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April 2022

Meal Kit Review: HelloFresh vs. EveryPlate

HelloFresh
Timely, cold delivery

By Mike Thayer

This is the first post in a series of HelloFresh meal kit reviews

I'm reviewing the ready meals from HelloFresh in another Bachelor on the Cheap series, receiving my first shipment today, it's a Friday, April 29, 2022.

Receiving four meals that serves two people per meal in my first shipment, the delivery included all the base ingredients and instructions for the following meals:

  • Meatloaf A' La Mom
  • Italian Chicken Over Lemony Spaghetti
  • Taqueria Pork Bowls
  • Citrus Pork Tacos
HelloFresh Packaging
No worries about food spoilage, great packaging

I've done the meal kit thing before, subscribing with EveryPlate last year and that was overall a good experience.  EveryPlate, a sister company to HelloFresh, was actually cheaper than the grocery store.  I did end up cancelling my subscription after a bit however and for two reasons.  The EveryPlate menu options at the time were pretty limited and I started to travel a lot with a new job.

I was impressed with the HelloFresh shipment, the tracking was spot on and the packaging was top notch.  The quality of ingredients was also top notch from the meats, fresh produce, dry ingredients, to the packaged sauces.  The recipe cards are an easy read, the instructions clear, so even if you're not an experienced cook, no worries!  The most impressive of all that though, the meals are individually wrapped. 

HelloFresh Meal Kit
It can't get much easier than this...

Contrast that to my experience with EveryPlate, which was boxed up nicely and remained cold through delivery, but shipments were always very simply packed.  All meats were lumped together, all other meal ingredients were lumped together into one large box, so you had to sort through everything, the produce, the sauces, the dry ingredients, using the menu cards to pick out what was needed for each meal.  HelloFresh eliminates that task (part of their elevated price).  While the meats are packed separately, all the other ingredients for each meal is wrapped in it's own, labelled and secure brown bag.  No sorting, no digging, no having to read menu cards to select the necessary ingredients, it's all ready to go for you with HelloFresh.

For my first HelloFresh meal I selected "Meatloaf A' La Mom with Potato Wedges, Green Beans & Gravy." My Mom made a pretty mean meatloaf so we'll see how this compares to my fond memory of what Mom served.

Hello Fresh Recipe Card
Free up counter space, put your recipe at eye level

Pulling the package of ground beef and "Meatloaf A' La Mom" meal bag from the fridge, I posted the recipe card and went to work.  TIP:  Don't get your recipe card or cook book messy with a food accident/spill by having it on the counter!  Not everybody uses a tablet/device to read recipes.  So for printed recipes - what meal kits provide - post the recipe at eye level in your kitchen using a binder clip.  Heck, even a chip clip will do.  This will also free up counter space for staging and chopping.

HelloFresh Meal Kit
Getting ready to prep

The prep time for this meal is 15 minutes with a cook time of 45 minutes.  As previously mentioned, the recipe instructions are clear, to include what kitchen tools you'll need, what pantry and/or fridge items you need to have on hand (salt, butter, olive oil, etc.) and even how to adjust the oven racks. 

The prep time is generous, as an experienced cook it didn't me take the full 15 minutes to wash the produce and slice/dice/mince the produce as instructed.  The meal was quickly put together and put in the oven as directed.  Everything was done in the oven, with exception to the gravy, prepared in yes, you guessed it, a medium pan and took about eight minutes to whip together.

In sitting down to eat, this meal was quite tasty.  The Yukon Gold potatoes had a nice roast on them and were delicious simply dressed with salt, pepper and olive oil.  The green beans were dressed the same way and I love fresh green beans that are done this way.  The green beans soften up in the roasting process, yet still maintain that slight crunch and punch of green been flavor in the bite.  Kissed with a bit of Parmesan cheese, they were wonderful. 

