Fake meats (or “faux” for you fancy people) have not only expanded my cooking repertoire dramatically, but they also help keep me from falling off the vegetarian wagon. When you grow up eating meat, AND really like the taste, it’s sometimes hard to resist. Fake meats have talked me off the ledge many times when I was tempted by a burger commercial.
There are quite a few really good imitation products out there now. Yes, there are some real duds, but search around and you probably can find ones that you like. They’re so common now that even the average supermarket carries, at least, a brand or two.
All that being said, I limit my use of these foods to once or twice a week – they are a processed food, after all.
Beef-like Biscuit Casserole is a kid favorite. It’s, also, one of mine. The recipe calls for making a biscuit dough. If this idea fills you with fear, then buy a tube of biscuit dough in the refrigerated section. But, honestly, it’s really very simple and I recommend giving it a go.
BEEF-LIKE BISCUIT CASSEROLE
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- 12 oz fake ground beef (I use Morningstar Grillers Crumbles)
- 15 oz tomato sauce
- 1 T fresh basil, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt, divided
- 1 T baking powder
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 4 T butter, cold
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk (any kind – I use nonfat)
- 4 oz medium cheddar, shredded
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Early in the day I try to remember to remove the Crumbles from the freezer to thaw so it cooks faster. Don’t worry if you don’t – it’ll still cook if it’s frozen.
Heat oil in a 10″ skillet and sauté the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes. Add the fake ground meat, 1/2 tsp salt, oregano, dried basil (if using fresh, don’t put this in yet), and tomato sauce. Bring to simmer, cover, and let cook 10 minutes. Stir now and then, particularly if fake meat is frozen. If using fresh basil, stir it in after the 10 minutes cooking time, to retain its flavor.
Remove lid from skillet, and skillet from heat. Let cool while you prepare the biscuits. (Deep breath!)
If you have a food processor, place flour, 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper in the workbowl. Pulse a couple of times to mix. Cut butter into 4 or 5 pieces and add to workbowl. Pulse about 7 times to break up the butter so the mixture becomes cornmeal-like.
If you don’t have a food processor, put flour, salt, pepper, and cut-up butter in a bowl. Using 2 knives, cross-cut until mixture resembles cornmeal (a pastry cutter won’t work – the cold butter will just bend the tines…been there, done that!).
In medium sized bowl, beat egg and milk together. Add in flour mixture and gently stir until blended. Empty dough onto floured surface and, with floured hands, knead dough 10 times. Don’t over-knead or the dough will toughen.
Preheat oven to 400º Fahrenheit.
Divide dough in half. Take one half and cut it into 1/4″ slices. Lay them out on the bottom of an 8″ x 8″ glass baking dish. With fingers, press the dough pieces together so they cover the entire bottom of dish.
Sprinkle on half the cheddar cheese.
Spread “meat” sauce evenly on top.
Sprinkle on remaining cheddar and the Parmesan.
Flatten the remaining biscuit dough with your hands or a rolling pin to about 1/4″. Cut dough into several pieces – the number and shape is up to you. Lay them out on top of casserole.
Bake at 400º Fahrenheit, uncovered, for 20 minutes – until biscuits are golden.
Let set for about 10 minutes before serving.