Food and Drink Feed

Food Review: Simply Nature Red Pepper Hummus

20210316_102212By Mike Thayer

I've been on a bit of a hummus kick lately, I love the stuff and coupled with sliced pita bread, pita chips, crackers, heck - even day old bread, it makes for a great snack!

When shopping for a few groceries at Aldi the other day, I picked up a container of Simply Nature Red Pepper Hummus.  I've never had it before and thought I'd give it a try.

It's another dose of YUM!

Smooth, creamy and with that roasted red pepper giving it that slightly sweet pepper edge, this offering from Simply Nature really hits the hummus craving spot!

Simply Nature Red Pepper Hummus
A really nice hummus enjoyed with gluten free crackers!

Costing me just $2.29 for an eight ounce container, this hummus is both reasonably priced and delicious!  I'm giving it 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's a very convenient prepared hummus and that's the only thing holding it back from getting a  5 star rating, I'm spoiled, the best hummus in town comes from the N&J Bakery, scratch made!

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....


Food Review: Braum's Pimento Bacon Cheeseburger

Braum's Pimento Bacon Cheeseburger
Yes, I ate the cheese off the wrapper....

By Mike Thayer

I heard the marketing hype for Braum's new burger on the radio and said to myself, "Self, I've GOT to try that!"

So while running an errand yesterday during my lunch break, I hit the Braum's drive-thru and picked up a Pimento Bacon Cheeseburger Combo meal.

Here's the description of the burger from the Braum's website:  Take a walk on the wild side with Braum’s NEW Pimento Bacon Cheeseburger.  This bacon cheeseburger adds southern flair to a classic– featuring Braum’s Pimento Cheese piled high on a juicy, beef hamburger patty and hickory smoked bacon. Throw on a slice of American cheese with mayo that all melts together for dreamy, cheesy goodness in every heavenly bite.

Winner, winner, Braum's Pimento Bacon Cheeseburger dinner!

Braum's Pimento Bacon Cheeseburger
It ain't pretty, but it is tasty!

I'm a pimento cheese fan and this cheese - the mix of cheddar and the sweetness of red cherry peppers - coupled with that hickory smoked bacon makes for a really good burger!  It was indeed cheesy goodness in every bite!

Costing me $7.41 for the Combo meal, this burger is reasonably priced and a repeat buy and gets 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  Get one while you can, this burger is for a limited time only.

4 stars

Side Note:  Hey Braum's, you need to do something different with your fries, they're less-than-stellar.  My crinkle cut fries were under-seasoned and a bit dry.  Your fries were so unremarkable, it has motivated me to do a Who has the Best Fast Food Fries Challenge.  I'm thinking Braum's fries will be near the bottom of the list.

The Braum's visited on this occasion is located at 1261 S. Rock Road in Wichita, KS.  Kudos to the restaurant and their drive-thru service, I ordered and received my meal in less than 4 minutes and it was friendly service with a smile!

Food Review: Good Thins gluten free simply salt crackers made with rice

By Mike Thayer

20210204_192453Regular readers know that I started a blood type diet post-holiday, where I diet according to what my blood type 'likes' and that means a diverse diet including meat, fruit, dairy, seafood and grains.  It also means eliminating things my blood type doesn't like, such as peanuts, corn and wheat, a.k.a., gluten.

So with that diet and gluten free in mind, today I'm reviewing Good Thins gluten free crackers.

Costing me $2.99 for a 3.5 ounce box at my local big box grocery store, I selected the simply salt variety made with rice.

These are good crackers!  I kind of expected a rice cake taste and texture to the cracker but these are WAY better than that!  These are crisp, salted nicely and very tasty on their own.  These crackers also hold up well to dips and are a great pairing with cheeses and deli meats.  Bonus thought:  If you're into wine, Good Thins would be a fantastic addition to a Charcuterie board.

Good Thins Crackers
Tasty Crackers!

The crackers are a bit on the smallish side and because they're gluten free the price is a bit higher and the box a bit smaller than what you will pay and get in a traditional cracker.  The taste and diversity of these crackers makes the price worth it however.  I'm giving Good Thins gluten free simply salt crackers made with rice 4 out of 5 stars.  Coming in a range of flavors, such as barbecue, jalapeno & lime and garden veggie, I'm looking forward to trying them all!

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....


