Easy Dinner Ideas - Recipes Feed

A great game day eat: Flammkutchen (A German/French flatbread pizza)

Flammkutchen
A VERY tasty flatbread pizza!

BachelorontheCheap.com

This game-day eat idea is inspired by my favorite appetizer item on the menu at a fantastic German restaurant in Wichita, Kansas, called Prost.  

The dish is Flammkutchen, a specialty with German and French influence, it's a shared border and fusion of cuisine kind of thing.  It's a flavor party dance on the tongue in the combination of a thin and crispy flatbread, crème fraiche, bacon, and lightly caramelized onion. 

A traditional Flammkutchen is made in a wood-fired oven.  A bit of history, this dish was created by bakers as a test to see if the oven was hot enough to bake the daily bread.  If the Flammkutchen came out perfect, the oven was ready.

Here's my spin on this specialty, no wood-fired oven is required, but I will say that it's fantastic done on a grill, giving the crust that crispy exterior and light char.

Mike's Flammkutchen

Ingredients for the dough, a 10-minute quick bread (easy peasy and incredibly delicious):

  • 3 heaping Tablespoons of self-rising flour
  • 3 heaping Tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon of shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • pinch a Kosher salt
  • pinch of black pepper

Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, stirring until all ingredients are incorporated and a rough, sticky dough ball forms. Roll out the dough on a dusted surface into a flatbread shape, about 1/3 of an inch thick.  Transfer to a cookie sheet lightly sprayed with olive oil.  Blind bake for 5-7 minutes or until it starts to crisp up, pull, and set aside.

Ingredients for topping the flatbread:

  • 1 cup of creme fraiche (if you can't find this at the store, combine 1/2 cup sour cream, with 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt)
  • 6 slices of cooked bacon (Tip:  cook this and the onions up while the bread is blind baking), chopped
  • 1 large onion, halved, sliced thin, sauteed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion

Directions:  In a medium bowl, combine the nutmeg with the creme fraiche, stir to incorporate, and set aside.  In a large skillet over medium heat, cook up the bacon, removing it from the pan before you reach the desired crispness (it will finish getting crispy in the oven), drain on paper towels, and set aside.  Sautee the onions in the bacon fat until soft and translucent, caramelize to a deep brown color if desired (there's no wrong way to do the onion, light and tender crisp, or sweet and caramelized).  Apply the creme fraiche to the flatbread, spreading evenly for complete coverage.  Chop up the bacon and top the flatbread, along with the sauteed onion and black pepper to taste.  Bake at 400 degrees until the creme fraiche starts to bubble, about 5-7 minutes.  Remove from the oven, top with the green onion, slice, and serve.

Topping options:  Don't limit yourself to bacon and onion, here are some other toppings that go great with this flatbread pizza!

  • Mushrooms
  • Munster cheese
  • Gruyere cheese
  • Swiss cheese
  • Fresh Fresno Pepper, sliced thin (not exactly traditional, but quite tasty!)

Flatbread prep option:  You can pan-fry the flatbread in a bit of that bacon fat until golden brown and delicious.  It's tastier than the oven version.

The simple-to-prepare but delicious dough, combined with those toppings is Another Dose of YUM!

Prep time is minimal, it's a wallet-friendly recipe and a real crowd-pleaser!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike


Cold weather comfort food classic: Shepherd's Pie

Mike's Shepherd's Pie
It's Another Dose of YUM!

BachelorontheCheap.com

I love one-pot dishes and casseroles.  There's the perfect marriage of flavors and textures, the easy-peasy prep, and of course, the minimal cleanup!

With temps going below zero with wind chill hitting my neck of the woods recently, I broke out one of my favorite cold weather comfort food classic recipes, Shepherd's Pie.

Not only is this recipe easy to prepare, but it's also super convenient, taking advantage of whatever you have in your pantry and fridge.  Truly classic Shepherd's pie doesn't include cheese, but I've put my spin on it and the cheese kicks this dish up a notch.  A traditional Shepherd's pie is also made with ground lamb which is quite tasty, but not always a budget-friendly option compared to ground beef or ground pork.  Some would even argue that the use of ground beef makes this a 'Cottage Pie', but those are traditionally topped with sliced potatoes rather than mashed.   

