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March 2022

In planning the veggie garden, think carb friendly

By Mike Thayer

When it comes to growing veggies that are carb friendly, think salad.

Most veggies that you would put on a salad are on the lower side of the carb-count chart.

RadishesSo if you're wondering what to grow in your garden that won't bust your carb-count for the day, what you like on your salad is for the most part a safe bet.  Lettuce, some cherry tomatoes, a few radishes, slices of cucumber, some chopped up celery for crunch will make for a nice side salad and only cost you about 9 grams in carbs.  That's Bachelor on the Cheap carb friendly!  And not only is a salad refreshing as well as a nice change of pace, these good carbs give your body the fiber that it needs.  Fiber is a must to help your body operate efficiently.

Veggies you might love on your salad but come at a high carb price are:  Avacados, carrots, onions and peppers.  If you're serious about watching carb intake, these are sadly, kind of a no-no if you want to stay under 60 grams of carbs a day.

I love to garden and this spring I'll be planting a lot of carb friendly salad garden veggies.   In the garden plan are broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, lettuce (of course), radish and tomato.  Bonus: Having a low maintenance garden helps save money at the grocery store too.

Non-salad veggies to consider growing in your garden include garlic, zucchini and other varieties of squash.  And something I love on a salad but can't grow in the garden, fresh white button mushrooms, they too are a low carb veggie.

Have some fun by growing a salad garden and reduce your grocery bill.  You'll enjoy eating the harvest even more!

Carb-Count - Veggies

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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Bachelor_on_the_cheap_logoBecause every customer experience is a big deal.

~ Mike Thayer

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Being a bachelor and living life well but with a budget in mind, I review Wichita Metro Area businesses, find the great deals and report on the best product and/or services available. I post my shopping experiences online, benefiting customers and businesses alike.

Own a business?  Book a shopping review for your business today!  Bachelor on the Cheap Shopping: Product/service reviews for your business


Planting potatoes using ANPHSIN 10 Gallon Garden Potato Grow Bags

By Mike Thayer

ANPHSIN 10 Gallong Garden Potato Grow Bags
Talk about making it EASY to grow potatoes!

It's late March, about 60 degrees out and I've got spring fever bad!

To deal with that 'fever' today I'm planting potatoes!

I've grown potatoes before, in a traditional garden plot direct in the ground and in raised beds.  It's not difficult to grow potatoes and I enjoyed some very tasty spud harvests, but potatoes do take up a lot of space in the garden, especially in raised beds.  So with space considerations in mind, I haven't grown potatoes in my gardens for a very long time.

Enter the ANPHSIN 10 Gallon Garden Potato Grow Bags

This is the first time I've used grow bags and what a great concept!  Ordering a 4 pack of these bags on Amazon, these things are made of a heavy duty aeration fabric, come with a Velcro flap to harvest the potatoes and sturdy handles make the bags easily mobile.

Planting the potatoes was easy peasy.  I filled the bag about half full with potting mix, put four certified seed potatoes - Kennebec Russets - in the bag eyes up and covered them with about 4 inches of the potting mix.  Once the vines break through that top layer of soil and start reaching for the sun, I'll add more potting mix to fill the bag as the vines grow.   Kennebec Russets are a great all purpose potato, good for baking, roasting and mashing.  But their flavor really comes out in frying.

Potato Grow Bags
3 to 4 tubers to a bag

Harvesting the potatoes will be even easier!  Back in the day when I used to grow potatoes and it came time to harvest - after the tops of the vines died back - I would reach for my trusty potato fork.  Potato forks are great because there's a lot less damage done to the potatoes vs. using a regular shovel, which would tend to slice a lot of spuds.  But even with the potato fork and careful digging, you still might spear a spud or two and then there was always a spud or two that got missed, left behind in the dig.   There's no digging necessary with these bags!  That flap allows for super easy access to potatoes ready for eating, just reach in and grab!  And there's no way to miss harvesting any potatoes because you can just empty the bag when tossing the dead vines in the compost prior to storing some potatoes and the bag you grew them in at the end of the season.

Potato Grow Bags
Mobile and space saving

Costing me $20 on Amazon for a 4 pack of bags, I'm giving ANPHSIN 10 Gallon Garden Potato Grow Bags 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  They're very reasonably priced, durable, mobile, easy to use and will be easy to store.  Bonus:  You can grow other veggies such as onions, peppers and tomatoes and given the nice, tidy soil environment, garden pests that like to live in the soil should be marginalized.

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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Lowe's vs. Home Depot vs. Menard's vs. Sutherland's

By Mike Thayer

FH12APR_527_51_165I recently wrote about a project I'm about to undertake, the construction of some self watering raised bed garden planters!

