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June 2021

Who makes the best chicken sandwich in fast food? They are listed here from worst to first

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 aimed to find out. 

In this Bachelor on the Cheap Chicken Sandwich War Challenge, sandwiches were 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 went through a restaurant list of national chains in my neck of the woods, tallied scores on a spreadsheet, one meal at a time, sampling chicken sandwiches.  I sampled the classic versions, not the spicy or kicked up offerings, those are next.

Here is "The List" of fast food joints I visited and evaluated - a total of 14 - during the course of this challenge:

Done in the name of "food science"....  From Worst to First:

DQ Chicken Sandwich
THIN Chicken!

#14 Dairy Queen:  Scoring just 39 out of a possible 63 points, DQ makes THE WORST Chicken Sandwich in fast food.  And what?  No pickle?  Every good chicken sandwich comes with pickles!  And check out the thin chicken breast fillet, the SMALLEST portion of chicken of any sandwich sampled in this challenge.  The chicken also lacked flavor, it was under-seasoned and it shouldn't be called a 'Crispy' Chicken Sandwich because the crunch factor was missing.  The lettuce, tomato and bun were all fine, but all rather ordinary and there was a bit of mayo overkill.  This wasn't a balanced sandwich either, there wasn't tomato in every bite, there wasn't lettuce in every bite.  Overall, an under-seasoned chicken breast and no pickles makes for a rather boring sandwich.

BK Chicken Sandwich
Over-fried, didn't get pickle in every bite

#13 Burger King:  The chicken was over-fried and I'm thinking the fryer temp was not where it needed to be (not hot enough) because the breast was NOT crispy, it was chewy.  The meat itself was dry and stringy.  The chicken portion was also a bit small compared to the competition - especially Popeyes - with the chicken breast failing to really reach beyond the borders of the bun, a sub-par meat to bun ratio.  The bun itself was quite nice and the deli pickles and savory mayo were spot on, in fact, the bun, pickles and mayo were the best parts of this sandwich and that's a sad statement.  A chicken sandwich that fails to highlight the main ingredient....  The Burger King Hand Breaded Crispy Chicken Sandwich scored 44 out of 63 points.

Hardee's Chicken Sandwich
Sloppy fast food prep, didn't get pickle in every bite

#12 Hardee's:  For a "New" sandwich in this Chicken Sandwich War, Hardee's needs a new weapon. This sandwich just doesn't get the job done. There's TOO MUCH BUN! The meat to bun ratio is not good, the chicken was NOT crispy at all, a bit dry and under-spectacular in the seasoning department. The mayo was average and the only thing giving this sandwich some life were the pickles, which in typical fast food fashion were applied in a very sloppy, uncaring way, all centered together and not providing pickle in every bite. The bun was good, but IT WAS TOO MUCH! The chicken, which SHOULD have been the star, was not.  Score:  44 out of 63 points.

Slim Chickens Chicken Sandwich
Breading fell apart

#11 Slim Chickens:   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.  Slim's 'Crispy' Chicken Sandwich scored 45 out of a possible 63 points.

McDonald's Chicken Sandwich
Not crispy, no mayo

#10 McDonald's:    The '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. 

Sonic Chicken Sliders
The ONLY reason I got pickle in every bite is because of the slider size...

#9 SonicSonic's sandwich is a pea shooter in the Chicken Sandwich War.  The sandwich had a decent visual appeal and I was looking forward to that first bite but in taking it, I was like, "Looks better than it tastes."  The chicken was kind of boring, the breading was under-seasoned, although the meat itself was juicy.  The biggest downer was the lack of crunch.  The Brioche bun was nice, providing that desired 'pillowy' element to the sandwich and the meat to bun ratio was slider ration good.  But in continuing the lack of flavor, the mayo and pickles were unspectacular.   In the overall taste factor, this was a very average chicken sandwich.  Score:  46 points out of a possible 63.

Wendy's Chicken Sandwich
Over-dressed sandwich

#8 Wendy'sThis 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.  Score:  51 points out of 63.

