could not have been a more perfect choice. Thrilled.

Blueberry Lemon Bread

Blueberry Lemon Bread
via A Kitchen Muse

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup + 1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons lemon zest (zest of one medium lemon)
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Method

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Butter and sugar a 9- or 10-inch loaf pan; set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl; set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and 1 cup of the sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the lemon zest.

Slowly mix in the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Lightly coat blueberries with a small amount of flour. Gently fold in blueberries into the batter. Spoon batter into loaf pan.

Bake for about one hour, or until golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

When the bread has about 5 minutes cooking time left, bring remaining 1/3 cup of sugar and lemon juice to boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Once removed from the oven, pierce the top of the hot loaf several time with a cooking chopstick (or knife) without touching the bottom of the loaf in pan. Pour the hot sugar mixture over the loaf.

Cool for 30 minutes in pan on a wire rack, then turn bread out of pan and cool completely on rack.

NOTES

Blueberry lemon CRACK BREAD is more like it. !)@(#*$&%^ *BLISS*

I wanted something blueberry lemon flavored for months, but wasn’t sure what. Somehow I knew, though, when I saw this bread that this was IT. Tart but not too tart, sweet but not too sweet, melty berries, cake-like bread with a golden crust. Just wow. Absolute perfection.

Like the original poster said, make this for yourself, for your friends, for your coworkers, for whomever. JUST MAKE IT.