Food and Drink Feed

Do you have a 72 hour supply of food on hand?

By Mike Thayer

You'd be surprised to learn how many households don't have much of a food supply in the pantry.  This is typically true for folks that don't like to cook, preferring instead to eat out a lot or order in. 

Do you have meals you can put together from your pantry if the power goes out, there's a bad storm or something as simple as an unexpected visit from family or friends?

Every well stocked pantry should contain enough dry and canned goods to feed a family for at least 72 hours, that's three breakfasts, three lunches and three dinners.   With that in mind, here's a grocery list of essential pantry items for that power outage, the storm preventing a trip to the store, or some unexpected visitors.

Grocery List

  1. A box of cereal
  2. Nonfat dry milk
  3. Vegetable oil
  4. One box of Bisquick
  5. A can of fruit
  6. A jar of jam/jelly
  7. Instant oatmeal
  8. Instant potatoes
  9. A packet of gravy mix
  10. 2 or 3 cans of soup
  11. A can of tuna
  12. A box of pasta
  13. A bag of white rice
  14. Two cans of chicken
  15. A can of tomato paste
  16. Three cans of vegetables
  17. A can/box of juice
  18. A bag of bread
  19. Peanut butter
  20. Salt

If you're a saavy shopper, that list of 20 items can be purchased for about $30 - $35.  That's three days worth of food for a family of four, for the cost of one meal at a McDonald's or Burger King.   A single person can purchase a three-day supply of food for about $14, including bottled water.

Here's what you can do with that grocery list: 

Item Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
3 Breakfasts Cereal Oatmeal Toast/biscuits
  Milk Fruit Jam
    Milk Juice
3 Lunches Peanut Butter/jelly Sandwiches Soup Tuna sandwiches
3 Dinners Rice Pasta Potatoes
  Canned Chicken Tomato Paste Canned Chicken
  Canned Vegetable Canned Vegetable Gravy mix
      Canned Vegetable

And here's the beauty of this list - believe it or not you won't consume it all (keep portions small in an emergency).  You'll have leftover Bisquick, jam, oatmeal, peanut butter, dry milk...  It's something you can build on.  The other great thing about building a food reserve in your pantry is you'll save money down the road.  Once you build up a reserve to cover a 72 hour period, it's easier to stock up for a week's supply, then a month.....  You'll be fighting food inflation (prices are always rising in case you haven't noticed) and your grocery list can become more flexible.  There's no reason NOT to do it, even if you're not much of a cook.

So the next time you grocery shop, don't use the "What sounds good for dinner?" mentality, use the mindset of building your pantry for another 72 hour period in addition to your regular grocery shopping.  Don't think menu item like lasagna, think in terms of I need to buy some kind of grain, some kind of bean, some kind of oil, a sugar, a spice.  Mix things up a little, buy some dried beans, a small bag of brown rice, a jar of honey, perhaps some dried soup mixes.  Down the road, you'll find that your pantry will hold a range of variety  for you, making menu planning so much easier and not nearly as hard to shop for.

And something else you may not want to overlook, bottled water.  Floods, power outages and other events can put a temporary stop on your access to tap water.  Always have some bottled water on hand.  A family of four needs about 12 gallons for a 72 hour period.  That figure includes water use not just for cooking and drinking, but the little things too like brushing your teeth, some washing/cleansing or perhaps medicinal use.

It's easy to start building a food reserve!

Kicking boxed mac & cheese up another notch - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

A scratch made Mac & Cheese is always the best, but there are times when one of those boxed varieties will satisfy the craving for some classic cheesy pasta.

Kicking those boxed varieties up a notch in flavor is easy.

20190709_202551Tip One:  If you've got the time, always include some oven baking time for your Mac & Cheese.  Stove top is good, but oven baked is SOOOOOOO much better.  All you have to do is add a little more liquid, to keep those noodles from getting too dry while baking in the oven until golden, brown and delicious on the edges.  Add some more milk, or better yet, use cream!

Read the full article and get some doctoring mac & cheese ideas at

Food Review: Breakfast Best brand sausage, egg & cheese croissant sandwiches - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and my go-to meal is a Jimmy Dean sausage, egg & cheese croissant sandwich and a cup of coffee.  It's a convenient, simple, but pleasurable hot breakfast to start my work day. 

20190610_080018I can pick up a box of 12 Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches at Costco for about $12, that's $1 per sandwich, that's cheap but tasty eats!  But when shopping at Aldi one day, I happened across their discount brand version, the Breakfast Best sausage, egg & cheese croissant.  At only $3.99 for a box of four sandwiches, I thought I would give them a try.  Would they be as good as Jimmie Dean's?

Similar in almost every way to the Jimmy Deans, I removed the sandwich from the wrapper, put it on a paper plate (easy clean up!) and microwaved it according to the box instructions.  About three minutes later, I was enjoying breakfast and a cup of hazelnut coffee with cream.

Read the full review at

IHOP's Country Omelette = Delicious - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

IHOPI did a bit of traveling through the Midwest recently and having some time for a sit-down breakfast, I ventured into an IHOP in Coralville, Iowa.

It's been awhile since I've eaten at an IHOP, in fact since I did a review of their Bacon Temptation Omelette, which was fantastic!  Tempted to have that again (you see what I did there?....) I opted for their Country Omelette.  

"What, an omelette instead of pancakes or waffles when dining at the International House of Pancakes?"....  You say.

That's right, I'm not a big pancake or waffle kind of guy.  I don't like sweet for breakfast, I have to go savory, eggs, meat and cheese fits the bill for me.

I was seated without wait after entering the establishment at about 9am.  The restaurant wasn't busy as I took a seat but it wasn't empty either, with a sprinkling of folks enjoying their first meal of the day and a few more trickling in as I opened the menu.  The waiter asked what I wanted to drink.  "Coffee please," I replied and off he went to fill up that IHOP traditional tableside pot of java. 

The waiter returned with the pot of coffee, took my Country Omelette order and I then proceeded to doctor up my cup of Joe with some cream and sugar.  Shortly after stirring and enjoying a few slugs, my order arrived.

20190601_090414Here's the description from the IHOP website:  Our delicious blend of ham, cheese, fresh onions and hash browns is topped off just right — with a dollop of sour cream. Then we serve your omelette with your choice of one delicious side: three buttermilk pancakes, hash browns, toast or fresh seasonal mixed fruit.

What a delicious breakfast!  The omelette was perfectly prepared, the eggs were fluffy and I got the ham, cheese, fresh onion and hash brown in every bite.  Just look at all that cheese!  Dipped into that dollop of sour cream, every forkful of omelette was a dose of YUM!  Ordered with a side of yes, more hash browns, the bill for my breakfast came to about $13.  That's not exactly Bachelor on the Cheap friendly, but on this occasion, I'm OK with it.  You just won't get something like this at a fast food joint.  It's OK to splurge once in awhile.  IHOP's Country Omelette was tasty, tasty, tasty!

The restaurant was clean, the service was friendly and fast, and most importantly the food was excellent!

IHOP gets 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap Stars

4 stars

Spend Wisely My Friends.....

Food review: Tostitos vs. a discount brand of tortilla chips - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

Don't buy this....

Don't pay too much for tortilla chips!

If you're stuck on buying the name brand, stop it.  You're throwing money away.  Why pay over $3 maybe $4 for a name brand when you can get a discount brand of tortilla chips that are every bit as good for less than $2?

Read the full review at


Drink Review: Bird Dog Strawberry Whiskey - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

Blended and flavored whiskeys are red hot right now, consumer demand for brown spirits continues to rise with American Whiskey in particular seeing some phenomenal sales growth.

Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks.  My favorite in all this tasting fun so far, has been Yukon Jack Jacapple.