Base mixture of ground meat and veggies
The fresh ginger and splash of red wine vinegar elevate the flavor

Mike's Shepherd's Pie

Ingredients:

  • One pound of ground beef or pork sausage, whatever you have on hand (I like a 50/50 mix myself)
  • One medium onion, chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (canned is too mushy)
  • 2 cups leftover garlic mashed potatoes (if you don't have any on hand, instant potatoes are fine, prepare as directed)
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded Colby Jack or Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • A thumb size bit of ginger, peeled, minced
  • A generous splash of red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3 tabs of unsalted butter

Directions:

Mike's Shepherd's Pie
You'll have seconds...

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat, brown the ground meat, along with the chopped onion, stirring occasionally.  Drain if needed.   Add the garlic, ginger, mixed vegetables, optional Cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper, stir to incorporate, and simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Add the splash of red wine vinegar, stir, and adjust the seasoning if needed.  Top the meat mixture with half the shredded cheese, do NOT stir. Turn off the heat, but do not remove it from the burner just yet.  Top with the mashed potato, spreading to cover the top creating the 'pie.'  Tip:  If using leftover potatoes, pull from the fridge at least 30 minutes before topping the meat, they'll be easier to spread.  Dice up the butter, place on top of the potato topping, and put the pie in the oven.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, then put the remaining shredded cheese and smoked paprika on the potato topping. Bake for another 10 minutes or until the topping is golden brown, and delicious.

Enjoy!

Easy-peasy, one-skillet comfort food, that's also wallet-friendly!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike

 


10-minute Waffle Iron Quickbread

Ham, egg & cheese breakfast sandwich
A ham, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich featuring a 'Wafflebread' bun

BachelorontheCheap.com

Here's a super easy quickbread recipe that uses a waffle iron.  It's a savory bread, yes, a dough, not a waffle batter.  I like this recipe because you not only get a nice, airy, fluffy bread interior, but those crevices that a waffle iron creates give the bread a lightly toasted and crispy outer edge, which is great for holding butter (of course), but cheese, guacamole, all kinds of great things, and it's great for dipping in tomato soup!  It's easy peasy, 5 minutes of prep, 5 minutes of bake, and serves one or two.

Bachelor on the Cheap 10-minute Quickbread

Ingredients:

  • 3 heaping Tablespoons of self-rising flour
  • 3 heaping Tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon of shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • pinch a Kosher salt
  • pinch of black pepper
Cheesy Wafflebread
Delicious!

Directions:  Warm up that waffle iron!  Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, stirring until all ingredients are incorporated and a rough, sticky dough ball forms.  Spray some olive oil on the waffle iron surface, then using a greased spatula put the dough on the iron, flattening for even coverage.  Put the lid down and let that waffle iron do its thing!  In about five minutes, you've got a great little bread.

If you don't have a waffle iron, no worries, use a large skillet instead.  Warm up the pan over medium heat.  Roll out the dough on a dusted surface with a rolling pin, shaping it into a flatbread.    Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil into the pan.  Fry the flatbread, about 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden, brown, and delicious.

Wafflebread and tomato soup
This bread is great for dunking in soups and stews!

Serving Ideas:

  • Breakfast Sandwich - While the bread is 'baking,' fry up an egg and/or some bacon, perhaps some ham, top the egg or meat with American cheese, and serve on the 'wafflebread' bun.
  • Cheesy Bread - Immediately after removing the bread from the waffle iron, hit it with some shredded cheese.  Cheddar is nice, Colby Jack is quite good. More of that shredded Parmesan is awesome.   
  • Pizza Bread - Top the warm bread with Mozzarella and some squeeze bottle pizza sauce.  Tip:  Instead of spraying the waffle iron with oil, heat up some pepperoni instead.  The oils from the pepperoni will coat the waffle iron.  Remove the pepperoni once cooked and oils rendered, set aside, then 'bake' the bread, which will absorb that great pepperoni flavor.
  • Kick Avocado Toast up a notch!  Top it with guacamole.
  • Waffle Iron bread is GREAT for dipping into soups and stews! 

