Living well on a budget, without being truly cheap.

Chicken Sandwich War Challenge: Popeye's Classic Chicken Sandwich

By Mike Thayer

Popeye's Classic Chicken Sandwich
Just LOOK at that chicken breast!

There's been a chicken sandwich war going on in fast food, it started in 2019 and it's still going on today.  

Shots fired!  Chick-fil-A made headlines in 2019 becoming the third largest fast food chain, led with their classic chicken sandwich.  Popeyes reacted by putting a new chicken sandwich on the menu and consumers went crazy over it, so crazy in fact, Popeyes ran out of ammo. Already armed with a spicy chicken sandwich, Wendy's entered the battlefield that year by bringing back their spicy chicken nuggets, fans of the item went in a Twitter frenzy.  

Popeye's Chicken Sandwich has been so popular, it is now considered THE gold standard for a chicken sandwich.  So how do all the other fast food joints stack up?  In the name of 'food science' (cough), I intend to find out. 

Popeye's Chicken Sandwich
Under the lid

In this Chicken Sandwich War Challenge, sandwiches are evaluated and scored on the following criteria:  Visual appeal, the meat, bun, meat to bun ratio, crunch factor, the pickle/mayo and of course, overall taste.  There are 1-9 points available for each category for a total possible total score of 63. 

I recently sampled Popeye's Classic Chicken Sandwich, yes, that one, THE Gold Standard, the sandwich that is used to measure others..... 

This sandwich flat out ROCKS!  It had a great visual appeal, just look at the size of that chicken breast!  The meat was crunchy on the outside, juicy on the inside and seasoned perfectly.  Wrapped up in that puffy Brioche bun and complimented by tart pickle and creamy mayo, this sandwich combination is genius in it's simplicity and packing all that flavor in just a few ingredients.

Popeye's Chicken Sandwich
It needs another pickle

I paid just $3.99 for my Popeye's Classic Chicken Sandwich and it scored 62 out 63 possible points.  The only knock I've got against the sandwich is that it could have used one more pickle, I didn't get that nice tartness in every bite.  Popeye's sandwich deserves Gold Standard status and it's most definitely a repeat buy getting 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.   It should be your go-to chicken sandwich.

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends..... 

Related:  KFC's Chicken Sandwich

Related:  McDonald's 'New' Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Related:  Slim Chickens Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Related:  Wendy's Classic Chicken Sandwich


Chicken Sandwich War Challenge: Wendy's Classic Chicken Sandwich

By Mike Thayer

Wendy's Classic Chicken Sandwich
Wendy's Classic Chicken Sandwich

There's been a chicken sandwich war going on in fast food, it started in 2019 and it's still going on today.  

Shots fired!  Chick-fil-A made headlines in 2019 becoming the third largest fast food chain, led with their classic chicken sandwich.  Popeyes reacted by putting a new chicken sandwich on the menu and consumers went crazy over it, so crazy in fact, Popeyes ran out of ammo. Already armed with a spicy chicken sandwich, Wendy's entered the battlefield that year by bringing back their spicy chicken nuggets, fans of the item went in a Twitter frenzy.  

Popeye's Chicken Sandwich has been so popular, it is now considered THE gold standard for a chicken sandwich.  So how do all the other fast food joints stack up?  In the name of 'food science' (cough), I intend to find out. 

In this Chicken Sandwich War Challenge, sandwiches are evaluated and scored on the following criteria:  Visual appeal, the meat, bun, meat to bun ratio, crunch factor, the pickle/mayo and of course, overall taste.  There are 1-9 points available for each category for a total possible total score of 63. 

Wendy's Classic Chicken Sandwich
The lettuce and tomato takes away from the twang of the pickle

I recently sampled Wendy's Classic Chicken Sandwich, which features a crispy all-white meat chicken breast with mayonnaise, pickles, lettuce and tomato on a warm, toasted bun.

