Easy Dinner Ideas - Recipes Feed

Bacon Wrapped BBQ Pork Tenderloin

Bacon Wrapped BBQ Pork Tenderloin
Prep done and ready for the oven.  Pork Tenderloin + BBQ + Bacon, it's Another Dose of YUM!

BachelorontheCheap.com

Without question, pork tenderloin is my favorite cut of meat to BBQ.  I'll take it over ribs, chicken, and yes, even brisket. 

Not to be confused with pork loin, pork tenderloin is a more expensive cut, leaner, and as the name implies, more tender. The thing I love about pork tenderloin is that the meat embraces any flavor you want to slap it with.  Always sold as a boneless cut with an average weight of about one pound, this cut can dry out if not cooked properly.  But when done right, it's melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

BBQ pork tenderloin
Some of that BBQ goodness peaking out from the end. The bacon helps to insulate the pork and BBQ flavors during the cook, it bastes the tenderloin, keeping it moist.

Here's a great recipe for a BBQ pork tenderloin, which is excellent whether prepared in the oven or on the grill.

Mike's Bacon Wrapped BBQ Pork Tenderloin (oven prep version)

Ingredients:

  • One pork tenderloin
  • 2 healthy Tablespoons of yellow mustard (spicy brown, whole grain, Dijon are fine too)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of your favorite BBQ rub
  • 5 slices of bacon
  • Black pepper

Directions:

Pull the pork tenderloin out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature, for 45 minutes to one hour.  If you're worried about foodborne illness, don't be. You're putting the meat in the oven or over a fire for crying out loud, the food police get the middle finger on this one for alarmism.  Room temp is key, putting a delicate, lean cut like this in a hot oven or on a grill when cold will not deliver you maximum juiciness and flavor.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Cover the pork tenderloin with the mustard.  Apply your favorite BBQ rub to the mustard-covered pork, ensuring even coverage.  Wrap the tenderloin with the bacon, be sure to hit that bacon with some black pepper.  Put in an oven-safe baking dish that you can cover (foil on top works too) and put in the oven.  Immediately turn the heat down to 350 degrees and let that pork get happy for about 20 minutes or until the internal temperature hits 140 degrees.  Remove the lid, and turn the oven to broil to crisp up the bacon, about 2 minutes.  Pull the pork tenderloin from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.  The broiling and resting process will bring the meat temp up to a perfect 145 degrees.

Pork Tenderloin fresh out of the oven
You'll be tempted to slice into it right away, but it's important to let the pork rest for 5-10 minutes.

Grilling option:  The oven option is fantastic, but doing this on the grill is even better!  You'll want to do this over indirect heat until the internal temperature hits 140 degrees (up to 40 minutes or so depending on how hot your coals are), then crisp up the bacon on all sides over direct flame, giving the tenderloin quarter turns about every minute.  Let the pork rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving (the meat temp will come up to a perfect 145 degrees during the 'rest').  You can serve this with some BBQ sauce on the side, but this preparation is so juicy, I personally don't think you need to.  It's a celebration of the pork tenderloin, and it's as I like to day, "Another Dose of YUM!"

This will easily feed 2-4 people and the cost to prepare can be done for under $10.  Look for specials on pork tenderloin at your local grocery store, it's an under-eaten cut, which is a shame.  

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike

Slices of Deliciousness
Tender, juicy, pork, bbq, and bacon flavors. No side required!

 


American Pigs in a Blanket meets English-style Sausage Rolls

BachelorontheCheap.com

If you like Pigs in a Blanket, you'll love this hybrid of a recipe that puts an English-style Sausage Roll spin on a classic!

