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Recipe Menu: Audio Files - Grilling Good Eats

By Mike Thayer

Now you can start putting together your favorite Grilling Good Eats recipes in the kitchen while listening to yours truly read you the ingredient list and recipe directions on your phone, tablet or computer!

Another great reason to use the audio file:  Listen to the ingredient list while you're at the grocery store!

You'll find the audio file link listed below each recipe on their respective pages (beef recipe page, chicken recipe page, pork recipe page, etc.) to include grilling tips.  Just click and listen to your favorites or check out a recipe you haven't tried yet as you put the ingredients together and fire up the grill. 

Better yet, here they all are listed together on a convenient, one-stop, 'menu' page.

BEEF

Download Mike's Skirt Steak Recipe

Download Mike's Flank Steak Fajitas

Download Mike's Beef Kabobs

Download MIke's Ribeye Steak Recipe

Download Mike's Sirloin Steak Recipe

Download Mike's Filet Mignon Steak Recipe

via www.grillinggoodeats.com


Grilling Good Eats recipes now available on audio files

Now you can start putting together your favorite Grilling Good Eats recipes in the kitchen while listening to Mike read you the ingredient list and directions on your phone, tablet or computer!

Another great reason to use the audio file, listen to the ingredient list while you're at the grocery store!

The audio file link is listed with each recipe, just click and listen to your favorites or try a new one as you put the ingredients together and fire up the grill.

Coming Soon:  A one-stop recipe page listing all the great recipes in one place - a recipe "menu" if you will.....

Here's an audio file example:  Download Mike's Skirt Steak Recipe

via www.grillinggoodeats.com


Mike Thayer's Carb-Check Diet: Stocking your pantry, fridge and freezer

Mike ThayerBy Mike Thayer

I recently posted a Bachelor on the Cheap article about stocking your pantry.  The list provided for all the essentials for creating meals and snacks representing all the food groups. 

"But Mike," you ask, "What about your Carb-Check diet, you aren't eating chips, pasta, breads, or rice, how do you stock your pantry for that?"

Excellent question, and I'm here to help.

The key here is the same as for stocking a traditional pantry and fridge - stock up only with items you really like.  Don't buy things that are "good for you" or items that are "OK" but you really don't eat that often.  If you tolerate but don't really enjoy fish for example, there's no sense in having any of that in your freezer.  Buy a larger amount of a protein you really like instead. 

Doing the Carb-Check Diet actually saves money at the grocery store

When I first started my Carb-Check Diet, I thought I would spend a lot more at the grocery store, having to buy more meats, cheeses and produce than normal to make up for the loss in breads, pastas, rice, potatoes and chip snacks.  But as I've 'witnessed with my own eyes' over the last couple weeks on this diet, I'm actually spending LESS at the grocery store.  I really didn't anticipate that, but in planning meals and shopping for the ingredients, I'm not shelling out as much cash!  Consider this:  A box of pasta is good for 2 or 3 meals and it's easy to over-eat.   But a 10 pound pork loin can provide 12 - 15 meals in butchering up a couple small roasts, some chops and a bit of stew meat.

Here's the Carb-Check stock list:

Basics for the Pantry ~ Items you need for just about whatever you're making, be it frying, roasting, grilling or baking

  • Kosher salt
  • Regular table salt
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Some kind of vegetable oil
  • Vinegar ~ you could go crazy here, there are a lot of vinegars out there, regular, red wine, rice wine, balsamic, champagne, sherry...  go with what you know and like.  I keep regular, rice wine (it's mild) and balsamic on hand

Baking Basics for the Pantry ~ I'm striking through what a regular pantry has, because there's no cake, pie or biscuit making with the Carb-Check Diet.  You'll see the strike through in other categories as well.  It also helps to show the money savings you'll see by not having to buy such items.

  • All purpose flour
  • Pancake/waffle mix
  • Biscuit and/or cornmeal mix
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Cream of tartar
  • Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • Baking chocolate
  • Evaporated milk
  • Vanilla extract

Sweetener Basics for the Pantry

  • Granulated sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Powdered sugar
  • Artificial sugar
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses ~ a must have to make BBQ sauce!
  • Honey ~ a little bit goes a long way!