Arby's Chicken Sandwich
Lacks pickle

#7 Arby's:  Not bad! The sandwich had pretty good visual appeal, there was a nice crunch to the breading, the chicken was seasoned well and juicy, the meat to bun ratio was on point but the sandwich was missing the tartness of pickle. Arby's puts lettuce, tomato and mayo (not enough mayo either) on their sandwich, which is a classic alternative to a chicken sandwich with mayo and pickle, but in my humble foodie opinion, chicken sandwiches are SO much better with pickle!   The Arby's Classic Chicken Sandwich scored 52 out of 63 possible points.

Freddy's Chicken Sandwich
pickle in every bite!

#6 Freddy's:  Freddy's makes good burgers, a good fish sandwich and their Crispy Chicken Sandwich does not disappoint! The sandwich scored well in all categories, juicy, nicely seasoned chicken, crunch in the breading, good meat to bun ratio, nicely toasted bun and pickle in every bite!   Score:  53 out of 63 possible points.

Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich
You have to order mayo if you want it

#5 Chick-fil-A:  Two things that make this sandwich work are that the chicken is seasoned well and the meat to bun ratio is spot on. Two things that need work: You don't get pickle in every bite and you have to order mayo or sauce, this sandwich comes 'naked' otherwise. Overall, it's a good sandwich, but not a great sandwich. It's prepared efficiently, chicken is juicy, tender, but there's no 'WOW' factor to it. Let me put it this way, if the state fair had a chicken sandwich contest, Chick-fil-A would not earn a blue ribbon.  What makes Chick-fil-A THE top chicken restaurant in fast food, is their customer service and I will say this was the best seasoned chicken in the challenge.  Score:  53 out of 63 possible points.

A&W Chicken Sliders
Best pickles of the challenge

#4 A&W: In taking that first bite I was hit with how juicy the chicken was and coupled with the tartness of the pickle it was a splash of flavor in the mouth! The crunch however, was missing. The chicken was nicely seasoned, but the lack of crunch in the breading was a downer. The slider buns were 'pillowy' and dressed nicely with mayo. The meat to bun ratio - excellent. These are good sliders, but they would be great with some crunch! I will say these were the best pickles of the challenge.  Score:  The A&W Chicken Sliders scored 55 out of 63 possible points and kicks Sonic's slider offering butt.

KFC Chicken Sandwich
Repeat buy

#3 KFCThe 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.

Church's Chicken Sandwich
THICK, juicy chicken breast

#2 Church's:  Church's puts a big dent in Popeye's armor! Church's has put together a very fine sandwich, it's got excellent visual appeal, the chicken was juicy, tender and had a nice crunch. The meat to bun ratio was good, there was pickle in every bite and that bun!.... The brioche bun brushed with Church's honey butter makes this sandwich bun the best of the challenge.   Church's Chicken sandwich scored 60 out of 63 possible points.  That chicken, the honey buttered bun, it was another does of YUM!

Popeye's Chicken Sandwich
THE best fried chicken sandwich in fast food!

And THE best fried chicken sandwich in fast food at #1 is.....  (drum roll)....  Popeye'sThis 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 packs all that flavor in just a few ingredients.....  And it's only $3.99!  The Popeye's Chicken Sandwich scored a perfect 63 out of 63 points!  If you're going to have a fried chicken sandwich, this should be your go-to, it's the best in the business.

$pend Wisely My Friends..... 


Chicken Sandwich War Challenge: Freddy's Crispy Chicken Sandwich

By Mike Thayer

Freddy's Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Freddy's Crispy 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. 

20210428_191121In 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. 

Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers cranks out some good fast food chow.  I've never had their chicken sandwich before this challenge however, I usually order a double cheeseburger when I visit.  Their fish sandwich, sold during the season of Lent is a repeat buy, so let's see how their Crispy Chicken Sandwich stacks up against their fast food competitors.

Freddy's Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Pickle in every bite!

Freddy's makes good burgers, a good fish sandwich and their Crispy Chicken Sandwich does not disappoint!  The sandwich scored well in all categories, juicy, nicely seasoned chicken, crunch in the breading, good meat to bun ratio, nicely toasted bun and pickle in every bite! 

I paid about $10.00 for a combo meal, a bit on the higher end of fast food pricing, so not the cheapest fast food eats in town.  The Freddy's Crispy Chicken Sandwich scored 53 out of a possible 63 points and is worthy of a repeat buy.  With that score of 53 on the spreadsheet, I'm giving the sandwich 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.

4 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

Related:  Popeye's Classic Chicken Sandwich

Related:  DQ Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Related:  Burger King's Hand Breaded Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Related:  Sonic's Chicken Slinger

Related:  Church's Chicken Sandwich

Related:  Chick-fil-A's Chicken Sandwich

Related:  Hardee's Chicken Sandwich

Related:  Arby's Classic Chicken Sandwich

Related:  A&W's Chicken Sliders


Chicken Sandwich War Challenge: A&W's Chicken Sliders

By Mike Thayer

A&W Chicken Sliders
A&W Chicken Sliders wrapped up like baked potatoes?

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. 

20210624_184306In 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. 

Today I sampled A&W's Chicken Sliders.  Known for their draft root beer and root beer floats, let's see how their hand breaded chicken sliders stack up against their fast food competitors.

A&W Chicken Sliders
Tasty pickles!

In taking that first bite I was hit with how juicy the chicken was and coupled with the tartness of the pickle it was a splash of flavor in the mouth!  The crunch however, was missing.  The chicken was nicely seasoned, but the lack of crunch in the breading was a downer.  The slider buns were 'pillowy' and dressed nicely with mayo.  The meat to bun ratio - excellent.  These are good sliders, but they would be great with some crunch! I will say these were the best pickles of the challenge.

I paid $4.99 for the two sliders, which equates to a regular sized sandwich.  The A&W Chicken Sliders scored 55 out of a possible 63 points, a much better score than competitor Sonic's Chicken sliders.  With that score of 55, the sliders get 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars and is worthy of a repeat buy, but there are better chicken sandwich offerings out there.

4 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

Related:  Popeye's Classic Chicken Sandwich

Related:  DQ Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Related:  Burger King's Hand Breaded Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Related:  Sonic's Chicken Slinger

Related:  Church's Chicken Sandwich

Related:  Chick-fil-A's Chicken Sandwich

Related:  Hardee's Chicken Sandwich

Related:  Arby's Classic Chicken Sandwich


EveryPlate meal kit club vs. the local grocery store - Greek Pork Meatball Bowls

By Mike Thayer

Greek Pork Meatball Bowls
EveryPlate Ingredients

I love to cook and grill, I have a well stocked pantry, I've got a freezer full of goodies, which is mostly meat for grilling.  

One thing I don't love however, is grocery shopping.  Don't get me wrong, it's not that I hate it, but it's time consumption that doesn't feel all that productive.

Enter EveryPlate, one of those meal kit clubs, where they ship you ingredients and recipe cards, the fresh ingredients shipped are pre-measured for supposedly easy and tasty meal making.

I received my first shipment on June 16th and after thoroughly enjoying the first meal - Pork & Poblano Tacos.  Meal #2, Griddled Onion Burgers was also quite tasty.

Today's review is on Meal #3, Greek Pork Meatball Bowls.

Taking just 10 minutes to prep and ready to eat in a total time of 30 minutes, the Greek Pork Meatball Bowl with Cucumber Tomato Salad & Garlic Couscous was restaurant quality good!  This isn't a meal I would typically prepare for myself, but is something I would order if dining out.  I'm not a huge salad guy - unless eating out - and ingredients like couscous and Greek Vinaigrette aren't items I keep on hand.  So here's another advantage to the meal kit, enjoying more flavors at home!  And bonus - I'm not paying restaurant prices!

Greek Pork Meatball BowlsThese EveryPlate recipes are SO easy to follow and SO tasty.  The pork meatballs were seasoned perfectly, the garlic couscous was buttery good and the cucumber tomato salad with the Greek vinaigrette was refreshing.  Topping everything off nicely was the sauce, a blending of some of the vinaigrette and sour cream.  It was another dose of YUM!

This meal is part of the introductory price of just $1.99 per meal in my first meal kit box.  But even at the regular price of $4.99 per meal, I'll order this one again.   It's super easy to prepare, convenient as heck and the most important thing - DARN TASTY!  In comparison, pricing these ingredients out at my local grocery store, putting this meal for two together would have cost me $7.75 each.    And the next time I make this meal, I'm going to kick things up a notch by grilling the meatballs.

I am totally impressed with EveryPlate so far and I see no reason to change their 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap rating.  Very reasonably priced, the first three meals I've had were thoroughly enjoyed and this meal kit thing is SUPER convenient!  EveryPlate is a repeat buy for sure!