American Pigs in a Blanket meets English-style Sausage Rolls

Ingredients:

  • One canister of crescent rolls
  • 8 links of your favorite sausage (I used breakfast links)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried, ground sage
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 egg, beaten for an egg wash

Directions:

Pigs in a blanket kicked up a notch
Pigs in a Blanket with an English-style Sausage Roll twist

On a cookie sheet, lay out the crescent rolls, then place a sausage on each crescent sheet.  Dust with onion powder and ground sage (the oils from the sausage will meld with the seasonings influencing the meat and the bread).  Hit each sausage with some grated Parmesan, then roll them up.  Hit each roll with the egg wash, then hit them again with the ground sage, sesame seeds, and more Parmesan.  Bake at 350 degrees on the center rack for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden, brown, and delicious.   Excellent served with an impromptu honey mustard aioli, which is one part mustard, one part mayo, a healthy Tablespoon of honey, and freshly cracked black pepper.

Don't buy Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, buy Bake House Creations Crescent Rolls at Aldi instead.  Bake House price:  $1.95 for an 8-count canister.  Pillsbury price:  $3.49 for an 8-count canister.  Why pay so much more, for the same thing?

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike

 

 


Easy Peasy Faux Chicken Parm

Faux Chicken Parm
Easy to prepare and quite tasty!

BachelorontheCheap.com

Here's an easy, minimal ingredient, yet very tasty chicken dish, with classic Chicken Parm notes in mind.

Taking about 30 minutes to prepare, others sharing this chicken with you will think you spent a lot more time in the kitchen creating it.

Ingredients:

  • Two boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon of your favorite rub, such as Kinder's "The Blend"
  • Three Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite jar of marinara, spaghetti, or pizza sauce
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian Seasoning (dried Parsley works too) 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Season the chicken breasts with the rub.  If you don't have a favorite, salt and pepper will do just fine.  The key here is to ensure the chicken is patted dry with a paper towel before seasoning.  Heat up a medium cast iron or oven-safe skillet over medium heat.  Add two Tablespoons of olive oil, and once that starts to shimmer, drop in the chicken breasts, brown on the first side, about five minutes.  Flip, brown for another 2-3 minutes then transfer the skillet to the oven.  Set a timer for 15 minutes.  When the timer goes off, top the chicken with the sauce, and grated Parmesan cheese, and bake for another 5 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.  While that chicken is getting all happy, brown the Panko bread crumbs in a small skillet, with the remaining olive oil and Italian Seasoning.  Pull the chicken, let rest for 5 minutes (it will come up to the perfect, juicy temp of 165 degrees during the rest), then serve topped with the bread crumbs and additional (optional) Parmesan cheese.

Not only is this dish pretty simple to prepare yet delicious, it's easy on the wallet too, with dinner for two costing less than $10 when served over a bed of egg noodles.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike


So simple, so good, so Bachelor on the Cheap Wallet-Friendly 'Americanized' Ramen Soup

'Americanized' Ramen Soup
Made from what you have on hand in your pantry and fridge

BachelorontheCheap.com

Here's a quick, easy-peasy, SUPER budget-friendly, about eight minutes to make snack or meal...

Ingredients:

  • One beef or chicken stock cube
  • Two cups water
  • One tab butter
  • One cup noodles (whatever you have on hand)
  • One cup of mixed veggies
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan

Directions:

Bring the water, butter, and stock cube to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add the onion powder, garlic powder, mixed veggies, and noodles, and stir to incorporate.  Cover and cook for the time per the noodle package instructions.  Serve with black pepper to taste, topped with grated Parmesan cheese.  Excellent served with toasted garlic bread.

It doesn't get much cheaper than this for a quick snack or meal at a cost per serving of about $1.  It's filling, and cheap to make.  It's an 'American-what's-in-the-cupboard' Ramen soup if you will...  Nice additions are turkey or roast beef shreds of lunchmeat.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike


Today is National Sloppy Joe Day, March 18, 2024

BachelorontheCheap.com

Celebrated every year on March 18, it's a day dedicated to one of the most iconic sandwiches of all time, the Sloppy Joe.  With a base recipe of ground beef, onions, and tomato sauce, the sandwich has been around for more than 95 years.

Here's a smoky spin on the classic.

