Thursdays Are For Cooking

| September 17, 2020

Buttermilk pancakes, coming up next month

Since some people here present have likely had a rough week in one way or another, the idea of two easy dishes presented itself and I followed suit. So here you are. Both are easy to fix, hearty, nutritious, and filling enough to keep you going through thick and thin times.

From Betty C’s Kitchen: Green Bean and Chicken Casserole

By Betty Crocker Kitchens

Prep time: 10 MIN

Total: 55 MIN

Servings: 4

Blend, layer, bake–it’s as easy as that to make this quick supper solution, thanks to canned soup, pre-seasoned bread crumbs, and frozen veggies.


1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup

¼ cup milk

1 cup herb-seasoned stuffing crumbs

¼ cup butter or margarine, melted

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 lb), cut into 1-inch-wide strips

2 cups frozen cut green beans, thawed


1 Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 11×7-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. In small bowl, mix soup and milk until well blended. In another small bowl, mix stuffing crumbs and melted butter.

2 In baking dish, layer chicken, green beans, soup mixture and stuffing mixture.

3 Bake uncovered about 45 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center and mixture is hot and bubbly.

Expert Tips:

For a taste of Thanksgiving, add 1/2 teaspoon ground sage to the soup mixture.

A fruit salad with poppy seed dressing would complement this casserole.

That’s for supper, and for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or any time you’re hungry, there is the classic sausage gravy with biscuits. And yes, you’re allowed to use the store-bought canned biscuits to save some time.

Easy Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

Hot jumbo Jimmy Dean buttermilk biscuits with creamy sausage gravy are ready in just 15 minutes for a hearty, family-favorite breakfast. This recipe will serve 4 people, so if you have more than 4 to feed (including you), expand accordingly.


1 (16 ounce) can refrigerated jumbo buttermilk biscuits (unless you feel like making them from scratch, in which case, post your Grandma’s old biscuits recipe. Also, if there’s more than 4 people, you’re gonna need more biscuits and sausage gravy.)

1/2 pound package of pork sausage not in casings. If you can’t find loose meat or patties, then get the encased sausage and turn it out of the casings, crumble it up and cook it until it’s done.

Here’s your first lesson in What Not To Do:

DONE means “no sharp crumbles”.  DO NOT OVERCOOK THE SAUSAGE.  You will cook all the flavor out of it and it will be drek and people will throw it at you and go to the McDonald’s down the road.

DO NOT scrape the pan after you cook the sausage. If you do that, you’ll take out all the flavor and have to start over, and I will know what you did wrong, because you’ll be calling me and whining about it.

The pan scrapings are FLAVOR. Leave them in the pan.

To make a good gravy when you’re using lean meat like Jimmy Dean or Johnsonville sausage, you’ll have to add some fats to the pan scrapings to make a roux (pronounced “roo”, as in kangaroo), which is the base for your gravy. If you have bacon grease, use that.  If you don’t have bacon grease, then use butter. How much butter? How much sausage gravy are you making? The roux has to support the thickening agent (flour) and liquid (broth or milk) added to it without losing its ability to thicken up, because you still have to spoon it over the biscuits. I would say 2 tablespoons of bacon grease or butter for starters, because after either melts and is blended with the pan scrapings, you’ll be adding flour as the thickener to make the roux, and then slowly adding liquid to stretch the volume. And you will be constantly stirring unless you want to spend 10 hours scraping that skillet clean.

Once the roux has absorbed all the melted fats, start adding the broth/milk/cream/whatever slowly, stirring constantly, OVER A LOW HEAT.  I can’t emphasize that enough: stirring constantly over a low heat.  I find that a low heat is better than medium because it is less likely to produce clumps and cursing and trying to thin out the gravy so that it’s edible. (Or do you really want 5 gallons of gravy in your fridge?)


Bake the biscuits according to the package directions.  Keep them warm. (Or use your Grammy’s recipe from Them There Olden Times. Hint: a warm oven is about 325 to 350F.)

Meanwhile, if you are using lean sausage like Johnsonville, add a fat like bacon grease or corn oil to the pan to keep the sausage from sticking.  Cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat 5-6 minutes or until thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently.  Once it’s cooked, move the sausage out of the pan to a bowl. Leave the pan scrapings in the pan. (Yes, there are people who will pour that stuff out. Don’t do that! It’s part of the recipe.)

Stir the flour into the pan scrapings. Gradually add milk*; cook until mixture comes to a boil and thickens, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium or low; simmer 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed.