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....


Chicken Sandwich War Challenge: Arby's Classic Chicken Sandwich

By Mike Thayer

Arby's Classic Chicken Sandwich
Arby'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.  

Arby's Chicken Sandwich
Nice meat to bun ratio

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. 

Today I sampled Arby's Classic Chicken Sandwich. Known for their roast beef sandwiches and let it be known I'm a fan of Arby's Sauce, let's see how their classic chicken sandwich stacks up against their fast food competitors.

Arby's Chicken Sandwich reveal
Not enough mayo and no pickle

Not bad!  The sandwich had pretty good visual appeal, there was a nice crunch to the breading, the chicken was seasoned well and juicy, the meat to bun ratio was on point but the sandwich was missing the tartness of pickle.  Arby's puts lettuce, tomato and mayo (not enough mayo either) on their sandwich, which is a classic alternative to a chicken sandwich with mayo and pickle, but in my humble foodie opinion, chicken sandwiches are SO much better with pickle! 

I paid $4.71 for my Arby's Classic Chicken Sandwich.  That's an average price for an above average sandwich, I was pleasantly surprised by this sandwich.  I expected it to be "eh", but it was better than "eh", in fact with a score of 53, the sandwich gets 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars and is worthy of a repeat buy, but put some pickles on it!

4 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

Related:  Popeye's Classic Chicken Sandwich

Related:  DQ Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Related:  Burger King's Hand Breaded Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Related:  Sonic's Chicken Slinger

Related:  Church's Chicken Sandwich

Related:  Chick-fil-A's Chicken Sandwich

Related:  Hardee's Chicken Sandwich


Shopping for a shed - doing the homework

By Mike Thayer

Fishing at Lake VikingLast week I wrote about the need for a shed.  Now that I have my customized kayak for fishing at beautiful Lake Viking, I need a shed at the lake property to keep it in.

So I've been doing some homework online.  I'm in the market for a 10' x 12' foot shed - the maximum size allowed by the home owner's association.  It also has to be made of wood, no metal or plastic/resin kits allowed.  No problem there, I prefer sheds made from wood anyway.

I've already got a concrete pad in place, a nice foundation for the shed, but do I buy a kit that I assemble (option 1), or do I buy plans for a shed and purchase the materials myself (option 2)?  Another option, the most expensive one, is to buy an already assembled shed and have it delivered and anchored to the foundation by the shed maker (option 3).

Prices for a quality shed in the size I want range from $1,200 to $5,000, the latter being for the pre-assembled shed, delivered option. 

A little homework, Option 1 - buying a kit

Here are some options for 10' x 12' shed kits available at places like Lowe's, Home Depot, Shed Warehouse where I get to take the kit to Lake Viking and assemble:

Lowe's shed
Available at Lowe's - $2,087.00
Shed Warehouse
Available at Shed Warehouse - $2,999.00
Home Depot Shed
Available at Home Depot - $1,399.00

Right now, as far as the kits (option 1) are concerned, Home Depot would seem like the go-to place for a shed when it comes to price.  It's basic, but heck for the savings in price, I can install a couple windows if desired, just look at the price difference between the Home Depot shed vs. Lowe's, vs. Shed Warehouse.

Stay tuned, there's more homework to be done in considering option 2, buying shed plans and costing out the materials myself. 

$pend Wisely My Friends.....


EveryPlate meal kit club vs. the local grocery store - Griddled Onion Burgers with Creamy Dijon Aioli & Frites

Griddled Onion Burgers
Meal Kit Ingredients

By Mike Thayer

I love to cook and grill, I have a well stocked pantry, I've got a freezer full of goodies, which is mostly meat for grilling.  

One thing I don't love however, is grocery shopping.  Don't get me wrong, it's not that I hate it, but it's time consumption that doesn't feel all that productive.

Enter EveryPlate, one of those meal kit clubs, where they ship you ingredients and recipe cards, the fresh ingredients shipped are pre-measured for supposedly easy and tasty meal making.

EveryPlate
5 minutes of prep, diced onion, sliced onion, minced garlic, Aioli

I received my first shipment on June 16th and after thoroughly enjoying the first meal - Pork & Poblano Tacos - I was looking forward to meal #2 which I decided would be Griddled Onion Burgers. 

