My four-year-old announces this to the dinner table at least three nights a week. I'll call her over to eat and she'll come running into the room, clambers up into her chair, her eyes always huge with anticipation...and then the minute a pepper, or tomato, or potato hits her little lips, she willingly puts herself to bed.
"No, I don't think I like this, Mama. I'm going to bed."
In our house the choices are:
2. Go lie down until dinner is over
So you see I can't really get upset when she obeys by quietly getting down from her chair and padding her little bare feet down the hall to her bedroom. I don't get mad when I hear her quietly playing in her bed, either. But dear gosh, does it ever break my heart and annoy me to no end when she wakes up in the morning crying because her stomach hurts. That's not the way it's supposed to be, right? I'm supposed to make sure these kids eat, aren't I? I cooked for her though, secret Judgmental Jen who loves to judge herself! I cooked for her! I swear it!
Now I've developed a number of tricks to try and get my kids to eat healthy over the years. So far the most foolproof method is pretty simple: cook food they like. My youngest loves breads and cheese, just like her mama. My oldest prefers stuff with lots of flavor and predictable texture (no mushy noodles or soggy cereal for her).
This recipe, this beautiful, golden, shining recipe of dinnertime peace and hope, fulfills both wish lists....and it is easy, affordable, healthy, and honestly delicious. Ready to read all about it? Of course you are. But first....
Disclaimer One: I try and use organic, source-conscious ingredients in all of my cooking and those types of ingredients are listed here....but at one point in my life I found such specificity obnoxious as hell and I wouldn't blame you for printing this off and crossing all the "organics" out. Plain ol' flour is just as fine and delicious as organic unbleached flour, especially when compared to the dough in a can.
Disclaimer Two: There are two parts to this dish - the biscuits and the filling. I make them both at the same time like a boss and I am not even graceful so don't be afraid. You can do this.
Ready? Let's go.
1. Start by getting all your ingredients out and prepped.
Ingredients for the Biscuits:
- 2 cups organic unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
- 1 teaspoon organic cane sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons cold grass-fed butter or lard leftover from cooking your forest-foraged pork on your cast iron skillet (ok now I'm just being a brat)
- 1 cup buttermilk***
***Side note about buttermilk - I never remember to buy the stuff in the store or I do and then it goes bad because I forgot I bought it. Instead I make my own buttermilk by combining a couple tablespoons of vinegar with some of my favorite fresh whole milk. Let it sit and stir it every now and then and it'll thicken up all buttermilk-like. For this recipe you just add the 2 tablespoons of vinegar to your measuring cup then fill it up to the 1 cup line with your milk. Easy-peasy.
Ingredients for the Filling:
- 1 pound of your favorite ground meat - I typically use ground turkey or pork - thawed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter or anything greasy, really, to cook your meat
- 1 10-oz bag of frozen organic veggies (yep, you read that right - frozen veggies are cheap, even the organic ones, and will save you prep time on this dish)
- 1/4 of an onion - purple, white, yellow, doesn't matter at all - diced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic all mashed up
- 1/3 cup of organic unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 cups of chicken broth (learn how to make your own - it's so cheap!)
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- Seasoned salt and pepper to taste
The great thing about this filling is you can change the non-base ingredients (meat and veggies) to match what you have. If you score a ton of peas and carrots at the farmers market, for example, but didn't have enough cash for onions, you can leave the onions out completely and just add peas and carrots. If your garden is hoppin' with corn and tomatoes, add them to the filling. Vegetarians can leave the meat out completely. The filling will still taste fantastic. On lazy nights I use meat and the frozen veggies that's it. Still good.
2. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. If you're making buttermilk out of milk and vinegar get that started now, too.
3. Heat your oil over medium heat in an oven safe pan - cast iron is honestly perfect for this but stainless steel works well, too.
4. Add your meat, onions, and garlic to the pan. Some people say you need to sweat out your onions and garlic first (let them saute until brown) but I don't wanna and you don't have to, either.
5. While the meat is cooking stir the dry biscuit ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt) together in a medium-sized bowl.
6. Take your cold butter or lard and cut it into the dry ingredients. To "cut" means to mix it up without making it so hot it melts...you want it chunky.....so you don't want to use your hands. I invested in a pastry cutter but a fork with nice big tines works too....*giggity.* The dough should get crumbly - big chunks of butter is fine and fantastic and perfect so don't stress. Give your meat a quick flip and stir.
7. Add your buttermilk and stir with a folk just until the ingredients are incorporated. Take your hands and knead the dough a couple times so it comes together.
8. Now this is the part where you'd typically roll this dough ball out and cut little circles out of it and have it be real pretty. That is not what we're doing here, but you're welcome to if you prefer a cleaner biscuit. Me? I prefer a biscuit in my belly. My belly does not give a crap. Set the bowl aside.
9. Flip your meat around and make sure it's nice and cooked. Add the 1/3 cup flour to the pan. Nope, don't drain your meat, that is blasphemy. Your meat/flour mixture will get real thick and you'll be afraid you're going to burn it. You will not, promise. Let the meat absorb the flour. Takes a minute or so.
10. Add your chicken broth and milk. Stir it all up and turn the heat up to medium-high.
11. Add the frozen veggies and your seasoned salt and pepper. Mix it all up.
12. Now this is the best part. Let the mixture get real hot and bubbly. Keep stirring, don't let it sit. You're waiting for that flour to kick in and make the liquid go from watery to thick and tasty. If it's taking too long, realize you are the master of your kitchen and you can crank the heat up as high as you want to speed things up. Just be careful to keep stirring and scraping along the bottom and sides of the pan so nothing burns. When you can pull your spatula across the mixture and see the bottom of the pan, it's ready.
13. Slide the pan over, off the heat. Now grab that biscuit dough lump (or pretty little circles) and start plopping them on top. You can be as messy or as clean as you'd like.
14. Take the entire pan and put it into the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes - you want the biscuits to get a nice golden brown on top. You might get impatient and take the pan out when they're only a little brown on top and that's ok. It will smell real good so I don't blame you.
15. Let it sit for a minute as it will be super bubbly and hot....or, be like Jen and burn yourself a little trying to shovel it out onto plates as fast as you possibly can so you can finally eat it.
Wa-lah :) A healthy, easy, from-scratch dinner that Mamas and Kiddos and Doggies love. Enjoy!
What is your favorite homemade recipe? I'd love to hear about it in the comments down below and as always, thank you so much for reading :)
**Can't get enough homesteading? Check out the Homestead Blog Hop, hosted by some of the best and most beautiful bloggers in the self-sufficiency world. This post, and many of my others, are shared on the Homestead Blog Hop each week. From breadmaking to seed selection, home-grown recipes to herbal health, the Homestead Blog Hop has it all! Enjoy! :)