Dried Herbs, Seasoning and Spice Basics for the Pantry ~ remember, go with what you know and like

  • All purpose seasoning salt
  • Bouillon cubes and/or powders or pastes, beef & chicken
  • Bay leaves
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground ginger
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ground pumpkin spice
  • Italian seasoning mix
  • Minced onion
  • Old Bay, regular ~ excellent with fish/seafood
  • Oregano
  • Paprika ~ sweet and smoked
  • Rosemary
  • Sesame seeds
  • Thyme

Beverage Basics for the Pantry

  • Coffee
  • Tea ~ remember, go with what you like, if you're not a tea person, grab more coffee from the store shelf, a different flavor/roast for a change of pace perhaps
  • Lemonade/Gatorade drink mix ~ Sure, you could buy the diet stuff, but we're actually trying to cut down on fake stuff as well.  There are times when you need artificial sugar (like that morning cup of coffee), but too much of this stuff is almost as bad as eating too may carbs.

Rice, Grain, Pasta Basics for the Pantry ~ You could go crazy here, there's such a variety

  • White rice ~ long grain, medium grain, short grain, par-boiled, jasmine, basmati
  • Brown rice ~ This diet does allow for a small amount of brown rice, I'm just not a fan
  • Oatmeal
  • Corn meal
  • Breadcrumbs ~ plain, Italian seasoned, Panko, etc., your call
  • Pasta ~ keep a variety on hand, egg noodles, elbow macaroni, spaghetti noodles, spirals, bow ties...

Snacks and Cereal Basics for the Pantry

  • Apple sauce
  • Chips
  • Cookies
  • Crackers
  • Dried fruits ~ for when you're craving that piece of pie...  moderation though and stick to fruits like cranberries and watch for artificially added sugars, read the label.
  • Granola bars
  • Nuts/seeds
  • Peanut butter
  • Pretzels
  • Popcorn ~ eh, this one is kind of borderline.  If you're really looking for a crunchy snack, this is OK to cheat with, but as with anything, moderation is key
  • Your favorite breakfast cereals

Canned Good Basics for the Pantry ~ stick with what you know and love, if you don't like navy beans, don't buy 'em

  • Beef broth
  • Chicken broth
  • Beans ~ you can go so many ways here, cannellini, navy, black, pinto, but NOT baked or refried!  Limit yourself to 1/2 cup servings.
  • Carrots
  • Corn ~ this veggie is just too high in carbs
  • Green beans
  • Mixed vegetables
  • Peas
  • Potatoes ~ Potatoes in moderation are allowed, but not mashed or french fried (two foods so easy to overeat). 
  • Olives
  • Tomatoes ~ all varieties, diced, sauce, paste, etc.
  • Chili's and salsas
  • Tuna, salmon, sardines
  • Chicken
  • Spam ~ yes, Spam, go with the low sodium varieties, Spam and eggs for breakfast is rather tasty

Egg and Dairy basics for the Refrigerator

  • Eggs ~ I like to buy the 18 count containers and I've always got two on hand
  • Milk
  • Heavy cream
  • Coffee creamer
  • Sour cream and/or plain yogurt
  • Butter
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • American cheese
  • Parmesan cheese

Fresh Produce for the Refrigerator ~ pretty much any vegetable is allowed. Fruits on the other hand are, OK, but best enjoyed after a goal weight has been reached.  They are more of a 'maintain weight' food, not weight loss foods due to their higher - but natural - sugar content.

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Broccoli and/or cauliflower
  • Lettuce and/or leafy greens
  • Lemons/limes ~ for marinades and dressings
  • Apples ~ like corn, apples have a high carb load
  • Strawberries ~ moderation, one of the few low carb fruits.  Raspberries and blackberries are other options.