In doing some shopping homework online before going out and purchasing materials for the project, I checked out pricing at Lowe's, Home Depot, Menard's and Sutherland's.

Here's the materials list:

  • Six 12' 2x6s
  • Three 12' deck boards
  • Two 10' 2x4s
  • One 8' 2x4
  • Four 8' 2x2s
  • 24' of 4" diameter perforated drain pipe with sleeve
  • Pond liner
  • Exterior screws
  • Soiless potting mix
  • 1/2' vinyl tubing for drainage
  • 1" CPVC (fill tube)
Lumber and other materials
Lumber & other materials/supplies for the planter project

I must admit, Lowe's, although a big box store is one of my favorites.  I always seem to walk out of there having bought more than what was on my list...  Funny how that works huh?  I could spend hours in that place, but if I did, projects wouldn't get done.  But I digress.  Knowing this is going to be a pricey project - have you seen the price of lumber these days? - I looked at all the lumberyards in my neck of the woods to see who would be the least expensive to purchase all the necessary materials from.  Other considerations are availability and product quality.  I know from projects I've done in the past for example, that the quality of wood from Menard's isn't as good as Lowe's or Home Depot.  You really have to pick through the boards to find the good ones.  I've never shopped at a Sutherland's before, so I don't know about the product quality or customer service (Lowe's can be lacking at times in that area) but they're on the radar because they are a much smaller chain than the others, based in Kansas City with just 49 stores mostly in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma - so it's kind of a 'buy regional' thing. As a matter of perspective, Georgia based Home Depot has over 2,300 stores nationwide, North Carolina based Lowe's has 2,000+ stores nationwide and Wisconsin based Menard's trails with 335 stores concentrated in the Midwest.

Back to that materials list, here's the per planter price breakdown:

Coming in the cheapest was Menard's at $397.05, all materials needed were available.

Coming in second in terms of lowest price, Lowe's at $413.08 with all materials needed, available.  I will say however they have the worst online shop, not user friendly and it kept freezing up.  I had to make several attempts - and on different days even! - to finally 'fill' my cart.

Coming in third in terms of lowest price, Home Depot at $421.52, with all materials available.  Home Depot's website provided the best/easiest online shopping experience.

The most expensive store, was the smallest lumberyard chain of the four - Sutherland's.  The project price came in at $432.61 and they did not have the pond liner needed for the project in stock, nor could I order one to have it shipped.

I went shopping with Cindy C - the motivator of this project - earlier this week and we started at Sutherland's and buying regional in mind.  Some of those materials for putting together that first planter (1 of 5 planters to be built, 3 for her, 2 for me) are pictured above.  And while Sutherland's stores their lumber indoors like Home Depot and Lowe's do, we did have to really pick through a lot of boards to get the good ones and they didn't have any decent treated 2x2's to speak of.  We did have to ask for assistance in trying to find a few items which was hit and miss.  One associate pointed us in the right direction, another took us directly to where we needed to go, another gave us entirely wrong information.  The lady at the checkout was kind of rude, as in, she'd rather not be there kind of rude.  Cindy and I walked out of Sutherland's a bit disappointed in both product availability and customer service.  The experience didn't exactly make one eager to keep dollars regional on the next trip.

After picking up a few things, we then ventured to Lowe's to get what remained on the materials list.  We also did some dream shopping in the power tools section...  Cindy has a mitre saw which will come in handy on this project, but she wants a table saw.  I had my eyes on a new drill press.  We found the 12' 2x6's we needed without having to really pick through boards at all and the 2x2's were plentiful.  TIP:  I made the mistake of going for the lumber first, taking the cart and that 12' lumber through a number of aisles and the power tools section presented a challenge at times, avoiding people, displays and other obstacles.  If it were a game and hitting things earned points, I would have scored high.

I'll keep you posted with how the project is going once the building begins.  To sum up the shopping experience, Menard's may be the cheapest but past experience puts product quality in question.  Sutherland's, while initially the preferred lumberyard to shop at, is the most expensive, with the product quality, availability and the customer service a mixed bag of good and bad.  Lowe's, a personal favorite, remains a repeat store to use, a Bachelor on the Cheap recommendation.  Home Depot, not visited on this occasion due to location, becomes a plan B.

Related: Building a self watering raised planter bed on wheels

Raised beds on the apartment patio
I love the cedar and corrugated metal look

Related:  What I built for my apartment patio a few years back

$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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Instacart is only as good as the shopper that's shopping for 'you'...

By Mike Thayer

Instacart Shopping
I got what I ordered... This time...

I've used Instacart for grocery shopping twice now.