Have fun with the recipe, add herbs when making the dough if you like, sesame seeds are a nice addition when baking.  The choice of toppings is almost endless, with those waffle crevices embracing whatever flavor you choose to spread on it.

It's Another Dose of YUM!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike


Making your own snack bars

Scratch made snack bars
Don't buy snack bars at the grocery store, make your own!

BachelorontheCheap.com

I love snack bars.  They're SO convenient, it's a snack that's not too calorie-heavy and curbs your appetite (and sometimes those sweet tooth cravings) between meals, it's a perfect on-the-go snack grab, a must-have for traveling (especially at airports), pick the right type and they pack a good amount of protein, and the best part, there are so many flavor varieties to choose from.

Some kind of snack bar is always on my weekly grocery shopping list.  I've always got a box or two on hand and my go-to bar is Elevation ONLY bars offered at Aldi.

I've sampled 'power' bars, protein bars, the so-called energy bars, and various other snack bars since dropping candy bars from my diet years ago, and they do an adequate job of satisfying the sweet craving while upping the protein count a bit, but I have yet to find a more nutritionally sound candy bar option with a "Wow" factor.

Scratch made snack bars
This recipe makes 8 bars

The Elevation ONLY BAR is good, similar to its competitors, definitely a healthier eat than a traditional candy bar, but also like its competitors, not quite there with the "Wow" flavor factor.  I've tried Larabar, KIND, Clif, and a few other brands and I'd have to say I'd pick Elevation over Larabar and Clif, it's a toss-up with KIND. 

I've learned to appreciate snack bars over candy bars, but it's still an expense at the grocery store I should probably do without.  So motivated by "What else can I do with oatmeal?"...  I decided to give making my own snack bars a try.

It's SO easy, and I can't believe I haven't done it before now.

Here's a super quick snack bar recipe, all it takes are equal parts of ingredients, a food processor, and about 20 minutes of baking time.

Mike's Snack Bar

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup quick-cook rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup trail mix - and this is the beauty of this recipe, select any type you want.  I went with a mix of almonds, walnuts, raisins, dried cranberries, hazelnuts and pecans.
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
Scratch made snack bars
I used a trail mix of almonds, walnuts, raisins, dried cranberries, hazelnuts and pecans. Next batch, I'm thinking I'll include dark chocolate.

Directions:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Dump ingredients into a food processor, pulse to combine, until you get a mixture that will bind together when squeezed.  Press the mixture into a greased, standard 9" square cake pan.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then turn the pan over onto a cutting board.  Slice the baked deliciousness into 8 equal pieces. 

These bars are tasty!  They satisfy the snack need, they pack some protein from the nuts and a bit from the oatmeal, the bars have good carbs - not the bad stuff, they don't have near the sodium as some of the commercial products, they're every bit as convenient as a pre-packaged product, and making my own allows me to eliminate snack bars from my weekly grocery list.  And to repeat, these bars are tasty!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike

Related:  Snack Review: Southern Grove Serenity Trail Mix

Related: Food Review: Elevation ONLY BAR - Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Pecan


Baked potatoes are a multi-purpose good eat

Baked Potatoes
Simply dressed with olive oil, salt, and pepper

BachelorontheCheap.com

A loaded baked potato, we're talking butter, some cheese, bacon bits, sour cream, and perhaps some chopped green onion, is VERY tasty.  They're a great side dish for a steak dinner or can be a meal itself.

But why just throw one or two potatoes in the oven, when you can bake up six or eight to make some convenient future meals?

Baked potatoes keep well in the fridge, sealed in a Ziplock bag, and lend themselves to some easy peasy and very tasty breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas.

For the best baked potatoes with a nice, seasoned outer skin and a fluffy potato inside, roast them in the oven.  Prep:  Rinse them, dry them, then poke them a few times with a fork.  Dress them simply with olive oil, salt, and pepper and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, or until fork tender.

