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October 2018

Food Review: Breakfast Best Muffin Sandwiches

By Mike Thayer

Breakfast Best Muffin Sandwiches
Breakfast Best Muffin Sandwiches

I love breakfast sandwiches, for me there's nothing better to start the day than with some kind of breakfast meat, an egg, some cheese all dressed in some sort of bun, muffin, biscuit or tortilla.  It's all good and perfect whether you're eating casually at home or need something "to go."  Besides, you just can't do "to go" with a bowl of cereal....

Doing my weekly grocery shopping at Aldi the other day, I picked up a box of Breakfast Best brand Muffin Sandwiches.  They're Canadian Bacon, egg white and cheese, served on an English muffin.  I've never tried them before, but they looked tasty and I needed a change of pace from sausage and bacon.

Breakfast Muffin
Fresh out of the microwave!

The sandwich is a copycat version of a McDonald's Egg McMuffin and it hit the spot!  It could use another slice of Canadian Bacon but overall it's a nicely balanced sandwich and at just $3.89 for a box of four muffin sandwiches, they're a repeat buy!

This breakfast sandwich is Bachelor on the Cheap friendly at less than $1 apiece and at just 200 calories, it's not only easy on the wallet, but easy on the diet too!  The Breakfast Best Muffin Sandwiches gets four out of five stars.  I'm looking forward to trying their other breakfast sandwich combos.

4 stars

Breakfast Sandwich
The sandwich could use another slice of Canadian Bacon

 

 


Easy Casserole Dinner Ideas - Tuna Noodle Casserole

By Mike Thayer

I love casseroles, all types, dinner casseroles, breakfast casseroles, leftover casserole for lunch....  It's all good and the flavor possibilities and combinations are endless! 

Casseroles can mean different things to different people, so just what IS a casserole anyway, how is it defined?  For me, being a bachelor and pretty handy in the kitchen (patting self on back....), it means a simple to prepare one-dish meal, something that's got meat, a starch, a veggie and a gravy, or a sauce and/or cheese to go with it.  It's a convenient mix of ingredients that go well together and is baked to perfection in the oven - THAT is a casserole.    And yes, the dish it's baked in was named after it.   Simplicity and convenience are keys to a good casserole, it can't be a complicated recipe that's labor intensive.  If that recipe takes more than 10-15 minutes to prepare before you're throwing that dish in the oven, then it's NOT a casserole in my book.  

20181020_210744-1Tuna Noodle Casserole, you either love it or hate it.   I have a fond appreciation for this dish and like my Mom's Tater Tot Casserole, this was a regular meal in my childhood home, perhaps it's why I'm so fond of casseroles today.  For haters of Tuna Casserole, my guess is either your mom was a terrible cook, or you simply just don't like canned tuna.

Ingredients:

  • Two, 5 ounce cans of tuna (I prefer tuna packed in olive oil, better flavor), drained
  • 3 cups of egg noodles
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon dried, minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1 can of cream of celery soup
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen peas & carrots
  • 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flake
Tuna Noodle Casserole
The Panko bread crumbs puts this casserole over the top

Directions:  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, lightly spray/coat a casserole dish with olive oil.  Cook the noodles according to the package instructions and drain.  While those noodles are cooking, in a large bowl combine the tuna, garlic power, minced onion, seasoning salt, cream of celery soup, mayonnaise, black pepper and the peas & carrots, stirring to incorporate.  Fold in the drained noodles and transfer everything into your casserole dish.  Top with the Panko bread crumbs and bake for 20 minutes, or until the bread crumbs are golden, brown and delicious.  Add a dash of Kosher salt and sprinkle with the dried parsley flake.    Enjoy! 

And here's another Bachelor on the Cheap benefit to casseroles, not only do they lend themselves to leftovers, but they freeze well!  After you've enjoyed the casserole for dinner, portion it out, perhaps have some for lunch tomorrow and stash the remainder in the freezer for a future meal or two.

