Country Sausage Gravy

Breakfast, Recipes | January 17, 2017 | By

In our house, Sunday morning is usually the only morning my husband is home from work. I like to serve him something delicious and filling for breakfast before we head to church. This Country Sausage Gravy over Buttermilk Biscuits is one of our favorites. I serve this both for breakfast and dinner and it is always SO comforting. It takes me back to my childhood when my Mom would make this gravy regularly. There is just something about a plate filled with homemade biscuits loaded with sausage gravy that warms your soul.

I don’t think I was ever really taught how to make sausage gravy. I think I learned just by watching my Mom make it all those years. It is a very simple dish to make and very forgiving. It always starts with good quality sausage. This time I used Homemade Country Sausage from Boarman’s Meat Market. Boarman’s is an old fashioned meat market in Highland, Maryland and they have some amazing high quality meats. I have shopped there a few times before but hadn’t been recently. It is a meat lovers dream! I really need to go there more often and I don’t think my husband would be mad if I picked up some steaks. This Country Sausage had lots more flavor than the regular sausage I usually get to make this gravy. Win!

This dish is one of those good hearty meals that doesn’t require a lot of ingredients, making it no frills and no fuss. I normally stick with my basic sausage gravy recipe but you can add additional flavors to it depending on what kind of sausage you have. Adding fresh sage or red pepper flakes, can really take it to another level. This Country Sausage Gravy will continue to be a staple in my home for as long as I am the boss in my kitchen (so forever). I am excited for my kids to grow up eating it, just like I did!

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Buttermilk Biscuits

Breads, Breakfast, Recipes | January 16, 2017 | By

Well hello there! I know you haven’t heard from me in a while and I am sorry for that! I have been having technical difficulties (I won’t bore you with the details) . Don’t worry though, behind the scenes I have been cooking like crazy and trying new recipes. I have so many delicious things I can’t wait to share with you. Today it’s time for some flaky and beautiful Buttermilk Biscuits.

I have tried quite a few biscuit recipes and I am always left wanting more. More flakiness. More rise. More layers. More flavor. Just……more. This recipe for Buttermilk Biscuits is perfect and it leaves you wanting nothing more. Okay that’s not entirely true. They will leave you wanting to EAT more….many many more. This recipe is super simple, which means you are always only 20 minutes away from perfect homemade biscuits.

Ready to hear how complicated this recipe is? You have to sift your dry ingredients into a bowl. Cut in 8 tablespoons of butter. Pour in the buttermilk and stir. Then, once a dough has formed, you dump it out onto the counter and fold it over 6 times. Roll the dough into a rectangle half an inch thick and cut out your biscuits. Put them on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Bam. Done. Mission make homemade Buttermilk Biscuits has been accomplished.  

The first time I made these, I couldn’t actually believe I made these. They come out of the oven puffed up, showing off all of their wonderful buttery layers. It is a sight to behold. If you are a total food nerd like I am, things like this make you extremely excited and you may have to dance it out right there in the middle of your kitchen :). I love making these for my family on the weekends and topping them with Sausage Gravy. Stay tuned… that recipe will be coming up shortly! Now, go make some of these biscuits so you will be ready. 

Buttermilk Biscuits

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 12-14 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbls. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 8 tbls. cold, unsalted butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Using a fork or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles course crumbs.
  3. Add the buttermilk and stir with a fork until it forms a rough ball.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a rectangle about an inch thick. Fold it over and gently roll out. Repeat 6 times.
  5. Roll the dough out into a rectangle about a half an inch thick. Cut the dough into biscuits using a biscuit cutter or floured glass. Make sure when cutting your biscuits you don't twist the cutter. Go straight down and straight up.
  6. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Notes

I like to brush the tops of mine with melted butter when the come out of the oven!

Source: Cooking Maniac

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Bette’s Apple Bundles

Breakfast, Desserts, Recipes | December 22, 2016 | By

Christmas is just three days away! I am glad I remembered to bring you this recipe before it was to late. I have served these Apple Bundles every Christmas morning that Alex and I have been married. It is a wonderful and delicious Sivert family tradition. Bette is my mother in law, and she used to make these for breakfast on the weekends when her husband was home from work. Alex and his siblings remember enjoying these together as kids and I like to think when I serve these it takes them back to those mornings with their parents. For me, it’s a way to feel more connected to my mother in law. You see, I have never met my mother in law. Sadly, both of Alex’s parents passed away a few years before we met. Pulling out Bette’s old recipe card with her handwriting on it and making these Apple Bundles makes me feel closer to her.

Bette’s Apple Bundles start with, what else, apples. Granny Smith apples are best in this recipe because they hold up while baking and their tart flavor offsets all of the sweetness. Once the apples are cored, peeled, and sliced, you will need to zest and juice one Navel orange. The zest gets mixed up with some cinnamon and sugar and the juice gets set aside. (These will be our toppings for later.) Now comes that wonderful crescent roll dough we all know and love. That stuff is so versatile! Place three apple slices at the wide end of the dough and roll it up. Place the bundles in a 9X13 inch pan.  

The orange juice gets poured into the pan but not over the bundles. Next, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar and orange zest mixture all over the top. I like to press it into the dough a bit with my fingers. Then three tablespoons of melted butter gets drizzled over them and you are ready to bake. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the bundles are golden brown.

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Homemade Croissants

Breads, Breakfast, Recipes | November 18, 2016 | By

Can I have everyone’s attention please. I am very excited about what I am getting ready to type….I made homemade Croissants! Yes, homemade Croissants! They were buttery, and flaky, and totally amazing! I can’t believe they were made in my little kitchen. Now, I could never take all of the credit in making them. My husband’s Aunt Susie is a trained pastry chef and every now and then when she is off work, and feeling ever so kind, she comes over and gives me baking lessons. Isn’t that incredible!? I soak up all of her knowledge and I can’t get enough. We have made fruit tarts, meringues, cream puffs, and now croissants.    

Let me show off some of the delicious creations we have made!

Pavlova

Cream Puffs.

Cream Puffs.

Fruit Tart with Vanilla Pastry Cream and Berries.

Now onto the star of this show…..Croissants!

Let me start by saying that making croissants is quite a process. I wouldn’t say they are difficult to make but really time consuming. They also require a lot of patience which, as I have said before, isn’t my strong suit. Aunt Susie knew that we wouldn’t be able to taste our end product the same day, so she was kind enough to get the process started the day before. She arrived with dough that had chilled overnight and a batch of dough that was rising. This made it possible for her to teach me the entire croissant making process in only one day. We ended up making three batches of croissants which left us with plenty to eat and lots to go in my freezer. Win!

FIRST STEP: Mixing the croissant dough is pretty straightforward. First, you dissolve the yeast into lukewarm milk. Then in a mixing bowl, you combine: bread flour, the milk, sugar, salt, and butter. You place the dough ball in a bowl and let it rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours. Once the dough has risen, you spread the dough out onto a pan in the shape of a rectangle and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. (Something very important that Aunt Susie kept reminding me of is that in every stage of croissant making you always want your dough to be in a rectangle because that’s the end goal.)

Croissant Making

 Croissant Making

SECOND STEP: (Enter butter stage right.) There is a lot of butter in croissants. I mean ALOT. That’s why they are so irresistible I suppose. Take the wrappers off two room temperature sticks of butter and place them side by side on wax paper. Take the butter wrappers and place them over the sticks of butter to keep your rolling pin from sticking. Use your rolling pin to make one big rectangle of butter.  (Now you want to chill the butter before the next part). Take your chilled dough out of the fridge and place your butter on the dough. Now you fold the dough into thirds remembering to keep the rectangle shape. Now the dough chills for 30 minutes.

Croissant Making

Croissant Making

Croissant Making

Croissant Making

Croissant Making

THIRD STEP: Now we begin what is called the 3 – 3 folds. This is what gives the croissants their beautiful layers and ensures the entire pastry is filled with butter. Roll out your chilled dough on a lightly floured surface remembering to keep the rectangle shape. Once rolled out, you will fold the dough into thirds. This is the first of the 3 – 3 folds. To mark this, you make an indentation on top of the dough with your finger. This is so you can remember what fold your pastry is on. The dough goes back into the fridge.

Croissant Making

FOURTH STEP: Repeat the previous step. You will do another 3 fold and mark it with two indents. Back into the fridge it goes. It is very important to fully chill the dough in between steps so that the butter stays cold and doesn’t seep out of the dough. You don’t want to lose any of that precious butter!