Look at all you can do with some leftover baked potatoes:

  • Throw one in the air fryer, microwave, or toaster oven for a 'leftover' loaded baked potato lunch
  • Shred one to make hash browns for breakfast
  • Rough chop one and throw it in the crock pot with some chicken stock, cream, or milk for a convenient potato soup (top with cheese and bacon of course!)
  • Rough chop one up to use as a base for a quick breakfast hash, throw in some chopped onion, deli ham, or whatever other leftover you have on hand that sounds good, which is the beauty of hash!
  • When was the last time you enjoyed potato skins?  You 'gotta love air fryers!
  • Use the scoop out from making potato skins, to make potato pancakes or latkes.
  • Warm or cold, whip up a quick potato salad, an awesome sandwich side.
  • For a super quick snack, munch on a tater straight out of the Ziplock bag

So think ahead a few meals when thinking about making just a couple of baked potatoes for a steak dinner side, do six, eight, or more instead!  Leftover taters are also VERY BachelorontheCheap wallet-friendly!  A 10-pound bag of potatoes costs around $5 at the mainstream grocery store.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike


BachelorontheCheap.com ideas for leftover Thanksgiving turkey

BachelorontheCheap.com

Leftover Turkey
What to do with leftovers?

What else can you do with it?

Lots.

There's the obvious, make a sandwich.  Some turkey, Muenster cheese, a little mustard between a couple of slices of bread or in a bun...  It's another dose of YUM!

You could grab a box of scalloped potatoes from your pantry, make the potatoes per the box instructions, chunk up some of that turkey, throw that in before popping those taters in the oven, and boom!  Dinner.  To add a little kick, finely dice up some jalapeno pepper to include in the mix.  TASTY!

You could do a similar thing by grabbing that box of mac & cheese from the pantry and in about 10 minutes, you'll have another lunch or dinner.  With noodles in mind, you could also simply grab a jar of Alfredo sauce, and boil up some noodles for an impromptu Turkey Alfredo.  Heck, add some chopped turkey to a package of chicken-flavored Ramen for a quick meal.

Dice some turkey up and put it in the fridge for later use.  You can quickly grab that diced turkey for a number of dishes.....  Diced turkey on a salad;  turkey fried rice; turkey & assorted veggies along with some broth in the crock pot for a nice soup; Grab some tortillas to make turkey & cheese quesadillas; open up a tube of crescent rolls and bake them up with turkey, cream cheese and green onion; try some turkey, peas, carrots, and gravy over biscuits.

There are all kinds of things you can do with leftover turkey, have fun with it!

Here's one of my favorite recipes for leftover turkey, Scalloped Turkey!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked turkey meat, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2-1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 box of turkey or chicken flavored stuffing mix
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 small can of mushrooms (4 ounces), drained
  • 1/4 Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, then stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper, lower the temperature while constantly stirring until the mixture is bubbly and golden.  Gradually whisk in 2 cups of the chicken broth and the cup of heavy cream, continuing to whisk, simmering for about 4 minutes.  Add the turkey meat and set the sauce aside.  In a saucepan over medium heat, saute the onion, celery, and mushrooms in the olive oil, stirring for a couple of minutes until the onions and celery start to caramelize.  Add the garlic powder, the seasoning mix for the stuffing, the bread cubes, and the remaining 1/4 cup of chicken broth.  Stir to incorporate.  Pan-spray a large casserole dish, pour in the bread/veggie mixture, then pour in the turkey sauce.  Top with the grated Parmesan, cover, and bake for about 45 minutes.  Uncover and bake another 10 minutes until the Parmesan is golden, brown and delicious.  Enjoy!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike

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Cooking up KETO friendly foods: Creamy Tuscan Chicken

Creamy Tuscan Chicken
This is loaded with flavor!

BachelorontheCheap.com

My girlfriend Jennifer ROCKS!

In the pursuit of eating healthier and following a KETO diet, she recently cooked up a storm in the Bachelor on the Cheap Kitchen, 'Cheffing' up some KETO-friendly dishes, including the following:  Creamy Tuscan Chicken

It's Tasty and KETO friendly!