The first time was a very bad experience which I did earlier this month, with the person who was doing the shopping for me either not very experienced or just didn't care about making proper substitutions for items I had ordered.  That guy, Jesse was his name, just texted 'Item not available' while he was shopping, dropping things off my list.  And that's the downside to using Instacart, once the shopping starts, you can't alter your order.  I get that, but in this case, the dude shopping on my behalf was CLUELESS!  I'm convinced that if he couldn't find it he said to himself, "Screw it", and didn't ask a Dillon's employee where to find something and he made no effort to substitute.  I got 75% of what was on my list ordering 12 items and receiving 9, which had nothing extravagant on it, ground beef (received one pound out of two pounds ordered), two packages of pepperoni, Parmesan cheese, Kroger store brand pizza sauce (dropped by the shopper), Kroger lunch meats (ham dropped by the shopper) and a few other items.  I paid nearly $50 for two bags of groceries, but received just 75% of what was on my original list.  Part of that nearly $50 included $9.95 for the service and delivery to my home + a tip.  I came away from that experience regretting the use of Instacart.  Jesse the shopper sucked.

But hoping that original experience was an anomaly, I tried Instacart again on 3/23.  I ordered 12 items and yes, received 12 items, with the only alteration to my order being a 5 pound bag of potatoes, switching brands for about the same price based on availability.  I was alerted via text and I was OK with that.  My shopper's name was Jennifer and she obviously knew what she was doing, she filled everything on my list.  There were 12 items in my order totaling $35.58, plus the $9.95 delivery fee, plus the suggested $2.28 tip for a total of $47.81. 

My second experience with Instacart was WAY better than the first, so the use of the service, good or bad does depend entirely on who is doing the shopping for you.

Regarding my first Instacart shopping experience, I did complain, but Instacart didn't respond.  Dillon's did though, giving me a $20 credit on my next in store/pickup/or delivery order.  Thank you Dillon's for caring about your customers.  Instacart, you kind of get the finger here...

So after using Instacart twice now, I can only conclude it would be hit and miss, totally dependent on who is shopping on your behalf, their experience, their familiarity of the store and whether they really care about truly fulfilling your order or not.  With that said and moving forward, I'm only going to use Instacart again if the weather is REALLY bad or for some unforeseen reason I just can't make it to the grocery store.  Using Instacart is NOT worth the $9.95 + tip in my opinion and is NOT worthy of repeat use.  I'm giving Instacart 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  In placing my order just after 2pm, I received my order at 3:45pm.

3 stars

$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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Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu on a Stick

By Mike Thayer

Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu on the Stick prep
2 pounds ground chicken, rotisserie spice, one egg

I love Chicken Cordon Bleu, it's a classic French dish of chicken that is pounded out thin, which is then wrapped around ham and Swiss cheese.  The whole thing is then breaded and fried or baked until golden, brown and delicious.

Chicken Cordon Bleu packs SO much flavor and why it's so high on my list of all time favorite eats, but it's also a labor intensive dish to make in the classic preparation.  It's not exactly a meal one can prepare in under 30 minutes.  

Enter the grill...

Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu
Deli sliced ham preparation

I also love just about anything grilled, so it hit me, why not try to incorporate Chicken Cordon Bleu flavors in a grilled preparation and to be specific, a meat on a stick preparation.  Who doesn't LOVE meat on a stick!?

So today, I'm developing a new recipe for Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu on a Stick, which you get to witness at the experimental/entry level.

I'm going to use two pounds of ground chicken, mixed with a chicken rotisserie spice made by a local spice merchant and incorporate an egg to bind it with.  Ground chicken is lean, so some extra fat will be needed to help prevent dryness and any falling apart on the skewers.

For the ham and cheese portions, I'm going to do this three different ways to find out which works out best, evaluating ease of preparation and taste.

  1. Wrap a slice of Swiss cheese and deli sliced ham on the skewers then wrap with the ground chicken mixture
  2. Lay out a portion of the chicken mixture, flatten on plastic wrap, add diced ham and diced Swiss cheese, then roll it and skewer
  3. Wrap skewers with ham loaf from my local butcher, add strips of Swiss cheese, then wrap the ham & Swiss with the ground chicken
Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu
The deli sliced ham version turned out the best

Going in, I'm going to predict option 3 tastes the best.  But it will also need the most grilling time since it's not a pre-cooked ham product.

To make it as "Cordon Bleu" as possible, I'll be hitting the skewers with a garlic butter and bread crumb mixture just before pulling from the grill, letting the flame kiss the meat on a stick a little bit to crisp the topping. 

In staying as classic as possible with the first preparation, the deli sliced ham was easy enough to wrap on the skewers, the Swiss cheese, not so much.  I was tempted to half the cheese slices and layer them, but I finally was able to get everything all under control and properly wrapped under the seasoned ground chicken layer on the skewer.  Once that was done, they went back in the fridge to chill.  Remember Grilling Tip #1 from Chapter 2:  Ground meats should be cold when putting on the grill. If they’re at room temperature, ground meats tend to fall apart or droop through the cooking grate.