Mike's Sloppy Joe Wraps

I love to do these in a couple cast iron skillets on the grill, cooking with the grill lid on over indirect heat gives the meat mixture a nice little hint of smoky flavor, much better than stove top!   And here's a serving option, when you are plating these on the lightly grilled tortillas, top them with a little shredded cheddar cheese.  And if you like American cheese on your Sloppy Joe, after you flip the tortilla, that's when you put on a slice of American, let it melt a bit before pulling the tortillas off the grill.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound pork sausage
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake
  • A few shakes of Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Brown the meat in a large pan over medium heat. Drain off the fat. In a separate pan, saute the green peppers and onions in olive oil. When the veggies start to caramelize a bit, add the garlic and saute for another minute.  Combine the sauteed veggies with the meat mixture, then add 1/2 cup chicken stock, ketchup and remaining ingredients. Mix well, then cover and let all those flavors marry, simmering over low heat for about 20 minutes.
Serve with lightly grilled tortillas.

Download Mike's Sloppy Joe Wraps

Not only are Sloppy Joe's iconic and super tasty, they're Bachelor on the Cheap Wallet-Friendly!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike


Easy Peasy Breakfast Casserole for the Weekend (or days off)

Easy Peasy Breakfast Casserole
It's Another Dose of YUM!

BachelorontheCheap.com

We all want food that's convenient, easy to prepare, and of course, delicious.

This is a recipe that is comfort food tasty and beats the pants off of cold cereal, a bagel, or a smoothie for breakfast, typical for the work week.  It makes use of what you might already have on hand in the pantry and fridge.

Easy Peasy Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients:

  • One pound of pork sausage
  • One medium onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cups of leftover rice or potatoes
  • 2 chilies, sliced (reserve half)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened (1/2 cup shredded cheese works fine if you don't have cream cheese)
  • 1 green onion, sliced (garnish)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large cast iron or oven-safe skillet, brown the pork sausage over medium heat, along with the onion.  Once the sausage is browned, add the leftover rice or potatoes (could be mashed, a leftover baked potato, hash browns, whatever), 1 chili, garlic, and cream cheese.  Stir to incorporate, simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste, then crack the eggs on top of the casserole and put the skillet in the oven.  Bake for about 15 minutes or until the eggs are set to a perfect Sunny Side Up.  Pull the casserole from the oven and garnish with the reserved chili and green onion.  At four servings, you can either treat a guest(s) to a delicious hot breakfast or have some tasty leftover breakfast bowls for the next couple of days.

Bachelor on the Cheap Wallet Friendly, this breakfast can be whipped up for about $5.  It's a great marriage of flavors, highlighted by that Sunny Side Up yolk oozing onto the sausage and cheesy rice.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike


Slow Cooker Crack Chicken Sliders for the Super Bowl

Super Bowl Watch Party RecipeBachelorontheCheap.com

If you're hosting a Super Bowl watch party, here is a real crowd-pleaser of a recipe.  Not only is it delicious, but it's an easy-peasy slow cooker prep, freeing you up so you can focus on other things, like hosting, and watching the game!

Slow Cooker Crack Chicken Sliders

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 pounds of boneless/skinless chicken thighs (breasts are fine too, but thighs have better flavor, and they're cheaper)
  • 2 packets of dry Ranch dressing/dip mix
  • 2 eight-ounce bricks of cream cheese
  • 1 can of cheddar cheese soup
  • 1/2 cup shredded colby jack or cheddar cheese
  • 6-8 slices of bacon (cooked and chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 packages of slider buns

Directions:

In a slow cooker, a.k.a., crock pot, dump in the chicken, dry ranch, cream cheese, cheddar soup, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Close to serving time, shred the chicken, salt and pepper to taste.  Serve on slider buns, garnished with bacon bits, shredded cheese, and green onion.

Not only is this tasty, addictively so, but it's cheap eats to make for a party crowd, making it Super Bowl Watch Party worthy!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike


Copycat Recipe: KFC's Smash'd Potato Bowl

The Bachelor on the Cheap Smashed Potato Bowl
The Bachelor on the Cheap Smashed Potato Bowl

BachelorontheCheap.com

It's a Fast Food vs. Grocery Shopping Challenge!