Everything Jennifer made on a Sunday NFL game day was quite delicious, she's a great cook, we're talking restaurant quality stuff, and she cranked out three entrees and a number of sides.  For this post, I'm highlighting the Creamy Tuscan Chicken she made.  It's Another Dose of YUM!

Here's the base recipe from greenandketo.com, but Jennifer added her personal touches to make it even more delicious.

Creamy Tuscan Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds boneless/skinless chicken breasts (option:  Use boneless/skinless chicken thighs, which I think have more flavor and won't dry out when cooking)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 ounces sundried tomatoes, chopped (Option/alternative:  tomato paste)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (the real shredded stuff, not the Kraft grind)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (option:  if you're not into basil, use fresh spinach)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper and sear until golden brown, about four minutes per side.  Option:  Cube the chicken for faster cooking and easier plating.  Once cooked, set aside.  In the same skillet, add garlic, thyme, and red pepper flake, stir for about one minute.  Add the chicken broth and heavy cream, simmer for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the tomato, basil or spinach, and Parmesan cheese.  Return the chicken to the skillet and get that chicken all happy in the sauce.  Transfer to an oven-safe baking dish and let all those flavors marry for about 15 minutes.  If leaving the chicken in whole pieces, make sure the chicken reaches a temperature of 165 degrees.  Let rest for about five minutes after removing from the oven.  Garnish with additional shredded Parmesan cheese.  Bacon bits are a nice add.

This dish hits all the comfort food notes, it's creamy, savory, cheesy, and it's seasoned perfectly.  It doesn't need a side, it's awesome tasting and balanced nutrition all by itself, which is key to a good KETO dish.

It's also Bachelor on the Cheap Wallet-Friendly, especially if you go with chicken thighs, perhaps the cheapest meat protein available.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike


Cooking up KETO friendly foods: Cheeseburger Soup

Cheeseburger Soup
It's as I like to say, "Another Dose of YUM!"

BachelorontheCheap.com

My girlfriend Jennifer is awesome, and capital 'W' Wonderful.

She appreciates my passion for football, so last Sunday, we not only enjoyed watching the Kansas City Chiefs beat up on the Los Angeles Chargers (I still want to say, San Diego...) together, but she cooked up a storm!

Jennifer made a fantastic lasagna (which we enjoyed at game time, along with garlic bread and a Caesar salad), two loaves of scratch-made bread, a cheeseburger soup, and a Creamy Tuscan Chicken dish.  Bonus:  Aside from the lasagna dinner (kind of a tribute to a traditional dinner before going KETO thing), all dishes she made are KETO friendly.

Tasty and KETO friendly!

Everything Jennifer made on game day is quite delicious, she's a great cook, but today I'm highlighting the Cheeseburger Soup.  I'll be highlighting the KETO-Friendly breads, and Tuscan Chicken dish in separate posts.

The Cheeseburger Soup recipe is from www.homemade.health, but what made this KETO recipe extra special were Jennifer's personal touches.  Every great cook has that flair.

Here's the base recipe:

Cheeseburger Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs ground beef, browned
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped, cooked bacon
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped dill pickles
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Directions:

The beauty of this soup is it's kind of a dump recipe, catered to making a meal for another day.  After you brown the ground beef and let it cool, you can dump all the ingredients into a 1-gallon freezer bag, mix the ingredients by gently massaging the bag, then freeze the bag for a meal down the road.  You can include the cream cheese and heavy cream in the dump, but they are better if added fresh on the day of cooking.  Cooking methods can be a slow cooker, an instant pot, or a Dutch oven on the stovetop.  Jennifer prepared a batch on game day, using the stovetop method.  She browned the ground beef and then added the remaining ingredients over a slow simmer.

Serve with shredded cheese, additional chopped bacon, mustard, and/or chopped onion if desired.