In working with the second version, the diced ham and diced Swiss cheese, what I thought would be the easiest wrap and skewer was actually the most difficult.  I'll admit to putting too much ham and cheese on initially, but the dice of the ham was too large, it ended up poking through the ground chicken and maneuvering the plastic wrap in a sushi roll type preparation was a bit of a challenge.

The third version - using the ham loaf - was easy to put on skewers and I did slice the Swiss cheese into strips before wrapping things up with the ground chicken.  Points here for the easiest prep.

Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu with sauce
Sauced with a Dijon Cream

After getting some chill time in the fridge, it was time to grill.  I started things off by grilling versions 1 and 2 and the skewers over indirect heat, a reverse sear.  The ham in these versions is already cooked, so all I had to worry about was ensuring the ground chicken was cooked through, with the ham warmed through and the cheese melted.  Grill marks would come later when applying the garlic butter and bread crumb mixture over direct heat.  I kept the skewers away from the flame, turning a quarter turn about every 10 minutes.  Then using my handy dandy grill safe butter dish, brushed on some garlic butter and Italian seasoned Panko bread crumbs over the flame.  The ham loaf version needed a little more cooking time over indirect heat, to ensure the ham loaf on the interior was cooked through.

Developing this recipe was a lot of fun to prep, take notes, grill and eat!  My prediction however, that the ham loaf version would taste the best, was wrong.  It was second best.  The more classic preparation, using the sliced deli ham won the day in both flavor and presentation.  You get layers of flavor with the slices of ham and a different texture element along with the consistent and wrapped slice of melted Swiss cheese within.  The ham loaf version while tasty, lacked the texture element - all meats being ground - and the cheese flavor wasn't as robust using the Swiss in strips.  Coming in third out of three, the diced ham version.  Diced just doesn't measure up to sliced or loaf, in fact one of the diced skewers fell apart on the grill, there was too much moisture in the ham dice, it steamed the inside of this preparation resulting in flavors that just came out flat.

With the deli sliced ham version being the champ, I'll be posting the full recipe in the Poultry section of Grilling Good Eats, to include the Dijon Cream Sauce.

Enjoy everybody!

I take great pleasure in grilling good eats!

~ Mike Thayer

Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu
Deli sliced ham version fresh off the grill
Cordon Bleu
Diced version sauced, not a good presentation
Grilled Cordon Bleu
Ham loaf version ready for sauce, check out the cheese ozzing out the side... 

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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Huddle House makes a burger worthy of a repeat buy

Huddle HouseBy Mike Thayer

I was out with Cindy C on Tuesday, shopping for the materials needed for that self watering raised planter bed on wheels project I wrote about recently.  This is going to be such a fun project!  Cindy is wanting three of those planters built for her place and I'm in need of at least two for mine.  So after having some fun buying what was needed for the project at both Sutherland's and Lowe's we decided to take a lunch break at the Huddle House.

Neither one of us has eaten at a Huddle House before, it's a casual diner type place with 339 locations nationwide, mostly in the southeast and only one location here in Wichita.

Cindy has been wanting to try this place for awhile and we had checked it out online before going.  Their entire menu is inviting but their burgers in particular looked pretty good, so to 1735 West 21st Street North (Near the corner of 21st and Amidon) we went.

Huddle House Mushroom Swiss Burger
Huddle House Burgers are stacked!

Cindy and I are both big time burger lovers, restrict us to a list of just five favorite foods and burgers are going to be one of the five and near if not at the top of that list.  Huddle House has seven burger options on their menu (hint, everything is better with bacon!), making it a bit tough to decide.  Cindy stayed true to a burger foundation (if you can't make a basic burger well, why bother with the others?) and went with the "Huddle Burger," a classic preparation featuring two all beef patties, topped with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle and mayo, served on a toasted sesame seed bun.  I went with the Mushroom Swiss burger, featuring those two all beef patties, topped with Swiss cheese, mushrooms, onion rings, along with lettuce, tomato and pickle served on the side as an option.  The Mushroom Swiss burger is served on a toasted Brioche Bun.  And speaking of sides, Cindy got fries, I went with tater tots.

