How to enjoy new restaurants on a budget

If you are like me you are living on a budget that doesn’t necessarily allow you the luxury to eat out a lot.  This is even compounded when you have children and either have to bring them with you or find a babysitter.  When I first moved to Omaha a friend turned me onto some sites where you can get great deals on restaurants and more.  If you haven’t heard of them or haven’t checked them out yet then do it now!!!

www.dailydealomaha.com (maybe there is a local version near you)

www.groupon.com

www.livingsocial.com

All three sites will give you deals around your area.  I have enjoyed many discounts and have given them to others.  This is a great way to try that new trendy place that you may otherwise pass up.  It is an added bonus when one of my favorite places show up with a discount deal.

Going on vacation?  Look to see if any deals are happening wherever you are going.

Always be courteous and remember to tip your server on the full value.  I also like to give my server my voucher before the ticket arrives.  One last tip..if you have any questions as to what the voucher entails please ask your server before the meal.

I am off to find my newest deal so hubby and I can enjoy a meal without cooking!!

 

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Country Sausage Gravy (aka Sawmill Gravy)

Sausage gravy and biscuits with over easy eggs is perfect for a blustery day.  I have not mastered the homemade biscuits yet so I will stick with Pillsbury flaky homestyle biscuits.  Sausage gravy is very simple and easy to make.  My daughter has noticed that although we are using the same ingredients the gravy is different between my husband and I or even between the batches I make.  The minor adjustments can change the taste and consistency slightly so feel free to experiment.  I will include my basic recipe and then give you ideas to mix it up.

Ingredients

1 lb ground pork sausage (ie Jimmy Dean)*

1/4 Cup flour

2-3 Cups whole milk*

1 Tablespoon butter (opti0nal)

Salt and Pepper (to taste)

  1. Brown the sausage in a sauté pan.
  2. Drain the fat all but 1-2 Tablespoons.
  3. This next step can be done one of two ways.  I usually do the first way but I am sure some will disagree and say you have to it the second way.  There is no right or wrong way as I have prepared it both ways with the same success.

    Leave the sausage in the pan after draining.  Sprinkle the flour on the sausage.  I never measure it so the 1/4 Cup is an   approximate.  I add enough flour and stir it so the sausage looks like “puppy chow” mix.  I know some of you are either laughing or saying she didn’t just mention dog food.  When I first learned how to make this someone used that analogy with me and it has stuck and never did me wrong.

    OR

    Remove the sausage from the pan and stir in the flour into the drippings and mix.  You are making a Roux.

  4. Slowly add the milk while continuing stirring (medium heat).  Either way above your gravy will be getting thicker.  Make sure you get the little bits from the bottom of the pan.  If you removed the sausage from the pan to make the roux you can add the sausage back once it has gotten to the desired consistency.
  5. Add a little bit of salt and a lot black pepper.  Just when you thought you added too much pepper you will be adding more.  This is where I keep testing until it is where I like it.
  6. Once the gravy is starting to thicken I turn down the heat to low-medium.
  7. If the gravy is too thick add more milk.  If it is too thin you can take some of the gravy out into a separate bowl mix in some flour (I recommend 1 Tablespoon at a time) mix and then add back into gravy.
  8. As the gravy is cooking it will get thicker and a deeper color.  You will notice it going from the white to a nice light brown.  Some people like making a darker roux..it is all personal choice.
  9. Before serving stir in the 1 Tablespoon of butter and serve over biscuits with eggs on the side.

Substitutions you can try….

*Feel free to try any of any the ground pork sausage products.  I have made sausage gravy using the original, country, sage, and maple flavored.  If you aren’t a pork person then try ground turkey.  The turkey is milder however for the non-pork person they can still enjoy biscuits and gravy.

*You don’t have whole milk now what?  I have used non-whole milk just realize using 2% or less will make your gravy thinner.  We normally buy 1-2% so I mix it with half and half or heavy cream.  Really you can use any of those in any combination and even evaporated milk.  Just this weekend, I used 2 cups of heavy whipping cream, 1 cup of half and half, then thinned it out a bit with a couple splashes of 2% milk.  Sometimes, I may even add a little condensed milk which will add a touch of sweetness.