Food Review: Sea Cuisine Potato Crusted Cod

By Mike Thayer

Sea Cuisine Potato Crusted CodI try to eat fish at least once a week.  I do it because I like fish, not just because it's healthy but the health aspects are undeniable.  Fish is a great source of protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B-12, in short, fish is good for the heart and the brain.

There's all kinds of fish variety and preparations available out there at reasonable prices, cod, tilapia, salmon, tuna, shrimp, baked, grilled, smoked and fried (not so healthy).  For dinner on a Wednesday night, I sampled a potato crusted cod made by Sea Cuisine.

Costing me about $8 at my local grocery store for two cod fillets the 'potato' crust is a typical bread crumb mixture blended with potato, onion, cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic and celery seed.  So if you're into being gluten free, the crust on this cod isn't wheat free, it's a lot lighter on the gluten, but not gluten free.

20210210_195143Prepared per the package instructions - baked - this fish came out of the oven smelling fantastic and with that mouth watering visual of being golden, brown and delicious.  I am guilty of a bit of a cheat, lightly spraying the fillets with olive oil before placing in the oven, enhancing the golden brown color and the crunch.

In taking that first bite, I was not disappointed!  The cod was moist, light and flaky, the crust provided a nice little crunch.  The fillets, weighing in at 5 ounces each, are thick and perfectly seasoned, I didn't have to add a thing to them for flavor.  This was a winner, winner fish dinner and I saved the second tasty fillet for lunch the next day.

I'm giving Sea Cuisine Potato Crusted Cod 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's reasonably priced at about $4 a serving, super easy to prepare and most importantly, quite tasty!  It's a repeat buy.

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

Food Review: Bremer Gyros Sandwich Kit

By Mike Thayer

20201219_133251Who doesn't like a good Gyro, right?

The warm pita, the tzatziki sauce, that delicious meat sliced so thin but piled thick and everything topped with juicy, red tomato, and a little onion....  It's another does of YUM!

But finding a good restaurant that serves them can be a challenge, especially with this COVID-19 crap going on with restaurant hours and access not always being convenient.  You can try to piece together everything you need to make gyros at home, but that can be a challenge to, not every grocery store carries the beef/lamb sliced meat that makes the gyro, the gyro, let alone finding a decent package of pita bread.

Enter Aldi and the Bremer Gyro Sandwich Kit

Available at my favorite grocery store, this kit comes with all the base ingredients you need to craft a rather tasty Gryo, all you need to do is add some tomato and onion.  Priced at just $7.49, that breaks down to only $1.50 a sandwich!  You can't get a good gyro that cheap at a restaurant.

20201219_133406This kit is super convenient, you can prepare these in the microwave or stove top, I recommend that latter, giving the meat slices that ever-so-slight crispy edge you're looking for as if the meat was just sliced from the spit.  The ingredients by Bremer are quality ingredients making this kit a repeat buy, I'm giving the Bremer Gyros Sandwich Kit 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars - DEFINITELY a repeat buy!  The meat is seasoned well and the pita is soft and 'pillowy' when warmed.  The only knock I have is the tzatziki sauce is a bit bland, some doctoring is in order, I added more garlic, a bit of dill and a drizzle of olive oil.

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....


Take Your Big Game Spread to the Next Level with Fuzzy’s Taco Shop’s Taco Family Meals

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop has teamed up with Avocados From Mexico to offer guests complimentary guacamole with any purchase of a Taco Family Meal or Chips & Queso Party Tray



Fuzzy's Taco Shop Family Taco Meal copy(1)
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop’s Baja-inspired family meals are sure to score big for any Big Game watch party. The taco shop’s Taco Family Meals offer generous portions of the guest’s choice of meat, sides, fixings and more, and the Chips & Queso Party Tray is a guaranteed way to be the MVP of the day. After all, who doesn’t love football with a side of Baja?

To take your tailgate to championship level, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop has teamed up with Avocados From Mexico to offer guests FREE guacamole with the purchase of any Taco Family Meal or Chips & Queso Party Tray. Fuzzy’s guacamole is made in-house daily with fresh Avocados From Mexico so you won’t want to miss out on this delicious addition to your gameday. The promotion is available Saturday, February 6 and Sunday, February 7.  For orders placed online or through the app, please use code SUPERGUAC at checkout. 