It didn't take long at all for our burgers to arrive and they looked great!  Both burgers had 'stature' - tall burgers that you wondered how you were going to get your mouth around it all and get every ingredient in each bite.  But I will say this and Cindy actually pointed it out - if not for the double patties, the meat to bun ratio would have been off, a single patty wouldn't cut it, it would have been too much bread and toppings.  That's not a knock, that actually says Huddle House knows what they're doing, in how to properly balance a burger.  Thankful for the double patties, the meat was cooked nicely, it was juicy, but could have used a bit more seasoning.  The toppings were fresh, the cheese was melted well and bringing everything together was the toast on the bun.  A good toast on the bun just makes a burger or sandwich all that much better...  Cindy liked everything about the Huddle Burger and I thoroughly enjoyed the Mushroom Swiss burger, with the crunchy onion rings being a nice added touch.  The sides, french fries for Cindy and tater tots for me, were also done well.  Fried nicely and seasoned well, each had a nice crisp on the outside and flaky potato on the inside with each bite.  Neither one of us had to reach for the salt - good taters indeed.

Huddle House Mushroom Swiss Burger
Layers of flavor

Costing $28.45 for the two meals including a 20% tip, I'm giving the burgers at Huddle House 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  Reasonably priced and prepared well, these burgers pack some flavor and you walk away from the table feeling quite satisfied.  Both burgers are worthy of a repeat buy and the next time I'm at the Huddle House, a burger with bacon will be in 'order,' pun intended...

4 stars

Located at 1735 West 21st Street North, Wichita, KS. 67203, Huddle House cranks out some good food and provides service with a smile.  Their burgers are better than what you'll get at a typical national chain fast food joint and I look forward to sampling not only another burger option, but other items on the menu.  I hear their breakfast options are better than iHop.

$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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Putting a spin on fried Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

Fried Ham & Cheese Sticks
Combined with the dip in mustard, WOW what a great bite!

By Mike Thayer

I love fried Mozzarella Cheese Sticks and paired with a classic Marinara sauce this is a bar food delight! 

But I got to thinking today, why restrict such a tasty concept to just the one, typical way to serve fried cheese sticks?

So I've been playing in the kitchen today, working on a few spins for some fried mozzarella cheese sticks.  Dipping fried Mozzarella in Marinara sauce is tasty, but there are so many other flavor options out there that aren't being explored!

Enter, Fried Ham & Cheese Sticks...

A blend of four cheeses, honey ham and a crispy Panko breading dipped in a mustard ranch sauce delivers BIG on flavor and takes fried cheese sticks up to another level!

Fried Ham & Cheese Sticks
A look inside the bite

Ingredients:

  • Two cups vegetable oil
  • Six slices of deli sliced honey ham (Black Forest is fine too)
  • 1/2 cup mix of shredded Cheddar, Colby Jack, Monterey Jack and Mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan & Herb Panko bread crumbs 
  • Two eggs
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • Pinch of Kosher salt
  • Dash of black pepper
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • Dash of onion powder
  • Dash of Cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions:

The dredge set up for the Nacho Cheese Dorito crusted Mozzarella Sticks
Seasoned flour, egg, Doritos crumbs

Preheat a large pan or cast iron skillet with 2 cups of vegetable oil over medium heat.  Scramble the eggs in a bowl, put the bread crumbs in another bowl, put the flour and seasonings in another bowl - stir to combine.  Lay out a slice of ham, fill it with shredded cheese, wrap like a burrito (you want the ends closed so there's no spillage when frying).  Dip in the flour, roll & cover.  Dip in the egg, roll & cover.  Shake off excess then do a second dredge in the flour.  Dip in the egg again, shake of excess then dredge in the bread crumbs.  Drop in the hot oil and fry for about 30 - 45 seconds or until golden brown.  Flip and fry until done.  Hit the fried cheese with a dash of salt after removing from the pan.  Served with a mustard/ranch sauce (50/50 yellow mustard and Ranch), which is excellent, but play with it, brown mustard and Dijon are fantastic choices too!  Mustard and ham go so well together!

As if that wasn't kicking up the fried cheese stick thing up a notch, here's another one!

Enter, Nacho Cheese Doritos Crusted Mozzarella Stick

Ingredients:

  • Two cups vegetable oil
  • Three string cheese sticks, cut in half lengthwise
  • Two eggs, scrambled
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup crushed Nacho Cheese flavored chips
  • Pinch of Kosher salt
  • Dash of black pepper
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • Dash of onion powder
  • Dash of Cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Thinly sliced jalapeno (optional)
Nacho Cheese Doritos Mozzarella Sticks
Talk about a flavored crunch!

Directions: 

Preheat a large pan or cast iron skillet with 2 cups of vegetable oil over medium heat.  Scramble the eggs in a bowl, put the Dorito crumbs in another bowl, put the flour and seasonings in another bowl - stir to combine. Dip a cheese stick in the flour, roll & cover.  Dip in the egg, roll & cover.  Shake off excess then do a second dredge in the flour.  Dip in the egg again, shake of excess then dredge in the Doritos crumbs.  Drop in the hot oil and fry for about 30 - 45 seconds or until golden brown.  Flip and fry until done.  You will be tempted to hit the sticks with salt after pulling out of the frying pan but don't, these are already salty enough.  Serve with warm "Stadium" style cheese (Cheese sauce in a jar) and the optional jalapeno slices.

