The Dad Cooks: Biscuits and Gravy

The Wife tends to sleep late, especially these days of having to nurse several times in the night. Therefore, when the kids wake up at 7:15 in the morning claiming they are “still hungry” (then why didn’t you eat more dinner?), it is I who takes them downstairs and tries to put together a decent breakfast while struggling to wake up. I like a good breakfast. A lot. So, with tips from the Wife, I’ve been expanding my meager cooking skills. I can’t make a lot of things, but what I can make, I’m pretty good at. When it’s breakfast, anyway. Since recipes seem to be a pretty popular thing to blog about, I’ve decided to try sharing mine.

Here’s a little masterpiece I whipped up this morning. Sorry there aren’t more pictures; I didn’t think about taking any until far too late in the process.

Homemade Biscuits and Gravy

The first step is to get the biscuits started, since they’ll have to cook while you’re making gravy. We prefer Mary B’s frozen biscuits — either Southern Style or Buttermilk, there’s no discernible difference — but for some inexplicable reason what we had in the freezer was Pillsbury. Then, before you go any further, give the kids a little something to tide them over and keep them occupied while you’re cooking. I recommend those little oranges or splitting a banana between them. Put the baby in his rocker seat, which is currently on top of the kitchen table on the far end from where you eat. You know, the part of the table where the mail goes.

Get out a cookie sheet to put the biscuits on. It’s the flat, metal tray the Wife uses to make cookies. Place on it one biscuit for each child, two for each adult, and then go ahead and fill out the rest of the tray since you can eat the extra biscuits tomorrow morning with jelly. Set the oven to bake at whatever temperature the bag says, which will almost certainly be 375.

Now take all the biscuits off the cookie sheet so you can spray it with cooking spray, then put them back on. If one of the children has gotten bored and wandered into the kitchen, she can help with this part. Just make sure any biscuits dropped on the floor get wiped off before being put back on the cookie sheet. When that’s done, go ahead and put the cookie sheet with biscuits on it into the oven; don’t wait for it to preheat.

Get the coffee started. Make sure RU isn’t trying to rock Z in his seat and that MeToo isn’t standing up in her highchair.

Find a large pan or skillet. There’s no way to do that without making a lot of noise, but feel free to shush the cookware anyway. The Wife is still trying to sleep upstairs.

Now go make sure you actually have sausage. You’ll need a whole 1-pound package. When you don’t find any in the fridge, check the deep freeze. Score!

Put the frozen, rock-hard cylinder of sausage on the skillet and turn the stove to the medium heat level. This is probably “5,” which will work fine even if your dials only go up to 8. Because the sausage is frozen, this part of the process will take a little longer and require more direct attention. The outside of the sausage-brick will thaw and cook while the inside stays frozen solid. You’ll have to take a wooden spoon or spatula and, as one side starts to cook, scrape off the layer that has thawed out. Turn the remaining frozen block over to let the other side heat up, too. Repeat this process every couple of minutes, in between shooing the older kids away from the baby.

Note that the above scraping process actually results in a more “finely-ground” mass of sausage once it’s all thawed out than when you find the sausage unfrozen in the fridge and just mash it up in the pan. The texture and overall quality of the gravy is thereby much improved.

Once the sausage is cooked, add in milk. This needs to be whole milk. If for some reason you are out of whole milk, you can substitute something thicker, as long as it’s not the flavored coffee creamer. Remember to thin it out a bit with water if you use heavy cream or Elmer’s School Glue. Use a little more milk than you think you’ll need, as it will thicken up as it cooks.

Having just added the milk, you can now determine whether your middle child is saying “potty” because she needs to go or has just went. Or, if you’re as lucky as I am, you’ll find she has wet her seat but still needs to go poop. Remove the wet pajamas and place them in the bathroom sink to deal with later. Get the child on the potty and convince her not to get up until you come back. Then, go clean up the urine.

Return to the kitchen and set the timer like you should have done when you first put the biscuits in the oven. The instructions on the bag usually give a range, like “16-20 minutes.” If you don’t know how long it’s been since the oven hit 375, or can’t do subtraction before you’ve had coffee, just use the lower number.

The gravy needs 1/3 cup of flour added to it. It was very important that this happen prior to putting the milk in, because the flour needs just a minute to soak up the hot sausage grease before any milk is added to the mixture. Get a medium-sized bowl to pour the milk from the skillet into. Add the flour. Now go finish cleaning up your child in the bathroom. When you finish that, add the milk back into the skillet. Add some salt and pepper, then mix the ingredients together in the skillet. Stir occasionally as the gravy thickens up. If it gets too thick, you can always add more milk.

When you hear your older children begin to chant “Rock the baby! Rock the baby!” it will be time to take the biscuits out of the oven. If the baby isn’t in too much peril, you’ll have to settle for just turning the oven off, and maybe turn the stove down a notch or two if it looks like rescuing him may take a few minutes. Once you’ve stopped the girls’ attempts to love their brother to death, take the biscuits out of the oven. The gravy’s probably about right by now and the eye can be turned to Low while you get bowls, plates, drinks, and find the baby’s pacifier again. Combine biscuits and gravy. Ready to serve!

Awesomeness: It's what's for breakfast
Awesomeness: It’s what’s for breakfast
If RU is poking the baby's head, the biscuits must be ready
If RU is poking the baby’s head, the biscuits must be ready
  • 1 package of frozen biscuits
  • 1 pound of sausage from the back of the freezer
  • Whole Milk. How much? “Enough.”
  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • 2 hungry toddlers
  • 1 helpless baby