This soup really does have the essence of cheeseburger flavor and what puts it over the top are the chopped dill pickles.  It's cheesy, creamy, loaded with burger meat, and has all the notes of classic burger condiments.  The best part, this OH-SO-GOOD soup is KETO friendly, no high-carb bun required!  It's also a Bachelor on the Cheap wallet-friendly dish, with many of the ingredients probably already in your fridge and pantry, no trip to the grocery store required!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike


Copycat Recipe: But don't call it Subway #3 The Monster

Subway #3 The Monster Copycat Sandwich
I 'may' have been a little too generous with the beef, the bottom half of the roll is buried!

BachelorontheCheap.com

Subway has been the #1 selling sub shop in the nation for years and their success has put them near or at the top in all of fast food, ranking #3 in sales and #1 in the number of U.S.-based restaurants according to QSR Magazine

The Top Dog in sub sandwiches has recently gone through a makeover however, revamping their menu and upgrading their ingredients in order to stay ahead of the competition, which has become VERY competitive the last two years. Subway's market share fell from 58% to 53% over that time frame.

The makeover has been successful, with their Subway Series® of sandwiches a big hit and generating record-breaking sales growth.

One of those big hit sandwiches is Subway #3, The Monster™.

The sandwich features steak, bacon, a double portion of shredded Monterey Cheddar Cheese, fresh green pepper, fresh red onion, dressed with Peppercorn Ranch and served on Subway's toasted Artisan Italian bread.

It's a good sandwich, worth doing a copycat version of!  If you make it, just don't call it Subway #3, The Monster™, otherwise the Trademark police will be knocking on your door.

Here's my spin on Subway's sandwich.  I used skirt steak, pre-cut Carne Asada style.  Instead of red onion which can sometimes be a bit pungent, I used sweet Vidalia onion.  I also swapped out the Monterey Cheddar Cheese and Peppercorn Ranch dressing with Pepper Jack Cheese and regular Ranch dressing. 

The More Than A Monster Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • One Hoagie Style Roll
  • 4-6 ounces of skirt steak (buy it pre-cut, Carne Asada style, but NOT seasoned)
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 1/4 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
  • A few splashes of Worcestershire
  • A few dashes of Black pepper
  • A few dashes of garlic powder
  • A few dashes of onion powder
  • A few dashes of Cayenne Pepper (optional)
  • Sweet Vidalia Onion, sliced
  • Green pepper, sliced
  • One healthy spoonful of Garlic Mayonnaise

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place the bacon (and yes, I know you're going to make more than 3 slices, c'mon, it's bacon!) on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.  Hit it with some black pepper and bake for about 20 minutes.  If you are doing just three slices, watch your time, 3 slices will cook faster than 6 or more.  I prefer the oven-bake method for bacon because it cooks more evenly, and the result is crispier bacon throughout.  While the bacon is cooking, slice the green pepper and onion, and set aside.  In a small bowl or Ramuken, stir in some black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder into that healthy spoonful of mayo, and set aside.  When the bacon is done, place the bacon on some paper towels to drain and use that bacon fat!  In a large skillet over medium heat, toast the hoagie roll in about a Tablespoon of bacon fat (you don't get THAT at Subway!), once toasted, set aside for assembly.  Adding another tablespoon of that bacon fat to the skillet, saute the steak.  Let it get all happy in the bacon fat and add the dashes of black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and optional Cayenne pepper.  Stir to incorporate.  Once the steak is browned, hit it with a few splashes of Worcestershire and top with the shredded cheese until melted.  To assemble, dress the bottom bun with the garlic mayo.  Put on the meat, apply the onion and green pepper slices, top with the bacon, and dress with the Ranch.

Tip:  You may be tempted to saute the green pepper and onion with the steak and that would be tasty.  But keeping them fresh balances out the richness of that bacon fat, also giving you that crisp veggie texture element to enjoy.

There you have it, the More Than a Monster Sandwich! Enjoy!  I think you'll prefer it over what Subway offers and it's cheaper to make too. Subway's six-inch sandwich carries a suggested price of $6.39. Making your own more generously portioned six-inch sandwich at home will save you a couple of bucks, with plenty of ingredients left over to make more!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike

Related: Subway Archives - BachelorontheCheap.com

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Copycat Recipe: Kentucky Fried Chicken Mac & Cheese Bowl

BachelorontheCheap.com

KFC Mac & Cheese Bowls
What the bowls are supposed to look like

One of those "Available for a limited time" menu items, KFC's Chicken Mac & Cheese Bowl is a quick lunch or dinner for just $5.