HelloFresh Meal
Complete meal, tasty meal

"But Mike," you ask...  "How was the meatloaf, was it as good as your Mom's?"  The meatloaf was good and worthy of a repeat eat, but it wasn't as good as Mom's.  Sorry, not revealing any recipe secrets...  But the HelloFresh recipe did hit all the notes of a classic meatloaf, what puts this over the top is the combination of the ketchup glaze and beef gravy.  You get the sweetness of that slow roasted ketchup, coupled with the savory, buttery notes of the gravy that make for a satisfying bite to compliment the juicy meatloaf.

Overall this first meal from HelloFresh was a good and flavorful experience.   In a HelloFresh vs. EveryPlate comparison, they both have their advantages.  Keeping in mind they are sister companies, HelloFresh has better packaging, I like the individually wrapped meals, but that convenience does come with a higher price.  That's the advantage to EveryPlate, which has a lower cost per meal because they don't take the time to separate the ingredients for each meal.  You get to do that.  

I'll be sampling the remainder of the HelloFresh meals before I rate this service and tell you which one I prefer, breaking things down such as meal prep, variety, recipe instructions, the quality of the ingredients and most importantly the flavors at meal time.  Stay tuned.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Side Note:  A friend of mine did alert me to the potential for a higher sodium content in some of these meal kits.  When meal kits first came out, foods included in those kits had a higher sodium content to help preserve various ingredients as they sat in the warehouse waiting to be ordered and shipped, to extend shelf life and yes, to improve flavor.  The portion sized meat packages, the seasonings, the packaged sauces, etc., had a higher sodium content than what you typically found for that same item in a traditional grocery store.  A study was conducted in 2019 by the University of Sydney that evaluated the popular meal subscription services and how healthy there were.  HelloFresh was put in the high in sodium category by this study.  HelloFresh has since improved it's processing, packaging and along with the ever-increasing popularity of meal kits lessening the need for so much warehousing, HelloFresh is now listed as one of the top lower in sodium meal kits available.  In reviewing the nutrition labels of what I got shipped, nothing is alarming, nothing would take me above the recommended daily allowance for sodium intake when eating balanced meals throughout the day.  Just keep in mind, if you need to watch your sodium intake, like anything else, read the labels before purchasing.

 

Help support the continued content for Shopping, Dining, Best Deals, Product & Service Reviews, Tips, Hacks, Recipes and other great information by buying me a coffee. Your support to keep Bachelor on the Cheap a free resource is much appreciated! ~ Mike

Buy Me a Coffee

follow me on twitter @Bacheloronthe1


Upgrade complete: Wendy's on South Rock is open for business!

Wendy'sBy Mike Thayer

The Wendy's located at 160 South Rock Rd, Wichita, KS 67207, is once again open for business.

This was no typical renovation/remodel, this was a total demolition and new construction upgrade.

The old restaurant was torn down late last fall and now with modern new everything, you can satisfy your cravings for Wendy's Old-Fashioned Hamburgers, Chicken Sandwiches, Salads, Frosty® Desserts and more at the 'new' but same address Rock Road location. 

$pend Wisely My Friends...


Scooter’s Coffee Shows Gratitude to Nurses and Healthcare Workers with a Free Drink on May 6

Scooter's coffeeOMAHA, Neb., Scooter’s Coffee will celebrate nurses and healthcare workers and help them fuel their day with a free drink of any size on Friday, May 6, for Nurse and Healthcare Appreciation Day.

“Nurses and healthcare workers have been going above and beyond in their communities—especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began. We notice their efforts to keep us safe and healthy and want to show a small token of our appreciation for their resiliency and compassion,” said Bill Black, Chief Marketing Officer at Scooter’s Coffee.

The commitment and sacrifices from our nation’s healthcare heroes reflect Scooter’s Coffee values of Integrity, Love, Humility and Courage.
To express gratitude, Scooter’s Coffee will treat nurses and healthcare workers to a free drink crafted with love at Scooter’s Coffee participating locations. The offer is valid one per customer with Healthcare ID on May 6 only. The offer is not eligible for order ahead.