Must-have Condiments for the Refrigerator

  • Jellies/jams
  • Ketchup ~ sugar content is too high
  • Mustard ~ keep a variety on hand, yellow, brown, Dijon, it's a change of pace and it keeps well
  • Mayonnaise
  • Ranch Dressing ~ Italian dressing is a good one too, an excellent impromptu marinade
  • Pickles, relish
  • BBQ sauce ~ The store-bought shelf stuff packs a lot of sugar
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Louisiana Hot Sauce, or Sriracha
  • Soy or Teriyaki sauce ~ a quick stir fry is a go-to meal for me

Basics for the Freezer

  • Ground beef
  • Pork sausage
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • Bacon
  • Frozen veggies ~ peas, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, mixed, whatever you'll eat
  • Frozen fruit ~ a lot of manufacturers put added sugars in their frozen offerings
  • Dough ~ pizza crust, pie crust, puff pastry
  • Vanilla ice cream  ~ topped with some of that fruit, yum!

Fresh Produce for the counter

  • Tomatoes
  • Onions ~ store in your pantry if you've got the space
  • Potatoes ~ There's really no reason to buy a bag of potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Bananas

See all those items that got crossed off the list?   That's savings for the wallet.  And yes, you will be replacing those items with more meats, cheeses and produce, but not as much as you might think.   Note there's no bread on this list, more savings.

So there you have it, a nicely stocked Carb-Check Diet pantry, fridge and freezer.  And remember the best benefit:  Properly stocking a pantry leads to more cooking/baking/grilling, which means eating out less, eating better and saving money!

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Bachelor on the Cheap: Essential must haves for stocking your pantry and fridge

Mike ThayerBy Mike Thayer

Even if you don't like to cook, there are going to be those times when you are perhaps short on cash or eating out just isn't a timely option.  Why settle for a peanut butter sandwich, when you can make a nice pasta dish?  You need to have something available to fix and eat at home and you'll save some cash to boot vs. eating out so often.   And here's a bonus to a well-stocked pantry....  If you don't like to cook but you have a friend or girlfriend that does - they can cook something up for you!

The whole key here is to stock a pantry and fridge/freezer with items you really like.  Don't buy things that are "good for you" or items that are "OK" but you really don't eat that often.  If you're not a peanut butter person, there's no sense in having a lot of that in your pantry, buy a larger amount of something you really like instead.  When it comes to dried herbs and spices, they can get pricey, so don't buy a large variety just because it might impress somebody or you think you'll try it..... but it just ends up getting old.  Buy what you know you like and if you want to experiment, great, but go small.  And when it comes to buying these items, don't shop at the high priced grocery store, you'll find every essential you need at Dollar Tree or Aldi and save a lot of cash doing so.

Basics for the Pantry ~ Items you need for just about whatever you're making, be it frying, roasting, grilling or baking

  • Kosher salt
  • Regular table salt
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Some kind of vegetable oil
  • Vinegar ~ you could go crazy here, there are a lot of vinegars out there, regular, red wine, rice wine, balsamic, champagne, sherry...  go with what you know and like.  I keep regular, rice wine (it's mild) and balsamic on hand

Baking Basics for the Pantry

  • All purpose flour
  • Pancake/waffle mix
  • Biscuit and/or cornmeal mix
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Cream of tartar
  • Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • Baking chocolate
  • Evaporated milk
  • Vanilla extract

Sweetener Basics for the Pantry

  • Granulated sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Powdered sugar
  • Artificial sugar
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses ~ a must have to make BBQ sauce!
  • Honey

Dried Herbs, Seasoning and Spice Basics for the Pantry ~ remember, go with what you know and like

  • All purpose seasoning salt
  • Bouillon cubes and/or powders or pastes, beef & chicken
  • Bay leaves
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground ginger
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ground pumpkin spice
  • Italian seasoning mix
  • Minced onion
  • Old Bay, regular ~ excellent with fish/seafood
  • Oregano
  • Paprika ~ sweet and smoked
  • Rosemary
  • Sesame seeds
  • Thyme