Both of these recipes are ANOTHER DOSE OF YUM!

I should open up a restaurant and call it "Fried Cheese Buffet"...  The ideas are almost endless here...  A deli slice of roast beef and cheddar; Gruyere cheese and caramelized onion; Mushroom & Swiss....

Nacho Cheese crusted Mozzarella Sticks
Crispy, crunch, cheese on cheese

These fried cheese snacks aren't all that expensive to prepare either and you should have most all the ingredients already on hand in your pantry or fridge.  Enjoy fried cheese sticks in new ways!

 

Nacho Cheese, Mozzarella Cheese, Cheese Sauce
It's Another Dose of YUM!

$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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Who makes the best fish sandwich in fast food 2022 - they are listed here from worst to first

Fish sandwich bachelor on the cheapBy Mike Thayer

Burgers, chicken nuggets, pizza, tacos......

What are you supposed to eat when none of the above sounds good?

A crispy fish sandwich of course!

But which fast food joint makes the best fish sandwich? 

 

In the name of 'food science' (a'hem, cough), I have sampled fish sandwiches from all the national fast food chains I have access to in my neck of the woods that have a fish sandwich on their menu.  Which restaurant and their version of a crispy fish sandwich will get top honors?

I went through the restaurant list, one meal at a time.....  What?  I ate nothing but fish sandwiches for lunch AND dinner, a total of 11 meals? 

Like I said, done in the name of 'food science'......  Side Note:  I did a similar review back in 2018, but it's been four years since that review so I figure we're all due for a Who has the best fish sandwich update!  Some restaurants have changed up their menu a bit with "New and Improved" fish sandwiches and there are a few more restaurants getting in on the game.  It is Lent season after all, so in fast food/fast casual it's "Fish Season" and saavy restaurants are marketing you with their "Limited Time" fish sandwich offerings.

I sampled classically prepared crispy fish sandwiches, evaluating them on visual appeal, fish to bun ratio, crunch factor, flakiness of the fish, the bun, the dressing of the bun/toppings and overall taste.  Sandwiches were giving a score of 1-9 (9 being best) for each category for a total possible score of 63.  With those scores in mind I then applied those scores to a star system 1 - 5 stars (5 being best) to more easily define "eh" and average sandwiches from the good ones and those being worthy of a repeat buy.

Here is "The List" of fast food joints offering fish sandwiches, from worst to first:

McDonald's Fish Sandwich
You don't get tartar or cheese in every bite

#11 - McDonald'sThe breading on the processed fish didn't bring any crunch whatsoever, it's like they steamed the fish along with the bun.  The filet was under seasoned and the fish to bun ratio was off.  The creamy tartar is good although I didn't get tartar in every bite. Scoring 39 out of a possible 63 points and costing me $8.05 for a value meal to include fries and a drink, I'm giving the McDonald's Filet-O-Fish 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  This is a below average fish sandwich and is NOT worthy of a repeat buy.     3 stars

BK Fish Sandwich Mush
Poor fish to bun ratio and the fish is mush

#10 - Burger King:  The square 'fillet,' even when fresh out of the fryer while perhaps crunchy on the outside, is mushy fish on the inside rather than flaky. The thin fillet means a below average fish to bun ratio and it's a sad statement when the brioche bun, pickles and tartar are the best parts of the sandwich.Scoring 44 out of a possible 63 points and costing me $5.26 for just the sandwich, I'm giving the Burger King Fish Sandwich 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars. It is not reasonably priced compared to the prices of other fast food joints and it just flat out isn't as good of a sandwich. NOT a repeat buy.   3 stars

DQ Fish Sandwich
No twang in the tartar

#9 Dairy Queen:  Dairy Queen earned a surprising 2nd place finish in the 2018 review with their Atlantic Cod Fish Sandwich. They won't finish 2nd this year because they switched fish and now serve Polluck which is a less expensive, not as flaky and thinner fish fillet.  Scoring 45 points out of a possible 63 and costing me $8.59 for a combo meal to include fries and a drink, the 45 point score earned Dairy Queen's Fish Sandwich 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars. DQ switched fish and served it with a tartar without twang, resulting in an inferior sandwich. It's not worthy of a repeat buy.  3 stars

 