Scooter’s Coffee drinks include specialty espresso-based drinks, energizing Quenchers, fruit smoothies, teas and more. Visit scooterscoffee.com/menu to discover a full menu of smooth and delicious offerings.

About Scooter’s Coffee
Founded in 1998 by Don and Linda Eckles in Bellevue, Nebraska, Scooter’s Coffee roasts only the finest coffee beans in the world at its headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. In more than two decades of business, Scooter’s Coffee’s success is simple: stay committed to the original business principles and company’s four core values, which are Integrity, Love, Humility and Courage. The Scooter’s Coffee Brand Promise, often recited to franchisees, customers and employees is: “Amazing People, Amazing Drinks… Amazingly Fast!®” It represents the company’s business origins and reflects a steady commitment to providing an unforgettable experience to loyal and new customers.

Scooter’s Coffee is at the dawn of a strategic growth phase nationwide, approaching 500 stores in 24 states. The U.S. coffee market is an estimated $48 billion a year recession-resistant industry, and Scooter’s Coffee is striving to become the #1 drive-thru coffee franchise in the nation.


Shopping Review: The Dollar Tree on South Rock Road needs some TLC

Dollar Tree
1625 S Rock Rd Suite 115 B, Wichita, KS 67207

By Mike Thayer

In need of some household cleaning supplies such as bleach, all-purpose cleaner, some sponges and the like, I stopped in a Dollar Tree for those items and to save a few bucks.  Regular readers know I'm a Dollar Tree fan and I've done a few Dollar Tree vs. Name brand item comparisons.  Dollar Tree came out on top, without a sacrifice in product quality.

I stopped in the Dollar Tree I usually frequented when I lived in my apartment, the store being just a hop, skip and a jump from where I lived.  I often walked there to pick up a few things.  This particular store has recently changed managers and hopefully for the better, as this location is looking more and more run down on an almost daily basis.  The Dollar Tree on South Rock needs some Tender Loving Care.

Dollar Tree
Empty shelves, dirty carpet as you walk in

When you first pull into the parking lot, it's an adequate appearance, but not spotless clean.  There always seems to be a candy wrapper, empty chip bag or even a fast food meal bag laying along the approach to the store entrance.  In other words, the curb appeal has room for improvement.  Enter those doors and yes, you're greeted by an employee at a nearby register, "Welcome to Dollar Tree," but you're also 'greeted' by very worn out carpeting that's in dire need of some vacuuming.  I understand it would be quite a project to pull up all that carpeting and perhaps refinish the concrete floor underneath or install new carpeting.  But what's on the floor now, with all the fading, worn sections and spill spots, it's an eyesore.  As a result, this store never looks clean.  To note, the more modern Dollar Tree stores have polished concrete floors which are far easier to maintain and don't become eyesores.  Merchandise stocking and empty shelves is an issue as well.  There were a lot of empty shelves in this store on this shopping day and there doesn't seem to be much of an effort to properly face and rotate product. 

Dollar Tree
Empty shelves, product in disarray

Located at 1625 S Rock Rd Suite 115 B, Wichita, KS 67207 (the plaza on the corner of Harry & Rock) this store can be very busy at times.  But it doesn't matter if the store is busy or if there are just a few customers shopping as was the case on this occasion, this store shouldn't always look unkempt.  For every busy time, there is a lull in the action and that's an opportunity to face product, restock and police the aisles and approach to the store.  Compared to the other Dollar Trees in town, this one is kind of a dump.  A better manager could turn things around.  A better manager ensures the store is clean, presentable and shelves properly stocked.  You know it's a mismanagement issue when one Dollar Tree doesn't have something on your list (S Rock Rd.), but you drive to the next nearby Dollar Tree and they've got what you need (East Lincoln).

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Related: Don't pay too much for household cleaning products

Worst Dollar Tree in Wichita?
Messy shelves, dirty floor

 


The Bachelor on the Cheap guide to making wine selection and food pairing easier - Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine FunBy Mike Thayer

This is the second of an ongoing series of wines and food pairings

Wine, it's the perfect beverage for a romantic dinner, a go-to for a casual get-together/party and a holiday meal is complimented by it.  Whether it's a meal for two, a small party for friends or a gathering of family, having the right wine elevates the occasion. 

And while most people follow the basic rule of thumb - red wine for beef and white wine for chicken - selecting the right wine can still be challenging.  What KIND of red for that roast beef?  Or, What KIND of white for that lemon chicken dish?  Does dessert call for a different wine?

The choices are many and can be intimidating, with the reds there's Merlot; Cabernet Sauvignon; Zinfandel; Syrah/Shiraz; Malbec; Pinot Noir; Nebbiolo; Sangiovese; Grenache and all kinds of red blends to choose from.

With the whites there's Chardonnay; Sauvignon Blanc; Moscato; Pinot Grigio; Riesling; Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Torrontes, Albarino and yes, white wine has it's share of blends as well.

So you walk into the liquor store in need of a bottle of wine for a dinner date or special occasion... 

Sure, you can rely on the store attendant to help you with a selection but that can be hit or miss.  A good attendant will ask you if you prefer wines on the sweeter or dryer side and what you might be pairing it with.  But keep in mind the attendant's palate is different than yours, their sweet and dry preferences are different than yours and they might try to push a particular brand on you that's in the store's best interest, not yours.  So why not walk in the store knowing what you need?  That's what this guide is for, to help you with food pairings, what is sweet, what is dry and getting a good wine for under $15 a bottle.  That's the Bachelor on the Cheap wallet friendly thing to do, get something nice, without paying too much for it.

The first wine and food pairing article featured Merlot.  

Today's featured wine:  Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is THE most popular red out there, yes, even more popular than Merlot and why you see Cabernet Sauvignon selections typically outnumber Merlots 2 - 1 at your local liquor store. Classically paired with lamb dishes, Cabernet Sauvignon is also excellent with venison, a hearty meatball and spaghetti with a rich tomato sauce dinner, steaks on the grill, or pub style burgers.  If you're not into the meat thing, you can appreciate a glass of cab with Portabello mushrooms, braised cabbage or roasted root vegetables.  In pairing with cheese, think sharp cheddar, Gruyere or a baked Camembert.  TIP:  The more full-bodied the wine is - and a Cabernet Sauvignon falls into this category - the stronger the cheese you can pair with it. For dessert, stick with bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate options.  The flavor profile of Cabernet Sauvignon are notes of black cherry, blackberry, black currant, perhaps some veggie notes like green bell pepper and there can be hints of spice and vanilla from the aging in oak barrels.  A cab is higher in acid and has more tannins than a Merlot and that's part of the appeal to cabs, they age well.  Serve Cabernet Sauvignon slightly chilled, at 60 - 65 degrees (refrigerate for about 30 minutes before serving). And you've heard the phrase, "Let the wine breathe?"  Decanting serves this wine well (that means pour the wine out of the bottle and into a decanter for those of you who live in Haysville), as decanting helps to soften the strong tannins. 

Noble Vines 337Bachelor on the Cheap Recomendation:  Noble Vines 337 - $10.99.  Here's the description from the Noble Vines website:  This dark, dense, flavorful Cabernet Sauvignon fills the senses with aromas of black cherry, blackberry and peppercorn. Smooth tannins and balanced acidity allow the flavors of black fruit compote, clove and spice, to come through with a lingering finish.

Next Up in the series:  Zinfandel

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Help support the continued content for Shopping & Service reviews, Tips, Hacks and other great information by buying me a coffee. Your support to keep Bachelor on the Cheap a free resource is much appreciated! ~ Mike

Buy Me a Coffee

follow me on twitter @Bacheloronthe1


Cambridge Liquor has a nice selection of wines, whiskeys and more

Bogle MerlotBy Mike Thayer

I've been working on a wine selection and food pairings series of articles for posting on BachelorontheCheap.com.  The information is a guide of sorts to help people who don't know a lot about wine, to make a smart choice in selecting a bottle for that date, special occasion or casual get-together.

In doing a write-up on Merlot, I recommended Bogle Merlot priced at around $9.99. A California wine with notes of plum and dark cherry, Cambridge Liquor is one of the few liquor stores in town that carries it.  Already familiar with the Bogle, this was my first shopping experience at Cambridge.

While there to pick up the Bogle, I had the time and chance to check out not only the wines, but the whiskey section as well.  They stock a nice variety and you can tell they care about carrying quality whiskeys.  They're not just into putting the trendy stuff on the shelf to turn a quick buck.  Same goes for their wines.  Not just any wine will do, they stock GOOD wines. 

Even more impressive, was the attendant.  His knowledge of wines was evident.  He didn't bombard me as I entered the door, I was greeted as I stepped in the store, but he gave me time to peruse.  My shopping experience, to put it in a'hem, alcohol terms, was not unlike uncorking a bottle of wine, then letting it breathe...  LOL, I crack myself up...  So after letting me review things for a bit, he then asked me if he could help me find something.  I asked where the Merlots were and in showing me where they were he proceeded to suggest a few choices when I picked up the Bogle.  He nodded in approval.  In talking about wines on the way to the register, it was apparent this guy takes the time to know the products he rings up. 

Cambridge LiquorPurchasing a bottle of whiskey and the Bogle (Cambridge sells it for $8.79) to add to the liquor cabinet and wine stash, I'm giving Cambridge Liquor 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's not the biggest liquor store, but it's quality stocked, convenient to get to and reasonably priced.  Now I don't have to drive so far to get a bottle of Bogel!

Cambridge Liquor is located at 9747 E 21st St N Suite 143, Wichita, KS 67206 and is most definitely worth a visit!

Shop Online

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...


The Bachelor on the Cheap Guide to making wine selection and food pairing easier - Merlot

Wine FunBy Mike Thayer

This is the first of an ongoing series of wines and food pairings

Wine, it's the perfect beverage for a romantic dinner, a go-to for a casual get-together/party and a holiday meal is complimented by it.  Whether it's a meal for two, a small party for friends or a gathering of family, having the right wine elevates the occasion. 

And while most people follow the basic rule of thumb - red wine for beef and white wine for chicken - selecting the right wine can still be challenging.  What KIND of red for that roast beef?  Or, What KIND of white for that lemon chicken dish?  Does dessert call for a different wine?

The choices are many and can be intimidating, with the reds there's Merlot; Cabernet Sauvignon; Zinfandel; Syrah/Shiraz; Malbec; Pinot Noir; Nebbiolo; Sangiovese; Grenache and all kinds of red blends to choose from.

With the whites there's Chardonnay; Sauvignon Blanc; Moscato; Pinot Grigio; Riesling; Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Torrontes, Albarino and yes, white wine has it's share of blends as well.

So you walk into the liquor store in need of a bottle of wine for a dinner date or special occasion... 

Sure, you can rely on the store attendant to help you with a selection but that can be hit or miss.  A good attendant will ask you if you prefer wines on the sweeter or dryer side and what you might be pairing it with.  But keep in mind the attendant's palate is different than yours, their sweet and dry preferences are different than yours and they might try to push a particular brand on you that's in the store's best interest, not yours.  So why not walk in the store knowing what you need?  That's what this guide is for, to help you with food pairings, what is sweet, what is dry and getting a good wine for under $15 a bottle.  That's the Bachelor on the Cheap wallet friendly thing to do, get something nice, without paying too much for it.