Beverage Basics for the Pantry

  • Coffee
  • Tea ~ remember, go with what you like, if you're not a tea person, grab more coffee from the store shelf, a different flavor/roast for a change of pace perhaps
  • Lemonade/Gatorade drink mix

Rice, Grain, Pasta Basics for the Pantry ~ You could go crazy here, there's such a variety

  • White rice ~ long grain, medium grain, short grain, par-boiled, jasmine, basmati
  • Brown rice ~ I don't really care for brown rice, personal choice, I'd rather stock up with some wild rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Corn meal
  • Breadcrumbs ~ plain, Italian seasoned, Panko, etc., your call
  • Pasta ~ keep a variety on hand, egg noodles, elbow macaroni, spaghetti noodles, spirals, bow ties...

Snacks and Cereal Basics for the Pantry

  • Apple sauce
  • Chips
  • Cookies
  • Crackers
  • Dried fruits
  • Granola bars
  • Nuts/seeds
  • Peanut butter
  • Pretzels
  • Popcorn
  • Your favorite breakfast cereals

Canned Good Basics for the Pantry ~ stick with what you know and love, if you don't like navy beans, don't buy 'em

  • Beef broth
  • Chicken broth
  • Beans ~ you can go so many ways here, cannellini, navy, black, pinto, heck, baked!  And yes, refried counts
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Green beans
  • Mixed vegetables
  • Peas
  • Potatoes ~ yes, really, sometimes you just don't feel like boiling and peeling potatoes to make something
  • Olives
  • Tomatoes ~ all varieties, diced, sauce, paste, etc.
  • Chili's and salsas
  • Tuna, salmon, sardines
  • Chicken
  • Spam ~ yes, Spam, go with the low sodium varieties, Spam and eggs for breakfast is rather tasty

Egg and Dairy basics for the Refrigerator

  • Eggs ~ I like to buy the 18 count containers and I've always got two on hand
  • Milk
  • Heavy cream
  • Coffee creamer
  • Sour cream and/or plain yogurt
  • Butter
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • American cheese
  • Parmesan cheese

Fresh Produce for the Refrigerator

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Broccoli and/or cauliflower
  • Lettuce and/or leafy greens
  • Lemons/limes
  • Apples

Must-have Condiments for the Refrigerator

  • Jellies/jams
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard ~ keep a variety on hand, yellow, brown, Dijon, it's a change of pace and it keeps well
  • Ranch Dressing ~ Italian dressing is a good one too, an excellent impromptu marinade
  • Mayonnaise
  • Pickles, relish
  • BBQ sauce ~ I prefer to make my own, but hey, sometimes you need a "quickie"
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Louisiana Hot Sauce, or Sriracha
  • Soy or Teriyaki sauce ~ a quick stir fry is a go-to meal for me

Basics for the Freezer

  • Ground beef
  • Pork sausage
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • Bacon
  • Frozen veggies ~ peas, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, mixed, whatever you'll eat
  • Frozen fruit ~ strawberries, blueberries, peaches
  • Dough ~ pizza crust, pie crust, puff pastry
  • Vanilla ice cream  ~ topped with some of that fruit, yum!

Fresh Produce for the counter

  • Tomatoes
  • Onions ~ store in your pantry if you've got the space
  • Potatoes ~ another item for the pantry if you've got the space and have fun with this one, there's russet, Yukon Gold (a personal favorite), red potatoes, fingerlings, new potatoes, purple/blue potatoes (great for grilling)
  • Garlic
  • Bananas

Another basic item to keep at the ready and fresh on your counter, a good loaf of bread.  Get away from the mass produced sliced stuff, spend the extra buck here and get a whole loaf, it tastes better.  And no, you don't want to store it in the fridge thinking it will extend its shelf life, it won't.  Putting bread in the fridge actually dries it out which means it won't hold up in a sandwich like it's supposed to and there's the loss of flavor thing.... 