This is a good sandwich, but not great.  It had a decent visual appeal aside from the oversized leaf of lettuce, the chicken breast was a good size but thick on one end, kind of thin on the other.  With that in mind the meat to bun ratio was OK but the crunch just wasn't there despite the nice visual.  And the sandwich was over dressed.  There was too much mayo, with the lettuce and tomato not really adding much to the sandwich, in fact, they took away from the tartness of a good pickle, which in writing, Wendy's needs a better pickle.  Overall, not a bad chicken sandwich, but there's better out there (KFC) and this Chicken Sandwich War Challenge is just getting started!

Wendy's Classic Chicken Sandwich View
An over-dressed sandwich

I paid $8 and change for a combo meal (just the sandwich is $4.99 making it a bit pricier than other competitors), and the sandwich scored 51 points out of a possible 63.  I'm giving the Wendy's Classic Chicken Sandwich a weak 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's an iffy repeat buy, definitely not a first choice when in the mood for a chicken sandwich. 

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends..... 

Related:  KFC's Chicken Sandwich

Related:  McDonald's 'New' Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Related:  Slim Chickens Crispy Chicken Sandwich


Chicken Sandwich War Challenge: Slim Chickens Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Slim Chickens Crispy Chicken Sandwich
The restaurant logo is pretty cool

By Mike Thayer

There's been a chicken sandwich war going on in fast food, it started in 2019 and it's still going on today.  

Shots fired!  Chick-fil-A made headlines in 2019 becoming the third largest fast food chain, led with their classic chicken sandwich.  Popeyes reacted by putting a new chicken sandwich on the menu and consumers went crazy over it, so crazy in fact, Popeyes ran out of ammo. Already armed with a spicy chicken sandwich, Wendy's entered the battlefield that year by bringing back their spicy chicken nuggets, fans of the item went in a Twitter frenzy.  

Popeye's Chicken Sandwich has been so popular, it is now considered THE gold standard for a chicken sandwich.  So how do all the other fast food joints stack up?  In the name of 'food science' (cough), I intend to find out. 

Chicken Sandwich
Just look at that brioche bun and the crispy chicken peaking out...

In this Chicken Sandwich War Challenge, sandwiches are evaluated and scored on the following criteria:  Visual appeal, the meat, bun, meat to bun ratio, crunch factor, the pickle/mayo and of course, overall taste.  There are 1-9 points available for each category for a total possible total score of 63. 

I recently sampled the Crispy Chicken Sandwich offering from Slim Chickens. A relative newcomer to the fast food culture, Slim Chickens opened it's first store in 2003 and now has 100 restaurants in 18 states.  Here's the description of the Crispy Chicken Sandwich from the restaurant website:  Fried chicken breast with fresh pickles & ranch mayo on a toasted brioche bun.

Slim Chickens Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Breading falling apart

So enough about Slim Chickens history and such, "How is their sandwich?" you ask... 

SALTY!!!  Three exclamation points SALTY....  Slim Chickens might as well call this a salt lick sandwich!

I've never eaten at a Slim Chickens before and the visual appeal of the sandwich had me licking my chops, but my first bite into this sandwich was a big salt lick disappointment.  The breading on the chicken fell apart and lacked crunch.  And while the ranch mayo, pickle and toasted bun were all on point, that overdose of salt just overpowered anything that was good about this sandwich.

I paid about $8 for a combo meal, a typical fast food combo meal price, but the sandwich scored just 45 points out of a possible 63.  I'm giving the Slim Chickens Crispy Chicken Sandwich 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It is NOT a repeat buy.

3 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends..... 

Related:  KFC's Chicken Sandwich

Related:  McDonald's 'New' Crispy Chicken Sandwich


Chicken Sandwich War Challenge: McDonald's "New" Crispy Chicken Sandwich

McDonald's Crispy Chicken Sandwich
It even says "Crispy" on the packaging, but is it?

By Mike Thayer

There's been a chicken sandwich war going on in fast food, it started in 2019 and it's still going on today.  