So let's start off with the reds, with today's feature:  Merlot

This is one of the more popular reds and if you're looking for a wine to go with a good steak, Merlot might be for you.  A Merlot is a hearty wine that pairs well with grilled steaks, roast beef, braised lamb and tomato based pastas. If eating lighter fare, a Merlot goes well with bold flavored cheeses, such as a good sharp cheddar, gouda, or a blue cheese such as Gorgonzola.  For dessert lovers, a nice Merlot pairs well with chocolate.  And for those that like a wine on the dryer side, it's a good wine to drink by itself as well. A traditional Merlot is a medium bodied, full flavored red wine the carries fruity notes such as strawberries, raspberries, plum and/or dark cherry.  Serve Merlot slightly chilled at 60 - 65 degrees (refrigerate for about 30 minutes before serving).  If you don't finish the bottle, cork it and refrigerate, it's good for up to 4 days.  Just be sure to pull the bottle and let it come up in temp (a refrigerator chills to about 41 degrees) a bit before serving to appreciate the full flavor profile.  If you haven't finished the bottle by the four day mark, cook with it.

Bogle MerlotBachelor on the Cheap Recomendation:  Bogle Merlot - $9.99.  A California wine with notes of plum and dark cherry.

Next Up in the series:  Cabernet Sauvignon

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Help support the continued content for Shopping & Service reviews, Tips, Hacks and other great information by buying me a coffee. Your support to keep Bachelor on the Cheap a free resource is much appreciated! ~ Mike

Buy Me a Coffee

follow me on twitter @Bacheloronthe1

 

 


Food Review: Member's Mark Orange Chicken

Member's Mark Orange Chicken
Is this worth a repeat buy?

By Mike Thayer

I love Asian flavors, so when shopping at Sam's Club the other day and looking for some easy peasy meals to stock my freezer with I came across some Member's Mark (The Sam's Club brand if you didn't already know) Orange Chicken.

Pot up some rice while the chicken cooks in the oven and viola, meal in 20 minutes!  I appreciate that after a long work day.

As the package reads the Member's Mark Orange Chicken is tempura battered, which is a light batter yet still provides a nice crunch.  The orange sauce is classic, a combination of sweet and sour flavors with the zest of rice vinegar to balance things out.  The sauce is a nice pairing with the battered chicken.

Member's Mark Orange Chicken
Saucing the chicken after pulling from the oven
I prepared the chicken in the oven per the box instructions and cooked up some rice to go with it.  My first bite lived up to expectation.  The tempura batter was seasoned well and crispy, the chicken was tender and juicy.  The sauce delivered on the citrus notes and there was ample coverage, Member's Mark provided a large sauce pack that is quite generous in portion.  Leftovers of the chicken and sauce reheat nicely. 
 
Costing me $10.98 for a three pound package, I'm giving Member's Mark Orange Chicken 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  Reasonably priced, it's convenient, easy to prepare and quite tasty!  With three pounds of chicken, I've got several more meals at the ready stashed in my freezer and as easy and tasty as this is, it's definitely worthy of a repeat buy.  This orange chicken will make you question the need to order take out.
 
5 stars
 
$pend Wisely My Friends...
Member's Mark Orange Chicken
It's another dose of YUM!

Beer Review: Smithwick's Red Ale

Smithwick's Red Ale
An easy to drink medium bodied beer

By Mike Thayer

I don't drink beer often, but there are those times when a good cold beer is the only thing that will quench the thirst and given my fetish for Buffalo chicken lately, nothing but a beer will do.

Enter Smithwick's Red Ale

I'm a Killian's Red fan and in the mood for a red beer on this day, I stopped at a liquor store while running errands to pick up a six pack.  Much to my chagrin, this particular store doesn't sell Killian's Red.  I needed a Plan B and seeing Smithwick's as the only red alternative available, to the register with a six pack of this I went.

Smithwick's is a fine substitute!  With a nice ruby red color in the pour and a creamy head, the aroma is light in the nose with a soft yet very refreshing feel in the mouth.  It's a subtle beer that finishes strong.  I picked up notes of caramel, a very clean taste, nicely balanced with a bit of bitterness from the hops and sweet from the malt. 

Smithwick's Red Ale
This is a nice red!

Costing me $8.99 for a six pack, I'm giving Smithwick's Red Ale 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  Smooth and refreshing, this beer is excellent paired with just about any kind of bar food and is reasonably priced.  It's most definitely a repeat buy.  If you can't find Killian's Red, Smithwick's is without hesitation a great substitute!