Here's the description from the KFC website:  Our Chicken Mac & Cheese Bowl features our signature rich, creamy macaroni and cheese, topped with our crispy fried chicken nuggets and a three-cheese blend. Available in classic or spicy for a limited time!

KFC Spicy Chicken Mac & Cheese Bowl
What I got served by KFC, it's swimming in a lame hot sauce, turning the breading on the nuggets soggy

I'm a fan of the classic version Bowl, but I recently tried the spicy version and I have to say I was less than impressed.  Drowning in a not-very-spicy concoction the Bowl was not repeat buy worthy, I can craft a better version myself.  So screw the "Limited Time" crap, make a copycat version!  You can read the review here.

So here's the copycat version of KFC's Spicy Chicken Mac & Cheese Bowl, done with convenience in mind.

Ingredients:

  • One box of mac & cheese, prepared as directed with a cook's tip
  • One serving of your favorite brand of frozen chicken nuggets, prepared as directed
  • 1 ounce of Colby Jack Cheese, shredded
  • A few splashes of Frank's Redhot or your favorite hot sauce brand
  • A healthy pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

Copycat of KFC Spicy Chicken Mac & Cheese Bowl
My version looks and tastes way better!

It's pretty straightforward, pretty much a preparation per product instructions and assembling, rather than a bonafide recipe.  Cook's tip:  Add a few dashes of onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper to the milk used in making the mac & cheese.  Do this when the pasta is cooking, mixing in a small bowl or ramekin.  This allows the seasonings to bloom (especially the garlic and onion powders) for a bit and will elevate the overall flavor profile of the mac & cheese.  A little dried parsley flake is a nice add too.  Another cook's tip:  If you're baking the chicken nuggets rather than frying, hit them with cooking spray before placing them in the oven, this will crisp up the breading a little nicer.  Serve up the mac & cheese in a bowl, top with 4-6 chicken nuggets and hit them with the hot sauce as desired.  Add the shredded Colby Jack (the heat from the pasta and chicken will provide a nice melt), then hit the dish with the crushed red pepper flake. 

As I was writing up this copycat version to include checking into a nutritional comparison, the KFC bowl is a salt bomb!  It doesn't taste salty but does pack a whopping 2,270mg of sodium.  That's 95% of the recommended daily intake in one bowl!  Yikes!  The copycat version, while still not "healthy", (but we're talking a fast food dish after all) has 1450mg of sodium in comparison.

This is also an inexpensive dish to prepare, costing less than $1 per serving using ingredients purchased at Aldi and items I had on hand in my pantry and fridge.  BONUS:  I can make more tasty bowls to boot! 

  • Aldi discount brand "Cheese Club" mac & cheese - $0.50 (3 servings per box)
  • Kirkland chicken nuggets - $5.89 (11 servings per bag)
  • Happy Farms Colby Jack brick cheese - $1.99 (8 servings)

20230420_092536Why pay $5 for the lousy-prep bowl KFC served me when I can create a bowl that looks and tastes WAY better for less than $1?  I love the KFC concept, thank you, but it's poorly executed.  I'll take the copycat, please.

Prep time:  15 minutes, or about the same amount of time it would take you to jump in your vehicle, drive to the nearest KFC, wait in the drive-thru line, then drive back to your place of work or home.

And I'm left wondering, "Who has the best chicken nuggets in fast food?"  And, "Who makes the best-frozen chicken nuggets?"  Sounds like the next couple of Bachelor on the Cheap Food Challenges to me...

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike

Related: Food Review: KFC Spicy Chicken Mac & Cheese Bowl

Related: Fast Food Mac & Cheese Battle: Arby's vs. Chick-fil-A vs. KFC

Related: Who has the best Mac & Cheese in fast food?

Related: Food Review: Cheese Club Macaroni and Cheese Dinner from Aldi

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