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March 2017

Taco Bell for Breakfast

Mike Thayer 2016 (2) Taco Bell Breakfast BurritoBy Mike Thayer

If you're into breakfast burritos, Taco Bell is the place to go.  Their 'grilled' breakfast burritos are only $1.

Taco Bell offers three 'grilled' breakfast burritos:  Bacon & egg, sausage & egg and one they call 'Fiesta Potato.'  Oh, and when Taco Bell says, 'grilled', it really just means they put the burrito in a press, there's actually nothing grilled about them. 

Taco Bell ReceiptWhen I first thought about ordering a breakfast burrito, I suspected they would be 'mini' in size considering the price, but I was pleasantly surprised when I received my order.  The burritos were good sized and generous with the ingredients, the nacho cheese complimented all three varieties well.  I enjoyed them all, but will say the sausage & egg burrito was the best, the Fiesta Potato I enjoyed the least (no breakfast meat).

The price tag for three breakfast burritos?  Just $3.23 after tax.  Breakfast doesn't get much cheaper than that and frankly, I should have ordered just two, didn't need the third.

The Taco Bell 'Grilled' Breakfast Burritos get 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars!  They don't get a 5th star because they're not really grilled.  The burritos were very tasty, the price was right and my order was served up quickly, hot and fresh.

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Making a Juicy Lucy

The great thing about these burgers is playing with a variety of cheeses.  Melted cheddar, swiss and or provolone are great too!  Do combinations or specialty cheeses like pepperjack.  Your choices are almost unlimited!


Easy Baked Chicken

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Here's a very easy to prepare and easy on the wallet chicken recipe that tastes pretty damn good!

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 boneless/skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

Easy bake chickenDirections:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine the onion soup mix and softened butter until well incorporated.  Spread the mixture over the thighs.  Add the bread crumbs, getting good coverage on all those chicken pieces.  Spray a cookie sheet with oil, place the thighs on the sheet and sprinkle with the paprika.  Bake for one hour, do not turn.

Serving option:  For the last 10 minutes of baking, sprinkle lightly with shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese.


Saving money at the grocery store

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Believe it or not, shopping for proteins and fewer processed foods and carbs will actually save you money at the grocery store. 

Before I started focusing more on proteins, my average monthly grocery bill in a typical month was $297.

Once I eliminated processed foods and greatly reduced high carb foods/products, I got my typical monthly grocery spending down to $224.  Shopping 'carb-smart' can save a person between $800 and $1,000 a year, if not more.

I don't buy NEAR the carbs I used to.  The savings are significant!  Yes, some baking basics are still making the grocery list, but gone are any kind of ready made cakes, pies, cookies, or sweets.  Greatly reduced are purchases of crackers, chips, cereals and frozen/baked breads.  

Absolutely gone from the grocery list are processed foods. They are bad for the budget!  Why buy a fabricated lasagna for $10 when you can buy four pork chops, two chicken breasts and a large bag of carrots instead? That's 2-3 meals vs. about 5-6 meals with the latter MUCH more body friendly. And the best part, you DON'T have to sacrifice any flavor!

With protein shopping in mind, here's a great crock pot meal you can prep before going to work, it will be ready for lunch and it costs less than $5.  No, McDonald's can't pack this kind of easy flavor that is body friendly.

Ingredients:

  • Two pork chops or one large chicken breast
  • One teaspoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup of your favorite jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried, minced onion
  • One small can of sliced mushrooms
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

It's pretty obvious isn't it?  Put all ingredients in the crock pot.  Set crock pot on the high setting, enjoy at lunch. 

This meal packs about 50 grams of protein, just 16 grams in carbs and less than 500 calories!

TIP:  Here's a general tip for crock pots, 4 hours on high gives you a meal ready to eat.  8 hours on low is a meal ready to eat.  Leftovers, can go on the keep warm setting while you're away.  

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Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

There is no better comfort food than meatloaf, especially when it's wrapped in bacon! 

And bonus!  You can enjoy meatloaf for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Enjoy it with eggs, as a sandwich for lunch, or as a regular entree for dinner.

I make meatloaf with a mixture of ground beef and pork sausage, which is what makes a meatloaf so versatile for any number of meals.

Here's the video recipe: