Gravy is simply any sauce that we use as a base for soups or stews or added to a dish. Gravy is a liquid that is thickened with a starch, either flour or cornstarch.

One of the things I have learned over the years is that people generally fall into one of two categories when it comes to food preferences. There are those who prefer dry meals and those who prefer wet meals. I prefer dry foods like crunchy fried chicken or a thick steak and my husband and his family are all wet. So, to keep the peace in the family I had to learn to make a good tasting gravy that I can serve alongside many meals. Here are some of the tips I have worked out.

Brown gravy can be made using any pan drippings. Remove the meat after it has completed cooking, skim off excess oil. Add a few tablespoons of flour and stir with a whisk until a smooth paste forms. Once you have this flour and drippings paste, add your liquid. This can be water with bullion added for extra flavor, a broth, or a combination of these and a little wine. YES. You can use chicken broth with beef or pork, so use what you have on hand. Salt and pepper to taste.

How to make gravy delicious that goes well with almost any meat is a mushroom gravy. I always make sure I have cream of mushroom soup in the cabinet. Thin with a couple of tablespoons of water or broth and mix into your pan drippings, or simply thin in a small saucepan, heat and pour over any dish.

Want something a little more flavorful? Grab that box of onion soup mix. I use this often to flavor beef, pork, or chicken.

TIP: Look to the store brands and you may find there lower sodium and sugar.

For an Onion gravy, season your meat with the dry soup mix then thicken the drippings as above or use the mix as the base for a gravy. Simply combine the soup mix, 1 tablespoon corn starch, and a cup of cool water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching and viola, you have gravy.

Ditch that store-bought macaroni and cheese. In about 5 minutes you can make a cheese gravy by first making a white gravy. This is simply 2 cups cold milk and 2 tablespoons cornstarch combined and heated as for the onion gravy above. Once your sauce comes to a boil then reduce the heat and add in 2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, salt and pepper to taste. For a real treat add a small can of Rotel brand tomatoes with peppers and kick up the mac-n-cheese. You will never go back to the box. My family loves this with ham and broccoli added to make a one dish meal.

White gravy is great if you add sausage and pour over biscuits for breakfast. Just replace the cheese above with crumbled, cooked sausage.

Tomato Gravy is what most people consider the basis for most marinara sauces, but you can make tomato gravy to serve with many dishes, especially beef or chicken. Use any canned tomato sauce or juice, thicken with cornstarch as mentioned above, 2 tablespoons to each 2 cups of liquid, and

Having a fruit dessert? Why not try a fruit gravy. Simply thicken any 2 cups of fruit juice with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and heat to boiling. Pour over ice cream for an instant hit, spoon over pound cake or pie to impress friends and family. The options are limitless.

You can see that making gravy is not nearly as difficult as many believe and the rewards will show on the faces of your family and friends when they sit down to your table. Surprise them tonight with gravy.

I am Barbara Cagle. As the chief cook and bottle washer for our family and a former caterer I have picked up some great tips that I love to share.


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