Shots fired!  Chick-fil-A made headlines in 2019 becoming the third largest fast food chain, led with their classic chicken sandwich.  Popeyes reacted by putting a new chicken sandwich on the menu and consumers went crazy over it, so crazy in fact, Popeyes ran out of ammo. Already armed with a spicy chicken sandwich, Wendy's entered the battlefield that year by bringing back their spicy chicken nuggets, fans of the item went in a Twitter frenzy.  

Where has McDonald's been in all this?  While the McChicken remains on the menu, McDonald's has made two failed attempts to 'introduce' a chicken sandwich that can compete with Chick-fil-A and Popeye's.  Unveiling a brand-new crispy chicken sandwich this year, it's available in three offerings: original with crinkle-cut pickles, spicy with pickles and a “spicy pepper sauce”, and a deluxe version with pickles, lettuce, tomato and mayo.

20210325_144057I recently sampled the McDonald's 'original' with crinkle-cut pickles, trying every restaurant's classic sandwich first during the course of this challenge, to see who makes the best one.

In this Chicken Sandwich War Challenge, sandwiches are evaluated and scored on the following criteria:  Visual appeal, the meat, bun, meat to bun ratio, crunch factor, the pickle/mayo and of course, overall taste.  There are 1-9 points available for each category for a total possible total score of 63. 

20210325_144111The 'New' McDonald's Crispy Chicken Sandwich has a typical fast food preparation appeal - slapped together - with more thought going into the packaging than the sandwich.  There wasn't much of a crunch in the chicken and the pickles were 'eh'.  The bun, a potato roll, was dry, there's no mayo on this sandwich and the buttering of the bun didn't register.  McDonald's has missed the mark with this latest attempt to compete with Chick-fil-A and Popeye's and only scored 45 points of a possible 63.  Priced a bit over $4, I'm giving McDonald's Crispy Chicken Sandwich 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's not a repeat buy. 

3 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends..... 

The McDonald's 'Crispy' Chicken Sandwich
This sandwich is not so crispy...

Related:  KFC's Chicken Sandwich


Chicken Sandwich War Challenge: KFC's Chicken Sandwich

20210327_140830(1)By Mike Thayer

There's been a chicken sandwich war going on in fast food, it started in 2019 and it's still going on today.  

Shots fired!  Chick-fil-A made headlines in 2019 becoming the third largest fast food chain, led with their classic chicken sandwich.  Popeyes reacted by putting a new chicken sandwich on the menu and consumers went crazy over it, so crazy in fact, Popeyes ran out of ammo. Already armed with a spicy chicken sandwich, Wendy's entered the battlefield that year by bringing back their spicy chicken nuggets, fans of the item went in a Twitter frenzy.  

Where was KFC in all this?  They didn't really enter the war until this year, introducing consumers to their Crunchy Chicken Sandwich in January, 2021.  Competitors served up over 4 billion chicken sandwiches in 2019 and sales jumped up another 4% in 2020 before KFC fired their first shot, but boy was it a good shot!  

Simply called the "KFC Chicken Sandwich" it features and extra crispy chicken filet on a buttered brioche bun and topped with pickles and the option of classic or spicy mayonnaise.  I opted for the classic and I look forward to trying the spicy version, but I'm sampling everybody's classic sandwich first, to see who makes the best one.

KFC Chicken Sandwich
Not a brioche bun

About their classic, crispy chicken sandwich.....  It's about time KFC!

In this Chicken Sandwich War Challenge, sandwiches are evaluated and scored on the following criteria:  Visual appeal, the meat, bun, meat to bun ratio, crunch factor, the pickle/mayo and of course, overall taste.  There are 1-9 points available for each category for a total possible total score of 63. 

20210327_140920(1)The KFC Chicken Sandwich has a nice visual appeal with that 1/4 pound chicken breast fillet breaking the borders of the bun which was a standard bun by the way, NOT brioche.  The pickles are nice and thick, a perfectly tart element to compliment that extra crispy chicken.  And the sandwich isn't over dressed, the amount of mayo was just right.  KFC may have entered the sandwich war late, but they did their sandwich right.  The KFC Chicken Sandwich scored 55 out of a possible 63 points and I'm giving it 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  Priced at just $3.99, it's definitely a repeat buy even without a brioche bun.