Sonic Fish Sandwich
Not enough tartar

#8 SonicIf there was a fish sandwich war going on, Sonic would lose.  Sonic either needs to create a better sandwich, or rename this one, it's NOT a 'Premium' sandwich.  This was a very average fish sandwich at best and what Sonic thinks is a premium sandwich would not have cracked my Top 5 list in 2018.  The breading on the sandwich is good and crispy, but the processed patty - not a true fillet - is square like McDonald's and the texture of the fish as a result of that processing is mushy.  Scoring 46 out of a possible 63 points and costing me $7.73 for a combo meal to include tater tots and a drink, I'm giving the Sonic Premium Fish Sandwich 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap Stars.  It may be reasonably priced and yes it was crispy, but overall the sandwich was lackluster and is NOT worthy of a repeat buy.   3 stars

Freddy's Fish Sandwich
Thousand Island Dressing just doesn't cut it

#7 Freddy's:  Freddy's isn't dressing their fish sandwich the same as they did in 2018.  The sandwich I sampled four years ago was dressed with the classic Freddy's sauce which is mayonnaise, ketchup, pickle juice and Freddy's seasoning...  That sauce is basically a ramped up version of a Thousand Island dressing but with a much better finish.  In this year's sampling, the Freddy's seasoning and robust pickle juice notes were missing.  To go with just a regular Thousand Island dressing now is rather ho-hum. Scoring 47 points out of a possible 63 and Costing $7.69 for a combo meal with Freddy's famous shoe string fries and a drink, I'm giving Freddy's Fish Sandwich 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars, a downgrade from the 2018 Challenge.   With the dressing on the sandwich not being as robust as it once was and the fillets being a bit mushy, the sandwich is a very borderline repeat buy, as in, if I happen to be at Freddy's on a Friday. 3 stars

Louisiana Famous Fried Chicken Fish Sandwich
Good sandwich, but not great

#6 Louisiana Famous Fried Chicken: The fish was crispy but a bit on the thin side, if there weren't two fillets, the fish to bun ratio would have been off - as in too much bread.  The lettuce, tomato and pickle put some complimentary freshness and tartness in each bite to balance things out and what makes this a better than average fish sandwich is the Cajun spiced dressing, providing a nice but not overpowering kick to the party.  Overall a good sandwich, my only knock is there was no toast to the bread.  Toasting that Hoagie Roll would have elevated this sandwich into 5 star status.  A balance of flavors Scoring 48 out of 63 points and costing me $7.51 for a sandwich only purchase, I'm giving the Louisiana Famous Fried Chicken Fish Sandwich 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  Reasonably priced, it's worthy of a repeat buy. 4 stars

#5 Arby's: Their Crispy Fish Sandwich is the same as  it was back in 2018 and is a classically prepared Alaskan Pollock fillet

Arby's Fish Sandwich
Tartar should be under the lettuce to preserve the crunch in the breading

crispy-fried to a nice golden brown, topped with tartar sauce, shredded lettuce and served on a sesame seed bun. It has a nice initial visual appeal and my first bite was crunchy, the fillet was seasoned well and overall there was a nice balance of fish, tartar and lettuce. The fish to bun ratio was good but I do have to say that as I worked my way towards the middle of the fillet, the crunch was missing.  This sandwich earned 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars and is worthy of a repeat buy. 4 stars

#4 Hardee's:  Hardee's makes a pretty good fish sandwich. The fillet is crispy throughout, not just on the edges, the fillet is

Hardees Fish Sandwich
Nice visual appeal

flaky on the inside and the fish to bun ratio was spot on, the lettuce fresh. The only knock I have is the tartar sauce. While it was nice and creamy, it was a bit boring, needs more seasoning and more tart. Scoring 50 out of a possible 63 points and costing me $4.61 for just the sandwich, Hardee's registers the highest score so far in this challenge after visiting seven restaurants. The cost is lower than average making it reasonably priced and it's a good sandwich making it a repeat buy. I'm giving the Hardee's Fish Sandwich 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars. 4 stars

Wendy's Fish Sandwich
One little leaf of lettuce? Really?

#3 Wendy's:  Wendy's makes a decent fish sandwich. The panko breading provides a really nice crunch, I got crispy in each bite. The fry on the fish was solid, the square 'fillet' was moist and flaky on the inside, but it was a bit under seasoned and polluck needs help because it is a milder fish. The one leaf of lettuce was lame and it's a ding the sandwich took back in 2018. Scoring 55 out of a possible 63 points and costing me $5.36 for just the sandwich, the Wendy's Crispy Panko Fish Sandwich earned 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  Despite the switch from cod to pollock, Wendy's has improved their offering with a better breading (heavier on the Panko) and better overall preparation down to a better toast on the bun.  What was a borderline, Plan B repeat buy recommendation back in 2018, is now a solid repeat buy if choosing to eat at a national chain fast food joint. 4 stars