The typical Friday means eating out for a lot of folks, it's time to unwind after a long work week, and unwinding includes spending a few bucks on some take-out, or the drive-thru.

It's all too easy to fall into such a routine, but those takeout and drive-thru costs every week can start to add up.

This week's Fast Food vs. Grocery Shopping Challenge features KFC's new Smash'd Potato Bowl, introduced nationwide on January 29, 2024.

It's a tasty bowl of seasoned french fries and mashed potatoes covered in melted cheese and topped with bacon crumbles.  Priced at $3.49, it's delightful on its own, but according to the KFC media hype, you can make a meal of it by adding chicken nuggets for a few dollars more. 

Main ingredients for the bowl
Purchased at Aldi for $11.61

That's what I did in sampling KFC's new menu item, and it was quite enjoyable.  So enjoyable, it was deemed worthy of doing a grocery shop comparison and bonus:  A copycat recipe!

The KFC Smash'd Potato Bowl, kicked up with nuggets and a drink (making it a combo deal) cost me $8.59.  So how much can you buy at the grocery store for about that kind of money?  Shopping at Aldi, I focused on purchasing the ingredients I needed to make a copycat Smash'd Potato Bowl, selecting items I didn't already have in my pantry and fridge.

Spending $11.61, I bought seasoned french fries, chicken nuggets, and a block of Velveeta-style cheese.  Everything else I needed to create the 'bowl' I had at home in my pantry and fridge.  I did spend $3.02 more than I spent at KFC, but I will have quite a few additional eats with this shop.

Copycat Smash'd Potato Bowl
Seasoned fries, creamy mashed potatoes, a blend of melted cheese, bacon bits, chicken nuggets......

In crafting the bowl, I prepared some instant mashed potatoes per the package instructions, adding some garlic powder and onion powder to kick up the flavor profile.  The seasoned fries and chicken nuggets were done in the air fryer.  For the melted cheese, I cubed up about 3 ounces of the Clancy's CheeseMelt, combining it with about 2 ounces of shredded Colby Jack cheese, a dash of onion powder, a dash of garlic powder, and a healthy splash of whole milk in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stirring constantly, I had a nice cheese sauce in less than five minutes.  In serving up the bowl I put the seasoned fries in first, hitting them with a sprinkle of Koser salt.  On top of the fries went a healthy scoop of the mashed potato, which was topped with the melted cheese.  I chopped up some leftover bacon (reheated in the microwave) to finish the dish, along with some chopped green onion and some shredded Parmesan cheese.

Being able to customize the bowl like that made for a delightful result!

Cost Comparison

  • KFC Smash'd Potato Bowl w/nuggets and a drink - $8.59, one serving
  • Grocery Shopping at Aldi - $11.61, can make several bowls, plus create sides for other meals

For just $3.02 more, I have the flexibility to make more Smash'd Potato Bowls, and/or create a bunch of side dishes for other meals.  I made too much cheese sauce for the copycat recipe for example, so now I've got a nice cheese sauce to go with my eggs for breakfast tomorrow.  Thinking ahead, that brick of Velveeta-style cheese is going to come in handy as a nice base for an awesome queso dip and chips appetizer!  Melt that cheese along with some diced tomato, green chilies, and a few other ingredients...  It's Another Dose of YUM!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike

Related: KFC's new Smash'd Potato Bowl is a MUST TRY

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Creating a new dish with leftovers: Honey and orange glazed pork over rice

Honey and orange glazed pork over rice
Created from leftover pork roast

BachelorontheCheap.com

You're thinking about what to have for dinner, you open up the fridge and you see that leftover pork roast that you've already had two meals of...  BORING!  

One of the benefits of leftovers is the convenience factor, being able to quickly reheat something in the microwave, air fryer, or depending on what it is the stovetop or oven.  The downside is what was fantastic when you made it for dinner and was still excellent as a leftover for lunch, is now kind of, I'd rather have something else...

Create something new.

