Friday, July 31, 2009

Tex-Mex Biscuits and Gravy

My Venture into Fusion Cuisine:
One look at my big batootie and you'll know I love biscuits and gravy and Tex-Mex cuisine. I think it's really fun to create new dishes by putting creative spins on traditional recipes. A couple of years ago, I entered a few recipes in the Pillsbury Cook-Off. This is one of the recipes I entered. I didn't win but I still think it's a great recipe and a nice change from traditional biscuits and gravy. It does not have to be spicy unless you want it to be. If you want a mild version, simply leave out the red pepper flakes and buy a mild taco seasoning. In this respect, the whole family can enjoy it instead of just your fire-breathing husband and that crazy guy down the street with 14 cats who is always talking to his mailbox.

From the picture, this dish looks really fattening, doesn't it? It's not! As photographed, I prepared it using a lighter method to reduce the calorie and fat content. Figure-friendly foods do not have to be bland and uninteresting. Yes, this recipe is wonderful with all of the fat and calories but it is just as tasty lightened up. The recipe below gives you a choice between the normal method of preparation as well as a lighter alternative. You choose which one sounds best to you. If you make it, let me know what you think by adding a comment at the bottom of this page. Enjoy – and happy eating!

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Tex-Mex Biscuits and Gravy
(Printable Version)

1 can canned biscuits (or make them from scratch!)
1 pound breakfast sausage
2 TBSP butter
3 TBSP flour
1 packet taco seasoning (mild or hot)
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
2-1/2 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven and bake the biscuits per the package instructions.

While the biscuits are baking, brown the breakfast sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking the sausage into smaller pieces as it cooks. When the sausage has browned, tilt the skillet and estimate how much oil has accumulated. You need about two tablespoons of rendered fat. If you have more than two tablespoons, remove the excess. If you do not have enough, add enough butter to make roughly two tablespoons of total fat (it does not have to be exact).

Add the flour and stir to combine. Cook about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the taco seasoning packet and some red pepper flakes (if using). Stir and continue cooking about one minute longer. Slowly whisk in the milk. Heat until the gravy is simmering, stirring occasionally as it cooks. Breakfast sausage and taco seasoning packets can contain a lot of sodium. Therefore, you may not need to add a lot of salt (if any). Taste the gravy and add some salt and pepper, if needed. Continue to cook the gravy for about two minutes or until the gravy reaches your desired level of thickness. If needed, add a little more milk if the gravy gets too thick. Serve immediately over hot biscuits.

Lighten it up!
As pictured above, I used a lighter method for making these Tex-Mex Biscuits and Gravy.
1) I used reduced-fat biscuits.
2) I used 12 oz of Jimmy Dean Reduced-fat Sausage (instead of 16 oz of the full-fat stuff). Turkey sausage works great, also!
3) I drained the sausage on paper towels and wiped out the skillet before proceeding.
4) I added only one tablespoon of butter (instead of two).
5) I used skim milk.

So if you think it looks good, try using the lighter method sometime. You'll never miss all of the calories and fat.

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