So there you have it, a nicely stocked Bachelor on the Cheap pantry, fridge and freezer.  The nice thing is, you can build this up a little at a time.  Whenever you make a grocery list, refer to this article and add a few items from it to your grocery list.  You'll stock your pantry in no time.   And remember the best benefit:  Properly stocking a pantry leads to more cooking/baking/grilling, which means eating out less, eating better and saving money!

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Mike Thayer's Carb-Check Diet: Pizza Crust Battle - Cauliflower vs. Spaghetti Squash

Mike ThayerBy Mike Thayer

Pizza is one of my favorite foods, but traditional pizza is not something I can have on this diet.  Sure, I can eat all the toppings, meat, cheese, veggies....  But I can't have that bread.

Enter, the replacement pizza crust.  Friends following my diet quest suggested I make a crust using a veggie....  One friend suggested cauliflower, another friend suggested spaghetti squash.  They both sounded good, so I tried them both.

The Pizza Crust Battle

What can I say, I love pizza, so why not bake two pies up and see which one I like better moving forward?

I took my friends' recipes and made two pizza crusts.  The plan, make two pizzas with identical ingredients, except the crusts....  But even in prepping those crusts, the additions of olive oil, oregano, garlic, minced onion, salt, pepper and a couple eggs was the same.

Cauliflower crust pizzaRight off the bat, the cauliflower crust proved to be less time consuming. I was able to put that together - food processors rock! - and blind bake it, making it ready for toppings while the spaghetti squash was still baking in the oven.  That's a plus.  It even looked like a pizza crust pulling it out of the oven after the 20 minute blind bake.  Back in the oven it went for another 10 minutes, topped with sauce, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese.   Fresh out of the oven, I sampled a slice.......  

What, you didn't think I'd give you details on this already did you?   I have to sample the other pizza first.....

After sampling the cauliflower crust pizza, I turned my focus on the spaghetti squash crust, with the squash now having cooled after being in the oven for an hour getting nice and soft.  I scooped the squash out of its skin and into a large bowl, incorporating the oregano, minced onion, salt, pepper, egg using a fork and turning it into a "crust."  Like I did for the cauliflower crust, I blind baked it before putting on the toppings.   Piling on the same delicious toppings as for the cauliflower crust pizza, in ten minutes, I had another beautiful looking pie........

Spaghetti squash crust pizzaI sampled a slice.......

Let me start off the comparison by telling you there's no spin that can be put on this....  Neither crust can be mistaken for a real pizza crust....   It's not as if you're eating it and have to be told it's not bread......  You know you're eating pizza toppings on top of a vegetable. 

But back to the comparison.....

The spaghetti squash crust was the clear winner, no contest. 

The cauliflower crust was OK and as I mentioned earlier, it was quite a bit less time consuming to put together, but the two downsides:  1.  It doesn't hold together as a crust as well as the spaghetti squash crust, the cauliflower tends to crumble.  2.  Flavor.  The spaghetti squash simply has more flavor, especially when enhanced with pizza toppings.

Next time I make a pizza, I'll go with the spaghetti squash, no hesitation. But then again, I might just make a "Meatza."

You can find the recipes for these two crusts on a number of sites, just Google 'cauliflower pizza crust' or 'spaghetti squash pizza crust' and several will pop up.  But know going in, they're all very, very similar.  

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Mike Thayer's Carb-Check Diet, Day 7: Don't fall for any of that 'proper diet' talk and hype

Mike ThayerBy Mike Thayer

Let's see, the U.S. Government diet gurus 'recommend' that you take in about 130 grams of carbohydrates a day which includes 6-8 servings of breads/grains.  But in order to lose weight, advocates of low-carb diets subscribe plans targeting between 20 and 40 carb grams a day....... Hmmmmm....... And aren't those government diet gurus the same people that complain about the obesity problem in this country?

At issue:  The government recommended 130 grams of carbs per day vs. 20-40 carbs per day to lose weight and about 60 grams of carbs per day to maintain a healthy weight according to successful, proven diet plans.  Who is right?