Croissant Making

Croissant Making

FIFTH STEP: Time for the last of the 3 folds. Roll the dough out, fold it in thirds, and mark it with 3 indents. Now you can wrap the dough loosely in plastic wrap and put it back in the fridge to chill overnight. Yes, overnight…..it will be worth it I promise!

Croissant Making

Croissant Making

SIXTH STEP: It is time to roll out our dough! Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out keeping the rectangle shape and always roll from the middle out. Once our dough was rolled out we used a measuring tool to help us give the dough even marks so we would know where to cut. You can just eyeball it and that’s fine too.

Croissant Making

Croissant Making

Croissant Making

SEVENTH STEP: Now cut the dough for the croissants you plan on making. We did some filled with chocolate for “Pan Au Chocolat” and we also did some traditional croissants. You will want to work fast so you don’t warm up the dough too much. Once your croissants are filled or shaped, they go on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to rise. Set them in a warm area for a while until they have puffed up.

Croissant Making

EIGHTH STEP: Now that the croissants have risen, it’s time to brush them with an egg wash and finally get them into the oven. They bake at 400 degrees until they are puffed up and lightly golden brown. Now for my favorite part, let them cool and enjoy!

Croissant Making

Croissant Making

Croissant Making

Croissant Making

Croissant Making

Croissant Making

Aren’t they beautiful? They bring a tear to my eye (dramatic). No, but really, making Homemade Croissants was so rewarding! Having them in my freezer to pull out and bake whenever I want…..amazing! I want to say a big thank you to Aunt Susie for being willing to come over and teach me how to make such delicious treats. I really couldn’t do it without her and I enjoy our time together. I wonder what we will make next…… 

Croissant Ingredients

1 cup milk

.25 oz dry yeast or .5 oz fresh yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1.5 oz butter, softened

3 3/4 cup bread flour

8 oz butter, separate

 

 

Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole

Breakfast, Recipes | September 20, 2016 | By

Time goes by fast. Whether I am having fun or not, it goes by fast. I cannot believe my husband and I have been married for almost 4 years, that I turn 27 in a couple weeks, and that our kiddos are 19 months old. How did this happen? Where has the time gone? It seems like the weeks fly by so quickly and before I know it the month is gone and then the year. Can we just pause time for a minute? I want to stare at my children before I blink and they are grown. I want to really enjoy this season of life that I am in before it escapes me. It can be so easy to get caught up in the busyness of everyday life. Now, I can’t do anything to slow time down (and if anyone out there can, please let me know) but I can prep make ahead dishes that get me out of the kitchen quickly and back into soaking up every moment with my family. Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole is such an easy dish to prepare and there aren’t even words in the English language to describe how delicious it is.

Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole

There are a few reasons that I have fallen head over heels in love with Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole. First, you can make it ahead of time. Assemble it the night before then cover and refrigerate until you are ready to bake. This is a great dish for a Sunday morning when I like to do minimal work before running out the door for church. Second, the kids love it, and I mean LOVE IT (as do I, and my husband, and anyone else who takes a bite). This dish is a crowd pleaser. I have made it for other families and it’s always a big hit. Third, it contains lots and lots of cheese, sausage, and tater tots. All the important food groups (wink wink).

To start you brown one pound of breakfast sausage in a large skillet, breaking it up as it cooks. That is the first layer to your casserole. Don’t mind my worn out looking casserole dish. She is trusty and I love her. 

Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole

Next comes the cheese, two cups of cheese to be exact, it gets sprinkled on top of the cooked sausage.

Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole

In a bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, pepper, onion powder, and salt. Pour this int0 the dish over the sausage and cheese. It’s coming together now!

Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole

Cheesy Tater Tot Casserole

Now take those wonderful frozen tater tots (these really take me back to my elementary school days) and arrange them on top. If you are making this ahead, this is where you would cover and refrigerate until you are ready to bake. Now it goes into a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes. Take it out and add an additional 1/2 cup of cheese on top and 4 slices of crumbled bacon. Bake for another 10 minutes or until its all bubbly and golden brown. Let it rest for 10 minutes and you are ready to serve!

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