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Bachelor on the Cheap: What to do for Thanksgiving

Mike Thayer 2016 (2) By Mike Thayer

So what are you doing for Thanksgiving? 

If you're not into cooking, the smart play is to go to a friend or relative's house.  Be sure to take a bottle of wine, you can't go in empty handed.  It you don't live near the 'nest' and you like to entertain, then the fun play is to have some other single friends over for the holiday.

Offer to make the turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy and have your friends bring the sides, the green bean casserole, stuffing, rolls, the cranberry sauce, some pies for dessert.  This is a really fun way to celebrate Thanksgiving and you get to learn some new things about your friends, like who can cook and who can't!

And don't settle for a turkey in the oven, screw that!  Out of all the ways to prepare a turkey, that is the LEAST flavorful way to do it!

Grill your turkey!

You read that right, grill it.

via www.bacheloronthecheap.com

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Grilling Good Eats: The Juicy Lucy

The Juicy Lucy
This burger was made famous in Minnesota, instead of a burger with a slice of cheese on top, it's a burger with ooey-gooey cheese melted in the middle core of the burger. 

Ingredients:

  • One pound ground beef
  • One pound pork sausage (where my burger is different, another layer of flavor)
  • One Tablespoon Cookies Flavor Enhancer or if you want to keep it simple, salt and pepper
  • American cheese slices
  • ½ stick of butter
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Hamburger buns

Directions:

Juicy Lucy BurgersIn a large bowl, season the ground beef with the Cookies Flavor Enhancer or the salt & pepper and hand mix until the seasoning is incorporated. Add the pork sausage, hand mix again until incorporated into the beef. Form into thin patties, larger than the cheese slices.  Lay a formed patty on some plastic wrap, top with two slices of cheese, then top with another patty and pinch the sides to seal.  When your grill is ready to receive, place the patties over the hot spot to get those great grill marks and a good sear. Keep the lid off and watch for any flare ups.  Because that cheese is in the core of the burger, it's going to be tougher to know when to flip the burger.  Carefully check the underside of a burger and if you've got some great grill marks, go ahead and flip the burgers over to the lower heat side of the grill and get ready to put the lid on.  These burgers take a longer period of indirect cooking time to ensure they are done on the inside.  Before ‘lidding‘, place the butter and garlic in a grill safe dish to melt down on the low heat side of the grill next to those great smelling burgers. Check after about ten minutes. Pull the burgers and let them rest. Apply the melted garlic butter to the hamburger buns and toast. Serve with your favorite burger toppings.  The great thing about these burgers is playing with a variety of cheeses.  Melted cheddar, swiss and or provolone are great too!  Do combinations or specialty cheeses like pepperjack.  Your choices are almost unlimited!

via www.grillinggoodeats.com

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Grilling Good Eats: The Idaho Burger

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

The Idaho burger

This recipe was ‘developed’ by my three young sons on a summer vacation trip to Idaho. It’s pretty much a classic bacon cheeseburger and BBQ sauce with a spin of mine (adding pork sausage), but my boys really thought they had come up with something new. I wasn’t about to spoil their creativity in their grilling moment of discovery.  

Ingredients: (TIP:  Using two meats in a burger makes for another layer of flavor)

  • One pound ground beef
  • One pound pork sausage
  • One Tablespoon Cookies Flavor Enhancer or if you want to keep it simple, salt and pepper
  • 16 slices of pre-cooked bacon
  • American cheese slices
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce
  • ½ stick of butter
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Hamburger buns

Directions:
In a large bowl, season the ground beef with the Cookies Flavor Enhancer or the salt & pepper and hand mix until the seasoning is incorporated. Add the pork sausage, hand mix again until incorporated into the beef. Form into 8 patties. When your grill is ready to receive, place the patties over the hot spot to get those great grill marks and a good sear. Keep the lid off and watch for any flare ups. When you see red juices flowing to the top of the patties, flip those burgers over to the lower heat side of the grill and get ready to put the lid on. Before ‘lidding‘, place the butter and garlic in a grill safe dish to melt down on the low heat side of the grill next to those great smelling burgers. Check after about five minutes. The garlic butter should be melted and the burgers should be about ready. For well done burgers, wait to see the juices run clear. Apply the cheese, top with two slices of pre-cooked bacon and put the lid on for another minute or until the cheese is melted to your liking. Pull the burgers and let them rest. Apply the melted garlic butter to the hamburger buns and toast. Serve with your favorite BBQ sauce. You can either pour it on the burger straight from the bottle, or warm some up in a grill safe dish and spoon some of that mouth-watering deliciousness onto the top bun.

Tip: If you don’t like forming patties by hand, a quick way to get those made is by using a round Tupperware/plastic container type lid and plastic wrap. Invert the lid, line with plastic wrap, then press the ground beef into the lined lid to form a perfectly round patty.

via www.grillinggoodeats.com

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Bachelor on the Cheap: Indoor Edible Garden Project Update

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

20171028_073058Radishes, spinach and beans have sprouted, oh my!

I've really enjoyed putting this project together and I've already got some veggies getting all nice and green in less than a week.

Remember that $600 figure I wrote about in buying a 'ready made' indoor plant shelf equipped with lighting?  I put mine together for about $150.  That my friends, is Bachelor on the Cheap friendly!  The shelf unit itself was the largest expense at about $80, the rest of the budget was spent on some lighting.  It wasn't difficult to attach that lighting to the shelf either, easy peasy. 

Now that the veggies I've planted are starting to sprout, pending updates will be about the coming harvests!  Stay tuned for more Bachelor on the Cheap "Project Indoor Edible Garden" updates!

20171029_080859   

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Burgers, Sausages and Hot Dogs

Mike Thayer 2016Grilling Good Eats

By Mike Thayer

Without question, burgers and hot dogs (that’s spelled, D.A.W.G.S) are the most popular meats to be placed on a grill. In my book, burgers and dawgs are the ultimate summer time comfort foods. Bratwurst and sausages done right on the grill hit the spot as well.

TIP: When making your own burgers, use a ground beef with a higher fat content, like 80/20. The leaner grinds don’t measure up when it comes to juiciness and flavor and are better suited for foods other than burgers. Use the leaner grinds for skillet dishes and casseroles, too lean is too dry for a good burger. 

Remember Grilling Tip #1 from Chapter 2: Ground meats should be cold when putting on the grill. If patties are at room temperature, they tend to fall apart or droop through the cooking grate. As I make patties, I like to stack them with plastic wrap between each patty and put them in the freezer for about an hour before grilling.  And also Grilling Tip #6: When grilling those pre-made frozen hamburger patties, the packaged ‘fresh’ ones from the grocery store and for folks that like their hand made burgers well done, you should only flip your burger once. Assuming you stacked your coals right, after putting your burgers on, when you see red juices flowing to the top, it’s time to flip. After the flip, when you see the juices running clear, you know the burger is well done, the burger is cooked through.

Recipes

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Grilling Good Eats: Tuna Steaks

Tuna Steaks

Quality tuna on the grill is tough to beat.  A nice thick cut tuna steak is to fish, what a Ribeye steak is to beef.  And because tuna is so good, there's really no need to doctor it up much, you want to really enjoy the essence of this fish.  I prepare mine quite simply.   Dress the steaks with olive oil, salt and pepper on both sides.  When the grill is ready to receive, put the tuna steaks over direct heat.  And this is an excellent piece of fish to get those great diamond grill marks on.  Rotate the fish a quarter turn after one minute, then let it sear another minute before flipping, keeping the tuna over direct heat for another minute or two.  With tuna, you don't want to cook it all the way through, you want a strip of pink running through it, just like a medium to medium rare Ribeye.  If you cook tuna all the way through, it tends to dry out, meaning a much less enjoyable piece of fish.   Enjoy tuna steak as is with a side or rice, or slice it up to make some fantastic fish tacos!

via www.grillinggoodeats.com


Bachelor on the Cheap: "Project Indoor Edible Garden" update - Day 4

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

20171026_113623It's Day four on a small project I'm undertaking, creating an indoor edible garden. 

Day one was spent clearing some space for this 'garden', doing some cleaning and planning.

Day two was spent putting together a shelf unit and rigging it with some lighting.

Day three was spent on getting some planting trays and pots ready, to include some planting.

Day four has been spent getting ready to transfer some outdoor plants to the new indoor spot.

Starting from seed:

I got some green beans (bush variety), peas, carrots and radishes in the soil on day three.  This morning I got some lettuces, spinach, beets and tomatoes in the soil.    They shouldn't take long to germinate considering the controlled environment they're in.  I still have a lot on my list to plant:    Green onions, peppers and a variety of herbs. 

I'm having fun putting this project together and am looking forward to harvesting fresh veggies in mid-winter! 

Stay tuned for more Bachelor on the Cheap "Project Indoor Edible Garden" updates!   

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Grilling Good Eats: Tasty Grilled Tilapia

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Tasty Grilled Tilapia

Tilapia is my go-to fish, it's readily available, it's cheap and the best part is it can take on any flavor you want to throw at it.  It is a more delicate fish than the 'meatier' fillets like salmon or tuna, so you may want to use a grill basket or grill sheet when throwing this fish on the grill.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tilapia fillets
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Two tablespoons Cookies Flavor Enhancer or all purpose seasoning salt
  • One lemon, sliced into four wedges and brushed lightly with olive oil

Directions:

Season the fish on both sides with the seasoning salt and place into a large ziplock bag.  Pour in the olive oil and refrigerate for one hour.  When the grill is ready to receive, place the fillets and the lemon wedges over direct heat and put the lid down so the fish and citrus can absorb some smoky goodness.  This fish cooks quickly, it's only going to need about 2-3 minutes per side.  Remember, because this fish is flaky, you may want to use a grilling basket or grill sheet.  Serve the fish immediately, squeezing that grilled lemon wedge over the Tilapia at the table.

Serving Options:  Tilapia is SO versatile!  Brush it with your favorite BBQ sauce before placing on the coals.   A classic preparation of garlic butter with fresh chopped Italian parsley is also very good.  And there's nothing like a little kick, Tilapia brushed with Sriracha is excellent.

via www.grillinggoodeats.com

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Grilling Good Eats: Grilled Shrimp

Simple Grilled Shrimp

Shrimp is such an easy thing to do on the grill, it's quick, delicious and crowd pleasing.  And you don't have to worry about seasoning it up a whole lot, let the shrimp itself, be the star. 

Ingredients:

  • Two pounds of jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • One teaspoon garlic powder
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • One teaspoon dried parsley flake
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Put the shrimp in a large ziplock bag.  Mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the shrimp in the bag.  Refrigerate for one hour.  When the grill is ready to receive, put the marinated shrimp on metal or water soaked wood or bamboo skewers over direct heat.  These cook up rather quickly, about a minute or so on each side or until pink all around with a slight char from the grill.  Hit them with the juice from the other half of the lemon, some garlic butter (if you've been paying attention throughout the book, you know to always have some garlic butter sitting over indirect heat on the grill) and serve immediately.  Ingredient Option:  Add some chili flakes to the garlic butter.

via www.grillinggoodeats.com


Grilling Good Eats: Teriyaki Salmon

Teriyaki Salmon

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

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

Directions
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 marinade, 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 (not skin side), let them 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.   Excellent served with grilled lime wedges, a side of rice pilaf and glazed carrots.

via www.grillinggoodeats.com