The Taco Family Meal is available in two sizes; regular (serves 4-6, $35) and large (serves 6-8, $50), and includes:

  • Choice of two meats – shredded chicken, seasoned ground beef, spicy pork or grilled veggies (fajita beef, fajita chicken, or shredded brisket are available for an additional charge) 
  • Choice of two sides – borracho beans, black beans, refried beans, cilantro-lime rice, Mix-Mex rice
  • Chips, salsa and Fuzzy’s famous queso
  • All fixings – tortillas, lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, cilantro, feta, garlic sauce, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop Butt Burnin’ Hot Sauce®

 The family meals are available at participating locations and pricing may vary by location. Place your order online at or by contacting your local shop by phone.


Find your neighborhood Fuzzy’s Taco Shop here


Founded in 2003 near the Texas Christian University campus in Fort Worth, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop® is a fast casual restaurant serving Mexican favorites with a splash of Baja. The laid-back atmosphere pairs perfectly with signature Baja-style tacos, famous chips and queso and icy-cold beverages always served at a chill price. With nearly 150 corporate- and franchise-owned locations in 16 states, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop was named Nation’s Restaurant News’ #10 “Fastest Growing Chains” of 2018, was included on Franchise Business Review’s “Top Franchises” list in 2017 and was one of QSR magazine’s Top 6 “Best Franchise Deals by Franchisee Satisfaction” in 2016. For franchising information, visit

When you don't have off-the-shelf fajita seasoning on hand

By Mike Thayer

Fajita seasoning
Mike's Fajita Seasoning

Here's a great little fajita seasoning you can quickly put together if you find yourself without an off-the-shelfer in your cabinet....

Mike's Fajita Seasoning

  • 1-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

This will be more than enough to season about two pounds of flank steak or whatever cut of meat you've chose to use for your fajitas.  Bottle the rest for later use!

And if you haven't already enjoyed my Flank Steak Fajita recipe, here 'ya go!

It's the second recipe on the page.  It's another dose of YUM!

Related:  Essential must haves for stocking your pantry and fridge

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

Enjoy grilled terriyaki salmon without emptying your wallet

By Mike Thayer

Fremont Pink Salmon
Salmon that doesn't break the bank

I try to eat fish once a week and salmon is something I always have on hand in my freezer, but salmon can be a bit pricey, especially if you prefer wild caught, no skin fillets and pin bone removed.  Depending where you shop and how you prefer your salmon, you can pay anywhere from $6 to $20 a pound.

Fremont Pink Salmon, a product available at Aldi for just $3.99, is a wild caught salmon product that provides quality fillets for a very reasonable price.  Coming in a one pound package, the fillets are individually wrapped and average about 4 ounces per fillet.  That works out to less than $4 a pound for salmon, I'll take it!

I'm giving Fremont Pink Salmon 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's convenient, nicely packaged and the price is right, but it is budget salmon.  You're not getting thick, robust fillets with this product, but they take on marinade well and delivers good salmon flavor.

4 stars

Below is a super easy and delicious way to prepare salmon on the grill.

Doing fish on the grill adds another layer of flavor!  Smoke does A LOT for fish, so does the kind of heat you get from a grill. The texture of fish changes when placed directly over a fire and it absorbs smoke flavor readily. Fish and the grill are a perfect pairing because what turns out to be mush in a poached offering, becomes crispy on the outside but tender on the inside deliciousness in a perfect bite delivered from the coals...... What is bland in a baked preparation becomes, "I didn't know salmon could taste this good!" in a grilled preparation.  And I don't care how much seasoning and pretty decorative parsley is placed on a fillet, baked fish sucks.

Teriyaki Salmon

Here's a fantastic marinade for about two pounds of salmon:

Fremont Pink Salmon
Individually wrapped fillets, no freezer burn!

Marinade ingredients

  • Half cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
  • The juice from half a lime
  • One Tablespoon of dried, minced onion
  • One teaspoon of garlic powder
  • One Tablespoon of light brown sugar
  • Couple dashes of balsamic vinegar

Mix all ingredients for the marinade in a bowl or big measuring cup, set aside. Cut your salmon into four equal pieces (optional), place in a Tupperware bowl or a big zip lock bag, pour in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least one hour.  Fish does not need a lot of time to marinate, don't marinade more than four hours, or your fish will turn to mush.  Salmon is great for the grill, remember to take the fish out of the fridge about 20-30 minutes prior to placing over the coals. You’re doing this to inspect the fish and make sure it‘s well covered in the marinade. It’s not about letting the protein come up to room temperature like you hear some of the cooking show talking heads say, that’s just yada, yada talk to kill air time. The truth is, refrigerated meats and/or fish won’t come up to room temperature in just 30 minutes, not even close. OK, back to the salmon…..

