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May 2022

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

Wine FunBy Mike Thayer

This is the eighth 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.

For previous reviews, click on the link below:

Today's featured wine:  Sangiovese

Sangiovese is a dry, acidic wine that is known as a "chameleon" grape, to mean that different wines using this grape can be notably different. The vast majority of Sangiovese is produced in the central region of Tuscany, Italy.   Look for tasting notes of cherry and herbal, earthy tones.  Because it's so acidic, stick to savory foods, this is a good dinner wine.  Pairing well with just about anything tomato based, Sangiovese also matches up nicely with spicy dishes.  Consider pairing it with meat dishes featuring a savory cherry sauce to take advantage of the cherry notes in the wine - think grilled pork loin.  Load up your charcuterie board with salami, prosciutto, calabrese and pecorino cheese.  When it comes to non-meat dishes, serve this wine alongside hearty bean soups or gnocchi in a brown butter and herb sauce.  Pass on this wine when it comes to sweets however, NOT a good match.  Serve it slightly chilled, at 60 - 65 degrees, refrigerate about 30 minutes before serving. 

Caparzo SangioveseBachelor on the Cheap Recomendation: Caparzo Sangiovese - $9.99.   This wine is from Italy, Tuscany region, Toscano sub-region.  Best with red meat, pasta with meat sauces, bean and barley soups.  Winemaker notes:  Intense ruby color. Fruity, spicy aromas. The palate is full, fruity, persistent.

Next Up in the series:  Grenache

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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

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Product Review: Cuisinart Elite Collection 2.0 Food Processor

Cuisinart Elite Collection 2.0 Food Processor
This machine can handle all food processor jobs

By Mike Thayer

Best food processor ever!

It's got power, it can process anything, it's got accessories galore.

Courtesy of Cindy C., the hardest working woman I've ever met in my life and my best friend, I've got an it can do anything food processor.  I think Cindy is on a mission to ensure a bachelor's kitchen is a well equipped kitchen.  She and I go way back, I've known her since 1990 when I worked part-time at a grocery store deli and she was the assistant manager.  I can tell her anything and she wisely takes it all in, offers sound advise and slaps me upside the head a few times as necessary when I get stupid.  But to get back on topic, she has tutored me in the world of baking and cooking in general, we've learned from each other when grilling/smoking be it on a Weber Kettle or a Traeger Smoker and she knows her stuff when it comes to having the best kitchen equipment available to do the job right.

The Cuisinart Elite Collection 2.0 Food Processor

Here's the description from the Cuisinart website:  The Cuisinart Elite Collection® 14 Cup Food Processor boasts a 1300 watt peak power motor to power through your favorite recipes with ease. With innovative design solutions including a 4½ cup work bowl nested inside the 14 cup bowl, adjustable slicing disc, and a reversible shredding disc, Cuisinart gives you multiple food processors in one! The SealTight™ Advantage System including BladeLock maximizes the capacity of your work bowl by containing ingredients in the sealed bowl - and the blade locks in place sealing the bowl from the bottom and won't fall out when removing your prepped ingredients whether mixing, processing, or pouring. Plus clean up is a breeze as the removable parts are all dishwasher safe.

Cuisinart Elite Collection 2.0 Food Processor
Additional bowl, spatula, blade options

I've burned through a few food processors in my day, with trying to make dough usually being the culprit in killing a processor prematurely.  You just can't do dough in an ordinary processor, you have to have something heavy duty like the Cuisinart Elite Collection 2.0 Food Processor.  There is a three year warranty on the motor, not typical in the food processor world and with 1300 watts of peak power, this unit will knead dough, chop nuts and mince meat.

This machine will slice, dice and mince any vegetable you desire in short order.  You can make a tasty pizza dough in minutes without having to worry about burning out the motor.  With an assortment of blades to match up with the food processing task, this machine makes all food prep easy and all detachable parts are dishwasher safe!  Coming with two work bowls, this machine chops, purees, kneads, slices, shreds and whips.

Retailing for about $350, I'm giving the Cuisinart Elite Collection 2.0 Food Processor 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It may seem pricey, but you won't have to buy another food processor ever again.  It will do everything you ask it to do and then some.

5 stars

 

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Cuisinart Food Processor
Cuisinart has you covered in having the right blade for the job

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

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Product Review: Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker

Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker
A very bachelor friendly appliance

By Mike Thayer

Out of all the countertop kitchen appliances out there, the last thing I thought I would ever own was a pressure cooker. 

I didn't see the need.  "I'll never use it enough to justify having one," I said.  "They can be dangerous to use," I claimed (a myth for modern day pressure cookers by the way).  But I was wrong to dismiss the pressure cooker, dismissing it because I didn't take the time to know what a pressure cooker can really do.

Courtesy of Cindy C, I now have a Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker.  This woman is doing a stellar job of making sure I have a properly equipped kitchen!

A pressure cooker reduces cooking time by at least 1/3 to 1/2 of traditional cooking times and you will use less liquid too.  Using a pressure cooker also means more nutrients are preserved during cooking time because they can't evaporate away, something I hadn't considered.  And talk about "set it and forget it, walk away one pot meals..."  This is a Bachelor's dream in creating an easy peasy, delicious meal.  More flavor?  More nutrients?  What's not to like?

Here's the promo piece from the Cuisinart website:  It’s easy to make entire meals or side dishes fast with the 6-Quart Pressure Cooker! Just toss ingredients into the pot, close the lid, and let the pressure cooker do the work. Brown, simmer or sauté food right in the pot before cooking, and keep it warm when done! Food retains more vitamins and minerals than with traditional cooking methods, it stays moist and flavors stay true. 

The first meal I made in my pressure cooker was a chicken dish with onions and peppers.  It was delicious, the chicken was juicy and the veggies were tender crisp and it was done in half the time it would have taken me to do in a traditional stove top preparation.  I was able to brown the chicken in the cooker before adding the veggies and putting the pressure lid on.

Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker
This thing can do a decent sized brisket!

The cooker is quite versatile too, the recipes provided by Cuisinart range from appetizers and salads to soups, side dishes, entrees and desserts...  Can  you say, "Lemon Cheesecake done in a pressure cooker?"  Yes, yes you can.  Are you a fan of hummus?  This machine can make it in about 40 minutes.  You can't do that in a traditional stove top method.

Retailing for about $120, the Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker is available at Walmart, Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, Amazon and other retailers.  This cooker is versatile, reduces cooking time, food is healthier prepared this way and the one-pot meal ability is a HUGE bonus.  I'm giving the cooker 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  Thank you Cindy C!  This appliance deserves some space on your countertop.

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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

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Product Review: Cuisinart Rice and Grain Multicooker

Cuisinart Rice and Grain Multicooker
This countertop appliance ROCKS!

By Mike Thayer

In my childhood years and one of four kids (3 sisters and "No, I don't want to play Barbie dolls with you and NO, the Ken doll will NOT work as a GI Joe!") we didn't eat a whole lot of rice in the Thayer household.  When we did, it was usually the Minute Rice stuff with Chunky beef soup poured over the top for a quick meal. 

In my early adult years and marriage #1, I still didn't eat much rice, it wasn't really a staple in the Mike Thayer household and if rice was consumed, it was usually at a Chinese restaurant.

But as I got into cooking, my appreciation for rice grew and we're talking real rice, not the Minute Rice stuff.  It was old school white rice, the 2-1 water/rice ratio in a pan with a little butter, salt and pepper on the stove for 20 minutes.  Mastering that, my appreciation for rice grew tenfold through marriage #2 and three boys, with rice becoming a big time staple in the pantry, as in 20 pound bags staple.  White rice, brown rice, Basmati rice, Arborio rice, Jasmine rice and graduating from cooking simply with water, butter, salt and pepper to using beef, chicken or vegetable stock, aromatics, and/or a variety of spices.  But the cooking for the most part was still old school, sautee for a bit in butter or olive oil and the 2-1 liquid/rice ratio in a pan on the stove top.  I do like to cook rice on the grill using a cast iron skillet with a glass lid and that cast iron does a nice job giving the rice a nice crispy edge to it.

Kicking rice up another level with the Cuisinart Rice and Grain Multicooker

Kudos to Cindy C in getting me a rice cooker (she's so good to me!).  I've never had one before and wow does it make a HUGE difference in what goes on the plate or in a bowl!  Hindsight being 20/20, I wish I would have invested in a rice cooker long ago.  Rice comes out perfect every time and the one pot meal capability - AWESOME.  You can "set it and forget it" until the timer goes off, dinner is ready!

