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Desperation dinners: No need to make a trip for hot, fluffy biscuits

You won't miss the calories with these delicious — but nutritionally sound — breakfast biscuits.
You won't miss the calories with these delicious — but nutritionally sound — breakfast biscuits.
Alicia Ross for Kitchen Scoop,

Fast food restaurants have made a killing off breakfast biscuits. And if you read the statistics about American obesity, not to mention our cholesterol, fat and carbohydrate levels, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize those same biscuits may not be so good for us.

As a Southern cook who loves her biscuits, I wondered if I could come up with a delicious, satisfying biscuit that would compare to the hot and steamy ones we can get at the drive-through window yet be a nutritionally sound breakfast alternative.

Because most folks make biscuits from a mix, I scrapped the idea of biscuits from scratch. Then I significantly lowered the amount of ham and cheese on the biscuit, but maintained the flavor by stirring it into the biscuit itself. Who wants a biscuit where you have to ask where the ham is?

Next, I decided to go with an egg substitute, which not only helps out nutritionally but also makes for an easy pour-and-fry technique. (Of course, when you prepare these delicious breakfast sandwiches at home, you can use real eggs if that is your pleasure.)

In less than 20 minutes, Ham and Cheese Breakfast Biscuits With Egg are ready to go -- and really delicious. I served them to friends who were visiting in the middle of the week. They could not believe that I had been up just 20 minutes before, and the biscuits were ready to head out the door with them.

Nutritionally, when compared to Hardee's Ham, Egg and Cheese Biscuit, these biscuits come in at: 264 calories vs. 400 calories; 7 g of fat vs. 22 g of fat; 14 mg of cholesterol vs. 205 mg of cholesterol; and 927 mg sodium vs. 1,400 mg of sodium (see Note).

Don't you think a few minutes in the kitchen are worth these nutritional savings?

Alicia Ross is the co-author of "Desperation Dinners!" (Workman, 1997), "Desperation Entertaining!" (Workman, 2002) and "Cheap. Fast. Good!" (Workman, 2006). Contact her at Kitchen Scoop, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or send email to tellus@kitchenscoop.com. Or visit the Kitchen Scoop website at www.kitchenscoop.com.

Suggested Menu: Ham and Cheese Breakfast Biscuits with Egg

Sliced oranges

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Biscuits With Egg

Start to finish: less than 20 minutes

Yield: 5 servings

2 cups light biscuit mix

1/2 cup skim milk

1 tablespoon light mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/3 cup finely chopped deli ham

1/3 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup (5 servings) liquid egg substitute (such as Egg Beaters)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine biscuit mix, milk, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, ham and cheese. If dough is dry or crumbly, add up to 2 tablespoons water until dough is moist and soft. Turn out dough onto floured surface and roll to 1-inch thickness. Cut biscuits using 3-inch biscuit cutter or glass with 3-inch diameter. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown.

While biscuits are baking, fry egg substitute in a nonstick pan. Cut egg substitute into 5 equal pieces. Remove from pan directly onto hot, baked and sliced biscuits. Serve immediately.

Approximate values per serving: 264 calories, 7 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 14 mg cholesterol, 13 g protein, 35 g carbohydrates, 1 g dietary fiber, 927 mg sodium

(Note: Nutritional analysis of Hardee's Ham, Egg and Cheese Biscuit found at www.hardees.com.)