Put the fish over direct heat, fish side down at first if your fillets came with skin.  If your fillets do not have skin, you may need a basket to prevent breakage.  Let those fillets sizzle for about two minutes to get some nice grill marks, do NOT cover. Flip to the skin side after two minutes, keeping it over direct heat to get that skin crispy.  Now you can put a lid on it, for about another 3-5 minutes to get that nice charcoal flavor.  Remove from the grill and let them rest.

This recipe is a real crowd pleaser and it's easier on the wallet than you might think!


Food Review: Mama Cozzi's Combo Pizza

By Mike Thayer

20201231_081229Pizza - Perhaps the greatest food invention ever and I don't know about you, but I don't know anybody that does NOT like pizza.....  I usually have a fr0zen pizza or two in my freezer for those times when I'm craving pizza, but don't want to take the time to make one from scratch, let alone shell out $20 for delivery.

Today I'm reviewing Mama Cozzi's Pizza Kitchen, Combo Pizza which I picked up at my neighborhood Aldi store.   Mama Cozzi pizzas are popular with Aldi shoppers, with a variety of frozen and take-and-bake pizzas available. 

The Combo Pizza features pepperoni and sausage.  To me that's not really a 'Combo' pizza, it's just a pepperoni and sausage pizza.  In my eyes, a combo pizza has more than two toppings and would include a veggie or two.

From the Mama Cozzi's frozen pizza label: 

  • Original thin, artificial preservative free crust
  • Made with real cheese
  • Pepperoni made with pork, chicken and beef
  • Sausage made with pork and chicken
  • Great for grilling

20201231_081323Baked according to the package instructions, I did not doctor this pizza like I usually do by adding mushrooms, onion and extra cheese.  I sample this pizza "As is."

Not exactly generous in topping portions, this pizza lacks flavor.  The pepperoni, made with pork, chicken and beef, is not the real stuff, void of a robust flavor you get with a true pepperoni.  The plus side, it wasn't greasy like some of the fake pepperoni you can get on a bargain price pizza.  The sausage has the same problem, lacking flavor from a lack of seasoning.  The crust was bland and approached the cardboard arena.  The sauce was "eh."  A saving grace, the cheese was good and melted nice. 

Priced at under $3, I'm giving Mama Cozzi's Combo Pizza 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's an "eh" pizza and there are better frozen pizzas out there for about the same price.

3 stars

Related: Frozen Pizza Brands, listed here from worst to best



Food Review: LiveGfree Sea Salt Crackers Rock

By Mike Thayer

LiveGfree Gluten Free Crackers
These Sea Salt crackers are tasty!

If you're following a gluten free diet, you already know that gluten free products are typically more expensive than their traditional counterparts. 

Crackers are no exception.  You can easily spend $4 or $5 on a bag of gluten free crackers and not only are they more expensive, you're not getting as many crackers either, with packaging typically weighing in at 4.5 to 5 ounces.  Compare that to traditional crackers, let's go with Ritz crackers for example and on the average you can get a Family Size package - 1 lb, 4.5 oz. - for under $4.   You can get a box of original Triscuit crackers for about $2.50 - a 8.5 ounce box, or a box of Keebler Club crackers, also about $2.50 but for a 10 ounce box.

Enter Live G Free crackers....

LiveGfree Gluten Free Crackers
The size of the cracker measures up to the packaging pic!

Available at Aldi and coming in a 4.25 ounce bag, you only shell out $1.99 for these crackers!  That's less than half of what you typically pay for gluten free crackers anywhere else.  These crackers are tasty whether eaten by themselves or included in a snack tray offering.  They hold up to dips, stack well with meats and cheeses and come in a variety of flavors.  Tried on this occasion, the Sea Salt crackers were quite delicious, the flavors are on point.  Other flavors available are Rosemary & Olive Oil, Black Sesame and Sweet Chili - I'm trying that one next!

If you are living the gluten free diet, these crackers are a great option, tasty and easier on the snack budget vs. other Gluten Free cracker brands.  I'm giving Live G Free Sea Salt crackers 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  They're a repeat buy!

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

Related:  Gluten free crackers that will step up your snack spread and not break the snack budget