Cuisinart Rice and Grain Multicooker
Steam basket, measuring cup, rice paddle

Here's the promo piece on the Cuisinart website:  Cuisinart® gives home chefs so many ways to cook – and so many different foods to cook – in one pot! The Cuisinart® Rice and Grains Multicooker redefines versatility. With 18 pre-programmed settings, perfect results are guaranteed whatever is in the pot, and Cuisinart® includes lots of recipes that demonstrate the full range of functions. This multicooker even has a preset for Pre-wash, making cleanup exceptionally quick and easy. With its family-sized, removable pot and easy-to-navigate Selector knob and LCD screen, this is sure to become every cook’s favorite countertop cooking appliance.

This thing is indeed a multicooker!  It sautees, steams, keeps items warm.  You can do rice, oatmeal, beans, all kinds of grains, risotto, pasta, it's great for one pot meals or just a bunch of rice for a side and yes, I can even get that nice crispy edge if desired like I do from the cast iron.  This appliance is seeing regular use.  I don't store 20 pound bags of rice anymore just being a household of one, but I do have a variety of rices and grains to choose from in the one to two pound bag range.  I've steamed eggs for a perfect 'boil' in making egg salad and I'm looking forward to doing a sausage and shrimp Jambalaya.

The Cuisinart Rice and Grain Multicooker is available for about $140 and you can find it at Walmart, Kohl's and other retailers.  With it's versatility, consistency and ease of use - punching up a one pot meal on this appliance is easy peasy - I'm giving it 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's also easy to clean, even after doing a pot of baked beans with bacon.  It's worthy of a place on your countertop.

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Cuisinart Rice and Grain Multicooker
Large capacity bowl

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

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Product Review: Kingsford Onion, Garlic & Paprika Flavored Charcoal

Kingsford Garlic Onion Paprika flavored charcoal
How much garlic, onion & paprika flavor will this deliver?

By Mike Thayer

Make no mistake, I am a charcoal enthusiast.  In my humble opinion, for a grilled meal, you can't beat charcoal and a Weber Kettle. 

I do like to throw some added flavor through wood in combination with the charcoal, chunks of pecan wood to do up some brats, chunks of a fruit wood for pork or chunks of oak for beef.  It all depends on what you're grilling or smoking.  The key is creating layers of flavor.

I recently did a review of Kingsford's Cumin Chili Flavored Charcoal and I really like it. I have to admit that I was initially skeptical of 'spice flavored smoke,' thinking, "How much spice flavor will that actually crank out?" and "Isn't that what spices, rubs and marinades are for?  Talk about lazy grilling...." 

I lost all skepticism I had for 'spice flavored smoke' when I dumped the chimney of that Cumin Chili charcoal.  You can smell all those spice notes, it's like I was already grilling something and I hadn't even put any food on the grill yet!  The aroma of the cumin and chili was enticing and it did indeed help create depth of flavor in the chicken I fired up that day.

So today, I'm reviewing Kingsford Onion, Garlic & Paprika Flavored Charcoal.

Here is the description pulled from the Kingsford website:

Garlic Onion Paprika:  "Savory, caramelized flavor featuring an earthy base of garlic paired with the mildly sweet notes of onion and warmth of paprika."  The flavored briquettes are hickory based.

Bacon cheddar brats, bacon wrapped hot dogs, bacon wrapped Kielbasa
It's a celebration of bacon!

In testing how much flavor this charcoal delivers, I did a "Celebration of Bacon," grilling up bacon cheddar brats, bacon wrapped hot dogs and bacon wrapped Kielbasa.  You can't beat a brat done right on the grill and everything is better with bacon!  I used to do beer brats, then I experimented with wine and doing brats in those ways are tasty, but my favorite way to do brats is to just let them pick up the smoke flavor over indirect heat and my go-to wood for brats is pecan.

How did the Garlic Onion & Paprika charcoal do?

I continue to be a fan of the Kingsford line of 'spice flavored smoke.'  All of the meats I prepared on the Weber were delicious, complimented with those notes of garlic, onion and paprika.  And complimented is a key word, it's not overpowering smoke, it lets the deliciousness of the meat shine!  The brats had that nice crisp, snap of a bite when puncturing the skin, the sausage inside was juicy and there was that nice smoky spice flavor throughout.   The dawgs, Kielbasa and bacon was all good too, but those brats were the best.

Kingsford Flavored Charcoal
In the bag, traditional Kingsford briquettes and 'Signature Flavor' briquettes

Costing me $13.99 for an 12 pound bag, I'm giving Kingsford Onion, Garlic & Paprika Flavored Charcoal 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's reasonably priced and most definitely delivers another layer of flavor on whatever you're grilling!  This charcoal is certainly a repeat buy and I can't wait to try the Basil, Sage & Thyme flavor!  Marinade and/or dry rub (on this day it was bacon & black pepper)+ Kingsford Flavored Charcoal = Another Dose of YUM!

5 stars

 

I take great pleasure in grilling good eats!

~ Mike Thayer

Related:  Product Review: Kingsford Cumin Chili Flavored Charcoal - Grillinggoodeats.com

A bacon cheddar brat
The brats really picked up the flavored smoke
brat
A juicy brat, with a nice smoky bite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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Why should businesses use Bachelor on the Cheap?

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.

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


Your best bet for breakfast - scrambled eggs

By Mike Thayer

Eggs are full of protein, protein that will satisfy your appetite and keep you feeling full until lunch time.

The best way to cook those eggs is scrambled.  Why?  Because you can add just about anything you want to them and making scrambled eggs is easier and faster than making an omelette. 

Eggs are Carb-Check Diet friendly and your best breakfast bet to starting off the day deliciously right!



Good morning protein!

By Mike Thayer

Carb-Check Diet_smallBreakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  I'm a believer in the saying that it's the most important meal of the day, as your body needs some fuel after an 8-hour session of sleep.

Here's a great way to kickstart your morning.

  • 1/4 pound of pork sausage
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 egg, slightly scrambled
  • Two slices of American cheese

You can either brown up the sausage in patty form in one pan while you cook up the onion and eggs in another, top each with cheese.....  Or you can crumble up the sausage and combine it with the onion and eggs for a one skillet breakfast, topped with cheese.  It's up to you!  If you go with the crumble, there's no need for the olive oil, the fat from the sausage will do.

This breakfast delivers about 28 grams of protein and less than 5 grams in carbs, most of those carbs coming from the onion.  That's good body fuel and those onion carbs are better for you than toast!

This is an inexpensive breakfast to prepare too, costing about $1 per serving.

$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

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Mushrooms, fantastic on the grill, good for the diet

By Mike Thayer

MushroomsI love mushrooms, all edible varieties, White Button, Chanterelle, Crimini, Shiitake, Portabello, Oyster and my favorite....  The coveted Morel.

Mushrooms are an excellent add to the Carb-Check Diet because they are so versatile and the carb count is almost negligible.  One cup of mushrooms (pieces/sliced) has anywhere from 2-5 grams of protein and just 2-5 grams in carbs, depending on the variety. 

You can grill them, saute them, stir-fry them, bake them, deep-fry them or eat them raw.  Include them in any number of dishes, soups, salads, casseroles, create some great appetizers or make them the main dish.

The flavors range from bland, to nutty, to beefy.  White Button mushrooms for example are considered somewhat bland in flavor, but that's actually a good thing, because they can take on just about any flavor you decide to add to them.  They're great in salads for that very reason, they provide a nice texture contrast to lettuce and really absorb and enhance the flavors in the salad dressing.   Paired with a steak, button mushrooms embrace the steak's juices and steak sauce.  And speaking of steak, Shiitake and Portabello mushrooms deliver an almost beefy flavor and can be main dishes.

Bonus: Mushrooms are reasonably priced too!  You can get an 8 ounce package of white button or "baby bella" mushrooms for less than $3 and you can get two meals out of that.

Here's a go-to recipe for me, especially during grilling season:

Marinated Portobello Mushrooms

Portobello Mushrooms (yes, the big ones) are indeed the 'steak' of veggies, one of the few veggies that can be made into a meal of its own and one of the few veggies that can handle being in a marinade for hours to take on added flavor without turning to mush.

Ingredients:

  • 4 mushroom caps, cleaned, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon steak sauce
  • 1/2 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried, minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

 Directions:

Carb-Check Diet_smallPlace the mushrooms in a large Ziplock bag, set aside.  Mix the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl, pour over the mushrooms and marinade in the fridge for at least two hours.  When the coals are hot, place mushrooms over direct heat, gill side down, reserve the marinade for basting.  Grill for about 10 minutes, turning every two minutes and basting.  Despite the marinade, mushrooms can dry out, hence, the basting.  Serve immediately.  These are excellent served as a side, sliced up and enjoyed.  They're also fantastic served on a bun with lettuce and tomato like a burger. 

$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

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