Next Up:  Breakfast Casserole

Coming Soon:  Inside-Out Ravioli

Spend Wisely My Friends.....

For more easy casserole dinner ideas, go to www.bacheloronthecheap.com


Easy Casserole Dinner Ideas - Tater Tot Casserole

By Mike Thayer

I love casseroles, all types, dinner casseroles, breakfast casseroles, leftover casserole for lunch....  It's all good and the flavor possibilities and combinations are endless! 

Casseroles can mean different things to different people, so just what IS a casserole anyway, how is it defined?  For me, being a bachelor and pretty handy in the kitchen (patting self on back....), it means a simple to prepare one-dish meal, something that's got meat, a starch, a veggie and a gravy, or a sauce and/or cheese to go with it.  It's a convenient mix of ingredients that go well together and is baked to perfection in the oven - THAT is a casserole.    And yes, the dish it's baked in was named after it.   Simplicity and convenience are keys to a good casserole, it can't be a complicated recipe that's labor intensive.  If that recipe takes more than 10-15 minutes to prepare before you're throwing that dish in the oven, then it's NOT a casserole in my book.  

2018-10-19 19.15.47(1)Today we're taking a look at a classic, Tater Tot Casserole.  I had this a lot as a kid, it was one of my Mom's go-to casseroles to put in the oven after a long day at work.   And it was and still is a kid favorite, I mean, what's not to like, ground beef, cheese, tater tots.....  YUM!  It's an easy-peasy casserole to put together too, about the hardest thing to do is browning the hamburger.

Ingredients:

  • One pound of lean ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen peas
  • 2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • Enough tater tots to cover, about 2 cups
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flake

Directions:  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  In a large skillet, brown the lean ground beef, drain any excess fat.  Add the onion, garlic powder and seasoning salt to the meat and cook until the onion is translucent, about 4 - 5 minutes.  Add the cream of mushroom soup and mix to incorporate.  Pour the meat mixture into a lightly greased casserole dish, then layer in the peas and the shredded cheese, hitting each layer with a little black pepper as you go.  Finally, top the casserole with the tater tots.  Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until those tater tots are golden, brown and delicious.  Season the tots immediately after pulling the casserole out of the oven with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with the parsley flake.  Enjoy! 

And here's another Bachelor on the Cheap benefit to casseroles, not only do they lend themselves to leftovers, but they freeze well!  After you've enjoyed the casserole for dinner, portion it out, perhaps have some for lunch tomorrow and stash the remainder in the freezer for a future meal or two.

Next Up:  Tuna Noodle Casserole

Coming Soon:  Breakfast Casserole

Spend Wisely My Friends.....

For more easy casserole dinner ideas, go to www.bacheloronthecheap.com


Food Review: Arby's Deep Fried Turkey BLT

By Mike Thayer

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, Arby's has put their seasonal turkey sandwiches back on the menu for a limited time.

Arby's Deep Fried Turkey
Somebody at my neighborhood Arby's doesn't know how to spell 'fried'

They're being marketed as Deep Fried turkey sandwiches and are available in three varieties:  Deep Fried Turkey BLT, The Gobbler and Cajun Deep Fried Turkey.

Here are the descriptions from the Arby's website:

Deep Fried Turkey BLT - With crispy Bacon, shredded Lettuce, Sliced Tomatoes, Mayo, Cheddar Cheese and crispy, delicious Deep Fried Turkey, this sandwich is a gift for all the Deep Fried Turkey fans.

The Gobbler - With Cranberry spread over the delicious Deep Fried Turkey, topped with Bacon, Swiss Cheese, Tomato, Mayo and Lettuce, the Gobbler might make you wonder if Thanksgiving should’ve been a month-long celebration.

Cajun Deep Fried Turkey - If you love turkey, you are going to love the Deep Fried turkey. If you love the Deep Fried Turkey, you are going to love the Cajun flavor we added to it. If you love the Cajun flavor then you are going to love that we made a sandwich out of it. And who doesn’t love a sandwich?