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends..... 

 


Chicken Sandwich Wars Challenge - Who makes the best classic chicken sandwich?

20210412_035622The Chicken Sandwich Wars in Fast Food.... Started in 2019, the battles continue, who makes a better chicken sandwich, McDonald's or KFC? They're both touting 'New' sandwiches and in the name of 'food science' I've sampled them both, stay tuned to see who in my humble opinion, makes the better sandwich..... www.bacheloronthecheap.com

I'll be sampling all the fast food offerings of classic chicken sandwiches in a Chicken Sandwich War Challenge!

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

Reviewed so far:

KFC's Chicken Sandwich

McDonald's 'New' Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Slim Chickens Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Wendy's Classic Chicken Sandwich


Food Review: Red's Egg'wich

By Mike Thayer

20210326_081907Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and I'm always looking for new options.  I prefer a hot breakfast and my go-to is typically a Jimmy Dean sausage, egg and cheese Croissant.  I also enjoy the Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowls, but my Lady friend pointed out the sodium levels in those.  The Meat Lover's Bowl has 1,280 mg of sodium, that's 53% of the recommended daily intake - in one meal!  Yikes!

So looking to reduce that sodium intake, as well as keep the carb count low, I picked up a box of Red's Egg'wiches when shopping at Costco the other day.

Featuring turkey sausage, cheese and egg 'patties' for a bun, the egg'wich packs 17 grams of protein, only 3 grams in carbs and 590 mg in sodium - 26% of the recommended daily intake.  Another plus, these are only 190 calories each.

So enough with the nutritional information, "How do they taste?" you ask.....

20210326_083024Not bad, not bad at all.  The turkey sausage is seasoned well, you would be hard pressed to distinguish this sausage patty from a pork patty in a blind taste test.  The egg is fluffy, in an 'almost' bread kind of way, but trying to eat this egg'wich like a sandwich - hands on - well the texture and feel made me opt for a fork.  Not that it's off-putting, I was just reaching for the napkin too often.  Overall, a decent breakfast offering, the egg, cheese and sausage provides a close-to-classic breakfast sandwich flavor.  It was satisfying and kept me full through most of the morning.

Costing me $12.99 for a box of eight egg'wiches, that's $1.62 per sandwich making it Bachelor on the Cheap wallet friendly.  Easy to prepare in the microwave, nuke it for 50 seconds, flip, then nuke again for another 50 seconds and then let sit for a minute, Red's Egg-Wich is convenient, a repeat buy and I'm giving it 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It won't be my first breakfast sandwich option, but a solid Plan B.  Jimmy Dean makes a similar product, I gave that 4 out of 5 stars.

3 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

 


Food Review: The Mac & Cheese from Church's Fried Chicken

By Mike Thayer

In search of the best fast food Mac & Cheese, I recently did a food review of the Mac & Cheese offerings of Arby's, Chick-fil-A and KFC.

Fast Food Mac & Cheese Battle: Arby's vs. Chick-fil-A vs. KFC

20210318_141939Mac & Cheese is a trending side dish, rising in consumer demand and more restaurants are putting the classic comfort food on their menus.

Today, I'm reviewing what Church's Fried Chicken has to offer.

I only recently became a fan of Church's, with my Ladyfriend introducing me to their chicken tenders and those AWESOME honey butter biscuits one day while running errands. 

So during my lunch break on a Thursday and letting the dog out to do his thing, I hit the drive thru at Church's to pick up some of those chicken tenders, a honey butter biscuit and a side of Mac & Cheese.

20210318_142130The visual of the Mac & Cheese was unspectacular, with the noodles drowning in the yellow goo of cheese sauce, there was no slightly crispy baked edge to it like I got in the Chick-fil-A version.  The first bite however was good.  Based on appearance I was expecting overcooked noodles and a gummy texture, but I thankfully didn't get that.  The cheddar flavor was there, noodles were firm, overall, a good Mac & Cheese side.  In comparing it to the others I've tried, Arby's, Chick-fil-A and KFC, the Church's version compares favorably to KFC (the best of the lot so far, but that's not saying a whole lot) and I'm giving it 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars, it's good, but not great.  I purchased the Mac & Cheese as a premium side in a chicken tender combo meal, but as a stand alone side it would cost you $2.59.  It's worthy of a repeat buy.

