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I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love gravy. And when I say love, I mean I would happily eat it every single day, with almost any meal, for the rest of my life. I’m not even exaggerating. Just ask Daisy, my sister, or, really, anyone. I love it.
That being said, with groceries as outrageously expensive as they are right now, the traditional roast drippings for gravy aren’t really an option for me right now. I’ve got to work with what I have on as small a budget as possible. That being said, I’ve still managed to make gravy about a dozen times in the last two weeks without a single roast. And definitely not with the premade gravy mix or gravy from a can. I find they just aren’t as good.
The best thing? I’ve got my gravy down to a science and can whip it up in 15 minutes or less.
So what’s the trick?
Well, it’s super simple. You only need 3-4 ingredients, a whisk, and a pot or pan. When I told you it’d be easy, I meant it.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 tbsp. of butter or margarine (if you’re someone who saves bacon grease, this would be a great use for it too!)
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 1 cup water and half a bouillon cube (These are the ones I use. Great flavor and cheaper than the name brands)
- 1 cup of broth (check out how to make homemade broth from food scraps to save even more money)
Here’s what you need to do:
- Melt your fat of choice over medium heat.
- Once melted, add your flour; if you are using a bouillon cube, add that here as well. Whisk on medium heat until all flour and fat are mixed and smooth.
- Start adding your liquid a little at a time while mixing. You want to ensure you add your liquid slowly to prevent any lumps from forming.
- Once you’ve mixed in all your liquid, turn the heat to a medium-low, mixing every minute or two to ensure that it thickens slowly.
- When it’s reached your desired thickness, serve it hot over your dish of choice.
Creative Gravy Ideas
As I mentioned, gravy is my go-to for a lot of things. So, I change it up from time to time. Here are my favourite ways to mix up the standard gravy.
Make it Creamy
I pretty much always have cream or milk in my house. I drink a lot of coffee, and I like it with dairy. A lot of times, I will add a little splash of cream at the last minute of cooking to give it that rich, creamy flavor I love.
Okay, so gravy probably isn’t the first thing you think of when it comes to Mexican food. Me neither. But, last night, I was craving both Mexican food and poutine (hey, I’m half Canadian, half American. Don’t judge. It makes sense.) So, I added 1/2 tbsp. of chili powder and 1 tsp. of cumin to my gravy, and OMG, it was one of the best things I think I’ve ever made. Served it on top of my french fries and sauteed veggies. Absolutely phenomenal and definitely something I will be making again. Frequently.
Make it for Beef
When I’m cooking beef, I don’t know what it is, but I feel like it deserves all the black pepper and a splash of Worcestershire sauce. Not only do I do that with the beef itself, but also with the gravy too. If you’re feeling like a beef stroganoff, you can easily use my gravy recipe with a splash of cream, ground meat of your choice, and some noodles. It’s the easiest way to give yourself those stroganoff vibes in a quick way. It won’t be like the amazing one my mom makes, but it’ll do the trick in a pinch and on a dime.
More ways to use gravy
There are endless options for what you can do with gravy. These are some of my favorites, both from my childhood and as an adult.
- Mashed potatoes (p.s. you can totally add lentils for extra protein for a very low cost)
- Gravy on bread (a childhood favorite that I learned from my grandpa that I still enjoy)
- Biscuits and Gravy
- Pasta sauce replacement
- Gravy over rice
- Gravy and fries (and cheese, and you’ve got poutine, just like a Canadian.)
- Add it to roasted veggies and potatoes
- Use it as the base for a stew or soup. Just add a bunch of veggies, rice, lentils, meat, pasta, honestly, pretty much anything.
- Burger with gravy. Sometimes, I’ll just skip the bun and smother my burger pattie with gravy instead.
- Add it to a hot sandwich
- Pot pie sauce (be it chicken pot pie, veggie pot pie, or anything in between)
- Sauce for shepherd’s pie
- Smother your meatloaf
- Gravy over eggs – I haven’t tried this one yet myself, but I’ve heard some great things about it. Especially with poached eggs.
Check out Daisy’s gravy ideas here.
How do you like your gravy?
Got any gravy tips for us? Do you have a favorite way to eat your gravy? I’ve been told I shouldn’t just drink it by the cup (even though I totally would), so I’m always looking for new ways to eat it. Share your favorite gravy ideas in the comments!
About Chloe Morgan
Chloe Morgan grew up living with a tight budget. In her late teens and early 20’s all the lessons she’d learned started to slip, like it does for many college age students on their own for the first time, and with their first credit card. As she’s gotten older, she’s started to deal with the repercussions and has taken on a frugal way of living, keeping her costs low, as she pays off debt and saves for her future. Chloe lives in Northern Ontario, Canada, with her cute dog, Rhea. Check out her other work on Medium, where she writes about lifestyle, mental health, and writing.
8 thoughts on “A Frugalite’s Guide to Gravy without the Roast (and 17 Things to Do with It)”
I’ve made gravy from really savory bean broth. It’s good over fried potatoes.
That sounds great.
Made gravy for two hungry men for breakfast. Didn’t have oil or shortening. I mixed enough milk powder and flour for 4 cups. I just whisked the flour and dry milk then whisked in the water, salt and pepper and a finely diced leftover hamburger patty. Brought it up to a boil and cooked another couple of minutes whisking constantly. Guys loved it over warmed up biscuits with over easy eggs..
I like to make gravy by cooking flour in shortening or bacon fat then adding seasonings and liquid. Just used what I had and it turned out OK.
I often season gravy with a bit of bacon, bacon fat or bullion. Sometimes salt and pepper are all I have. A bit of real cream is great but dry powdered creamer works. If all I have is powdered milk, I try to add a bit more to make it richer. If I make gravy with juice left on a roast I thicken it with corn starch mixed in a bit of water. Then season to taste. It makes a lovely translucent brown gravy. For a great chicken gravy I like to use what is left in the bottom of the pan from frying chicken dredged in seasoned flour. Stir in water or milk and bring to a boil.
I love me some gravy. If you have trouble making a roux, gravy can also be made from cornstarch, what I like about that is I can even make it without fat! That’s useful for people (like me) who are trying to lighten up our recipes from time to time. These ideas are great.
Oh, and my favorite gravy recipe is “breen” from Babylon 5. It’s noodles, such as spirals or bowtie noodles, with savory gravy, meatballs, and maybe some mushrooms. I love it with lentil or chickpea spirals.
Add mushrooms, canned or fresh….And deli roast beef, the inexpensive kind, and you have a delicious open faced sandwich. Works with turkey also.
Oh, yes! Gravy is my favorite beverage!
For a little more flavor, use bacon grease with or instead of butter when you’re making your roux. Instead of bouillon, try a spoonful of onion soup mix.
Mmm…. Now I want to go make a bucket of gravy, and a big ol’ baked potato.
I like gravy but *not* on French Fries. My dad does however. But I do like pork-n-beans over my fried potatoes. To each his/her own. Over biscuits or bread is filling and really not all that unhealthy (I can think of a lot of other unhealthy “foods”).
You can make a Shepard’s pie sans meat. Gravy belongs at the bottom of the food pyramid with mayo, ketchup, and peanut butter.
Nice. The work around is appreciated. Here is what I have found…..dry gravy mix. Read the instructions before purchase. Some dry gravy mixes need milk and or oil. Others water only.
I prefer to make my own gravy with butter, milk and flour. BUT….. power outages, time constraints, low cooking fuel….the water only dry gravy mix rocks. And they go on sale occasionally for 5 for 1$. …… Long live ketchup, mayo and peanut butter. AND fried baloney.