What the government recommends is A LOT of carbs!  Contrast what the government 'recommends' to how successful low carb diets are, people losing 108 pounds, 80 pounds, 60 pounds and so on.......   After dropping so much weight, a person just has to ask, "What gives with the government's daily recommendation? 

A National Institutes of Health report showed that from 1962 until 2006, obesity in adults age 20-74 more than doubled, increasing from 13.4 percent to 35.1 percent.

The average adult weighs more than 26 pounds more than they did in the 1950’s, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

So why is it that when this whole country pretty much ate Wonder Bread, people were skinnier? There wasn't any '12 Grain Whole Wheat' specialty breads on the grocery stores shelf back in the day and there certainly wasn't any 'whole grain' pasta to be found anywhere.  And have you ever seen a fat cowboy? They eat steak and jerky, two high-in-fat-calorie items on the top of the so-called diet guru no-no list.

Hmmmm....

A lot of factors weigh-in (yes, pun intended) to the greater rate of obesity problem.   There are more restaurants, particularly fast food restaurants these days than back in yesteryear.  People today eat out more vs. preparing a meal at home or brown-bagging it to work.  Meal portion sizes are larger than they were back in the day.  As a couple of readers have pointed out, there also wasn't the saturation of processed foods 50-60 years ago.  And many people just aren't as active these days compared to their 1950's and 1960's counterparts.  At work, technology has replaced physical activity and the same goes for entertainment - action on a screen rather than action in a park or backyard. 

So with today's much more technology driven lifestyle, a.k.a. more sedentary lifestyle for many Americans being the case, why on earth does the government and those dietary elites recommend 6-8 servings of carbs daily?  And why the push for "Whole Grains?"

In the 1950's and '60's, people ate Wonder Bread.  Check it out - Classic Wonder Bread: 100 calories a slice, 1 gram of fat, 23 grams of carbs, 4 grams of sugar, 5 grams of protein......

vs.

A slice of your typical whole grain, whole wheat bread: 110 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 21 carb grams, 3 grams in sugar, 5 grams of protein.

And so the government and dietary elites 'recommends' whole grain because?.............

And yes, in all fairness, there are some 'specialty' whole grain breads out there that contain fewer calories and fewer carbs, but they taste like cardboard or worse yet, they're not regular slices, they're far thinner. We're being marketed folks.

Understand that I'm not advocating Wonder Bread, my point is that we're being marketed. The so-called "healthy breads" aren't as healthy for us as we're told they are and we've been brain washed into thinking they're staples for the diet. Our bodies don't need bread and pasta. It tastes great, don't get me wrong, but breads and pastas and to a lesser extent rice should be treated, well, like a treat, not a staple.  But that's not what we're told, that's not what is recommended/preached to us.

And here's more marketing at work: 

Classic, traditional spaghetti noodles, 1 cup: 221 calories, 1.3 grams of fat, 43.2 grams of carbohydrates, 0.8 gram of sugar, 8.1 grams of protein........

vs.

Typical "Whole Grain" spaghetti: 200 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 41 grams in carbs, 2 grams of sugar, 7 grams of protein.

Tell me again why the government and dietary elites push "whole grains"? And look at what the typical food manufacturer does to make the whole grain variety taste better.... they added fat and sugar...... so what's the point?

We're told we should eat more foods such as lentils, rather than white rice......

Lentils, 1 cup: 226 calories, 0.8 grams of fat, 38.7 grams of carbs, 3.6 grams of sugar, 17.9 grams of protein............

vs.

White rice: 242 calories, 0.4 grams of fat, 53.2 grams in carbs, 0 grams of sugar, 4.4 grams of protein.

Now granted, the lentils have slightly fewer calories per cup than white rice, has fewer grams of carbs and is higher in protein..... But does white rice deserve to be poo-poo'd by the government and diet gurus?  

In that push to get us to eat more grains, it's like some elites - government food officials and diet 'professionals' alike, treat certain foods as if it's a fashion faux pa, call it a food faux pa - which really means some people are just acting like arrogant assholes.  White rice is just fine in moderation, but some of these people feeding us advice treat foods such as white bread and white rice and the people that consume them like they're diseased.