3 stars

 


Fast Food Mac & Cheese Battle: Arby's vs. Chick-fil-A vs. KFC

Arby's vs. Chick-fil-A vs. KFC
Fast Food Mac & Cheese Battle

By Mike Thayer

Mac & Cheese, it's probably on most people's Top 10 list of comfort foods and it's a trending side now with many fast food restaurants, an alternative to the standard offering of fries.  

Today, I'm sampling the mac & cheese versions of the comfort food and cult classic from three restaurants, Arby's, Chick-fil-A and KFC.

Here's my review in alphabetical order, with price, portion size, appeal and of course taste all factored in....

Mac & Cheese
The Line Up, Arby's wants you to stir theirs.... and what, no napkins from the King of Roast Beef?

Arby's White Cheddar Mac & Cheese:  This was the most expensive of the three mac & cheeses sampled today, but it was also the biggest portion.  Sadly, it was the worst of the bunch.  I was looking forward to the White Cheddar twist on the comfort food classic and while that white cheddar flavor was prominent, the noodles were overcooked, gummy and the sauce was too thick and pasty.  Priced at $2.99, the presentation was also a bit sloppy (typical fast food prep), the least appealing based on looks of the three dishes.  This is NOT a repeat buy.  Having to doctor the Arby's Mac & Cheese with a lot of black pepper to make it palatable, I'm giving it 2 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  Arby's Tater Cakes ROCK, their mac & cheese?  Not so much.... 2 stars

Mac & Cheese
Chick-fil-A wins visual appeal

Chick-fil-A's Mac & Cheese:  This was the most appealing looking of the three, with that slightly crispy baked edge going for it and who doesn't like that golden brown and delicious edge of cheddar cheese right?  This is a decent mac & cheese, the cheddar flavor burst in the mouth, but it was a bit dry, the noodles slightly overcooked - bit of a let down - the dish looking better than it tasted.  Priced at $2.55 I'm giving it 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  I'm borderline on the repeat buy with this.  If I'm in the mood, perhaps, but I'll probably opt for the Waffle Fries side next time I'm at Chick-fil-A. 3 stars

KFC's Mac & Cheese:  This is without question a classic visual of what mac & cheese is supposed to look like and for those of you who live in Valley Center, no, we're NOT talking Kraft mac & cheese.  This was the creamiest mac & cheese and the best balanced in terms of overall flavor, noodle texture and cheesiness.  Priced at $2.39 and of note the smallest portioned side, I'm giving KFC's mac & cheese 3 out of 5 stars, but it's a repeat buy and a perfect compliment to some fried chicken. 3 stars

Mac & Cheese
Biggest portion goes to Arby's

I'm left wondering if there's a better fast food mac & cheese out there.  With mac & cheese trending, there just has to be.....

And the search continues....

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

 


Food Review: Simply Nature Red Pepper Hummus

20210316_102212By Mike Thayer

I've been on a bit of a hummus kick lately, I love the stuff and coupled with sliced pita bread, pita chips, crackers, heck - even day old bread, it makes for a great snack!

When shopping for a few groceries at Aldi the other day, I picked up a container of Simply Nature Red Pepper Hummus.  I've never had it before and thought I'd give it a try.

It's another dose of YUM!

Smooth, creamy and with that roasted red pepper giving it that slightly sweet pepper edge, this offering from Simply Nature really hits the hummus craving spot!

Simply Nature Red Pepper Hummus
A really nice hummus enjoyed with gluten free crackers!

Costing me just $2.29 for an eight ounce container, this hummus is both reasonably priced and delicious!  I'm giving it 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's a very convenient prepared hummus and that's the only thing holding it back from getting a  5 star rating, I'm spoiled, the best hummus in town comes from the N&J Bakery, scratch made!

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....