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September 2022

Pork Ramen with leftover pork chop and sour cream

Pork Ramen w/sour cream
This is comfort food Ramen style!

By Mike Thayer

Yes, Ramen is a budget meal, but it certainly doesn't have to taste like one.

Today's Ramen hack is all about tender chunks of pork to enjoy with those noodles.  The beauty of this recipe is that you don't need the seasoning packet, which has A LOT of sodium.  I don't use those packets in the preparation of Ramen anymore, preferring instead to use low sodium beef, chicken or vegetable stocks, or to do what I've done here with this recipe.  All the flavor you need comes from the leftover pork and sour cream.  I prefer baked pork chops for this, which were simply seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, Parmesan cheese and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 4-6 ounces of leftover pork chops, sliced or cubed, it really doesn't matter as long as the pieces are all about the same size.
  • 1 package of Ramen noodles (the flavor doesn't really matter, but do NOT use the flavor packet, save it for another purpose, another day)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons of sour cream
  • 4 ounces of mushrooms (optional)

Directions

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, warm up the olive oil.  Throw the pork into the hot pan to warm it up a bit and allow the spices on the pork to marry up with the olive oil.  Let the pork warm through for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Smash up the Ramen noodles (optional), I like to smash mine up because although eating them at regular chop sticks is fun, I like to dig into this particular Ramen with a spoon.  Toss in the noodles, then add 2 cups of water.  Stir to incorporate.  Dump in the sour cream, stir to incorporate, cook for 3 minutes.  When that timer goes off, give things another quick stir, turn off the heat and let the noodles and pork sit for another 3 minutes.  This allows the noodles to fully absorb the seasoning and Parmesan cheese from the meat and that sour cream, which turns into a sauce.  Garnish with chopped green onion and you've got yourself a nice bowl of Ramen comfort food!

Alternate uses for the seasoning packet...  These things just pack too much sodium.  One packet contains 1520mg of sodium, that's 66% of the daily recommended intake in one meal...  No thanks.  I save these for another day and typically use them in soups, to supplement whatever flavor I'm cooking up in a big batch.  I'll use a beef packet in a big batch of chili or beef barley soup.  I'll use a chicken packet to supplement a batch of chicken noodle soup.  Basically, any recipe that calls for beef, chicken or fish stock, whatever, replace that with a seasoning packet and water.  The key though is going big, a batch of something.  Chili that serves eight people for example, spreads that 1520mg of sodium down to 190mg per serving,  well within the recommended daily intake and you're not sacrificing on flavor with this repurpose.  Making gravy is another good repurpose, but remember, multiple servings is key.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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Taco Bell - Andover, Derby, Park City, Wichita

Taco BellAt Taco Bell, we’ve had innovation on our mind since Glen Bell started serving tacos at the first location in 1962 in Downey, California. Since then, we’ve grown to be a culture-centric, lifestyle brand that provides craveable, affordable Mexican-inspired food with bold flavors. Not only do we provide breakthrough value, we offer quality ingredients and are the first QSR restaurant to offer American Vegetarian Association (AVA)-certified menu items.

Taco Bell and our more than 350 franchise organizations operate over 7,000 restaurants that serve more than 40 million customers each week in the U.S. Internationally, the brand is growing with nearly 500 restaurants across almost 30 countries across the globe.

Menu

Wichita Metro Locations

via www.tacobell.com


Fuzzy's Taco Shop - Wichita

Fuzzy's Taco ShopThe Fuzzy’s Taco Shop team has been kicking it since all the way back in 2003 when we first set up (Taco) Shop on Berry Street in Fort Worth, TX. Sure, cargo shorts were in style, but we balanced bad fashion decisions by dishing out even more badass Baja Tacos. Fast forward to today and the Fuzzy’s Taco Shop team is rocking nearly 150 restaurants across the country and almost everyone’s pocket-to-pant ratio is respectable again. You’re welcome.

We’re proud to be a place where people bring their dogs, party on our patios and feel the good vibes every time they walk into a Fuzzy’s. And with locations popping up nationwide, our Baja tacos, famous Chips & Queso, and margaritas and beeritas are always within reach—which is reason enough to celebrate with a few, as far as we’re concerned.

Menu

Wichita Metro Locations

via www.fuzzystacoshop.com


Mexican Cuisine in the Wichita Metro - Mexican Restaurants Near Me

MargaritaBy Mike Thayer

It's Margaritaville in the Wichita Metro!  Who doesn't love chips and salsa? Whether you're looking to sip on a Margarita after work or crave a taco or two for lunch, the restaurant choices in the ICT are more than satisfying! 

Find a Mexican restaurant near you in the BOTC Mexican Restaurant Dining Guide

Abuelo's Mexican Food Restaurant - Wichita

4 starsAlejandros Mexican Food - Wichita

5 starsAlondra's Tacos - Wichita

Anahuac Tortilleria Restaurant - Wichita

Andaluz Mexican Bar & Grill - Wichita

5 starsAngela's Cafe III LLC - Wichita

Antojitos Guanamex - Wichita

Azul 21 Mexican Restaurant - Wichita

Birrieria Raymundo - Wichita

Birrieria Tito - Wichita

Cactus Cantina Grill - Wichita

Candiles Mexican Restaurant - Augusta

Carnitas San Juan - Wichita

Chico's Mexican Restaurant - Wichita

Chipotle Mexican Grill - Derby, Wichita

Chuyitos Birrieria - Wichita

Connie's Mexico Cafe - Wichita

District Taqueria - Wichita

Doma - Wichita

El Agave - Wichita

El Chapulin Mexican Restaurant - Wichita

El Jalisco Restaurant - Wichita

El Maguey Mexican Restaurant - Derby

El México Cafe - Wichita

El Papa Pollo Restaurant - Wichita

El Patio Restaurant - Wichita

El Pollo Dorado - Wichita

El Rancho - Wichita

El Ricardo’s Méxican Food - Wichita

El Viejito Mexican Restaurant - Wichita

Excaret Mexico Bar & Grill Restaurant - Haysville

Felipe's Mexican Restaurant - Wichita

Fuzzy's Taco Shop - Wichita 5 stars

Gerardo's Restaurant - Wichita

Gorditas Express - Wichita

Gordita's Norma - Wichita

Goyo's Mexican Fast Food - Park City

4 starsJose Peppers Border Grill - Wichita

La Chinita Mexican Restaurant - Wichita

La Hacienda Tacos & Tequila - Derby, Wichita

La Noria Mariscos - Wichita

Lalo's Express - Wichita

Los Cabos Cantina & Grill - Wichita

5 starsLas Catrinas Mexican Restaurant - Wichita 

Las Rosas' Wichita Mexican Grill - Wichita

Latin Mexican Restaurant - Wichita

Lina's Mexican Restaurant - Wichita

Los Cabos Cantina & Grill - Wichita

Los Cocos Mexican Restaurant - Andover, Derby, Wichita

Los Compadres Mexican Grill - Wichita

Los Cunados Mexican Restaurant - Bel Aire

Los Pinos Mexican Restaurant - Wichita

Mami Tere's Mexican Kitchen - Wichita

Margaritas Cantina - Wichita

Mariscos Cheli - Wichita

Mariscos El Tucanazo Restaurant - Wichita

Menudos Norteños - Wichita

Mexi-Kan Kitchen - Derby

Mexico Cafe Delano - Wichita

Mexico Viejo Bar & Grill - Wichita

Mi Lindo Michoacan - Wichita

On The Border - Wichita

Palacana - Wichita

Playa Azul Mexican Restaurant - Augusta, Wichita

Poblano's Mexican Grill - Wichita

Pollo Express - Wichita

Puerto Vallarta Mexican Restaurant - Wichita

Qdoba Mexican Eats - Wichita

Rico's Tacos El Torito - Wichita

Rio Grill & Cantina - Andover

4 starsRoad Runner Mexican Fast Food - Maize, Wichita

Ruben's Mexican Grill - Wichita

Sabor Latin Bar & Grille - Wichita

Sazon Mexican Restaurant - Wichita

Taco Bell - Andover, Derby, Park City, Wichita

Taco Fajita Restaurant - Wichita

3 starsTaco John's - Wichita

Taco Rio - Wichita

Taco Shop - Wichita

Taco Tico - Augusta, Derby, Wichita

Tacos Alex, Mr. Taco - Wichita

Tacos Lopez - Wichita

Tacos Mexican Fast Food #2 - Wichita

Tacos Perez - Wichita

5 starsTacos tj 664 - Wichita

Tacos y Gorditas Torres - Wichita

5 starsTacos Y Mas - Wichita

Taqueria Altena - Wichita

Taqueria El Fogon - Wichita

Taqueria El Vago - Wichita

Taqueria La Chona - Wichita

Tequilas Mexican Restaurant - Valley Center

The 3 Amigos - Wichita

Tlaxcaltena Mexican Restaurant - Wichita

Tortilleria Rodriguez - Wichita

Villar's Mexico Cafe - Wichita

 

$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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Snack Review: Simply Nature Sweet Potato Chips with Sea Salt

Simply Nature Sweet Potato Chips with Sea Salt
These things are tasty! Great with a dip.

By Mike Thayer

Sweet Potato Chips, something I would not have considered eating a couple years ago, stuck in my "preferred" routine of classic potato chips with the only variations being sour cream & onion flavored, cheddar cheese or changing things up in texture, with wavy chips.

And although sweet potato chips don't have any gluten because it's not a wheat product, I am trying to go gluten free with my diet, so I need as many options as possible when it comes to snacking.  These sweet potato chips fit the bill in the name of variety.

This is a healthier chip snack too.  There's no artificial flavors, no synthetic colors, no preservatives, they're low sodium and again, 'gluten free' but that's just some marketing put on the package, of course sweet potato chips are gluten free, it's potato, not wheat!

They taste great on their own, they're even better with a dip.  I enjoyed some with a french onion dip, as well as a chili and lime aioli.

Costing me $2.99 at Aldi for a 7 ounce bag, compare this to a similar size bag of sweet potato chips at the mainstream grocery store starting at $3.49 and up.  The Simply Nature brand is quite tasty and worthy of a repeat buy.  I'm giving the Simply Nature Sweet Potato Chips with Sea Salt 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.

4 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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Criteria for judging The Best in the Wichita Metro Taco Challenge 2022

Best in the Wichita Metro Taco Challenge 2022By Mike Thayer

I'm making a restaurant list and checking it twice, 'gonna find out who's nice and not-as-nice...  See what I did there, a little play on a Christmas song, because given how many good taco eats there are in the Wichita Metro, it's probably going to take me until Christmas, perhaps longer, to get through the list!  And no, I don't anticipate any restaurant being 'naughty.'

In making that list and reviewing menus, this is not only going to be a lengthy Challenge, but a complex one.  The definition of taco is broad and the authenticity is regionally connected, so the judging of tacos will be intense.  Here's the definition of taco per Definition.com:

taco (tah-kho)  Mexican Cooking. a tortilla filled with various ingredients, as beans, rice, chopped meat, cheese, and tomatoes, and folded over in half or rolled into a loose cylinder shape.

Authentic tacos are soft tacos.  The hard corn shell varieties most Americans grew up on, i.e., Old El Paso, Taco Bell, Ortega, that's an American thing.  No hard shell varieties of tacos will be included in this Challenge. 

Corn vs. Flour Tortillas

They're both authentic, for the most part it's soft flour tortillas in northern Mexico and soft corn tortillas in the south.  Both are authentic so both will be judged.

Carne Asada, Al Pastor, Carnitas, Pescado, Pollo

Beef, Pork, Fish, Chicken... This is where the complexity of tacos gets folded...  See what I did there with the folded?...  You fold the tortilla...  Moving along, there's a great deal of variety in meats and a variety in the preparation methods.  The thought had occurred to me of judging only beef tacos, but that wouldn't be doing all tacos justice.  The definition of taco is broad, so I have to take a broad sampling to find the best in the Wichita Metro.  What a problem to have right?  Judging all these great taco varieties?

Being evaluated on a point system scorecard will be a plethora of categories that includes but is not limited to the appearance, meat, seasoning, tortilla, filling to tortilla ratio, how the taco is dressed (that means the assortment of veggies, sauce/salsa, etc., for those of you who live in Valley Center), price and of course, the TASTE  Compiling all that data as I go from restaurant to restaurant, I'll post all the numbers for each taco joint sampled in a final report for an overall Taco Joint winner to include a breakdown of best taco types, i.e., "Best Carne Asada", "Best Carnitas" etc.  In the event of a tie, the tiebreaker will be the cost. 

I'll be kicking off the Best in the Wichita Metro Taco Challenge 2022 on National Taco Day, October 4, a Taco Tuesday!   What a GREAT day to kick off this Challenge!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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

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Food Review: Emporium Selection Cheese Fries

Emporium Selection Cheese Fries
Fried Cheese is Another Dose of YUM!

By Mike Thayer

I'm a sucker for fried cheese.  So when I saw "Cheese Fries" when shopping at Aldi recently, I just HAD to grab a bag to try.  Can you say, "Impulse buy?"  Yes, yes you can...

Described on the package as a "Halloumi -Style Cheese Stick" they're gluten free and keto friendly.  If you're not familiar with Halloumi cheese, it's perfect for frying or grilling because it has a really high melting point.  This isn't an ooey-gooey, melty, stringy kind of cheese, it's going to turn a light golden brown when fried and get char marks when grilled.  The flavor is kind of a cross between Mozzarella and a mild Feta, delivering salty, slightly tangy notes.

If you've ever been to a Greek or Mediterranean style restaurant and saw or sampled the flaming cheese, it was Halloumi.  I love the stuff and back in the day when the second wife and I owned and operated a small ethic grocery store specializing in Mediterranean foods, I was bringing Halloumi cheese home all the time to fry or grill up.

Emporium Selection Cheese Fries
Golden, brown & delicious!

I prepared the cheese fries in a large skillet, pan frying over medium high heat with just enough oil to cover the fries.  Once they turned golden brown, about 10 minutes, I transferred them to a paper towels to drain.  The package directions claim the cheese fries only need 3-5 minutes of cooking time, but to get that desired golden brown color, they need fry longer.   In taking that first bite, they delivered on the Halloumi-style flavor, an ever so slight crisp to the exterior, with a firm, cheesy inside with those nice salty, tangy notes.

Costing me $3.49 at Aldi, I'm giving the Emporium Selection Cheese Fries 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's not an authentic Halloumi cheese hailing from the Mediterranean, it doesn't quite measure up to the real deal, but it's still quite good.  The cheese fries fried up nicely, satisfied my fried cheese craving and is worthy of a repeat buy.  Very reasonably priced, I look forward to trying them on the grill next.  Another option to try is battering them before frying to provide more of a crunch.

4 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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Snack Review: Simply Nature White Cheddar Puffs

Simply Nature White Cheddar Puffs
Every bit as good as a regular cheese puff

By Mike Thayer

My body appreciates gluten free products.

I feel better when I don't have so many wheat products in my diet, the breads, pastas, crackers, protein bars, whole grain chips, etc.  Eliminating wheat based items has resulted in less bloat, less gas and I don't feel as tired.

I was first introduced to eating gluten free back in 2020, but unfortunately I got away from eating that way.  I've been looking forward to re-introducing myself to gluten free since completing my Best in the Wichita Metro Burger Challenge 2022.

Replacing a wheat based snack such as pretzels with a corn based option like cheese puffs is one way to get back on the gluten free path.

Simply Nature White Cheddar Puffs are made with baked corn and rice and contain no added sugars.   They've got a really nice cheddar cheese flavor, they're light (they are puffs after all) and they're crispy.  They deliver every note you're looking for in a chip snack, crunch, savory, a bit of salt and most importantly, flavor!  These don't eat like the Styrofoam bits I thought they might be. 

Costing me $2.09 for a 4 ounce bag at Aldi, I'm giving the Simply Nature White Cheddar Puffs 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  Compare that to Cheetos puffs which costs about $2.29 at the mainstream grocery store but comes in a 2.5 ounce bag. 

4 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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Whiskey Review: Revel Stoke Peanut Butter Flavored Whiskey

Revel Stoke Nutcrusher Peanut Butter Flavored Whiskey
Revel Stoke launched a new marketing campaign last fall, calling it "Stoke Your Wild" which included new labeling.

By Mike Thayer

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

Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks. 

Peanut Butter is one of my favorite whiskey flavors, it makes for a GREAT chilled shot and combined with DeKuyper Razzmatazz or Chambord - a fantastic PB&J shot!  I've tried a number of Peanut Butter flavored whiskeys and so far Ole Smoky's version in my book is the best one out there, better than the most popular, Skrewball, which is what most bars carry.

Today I'm trying Revel Stoke Peanut Butter Flavored Whiskey.

Revel Stoke is bottled in Minnesota, but their recipe for whiskey is Canadian inspired.  Here's the marketing blurb from the company:  This 2020 World of Whiskies award winner proves that peanut butter is not just for sandwiches any more! This drink has buttery notes and the mild spice of Canadian Whisky. The combination is exactly what you never knew you needed.

Revel Stoke hits all the peanut butter notes, it's got the sweet without being syrupy.  It's smooth with a hint of vanilla and spice in the finish but the warm whiskey feel is a bit lacking.  As always, I tried this whiskey neat, on the rocks and in a chilled shot. It's good any way served.  It would also lend itself well to mixology, especially the aforementioned PB&J.  Combining it with a chocolate liqueur is quite "Reeces" nice and pairing it with a banana liqueur is fun for an "Elvis."

Costing me $19.99 for a 750ml bottle, I'm giving Revel Stoke Nutcrusher Peanut Butter Flavored Whiskey 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's a good peanut butter whiskey, but not the best out there.  It's a bargain compared to Skrewball, if you're into the budget buy.  But if you're going down that road, you may want to consider Bird Dog as well.  Of the Peanut Butter Whiskeys, my favorite continues to be Ol Smokey, reasonably priced with the best overall peanut butter flavor.

4 stars

Related: Peanut Butter Flavored Whiskey Challenge: Bird Dog vs. Skrewball

$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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Coming Soon: Who makes the best taco in the Wichita Metro?

Tacos
Who makes the best tacos in the Wichita Metro?

By Mike Thayer

This will probably be my most challenging food endeavor yet!

I recently conducted a Best in the Wichita Metro Burger Challenge 2022, sampling burgers from local joints, regional restaurants and national chains.

Now in need of a new Challenge, the reading audience has overwhelmingly voted...   TACOS!

So I'll be on a mission to find out who makes the BEST taco in the Wichita Metro!

Other notable suggestions of martinis (that could be a problem judging - hiccup!), sushi, cinnamon rolls, egg rolls (do you see a roll theme here?) and steak, among others were considered.

The taco list is HUGE, way bigger than the burger list...  What a problem right?  Sampling all those tacos? 

$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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