*NOTE: It is also permissible to use buttermilk, half & half, and/or broth as the liquid. Whatever floats your boat will do, but the gravy must be thin enough to pour and thick enough to appreciate.

Split the biscuits in half. Place 2 halves on each plate; top with about 1/3 cup gravy. Of course, if it’s just you fixing this feast and you don’t donate leftovers to that pack of boarhounds you have out back, you can add more gravy if you like.


Category: Cooking, Economy

Comments (10)

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  1. I just cubed 1 lb of chicken breasts for your last thursday’s lemon pepper chicken which is now standing by in the reefer until my sister is done making her stuff. I used to do a lot of cooking but tired of it and dumped all the bottles/cans of spices so all I had to do was buy the bottle of lemon pepper and we have salt and pepper inhouse, so your penne/sausage meal doesn’t require all the stuff I threw over the side. I’m using broccoli instead of spinach for the lemon pepper.

  2. AW1Ed says:

    KoB in 5, 4, 3…to comment on “Whomp Biscuits.” *grin* Bagged, individual biscuits can be found in the frozen food section at your local mega-mart, so use what you need and put the rest back for next time. There will be a next time- thanks, Ex!

    My favorite, top with a couple fried eggs over easy. A big mug of Navy coffee or two and I’m ready to face the day.

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      I will tread very lightly with Mi’Lady on her posting up a Thursdays are for Cooking Recipe using “whoomp biscuits”, ‘specially after the way she insinuated a lack of male genitalia on the part of ChipNASA on the other thread. ‘Sides, she did give the option, for any that has ta, to post up a recipe for real cat heads like Mama & ’em made. I will not cop to being afeered of a cook, but I will admit to going out of my way to not piss one off unduly. I will also admit to keeping a package of Mary Hill Southern Style Frozen Biscuits in the freezerator for those rushed occasions when Imma needing a quick cat head or 4. They are not half bad.

      Making cat heads and gravy is a whole lot like making love. You got to take your time, go slow, start with low heat, and practice, practice, practice, practice. Oh, and have the right ingredients. Your sausage needs to be in the right gravy…and we want mention her…er..the biscuits.

      Good job here, with the chicken dish and the sausage gravy biscuits. Sent the Monday fish thingie to Baby Girl. She said it was timely ’cause SnL is on a fish kick and a lose a little weight thing. He squawked about the butter, but hell, he’s a former upstate Noo Yawker, Boomer Bubble Head that would squawk about having to pay for a new rope to be hung with. She likes chicken dishes and had sent me a pic of the sausage/cabbage dish that was featured here a good while back.

      Sorry for the delay, an unseen episode of Gunsmoke was distracting me. Least the rain finally quit a bit ago. Got a little sporting on evening past.

      • Ex-PH2 says:

        Thanks for the feedback, Big Guy. You’re getting less rain. We’re getting less smoke from the Western fires here in my AO, which means the sky will start to clear up and things will be normal again – mostly, anyway.

        • OWB says:

          The sky ’round here is truly schizoid. It’s trying concurrently to be hazy from the fires while accommodating whatever the hurricane is pushing this way. It always amazes me just how big storms can be and how far away from them their impact is felt. Sometimes it is simply other weather being stalled out coming from the other direction and at other times it is more direct.

          Climate change. Hmmmm. Having lived all over the country for many decades, those same general principles seem to apply everywhere I’ve lived. Sometimes a little storm over there has a tremendous effect over here while at other times a huge storm fairly close by just seems to suck everything out to sea with it. Or not.

          But biscuits and gravy is always an appropriate response. As long as you use about equal amounts of fat and flour in your gravy then add enough milk product to thin it to your desired consistency it will turn out OK. If you add too much fluid, adding a bit of flour mixed with butter will thicken it right up. (By suspending the flour in the fat, as the butter melts, the flour will be distributed throughout.)

        • Ex-PH2 says:

          We got down to 42F where I am this morning. I turned the furnace on (after putting in new filters) on September 9. I have never, ever turned it on that early.

          I’m now waiting to see just how early the first snowfall is. 🙂

          I’m ready for that event, too.

  3. Roh-Dog says:

    Half& half or cream for my roux, I like the gravy more like a paste.
    When Ex says low and slow, she f**king means it! And just FYI, corn starch isn’t a substitute for flour (don’t ask).
    If you’re a novice sifting the flour into the roux is a great idea, lumps are impossible to rid of.