Before I get into the burger recipe and how good it was, I just wanted to touch on a couple of advantages to the meal kit thing that I didn't mention in the last review.

EveryPlate cuts down on spoilage.  When talking about trying this meal kit thing with a friend, she said she was thinking about trying it too, but since she and her husband don't cook much, eating out more often than not, she was worried about spoilage, things going to waste.   With everything pre-portioned for 2 people, the spoilage factor is really super minimal, even if you don't cook everyday and if you're a single person like yours truly, I get to enjoy one meal for dinner and that second serving becomes lunch the next day.  The recipe cards that come in each box even has keep refrigerated recommendations (the meat being a no brainer) and expiration dates on the packaging.    The other way EveryPlate reduces spoilage/waste is providing individual servings of things like sour cream, mustard and mayo.  Everything comes pre-portioned preventing you from buying that 12 ounce bottle of honey dijon mustard at the grocery store for example that you end up using just once and then forgetting about it while it sits at the back of a fridge shelf until it expires.

20210617_193958Back to the burger and frites....  Taking me just 5 minutes to prep and ready to eat in a total time of about 35 minutes, the Griddled Onion Burger  with Creamy Dijon Aioli & Frites meal was quite delicious!  The toasted potato bun was light and 'pillowy', the all beef patty was seasoned well and juicy, the Dijon Aioli with sauteed chopped onion was spot on and those Yukon Gold frites dressed simply with olive oil, salt and pepper were lightly crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside - PERFECT!

Griddled Onion Burger with Creamy Dijon Mustard Aioli
It's Another Dose of YUM!

All the ingredients were of high quality, the recipe super easy to follow.  This was NOT your average burger.  This meal is part of the introductory price of just $1.99 per meal in my first meal kit box.  But even at the regular price of $4.99 per meal, I'll order this one again.   It's super easy to prepare, convenient as heck and the most important thing - DARN TASTY!  In comparison, pricing these ingredients out at my local grocery store, putting this meal for two together would have cost me $5.45 each.    And the next time I make this meal, I'm going to kick things up a notch by grilling the burgers and onion.

I am totally impressed with EveryPlate so far and I see no reason to change their 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap rating.  Very reasonably priced, the first two meals I've had were thoroughly enjoyed and this meal kit thing is SUPER convenient!  EveryPlate is a repeat buy for sure!

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....


EveryPlate meal kit club vs. going to the grocery store

By Mike Thayer

20210616_123656I love to cook and grill, I have a well stocked pantry, I've got a freezer full of goodies, which is mostly meat for grilling.  

One thing I don't love however, is grocery shopping.  Don't get me wrong, it's not that I hate it, but it's time consumption that doesn't feel all that productive.

Enter EveryPlate, one of those meal kit clubs, where they ship you ingredients and recipe cards, the fresh ingredients shipped are pre-measured for supposedly easy and tasty meal making.

20210616_123843How 'fresh' those ingredients are, how the meals taste and how easy they are to prepare will be evaluated.

I received my first shipment on June 16th.  Costing me $28.89 ($20 for the food + $9 for shipping), that first box included ingredients and recipes for five different meals for two people, or $1.99 for 10 meals.  That's an introductory price, not EveryPlate's normal price which is $4.99 per meal which is still a great price.  As part of the introductory deal I got, the cost per meal in my second and third box shipments will be $3.99 each, that's a savings of 20% for each box.


20210616_123915The EveryPlate meal options have some nice variety, featuring 14 meal options in a given week, here's what I chose for week 1:

  • Pork & Poblano Tacos
  • Garlic Rosemary Chicken
  • Greek Pork Meatball Bowls
  • Honey Chipotle Pork Chops
  • Griddled Onion Burger

You can also customize your meals, swapping carrots for asparagus for example or swap out chicken for pork.  You can even add another meal!  There's flexibility with the kits, if you don't feel like cooking next week or say you're going on vacation, you can skip a weekly shipment and if you decide you don't like EveryPlate, you can cancel at any time.

Everything in my first shipment looked great.  The packing was top notch, the produce looked fantastic, the meats were kept nice and cold with ice packs and the recipe cards are nicely laid out and easy to follow.

20210616_183158For my first meal, I went with the Pork & Poblano Tacos.  As an experienced grocery shopper, I can tell you those same items purchased at the local grocery store are going to cost between $10 and $14 depending on any sales or promotions.  I priced those same ingredients by shopping online at my neighborhood Dillon's (Kroger) and the total came to $13.06, so the cost for two servings breaks down to $6.53 each.  Price-wise, EveryPlate is looking pretty darn good, even at the $4.99 per meal price!  Caveats:  A pound of ground pork at my local grocer is $3.99, but the ground pork in the EveryPlate kit was only 10 ounces.  The price of sour cream from Dillon's (Kroger) is for a 14 ounce container, the EveryPlate sour cream is two individual servings.  The cost of tortillas at the grocer is for a 10 count bag and the EveryPlate count was six.  So to be fair, that local grocer price for the 'same' ingredients is actually going to be slightly lower than that $6.53, but still NOT getting as low as the EveryPlate price.

20210616_193703Taking me 10 minutes to prep and ready to eat in a total time of about 35 minutes, the Pork & Poblano Taco meal was fantastic!  All the ingredients were of high quality, the recipe super easy to follow.  The flavors were all spot on from the southwest spice, to the marriage of ground pork and Poblano pepper with a kiss of lime.  Making six tacos, this meal was balanced, totally satisfying and I've got leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

I am totally impressed with EveryPlate so far and I'm giving them 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  Very reasonably priced, the first meal I had was thoroughly enjoyed and this meal kit thing is SUPER convenient!  EveryPlate is a repeat buy for sure!

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....


Shopping for a shed

By Mike Thayer

Fishing at Lake VikingNow that I have my customized kayak for fishing at beautiful Lake Viking, I need a shed at the lake property to keep it in.

I'm shopping for a shed!  I'm in the market for a 10' x 12' foot shed - the maximum size allowed by the home owner's association.  It also has to be made of wood, no metal or plastic/resin kits allowed.  No problem there, I prefer sheds made from wood anyway.

I've already got a concrete pad in place, a nice foundation for the shed, but do I buy a kit that I assemble or do I buy plans for a shed and purchase the materials myself?  Another option, the most expensive one, is to buy an already assembled shed and have it delivered and anchored to the foundation by the shed maker.

Prices for a quality shed in the size I want range from $1,200 to $5,000, the latter being for the pre-assembled shed, delivered option.  I'll be doing some more homework online in my search for the best shed option, stay tuned for more shed information!

Log cabin shed
A shed possibility

$pend Wisely My Friends.....


Chicken Sandwich War Challenge: Hardee's Chicken Sandwich

By Mike Thayer

20210615_121730There'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. 

Hardee's Hand Breaded Chicken Sandwich
Look at that bun/meat gap!

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. 

Today I sampled Hardee's Hand Breaded Chicken Sandwich.  It's been awhile since I've eaten at Hardee's and even longer since I've had one of their chicken sandwiches (Their Mushroom Swiss Burger is pretty darn tasty).  Their "Hand Breaded" Chicken Sandwich is "New", let's see how it looks, tastes and scores.....

chicken sandwich
Sloppy prep, not a pickle in every bite

For a "New" sandwich in this Chicken Sandwich War, Hardee's needs a new weapon.   This sandwich just doesn't get the job done.  There's TOO MUCH BUN!  The meat to bun ratio is not good, the chicken was NOT crispy at all, a bit dry and under-spectacular in the seasoning department.  The mayo was average and the only thing giving this sandwich some life were the pickles, which in typical fast food fashion were applied in  a very sloppy, uncaring way, all centered together and not providing pickle in every bite. The bun was good, but IT WAS TOO MUCH!  The chicken, which SHOULD have been the star, was not.

Hardee's Chicken Sandwich
Mayo on half the sandwich. check out the meat to bun ratio

I paid $8.31 for my Hardee's Hand Breaded Chicken Sandwich combo meal.  That wouldn't be a bad price had the sandwich been better, but what I experienced today is NOT worthy of a repeat buy.  This sandwich scored just 44 out of a possible 63 points, putting it in the lower tier of chicken sandwiches in this challenge.

3 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends..... 

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Related:  Burger King's Hand Breaded Crispy Chicken Sandwich

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Related:  Chick-fil-A's Chicken Sandwich