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...


Food Review: Yummy Boneless Wyngz

By Mike Thayer

Yummy Boneless Wings
Who doesn't love a good wing, right? But are these any good?

So I was cruising the aisles of Sam's Club yesterday looking for an easy peasy something I can just pop in the oven for a quick meal.

Perusing the frozen ready meal section, some boneless Buffalo wings caught my eye.  I've really been craving Buffalo chicken lately - recently reviewing Arby's Crispy Buffalo Chicken Sandwich - and hopefully these wings will help to satisfy that craving so in the cart went a box of Yummy brand boneless "Wyngz." 

Here's the description from the packaging:  Breaded chicken breast patties with rib meat glazed with Buffalo-style sauce.

I know, these aren't true wings, it's processed chicken shaped in the form of wings which also means no bones, so the wing purists out there might turn their noses up at this.  But for me the boneless aspect is appealing.  It's flat out an easier and cleaner eat.

The packaging also includes heating instructions for virtually all cooking devices, the traditional conventional oven; microwave; convection oven; toaster oven and  THE trendy device, the air fryer.

Yummy brand boneless wyngz
Processed chicken shaped into drums and flats

I prepared eight 'Wyngz' per the conventional oven method, hitting the wings with a bit of cooking spray before placing in the oven.  TIP:  If you're using the oven to heat up an item that is typically fried, the addition of cooking spray helps to crisp things up a bit, giving you a nicer texture without the heaviness and calories from frying.  You can also add flavor to whatever you're heating up using flavored sprays, there's all kinds of them out there to choose from.  There are different oils such as olive, sunflower, avocado and even coconut (hello shrimp!) giving you a different flavor profile.  And then there's straight up flavors infused with flavor neutral oils such as lemon, garlic, chili, truffle and the good 'ol standby, butter flavored.

I went with a neutral spray oil (canola) on this occasion because I wanted to evaluate the base flavor of these wings.  I will say the aromas filling my kitchen and dining room were enticing during the 16 minute cooking time, tempting me to pull the wings early to take a bite, but I refrained in the name of a'hem, cough, "Food Science."

Chicken Wings
Yummy Boneless Wyngz doctored up with my signature sauce and some Parmesan cheese

Serving the wings up in a basket with a side of Ranch dressing, I took that first bite without the Ranch.  I got the light crisp from the breading and the chicken was tender and juicy.  But it is processed chicken after all, so it's virtually impossible for such a thing to NOT be tender.  The key to the wing - the Buffalo flavor - was good.  Keeping in mind that I ate these dry and not sauced, I was pleased by the cayenne pepper and vinegar notes, providing a decent Buffalo base flavor. But missing, were the butter and Worcestershire sauce elements of a really good Buffalo sauce.  A recipe from yours truly, Mr. Bachelor on the Cheap, is posted below.  These wings could benefit from being sauced.  Dipped in the Ranch however, these wings still provided for a nice chicken wing experience as prepared.

Costing me $10.98 for a three pound bag of wings - that's A LOT of wings! - I'm giving Yummy Boneless Wyngz 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  Reasonably priced, these wings are Bachelor on the Cheap wallet friendly and provide for a decent impromptu meal or snack.  Good but not great, these wings need a bit of "Doctoring" with sauce to get them to a "Wow, these are NICE!" factor.  They are worthy of a repeat buy because doctoring them up with sauce does indeed make them special.  I'll have these on hand in my freezer for that impromptu meal, sporting event on the TV, a munchie to share with the guys.

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Mike's Buffalo Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Couple shakes of Parmesan cheese (garnish)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium heat.  Stir until the liquid begins to bubble, remove from heat and set aside to toss with the wings.

After the wings are done in the oven, immediately toss in the Buffalo sauce (use as little or as much as you like) in a large bowl, plate, then hit with the optional Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!  I doctored up a second serving of the Yummy Boneless Wyngz with the above signature sauce, added that dusting of Parmesan cheese - It was another dose of YUM!