We need quality information, not agenda driven information. We're told, "Don't eat white bread!"... "Eat whole grain bread instead." When the truth is whole grain breads aren't really much better at all than classic white bread in nutritional value.  Why the propaganda?

We're told "Whole grain pasta is better for you than regular pasta."  That's really not very true at all, it's very marginally true at best and frankly negligible over the course of a day.   So why are people trying to brainwash us into believing whole grain spaghetti is SOOOOOOOOO much better for us than regular spaghetti?

Don't buy into the hype.

Don't accept lines like "Eat whole grain breads instead of white."  Such advice doesn't really address the problem.  Here's what the government and those so-called diet gurus SHOULD be telling us: "If you had pancakes for breakfast this morning and a deli sandwich for lunch.... then you probably shouldn't have bread/grain with dinner." But NOOOO..... The government recommendation (USDA) for breads/grains is 6-8 servings per day. Granted, the portion sizes we consume are bigger than they should be and many people are eating 2-3 servings in a given meal thinking it's only one (Did you know for example that a package of Ramen noodle soup is really two servings?), but people don't think in terms of servings per day, they think in terms of meals per day. They don't say, "For breakfast I had two servings of grains, one serving of fruit, one serving of dairy and a serving of protein." They say, "I had a breakfast burrito and some strawberry yogurt." The government and diet gurus need to get back to speaking layman's language, relate-able language.  They need to quit telling us that whole grains are SOOOOOOO much better for you than the regular stuff when that's really not the case.

The government recommendation of 130 grams of carbs a day with a focus on "whole grains" is bogus. 

Know that you don't need to eat breads, pastas and grains to get the fiber and carbs you need to function properly.  You can get everything your body needs with vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.  Sure, breads, pastas and rice are tasty, but you don't really need any of it to maintain health.  It's too bad the government and those diet elites can't be honest with us about that.

Oh, and most of the whole grain stuff just doesn't taste as good as the regular stuff our grandmothers' made for us.


Bachelor on the Cheap: Embrace the Crockpot

Mike ThayerBy Mike Thayer

The crock pot, along with the microwave, are two of a bachelor's best buddies in the kitchen.  But crock pots are under-utilized and that's a Bachelor on the Cheap crime.

They're so versatile, easy to use and they can crank out some pretty tasty food.  Even if you don't like to cook, you should embrace the crock pot - give it a big Bromance hug.

I get 30 minutes for lunch at work, so time is critical.  I really don't want to spend 10 minutes of that in the drive-thru and frankly, I can make better food while spending less money to boot.

Here's a great crock pot recipe for you to try, it takes like 5 minutes to put together, doing so before leaving the apartment for work.

Meatballs & Marinara

Ingredients

  • Take about 8 - 10 of your favorite pre-cooked, frozen variety meatballs out of the freezer
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Get out a jar of marinara or your favorite marinara/spaghetti sauce (or better yet, something you made)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried, minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • A pinch of Kosher salt
  • A handful of shredded mozzarella cheese (for serving)

Directions

Place the meatballs and olive oil in the crock pot, pouring in just enough marinara/spaghetti sauce to cover the meatballs.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Put the lid on and set the crock pot on low.  In about 5 hours, you'll have a great, no fuss, no wait-time lunch!  Top with the shredded mozzarella.  This dish is great by itself, or with a good Italian bread for a meatball sub.  Substituting the mozzarella cheese with Parmesan is a nice alternative.




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Bachelor on the Cheap: Buying in bulk

Mike ThayerBy Mike Thayer

I've heard friends and co-workers over the years throw out a number of claims on why they don't buy in bulk to save money:

  • You really don't save much money doing that, it's not worth it
  • You have to buy so much stuff to get the savings
  • I can't afford the membership to places like Sam's Club or Costco
  • I don't have the freezer/fridge/cupboard space
  • I'm too busy, I don't have the time to repackage/re-wrap stuff for storage
  • I'll never eat a 5 pound bag of cheese

That's all horse manure.