Long John Silvers Fish Sandwich
Battered fish is better than breaded

#2 Long John Silvers:  I got a delightful crunch in every bite and a batter crunch bite, not a breading crunch bite. Scoring 57 out of possible 63 points and costing me $4.93, this was a far better fish sandwich than what I got served in 2018. With a much better fry preparation this go-around, the score of 57 earns the Long John Silver's Fish Sandwich 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars. A toasted bun and one more pickle would have edged it up to a 5 star sandwich and yes, it's a repeat buy. 4 stars

#1 Popeye's:  Playing off the success of their chicken sandwich, keeping it simple works with fish too! The Popeye's breading is

Popeye's Fish Sandwich
Popeye's is the best on the national scene in frying up some protein and putting it on a bun

crunchy with that hint of Popeye's spice pleasantly present in the classic preparation. It was a perfect fry, with the flounder being moist and flaky. The pickles delivered some tart which was needed because the amount of tartar sauce was less than generous. Served on a brioche bun, the toast on the bun complimented the crunch of the breading on the fish and the crisp of the pickle.  Costing me $9.53 for a combo meal to include fries and a drink (If you just want to do the sandwich it's $4.49), and scoring 59 out of a possible 63 points, I'm giving Popeye's Flounder Fish Sandwich 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars. The filet was huge, seasoned well, the fish was flaky, I got pickle in every bite and the toasted brioche bun was the perfect bread vessel to serve it on. The sandwich would have scored even higher had more tartar sauce been applied. It's a repeat buy. 5 stars

So there you have it, in sampling the fish sandwich offerings from the national fast food chains, they are listed here from worst to first. The Bachelor on the Cheap Best National Fast Food Chain Fish Sandwich winner for 2022 is Popeye's!

Related:  How Fish Sandwiches ranked in 2018

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Who makes the best fish sandwich in fast food? Is it Popeyes? #fishsandwich

Popeye's Flounder Fish Sandwich
Excellent fish to bun ratio

By Mike Thayer

Eating fish sandwiches on a daily basis for lunch and dinner...  You know I'm doing this Challenge in the name of 'Food Science' (cough), right?  I'm eating through the bad and average sandwiches so you don't have to...

In 2018 I reviewed the fish sandwiches from national fast food chains but I figured it's time for a fish sandwich update.  I'll be reviewing all those restaurants again, as there's been some changes, some 'new and improved' sandwiches as well as new offerings.  But for this 2022 review, along with the fast food joints I'll be including fast casual chains as well as the local restaurants, making it a "Who makes the best fish sandwich in Wichita?" Challenge!

Today's review is Popeye's and their Flounder Fish Sandwich.

Flounder Fish Sandwich
Cruncy breading, moist, flaky fish fillet

Popeye's keeps it simple with this sandwich, featuring a breaded flounder fillet topped with pickles and tartar sauce, served on the brioche bun.

Playing off the success of their chicken sandwich, keeping it simple works with fish too!  The Popeye's breading is crunchy with that hint of Popeye's spice pleasantly present in the classic preparation.  It was a perfect fry, with the flounder being moist and flaky.  The pickles delivered some tart which was needed because the amount of tartar sauce was less than generous.  Served on a brioche bun, the toast on the bun complimented the crunch of the breading on the fish and the crisp of the pickle.

Fish Sandwich
Not real generous with the tartar sauce

Costing me $9.53 for a combo meal to include fries and a drink (If you just want to do the sandwich it's $4.49), and scoring 59 out of a possible 63 points, I'm giving Popeye's Flounder Fish Sandwich 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  The filet was huge, seasoned well, the fish was flaky, I got pickle in every bite and the toasted brioche bun was the perfect bread vessel to serve it on.  The sandwich would have scored even higher had more tartar sauce been applied.  It's a repeat buy.

5 stars

 

Popeye's Fish Sandwich
Under the lid look

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Popeye's visited on this occasion is located at 3131 N Rock Rd, Wichita, KS 67226.  The service was obligatory, the attendant taking my order a bit hard to understand with a very soft voice, I had to ask her to repeat and speak up.  With three other vehicles ahead of me during the lunch hour, from time of order to receiving my meal took three classic rock songs on 104.5 The Rock.

Fish Stories...  (see what I did there, the play on 'fish stories'...  c'mon)

Related, posted in 2018: Who has the best fast food fish sandwich? They are listed here from worst to first

Related: Sonic (Sonic was not reviewed in 2018)

Related: Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers

Related: Louisiana Famous Fried Chicken (Not reviewed in 2018)

Related: Burger King

Related: Hardee's

Related: Arby's

Related: McDonald's

Related: Long John Silver's

Related: Dairy Queen

Related:  Wendy's

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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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