I went with the Deep Fried Turkey BLT on this occasion.

Hyped as a BLT, it's really just a turkey club sandwich, which is what Arby's called it last year, The Deep Fried Turkey Club.  But what's in a name?....  The marketing is clear, Arby's is pushing the Deep Fried angle.... but it's not quite on the up-and-up, the turkey isn't truly cooked with a deep fry, it's actually oven roasted turkey breast, only put in the fryer for sandwich prep. 

So how was the sandwich you ask?

Arby's Deep Fried Turkey BLT
Nice meat to bun ratio
The turkey was actually pretty nice despite the implied play on Deep Fried.  The bird was juicy and had a good amount of flavor, but in anticipating some fried crispiness in the turkey skin, I was a bit disappointed, it was soft and chewy.  The bacon was crisp though, which was complimented by a real slice of cheddar cheese (not the processed stuff like you get on the Beef 'n Cheddar) which was melted just right.  The lettuce and tomato was fresh and the toasted star-cut bun wrapped it all up quite nicely, a tasty bite after bite experience.
 
Arby's Deep Fried Turkey BLT
Juicy, flavorful turkey, but skin not crispy
The sandwich, cost me $5 and some change and is a repeat buy.  While not a true deep fried turkey cook, the turkey is however a very enjoyable step above ordinary oven roasted bird.  I give the Arby's Deep Fried Turkey BLT four out of five stars.  I'm looking forward to sampling Arby's other turkey sandwiches, which for some reason I didn't get around to doing so last season.  Given how good the Deep Fried BLT was, it's a must do this year.
 
4 stars
 
Spend Wisely My Friends.....
 

I submitted a snack concept idea to Totino's today

By Mike Thayer

Pizza Roll Nachos
Pizza Roll Nachos, invented by Mike Thayer

I love pizza rolls!  But I love the way I kick things up a notch with what I call, "Pizza Roll Nachos" even more.

Back in August, I came up with the idea of doctoring up some Pepperoni Pizza Rolls.  It was a fantastic snack and I was rather pleased with how my idea turned out.

Pizza Rolls kicked up a notch - It's the new 'Nachos' - Pizza Roll Nachos

I've had that snack quite a few times since that day in August, adding a twist here and there, different toppings, different cheeses to mix things up.   In doing that, it hit me, "A pizza roll company should make kits for this!

And so today, I sent my idea off to Totino's, a.k.a., General Mills.  It will be interesting to see if this goes anywhere.

~~~~~~~~~~~

PROPOSED: Develop and market "Pizza Roll Nachos" I frequently have such a snack, using your fantastic pizza rolls as a base. Baking your pizza rolls per the box directions, I then layer the rolls out on a plate, much like you would tortilla chips to make nachos. I then top those pizza rolls with pizza sauce, perhaps some additional pepperoni if I have it and of course, shredded mozzarella cheese. I then let that plate of "Pizza Roll Nachos" sit for a couple minutes, 1. Per your box directions, the rolls are too hot to pop in your mouth right away and, 2., The heat from the rolls helps to warm up the added sauce and cheese. Your company should package/box (think Lunchables) 12 or so pizza rolls, along with a plastic package/squeezable sleeve of pizza sauce and a plastic package of shredded mozzarella cheese. There's your base "Pizza Roll Nacho" Kit product. If it's a hit, then you can venture into more flavors, adding a packet of pepperoni for a "Pepperoni Pizza Roll Nacho" Kit. Add a packet of sliced black olive, a packet of Parmesan, heck, a packet of dried oregano, any pizza topping product you can imagine that is shelf stable that you can put in a sleeve of plastic and would thaw out enough to work with by the time the pizza rolls are done and out of the oven. Later, you could even expand on flavors beyond pizza.  Please contact me for additional concept information. (my contact information)....

~~~~~~~~~~~

Wish me luck!

Spend Wisely My Friends.....