A classically prepared pork roast is something that can easily be transformed into a delicious 'new' dish with an Asian flare.  The notes of honey, orange, and ginger complement what already has a great base flavor.  The best thing, you can prepare this dish in less time than hopping in your vehicle to hit the fast food drive-thru.

Honey & Orange Glazed Pork over Garlic & Ginger Rice

Ingredients for the rice:

  • 1 tab of butter
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (garlic press comes in handy)
  • A thumb size portion of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup, long grain white rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 cups chicken stock

Directions:  In a rice cooker (or a medium pot over medium heat), melt the butter, add salt, and the onion, and saute until the onion starts to soften.  Add the garlic and ginger, and stir to incorporate, letting things get all happy for about one minute.  Add the rice and turmeric, give things a quick stir, then add the chicken stock.  Button-down the lid on the rice cooker and let it do its thing using the appropriate rice setting.  If using a stovetop saucepan or pot, put a lid on it, reduce heat to a low simmer, and cook for 20 minutes.  Do NOT lift the lid!

While the rice is cooking...

Ingredients for the glazed pork:

  • 6-8 ounces of leftover pork roast, cubed
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon of sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • The zest and juice from one orange
  • 1 generous Tablespoon of honey
  • One green onion, sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:  In a large skillet over medium-high heat, toast the sesame seeds, then set aside.  Add the canola oil to the pan, let it come up to temperature, then add the cubed pork.  Stir until warmed through and it starts to caramelize.  Add the sesame oil and the zest from the orange, about a healthy teaspoon.  Stir, then hit the pan with the juice from the orange.  Add the honey, stir to incorporate and until to mixture starts to bubble.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook until sauce reduces and thickens up a bit, salt and pepper to taste.   Serve over a bed of the Garlic & Ginger Rice, topped with the toasted sesame seeds and chopped green onion.

Prep Option:  If you have leftover rice on hand, you can skip the rice in the pot thing and make pork fried rice.

A creative use of leftovers, this dish is also Bachelor on the Cheap Wallet Friendly!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike

Related: Product Review: Cuisinart Rice and Grain Multicooker


Carbonara comfort food treat

Carbonara, topped with bacon
It's Another Dose of YUM!

BachelorontheCheap.com

Carbonara is a classic Italian pasta dish, involving eggs, cheese, pork, and a generous dose of black pepper.

Traditional Carbonara is made with spaghetti noodles, but there's no strict rule here, just about any kind of noodle will do, I like Penne or Rotini myself because they embrace, and hold onto the sauce better.  Use whatever kind of pasta you have on hand or prefer.

Here's a single-serving recipe for some fantastic comfort food!

Ingredients:

  • Dry pasta, about 3/4 cup for a serving of one, prepared per package instructions, reserving a 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped (reserve a healthy Tablespoon of the bacon fat for the sauce)
  • 1 egg (an egg for each person, two for dinner?  Two eggs)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • Black pepper to taste

Directions:  

In a small bowl, combine the egg and cheese, set aside.  Timing is key in this recipe, make sure your pasta water is boiling, salted, and ready to cook the pasta when you start the bacon, drop the pasta at that time. In a large skillet over medium heat, fry up the chopped bacon, until crisp.  Drain the fat, reserving some bacon fat for the sauce.  Add the garlic, stir, cooking for about one minute.  Turn off the heat. Drain the pasta and add to the skillet, tossing to coat with the bacon fat.  Now is the time to add the egg and cheese mixture.  You want hot pasta, but not still-hear-a-sizzle-in-the-pan-hot, and why the heat was turned off.  If things are too hot, you'll scramble the eggs rather than create a sauce.  You want just enough residual heat from the bacon and pasta to cook, but not scramble the eggs.  Toss the pasta to coat, adding a ladle or so of the warm pasta water to help create the sauce, continue to toss until you reach the desired consistency.   Season with black pepper and garnish with flat-leaf parsley.

Not only is this dish SUPER tasty, but it's wallet-friendly too.  You probably already have everything you need in your pantry and fridge and it only takes about 15 minutes to prepare.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike