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December 2021

Bourbon Review: Knob Creek Smoked Maple

By Mike Thayer

Knob Creek Smoked Maple
Straight Shot

Blended and flavored whiskeys continue to be red hot in popularity, consumer demand for brown spirits remains on the rise with American Whiskey in particular seeing some phenomenal sales growth.

Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks.  My favorite in all this tasting fun so far, has been Ole Smoky Peanut Butter flavored whiskey.  It's BETTER than Skrewball!

Today's review is a taste of maple!  I was gifted a bottle for Christmas, a very pleasant surprise.

Here's the short description from the Knob Creek website:  We blend this bourbon with natural smoked maple flavors for a unique, smoky sweetness. 

I sampled this whiskey in a straight shot and on the rocks.  In pulling the stopper, you get a nice whiff of maple with a hint of smoke.  At 90 proof, this bourbon is full-bodied, you get the maple at the front but it's not overly sweet and is followed by the smoke and complimentary notes of vanilla and caramel.  It's an excellent, warm, bourbon finish.  I enjoyed it best on the rocks, the ice elevating all the flavor notes in a cleaner sip if you will.

Retailing for about $30, Knob Creek Smoked Maple is a higher quality whiskey than say Jim Beam.  It's slightly sweet but not too maple forward, it's smokey smooth and deserves a spot in your liquor cabinet.  I'm giving it 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars. A great fall/winter sipping whiskey, I'm reserving this for special occasions and it's most definitely a repeat buy.

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Related: Drink Review: Jim Beam Maple Whiskey


What to do with that leftover Christmas ham - doctor up some Ramen

By Mike Thayer

Pork Ramen
If you don't have any pork flavored Ramen on hand, beef works too

Ramen soup, it's cheap, it's a budget food, a single-person's food, a plan 'B' food, a college dorm food, a don't-know-what-else-to-have-so-this-will-have-to-do food...

Don't just make it per the package instructions, liven things up!  And what a great way to use up some of those holiday ham leftovers...

Fire up the stove, heat up a sauce pan.  Throw in a tab of butter and some olive oil.  Next, rough chop some carrots and onions, throw them in the pan and let them cook a bit until they are tender crisp.  Toss in some of that leftover ham, chopped.  Grab a package of pork flavored Ramen soup (beef actually works too), put it in the pan with 2 cups of water. Add some garlic powder, a dash of black pepper, a dash of Louisiana hot sauce, a couple liberal dashes of Soy or Teriyaki sauce and 3 minutes later you've got a great bowl of soup!  Enjoy!  Other great adds to make your soup more robust with flavor is peas and/or mushrooms.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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What to do with that leftover Christmas ham

By Mike Thayer

Mac and cheese w hamSo you've got a bunch of ham leftover from the Christmas dinner you made, or holiday ham you were given to take home....  You can't just keep slicing a big thick slice of it off and eating it as is.....  Well, you can, but there's no variety in that.

What else can you do with it?

Lots.

There's the obvious, make a sandwich.  Some ham, Swiss cheese, a little mustard between a couple slices of toasted bread or in a garlic butter toasted bun....  It's another dose of YUM!

You could grab a box of scalloped potatoes from your pantry, make the potatoes per the box instructions, chunk up some of that ham, throw that in before popping those taters in the oven and boom!  Dinner.  To add a little kick, finely dice up some jalapeno pepper to include in the mix.  TASTY!

You could do a similar thing by grabbing that box of mac & cheese from the pantry and in about 10 minutes, you'll have another lunch or dinner.

Dice some ham up and put it in the fridge for later use.  You can quickly grab that diced ham for a number of dishes.....  Diced ham and scrambled eggs for breakfast; Diced ham on a salad;  Ham fried rice; Ham & beans in the crock pot; Grab some tortillas to make ham & cheese quesadillas; open up a tube of crescent rolls and bake them up with ham and green onion.

There's all kinds of things you can do with leftover ham, have fun with it!

Here's a quick recipe for the grill (yes, it works in the oven too... - Ham Kabobs.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of pineapple chunks (cubed up canned Mango is a nice option)
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • a splash of orange juice
  • one medium green pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • leftover ham, cut into cubes

Directions:

Fire up the grill.  While the 'outdoor stove' is getting warm and ready to receive, drain the pineapple, saving the juice for a marinade.  Mix that pineapple juice, yellow mustard, clove and orange juice in a small bowl, set aside.  Put the pineapple chunks, green pepper and ham on wooden skewers (you soaked them in water for about 30 minutes, right?).   Grill for about 5-8 minutes over direct heat, basting the kabobs with the marinade and rotating frequently until cooked through.  Makes a great appetizer or side dish!  If using the oven, place skewers on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until you see the pineapple start to caramelize.

You can't get any more Bachelor on the Cheap wallet friendly than leftovers!  No shopping at the grocery store required, hopefully you have everything you need in a well stocked pantry and fridge.

Related: Bachelor on the Cheap: Essential must haves for stocking your pantry and fridge

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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Food Review: Sonic's Country Fried Steak Toaster Sandwich

By Mike Thayer

Sonic's Country Fried Steak Toaster Sandwich
A fried beef sandwich, what's not to like?

I've been on a bit of a Sonic kick lately, it's been my go-to when I'm not quite sure what I'm in the mood for.  Their menu is quite diverse, one that can satisfy just about any kind of fast food craving, the drive-up joint pretty much has everything covered.  There are salty and sweet choices, tender and juicy options, there's crispy and crunchy variety... all kinds of textures and flavor notes are on the Sonic menu.  

On this occasion I didn't really know if I wanted a burger, a chicken sandwich, or sauced up chicken tenders so what I do when I'm in that "I'm hungry but I don't really know what I'm in the mood for" mood...  I pull into a Sonic, start reading the menu and order whatever pops out at me...  It didn't take long for it to hit me - Sonic's Country Fried Steak Toaster Sandwich!

Country Fried Steak Toaster Sandwich
Excellent meat to bread ratio

I've never had this Sonic offering before and what a perfect selection for my "Not quite sure what I'm in the mood for" mood...  Country fried steak in a sandwich, it's beef, battered and fried like chicken!  Topped with mayo, lettuce, tomato and served on Texas toast this sounded like a winner, winner chicken but it's beef dinner!

This sandwich hits all the fast food craving notes, the nicely seasoned, tender, juicy beef with that batter providing a nice crunch in each bite.  The creamy mayo, lettuce and tomato give the sandwich balance and that Texas toast, oh my!  The toast is a perfect compliment to the fried beef, it's buttery and delightfully crispy on the outside without being greasy on the fingers and soft, fluffy, delicious on the inside. 

Country Fried Steak
The only real downer, not the freshest looking tomato, too thinly sliced too

Costing me $8.97 for a combo meal which included tots and Sonic's classic cherry limeade, I'm giving the Country Fried Steak Toaster Sandwich 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's a very good sandwich, satisfies just about any kind of burger or fried chicken craving, it's wallet friendly and is most definitely a repeat buy.  My only knock on the sandwich was the tomato slices, not the best looking tomato...

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Enjoy this post?

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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What to do with that leftover Christmas ham - make ham fried rice

Leftover ham
Chop up some leftover holiday ham to make an easy and delicious fried rice

By Mike Thayer

If' you're running out of ideas on how to use up that leftover holiday ham, here's something super easy to try using ingredients you probably already have on hand.

Ham Fried Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cubed ham
  • 1 cup leftover rice (cold rice gives you that crispy edge you're looking for in a good fried rice)
  • 1/4 cup onion - diced
  • 1/4 cup carrot - rough chopped, if you want to make it look 'purdy', cut julliane
  • 1/4 cup peas or whatever veggie you have on hand really, that's the beauty of fried rice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2Tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • Pinch of red pepper flake (optional)
  • Black pepper to taste

Directions:

Put a large skillet over medium high heat.  Assemble all your ingredients for easy dump in to the hot pan.  That and cold rice is the key to a good fried rice, having everything right there, ready to go.  Once the pan is hot, add the oils and once that gets hot and easily coats the bottom of the pan, dump in the veggies (mushrooms are really good in this too, but like I said, pretty much whatever leftover veggie you have on hand works).  Once the veggies start to caramelize, toss in the rice and ham.  Stir to incorporate.  Add the soy and hoisin sauces, stir to incorporate.  For the egg, you can either scramble and add it to the fried rice at this point stirring to incorporate, or you can push the fried rice to the side of the pan and fry your egg over easy so you have an egg yolk that oozes over the plated fried rice.  The latter is my preferred method, which also allows that rice to crisp up on the bottom.

Fried rice is the easiest way to kill a bunch of leftovers in the fridge - talk about being Bachelor on the Cheap wallet friendly!  And the best part, it's another dose of YUM!   Don't get take out or delivery - do your own fried rice!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Enjoy this post?

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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Food Review: Sonic's FRITOS® Chili Cheese Wraps

Sonic's Fritos Chili Cheese Wrap Jr.
The Jr. Wrap is a very tasty on-the-go snack

By Mike Thayer

FRITOS® Chili Cheese Wraps are Back!

It's crunchy, cheesy, melty comfort food at a bargain price.

The Fritos Chili Cheese Jr. Wrap features an 8-in flour tortilla wrapped around warm chili, melted Cheddar cheese and crunchy Fritos Corn Chips for just 99¢!

These wraps are a perfect on-the-go snack when out-and-about running errands or yes, doing the dreaded Christmas shopping.  And for bigger appetites, Sonic also has a regular Fritos Chili Cheese Wrap made with more of all those great crunchy, cheesy, melty ingredients all wrapped in a large flour tortilla.

Fritos Chili Cheese Wrap Jr.
Chili, cheese, Fritos, all wrapped in a warm tortilla, what's not to like?

I'm giving Sonic's Fritos Chili Cheese Jr. Wrap 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  They pack flavor and crunch and the price is right, definitely a repeat buy!  Fritos Chili Cheese Wraps can be found at participating Sonic locations nationwide for a limited time.

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Enjoy this post?

Buy Me a Coffee

If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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Can't decide between a burger or a chicken sandwich? Satisfy both those cravings with a Country Fried Steak Toaster Sandwich at Sonic

By Mike Thayer

Sonic's Country Fried Steak Toaster Sandwich
A fried beef sandwich, what's not to like?

I've been on a bit of a Sonic kick lately, it's been my go-to when I'm not quite sure what I'm in the mood for.  Their menu is quite diverse, one that can satisfy just about any kind of fast food craving, the drive-up joint pretty much has everything covered.  There are salty and sweet choices, tender and juicy options, there's crispy and crunchy variety... all kinds of textures and flavor notes are on the Sonic menu.  

On this occasion I didn't really know if I wanted a burger, a chicken sandwich, or sauced up chicken tenders so what I do when I'm in that "I'm hungry but I don't really know what I'm in the mood for" mood...  I pull into a Sonic, start reading the menu and order whatever pops out at me...  It didn't take long for it to hit me - Sonic's Country Fried Steak Toaster Sandwich!

Country Fried Steak Toaster Sandwich
Excellent meat to bread ratio

I've never had this Sonic offering before and what a perfect selection for my "Not quite sure what I'm in the mood for" mood...  Country fried steak in a sandwich, it's beef, battered and fried like chicken!  Topped with mayo, lettuce, tomato and served on Texas toast this sounded like a winner, winner chicken but it's beef dinner!

This sandwich hits all the fast food craving notes, the nicely seasoned, tender, juicy beef with that batter providing a nice crunch in each bite.  The creamy mayo, lettuce and tomato give the sandwich balance and that Texas toast, oh my!  The toast is a perfect compliment to the fried beef, it's buttery and delightfully crispy on the outside without being greasy on the fingers and soft, fluffy, delicious on the inside. 

Country Fried Steak
The only real downer, not the freshest looking tomato, too thinly sliced too

Costing me $8.97 for a combo meal which included tots and Sonic's classic cherry limeade, I'm giving the Country Fried Steak Toaster Sandwich 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's a very good sandwich, satisfies just about any kind of burger or fried chicken craving, it's wallet friendly and is most definitely a repeat buy.  My only knock on the sandwich was the tomato slices, not the best looking tomato...

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

The Sonic visited on this occasion is located at 7702 E Harry St, Wichita, KS 67207.  This is a well managed location, I always get fast and friendly service with a smile.  From time of order to receiving my meal during a fairly crowded dinner hour took 1-1/2 classic rock songs on 104.5 The Fox.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Enjoy this post?

Buy Me a Coffee

If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

follow me on twitter @Bacheloronthe1

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Food Review: Sonic's Garlic Butter Bacon Burger

By Mike Thayer

Sonic Garlic Butter Bacon Burger
This burger packs some flavor!

If you are a fan of the Sonic Garlic Butter Bacon Burger, you only have until December 26 to enjoy it.  If you have never eaten a Sonic Garlic Butter Burger, you only have until December 26 to become a fan. 

Sonic brought back this fan favorite with some very tasty upgrades on November 1.  Here's the description:

The burger has a perfectly seasoned 100% pure beef patty topped with creamy garlic butter layered between two slices of melty American cheese, with crispy bacon, mayo, and grilled onions piled on a toasted bakery bun.

Garlic Butter Bacon Burger
The cut-away, perfectly layered and balanced, this burger was made with care

The company says the Garlic Butter Bacon Burger is "bliss for garlic and butter lovers alike." Scott Uehlein, an executive chef at Sonic, added that "this year, Sonic has been dedicated to enhancing our burgers by making them meltier and juicier, and we hope our guests enjoy the popular Garlic Butter Bacon Burger."  He continued, "Our culinary team took on this exciting challenge by doubling up the cheesiness and adding even more creamy garlic butter. To top it all off, the Garlic Butter Bacon Burger is stacked on a toasted bakery bun that SONIC guests will love as they satisfy their garlic butter craving!” 

Let me tell you, this burger packs some flavor!  You get the whiff of garlic as you peel back the foil wrapper for the reveal.  In taking that first bite it's butter, garlic, that seasoned beef, crispy bacon, grillled onion, a bit of mayo, the melted cheese and toasted yet 'pillowy' bun all performing a BIG TIME happy burger dance in your mouth.  It's another dose of YUM!  It is indeed a blissful bite and Sonic has done well here in satisfying anyone's garlic butter craving.  This burger flat out rocks!

garlic butter bacon burger
every ingredient in every bite

I'm giving the Sonic Garlic Butter Bacon Burger 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  With the combo costing me $8.27 for the burger, tots and a Cherry Limeade, this is most definitely a repeat buy, but I'll have to do it before this limited time offer concludes on December 26!

De-Frick'n-licious!

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Enjoy this post?

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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Food Review: Popeyes' Homestyle Mac & Cheese

By Mike Thayer

Popeyes Homestyle Mac & Cheese
A nice alternative side to fries

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 version of the comfort food and cult classic from Popeyes.

Here's the description from the restaurant's website:  Mac & Cheese made with real butter and cream and topped with shredded cheddar cheese to create a golden brown crust when baked in the oven.

This is a nice mac & cheese.  You get the butter and cream in every bite, the sauce is a nice creamy consistency and the coverage is complete.  The golden brown shredded cheddar topping while tasty, wasn't evenly distributed.  The foundation of this classic, the noodles, were a bit on the soggy side, a bit of a downer.  I like noodles to be a little al dente, but that might be too much to expect in a fast food mac & cheese.  Overall, this is a good mac & cheese, it's seasoned well, creamy, comforting, a really nice change-of-pace to french fries.

Costing less than $2 for a regular size side, I'm giving Popeyes New Homestyle Mac & Cheese 4 out of 5 stars.  More reasonably priced than competitor sides, this is a nicely done homestyle mac & cheese and better than what the other fast food joints reviewed below are offering.

4 stars

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

Related: Giving Mac & Cheese another dose of YUM!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Enjoy this post?

Buy Me a Coffee

If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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Food Review: Dot's Homestyle Pretzels - best bagged pretzel around

By Mike Thayer

Dot's Homestyle Pretzels
Original Seasoned Pretzel Twists

I like pretzels, they're a nice alternative to chips when you're in the mood for that salty snack.  You can also doctor them up, a very popular thing to do for football tailgates and holiday gatherings.  Quick "doctoring up" pretzel ideas include dipping them in chocolate, including them in a Chex Mix Snack Mix kind of thing, using them in a pie crust, or including them in toffee/brittle recipes.

Today I sampled the Original seasoned pretzel twists for the first time.  These are now my go-to pretzels!  They are addicting like no other bagged pretzel I've ever tasted.  Uniquely seasoned with buttery notes, I couldn't quit popping them in my mouth.   Some bagged pretzel brands will come off as dry and too crumbly, not so with Dot's!  These braided pretzels are stellar, they're fantastic as is, hold up superbly in dipping and make a wonderful crushed pretzel and pecan pie crust!

Dot's Homestyle Pretzels Original Seasoned Pretzel Twists
Great snack, handy to have on hand for guests, excellent addition to a party menu

Costing me about $6 for a 16 ounce bag, I'm giving Dot's Homestyle Pretzels Original Seasoned Pretzel Twists 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  Anytime I want pretzels, I'm looking for a bag of Dot's!  I also tried Dot's Southwest Seasoned Pretzels and they were also quite stellar, both are repeat buys!

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Enjoy this post?

Buy Me a Coffee

If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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