Coming Soon: Bachelor Friendly Casserole Ideas

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer
 
I love casseroles, all types, dinner casseroles, breakfast casseroles, leftover casserole for lunch.... It's all good and the flavor possibilities and combinations are endless!
 
Casseroles can mean different things to different people, so just what IS a casserole anyway, how is it defined? For me, being a bachelor and pretty handy in the kitchen (patting self on back....), it means a simple to prepare one-dish meal, something that's got meat, a starch, a veggie and a gravy, or a sauce and/or cheese to go with it. It's a convenient mix of ingredients that go well together and is baked to perfection in the oven - THAT is a casserole. And yes, the dish it's baked in was named after it. Simplicity and convenience are keys to a good casserole, it can't be a complicated recipe that's labor intensive. If that recipe takes more than 10-15 minutes to prepare before you're throwing that dish in the oven, then it's NOT a casserole in my book.
 
Lasagna is a casserole. A good lasagna has meat, a starch (noodles), a veggie (diced green pepper, and/or mushrooms, or shredded zucchini, diced tomato perhaps, maybe some minced onion), a sauce (tomato... but if you're Italian or Sicilian, then it's gravy), and cheese to go with it.
 
"But Mike," you ask..... "Is a vegetarian lasagna a casserole?"
 
Not just no, but HELL NO! Without meat, it's not a casserole. Without meat, vegetarian lasagna is a mere side dish.
 
"What about Green Bean Casserole, that's even got casserole in the name, Mike, what about that huh?.....," you challenge.
 
Green Bean Casserole is a traditional, seasonal favorite for many, to include yours truly! My recipe meats my definition of a casserole (did you see what I did there? Pun intended...). It includes chunks of chicken or turkey and Cream of Chicken soup, that's meat baby and it's Another Dose of YUM!
 
Some dishes just have to have casserole in the name I guess, I mean what would you call it otherwise? Soupy Green Beans & Crispy Onions?
 
But I digress.....
 
Coming Soon: Bachelor Casserole Recipes! You'll find them on www.bacheloronthecheap.com

Lamb Cuts and how to grill them - Grilling Good Eats

By Mike Thayer

Lamb cuts graphicIf you've never had lamb before, it's a MUST try! Lamb is the go-to meat in much of the Mediterranean. It's used there like beef is here in the states to make sandwiches, casseroles, entrees and sides. It's enjoyed as roasts, chops and you've probably heard of a 'Rack of Lamb' which is delicious! The meat presents a whole different flavor profile and it's outstanding! So if you're looking for something a little different to try, lamb is the ticket, no mint jelly required!

Becoming familiar with lamb cuts, their versatility and how butchers might label those cuts when packaging puts you on the path to becoming a Master Griller. So too does knowing which cuts can take direct heat and which ones are best grilled low and slow.

Let's start with cuts from the Neck which are inexpensive, but not really marketed and packaged as Neck meat by most butchers.  Neck meat is typically used to make Ground Lamb and Stew Meat, but if you've got a good relationship with your butcher, ask him to cut you some Neck Filets.  Meat from the Neck is a bit tough, so when grilling use the reverse sear method, low and slow on indirect heat until tender, then finish the Filets over direct heat to achieve those grill marks, pull the Filets when they hit the 135 degree mark and let them rest.  The Filets will continue to cook when resting and should peak a few more degrees to a perfect medium rare.

Shoulder cuts are an economical choice, as the meat here is a bit tougher, but still quite delicious!  Butchers will package and label cuts such as Shoulder Roast (bone-in), Rolled Shoulder Roast (boneless), Ground Lamb, Stew Meat and Shoulder Chops (also called blade or arm chops).  From the bone-in Shoulder Roast you can get a great meal of Pulled Lamb, rubbed with Rosemary, garlic, onion powder, salt, pepper and olive oil, then grilled low and slow over indirect heat until that meat falls away from the bone, about 4-5 hours depending on the weight of the roast.  Served on warm pita or flat bread, it's Another Dose of YUM!  Prepared with the same style of rub and a little white wine, the Shoulder Chops can be done over direct heat, searing them for those great grill marks on both sides until that internal temp hits 135 degrees.