Portioning out a 5 pound bag of mozzarellaIf you have time to watch an episode of Big Bang Theory, you have time to break down some meat, cheese and vegetables for the freezer and you'll be glad you did because you'll save a surprising amount of money.  And a side benefit, your food gets portioned out they way you like it.  That saves time in dinner preparation and your freezer will be more organized, easier to pull items from. 

Tonight I spent some time stocking up my freezer with pork chops and a couple roasts by breaking down a 10 pound boneless pork loin, portioning out shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese, as well as a brick of sliced American cheese.  I'm doing this as I watched, you guessed it, Big Bang Theory.

Bachelor on the cheap.....  Buy some food in bulk, portion cheese out for example in smaller bags and stash them in the freezer until needed. It's WAY cheaper than paying $3 each or more for those 12 - 16 ounce bags at a standard grocery store or Walmart.

I portioned out a 5 pound Kirkland brand (Costco) shredded mozzarella bag into 6 smaller bags. Price per pound - $2.37. *Weigh* that (yes, pun intended) vs. the typical everyday price for a 12 - 16 ounce bag at the standard grocery store.... $3 and up.  By breaking down a bulk bag, I saved approximately $3.15 vs buying 5 separate 12 - 16 ounce bags.... In Cheech & Chong terms, that's like a free bag of cheese man!

Portioning out shredded cheddarI did the same thing with Kirkland Brand shredded mild cheddar, a twin pack of cheese, 2.5 pounds each.  I won't eat 2.5 pounds of cheddar cheese in a week, heck even two, and keeping that amount of cheese in its original bag runs the risk of spoilage before it's all eaten.  Hello freezer!  Bachelor on the cheap savings by shopping in bulk at Costco: $2.57 per pound for shredded cheddar vs. $3 and up for 12 - 16 ounce bags at your standard grocery store or Walmart.

The brick of sliced American cheese I bought contains 120 slices.  At $10, that's just over 8 cents a slice and this is deli quality sliced American cheese, not that processed, plastic wrapped singles stuff.  I portioned the brick out into 9 smaller 'bricks', wrapped them in heavy duty foil and put them in the freezer.  The same amount of deli quality cheese like in say, Kraft's Deli Deluxe American Cheese Slices will cost you about $18.

Giving you even more savings is becoming your own butcher and it's not hard to do at all!  I've written about breaking down a pork loin before, here's that link:  Bachelor on the Cheap: Being Your Own Butcher.

My savings today by cutting up my own chops and pork roasts was getting all that meat for $1.89 per pound, vs. $2.49 a pound at a place like the local grocery store.    Buying in bulk - under $19.  Buying the same amount of meat at the local grocery store - $25.  

So to sum, I saved about $3 on portioning out mozzarella cheese, another $3 or so portioning out some cheddar, about $8 with the American cheese and saved about $6 being my own butcher....  All while enjoying an episode of the Big Bang Theory!   Now I've got $20 I can use for gas, or a movie & popcorn, or maybe a bottle of wine to share with a date on date night.

Being your own butcher

 


Grilling Good Eats: Ch. 6 - Pork Recipes

Chapter 6 - Pork Recipes

Grilling Good Eats

by Mike Thayer

Pork is under-eaten and that’s a grill crime. Sure, ribs are popular, but there are so many other cuts of pork that a lot of folks just don’t consider but should. Ribs are fantastic, but so are pork roasts, chops, pork steaks, kabobs and more. They’re all so darn tasty!

My favorite pork cut is the boneless pork loin. You can treat it like a roast, cut it into chops, slice it thin for grilled sandwiches or chunk it up for kabobs. It’s cheap, delicious and a bonus is its flavor versatility. It absorbs marinades/sauces well and works great with just about any chicken recipe. Try using pork loin instead of that chicken breast in your favorite chicken recipe, you’ll like it!

via www.grillinggoodeats.com