Read on via www.grillinggoodeats.com


Pork Cuts and how to grill them - Grilling Good Eats

By Mike Thayer

Pork Cuts graphic 3Pork is under-eaten and that’s a grill crime. Sure, ribs are popular, but there are so many other cuts of pork that a lot of folks just don’t consider but should. Ribs are fantastic, but so are pork roasts, chops, blade steaks, loin kabobs and more. They’re all so darn tasty!

Becoming familiar with pork cuts, their versatility and how butchers might label those cuts when packaging puts you on the path to becoming a Master Griller. So too does knowing which cuts can take direct heat and which ones are best grilled low and slow.

via www.grillinggoodeats.com


Beef Cuts and how to grill them - Grilling Good Eats

By Mike Thayer

Beef Cuts GraphicBecoming familiar with beef cuts, knowing where on the cow that steak or roast comes from and how butchers might label those cuts when packaging puts you on the path to becoming a Master Griller.  So too does knowing which cuts are tender and don't need much preparation before grilling and which cuts are tougher and need a marinade to soften them up.  Going beyond the basics in really knowing your beef helps you determine if you'll be grilling over direct heat for a good sear or grilling over indirect heat for low and slow deliciousness.

Let's start with "Chuck," a.k.a., beef shoulder.  From here you get cuts and package labeling like Chuck Roast, Arm Roast, Blade Roast, Chuck Steak, Blade Steak, Charcoal Steak and Flat Iron Steak*

via www.grillinggoodeats.com


Buy cheaper cuts of steak without sacrificing flavor

Chapter 4 - Beef Recipes

Grilling Good Eats

by Mike Thayer

Beef
Does that look delicious or what?

Beef, it’s what’s for dinner, or lunch, and yes, breakfast too! Why not cook up a breakfast steak on a weekend? Without question, beef is the most aromatic meat to put over the fire. This chapter does not include burgers, they’re so special, they’re featured in Chapter 9.

And before we get into the recipes, remember Tip #10. How do you know when your steak is done? Give it the finger. No, not the middle one, well, you can use that one if you want….. Poke the steak with your finger. If the meat is soft to the touch and doesn’t bounce back, it’s still pink inside. If it’s got some give but bounces back a bit, it’s medium. If it’s firm when poking, it’s well done.

And for those who like the thermometer:  To get a medium rare, grill beef until the meat thermometer hits the 135-140 degree mark.  Remember to let that meat rest after pulling it off the grill!

Mike’s Skirt Steak

Have you seen the price of beef these days? If you're craving a good steak and don't want to shell out the big bucks for a T-bone, try a skirt steak. It's a much cheaper cut of meat but packs a lot of flavor. It is a tougher cut of meat, so it needs a good marinade.

Here's a fantastic marinate for about two pounds of skirt steak:

Marinade ingredients

  • Half cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • The juice from half a lime
  • Tablespoon of dried, minced onion
  • teaspoon of garlic powder
  • One packet of artificial sweetener
  • Couple dashes of cardamom

Directions
Mix all ingredients for the marinade in a bowl or big measuring cup, set aside. Cut your skirt steak into four equal pieces (optional), place in a Tupperware bowl or a big zip lock bag, pour in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least one hour, four hours is much better, overnight is best. Skirt steak is great for the grill, remember to take the steaks out of the fridge about 20-30 minutes prior to placing over the coals. You’re doing this to inspect the meat, make sure it‘s well covered in the marinade. It’s not about letting the meat come up to room temperature like you hear some of the cooking show talking heads say, that’s just yada, yada talk to kill air time. The truth is, refrigerated meat won’t come up to room temperature in just 30 minutes, not even close. OK, back to the skirt steaks…..

Putting the steaks over medium high heat, let them sizzle....

continue reading via www.grillinggoodeats.com