20190620_091942Today's tasting is Bird Dog Strawberry Whiskey.  I've sampled Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey, was well as Bird Dog Apple, both of which I enjoyed.  

Read the full review at


BBQ Sauce Challenge: Ranking the popular BBQ sauces from worst to first -

By Mike Thayer

What is the most popular thing to add to meats cooked outdoors?

BBQ Sauces

20190217_182745It’s true, the most popular thing to add to the plethora of meats cooked outdoors is BBQ sauce. If you had guessed ketchup, believe it or not, you would be wrong.

The person who invented BBQ sauce is unknown, but whoever he was, he was a genius! References to the sauce started appearing in 17th century English and French literature about the formation of the American colonies. The rest is history and boy has BBQ sauce been kicked up a notch with all kinds of flavors and varieties created over the last 400+ years!

A traditional flavoring for pork, beef and chicken, sauce can range from watery to thick, from being heavy on the vinegar to being loaded with spice. Ranging in flavor from sugary to savory, to HOT!, heck, there’s even mustard and mayonnaise based BBQ sauces. It’s a regional thing, there’s Carolina BBQ; Tennessee whiskey BBQ; Texas BBQ; and the favorite of many, Kansas City Style BBQ.

Kansas City BBQ Style: This is a thick, rich tomato based sauce that’s got some spice but is heavier on the sweet. Tomato, brown sugar and vinegar are the base ingredients. It really doesn’t penetrate the meat and is more like a frosting than a marinade. It glazes real nice though when put on the meat about 10 minutes before pulling off the grill, a beautiful finish. This is the most popular style of BBQ sauce in the U.S. and what you see the most of in the bottled varieties on the grocery store shelf. Be careful with the store bought stuff though! The high sugar content of the ‘ready’ varieties tend to burn real quick so keep an eye on your dinner.

Texas BBQ Style: This has more kick than Kansas City style. It has less tomato, less sugar and a lot more spice such as cumin, black pepper, chili pepper and even chili powder. Meat drippings and hot sauce - Tabasco - are always part of this style and fresh veggies like green bell pepper and onion are often added.

East Carolina Mop: This simple but tasty sauce was pioneered by the African slaves of Scottish settlers in the region. It’s a straight forward combination of hot pepper flakes, ground black pepper and vinegar. The reason it’s called a mop is because this thin concoction is literally mopped - basted - on the meat throughout the cooking process, the flavor really penetrates! With little if any sugar and no tomato in this style, East Carolina Mop is a sharp contrast to other sauces.

Western Carolina Dip: From the hilly areas of North Carolina, most American sauces can trace their roots to this one. The recipe usually consists of a base of black pepper blended with tomato paste or tomato sauce, or ketchup, with vinegar added to balance it out. Like the East Carolina Mop, this is a thin sauce that is mopped on the meat throughout the cooking process.

South Carolina Mustard Style: This is a whole new BBQ sauce experience. Early German settlers developed this one and while good on chicken, it’s tailor made for pork. A little thicker than its Carolina cousin sauces, a simple recipe consists of mustard, vinegar, spices and a little sugar. It’s fantastic on a pulled pork sandwich topped with coleslaw!

Tennessee Whiskey Style: Made famous by the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Barbecue Invitational, this method of flavoring meats is also referred to as ‘Memphis Style’ has become so popular it now deserves its own category. This combination of vinegar, whiskey, molasses, spices, and Worcestershire sauce gives BBQ a whole new flavor profile.

There are all kinds of variations and morphing of styles out there, there are probably all kinds of choices available at your favorite grocery store.

In this bbq sauce challenge, I focused on trying the 'base' or original varieties of all brands when possible.   So after all this sampling and making comparisons, which store-bought sauce do I think is the cream of the crop?  Is it KC Masterpiece?  Sweet Baby Ray's?  Stubbs?  Something else?

Keep in mind after all this sampling, the best bbq sauce is made from scratch, but there are going to be those times when you don't have time to make any.  Having a store-bought variety you like on hand is a good thing for those impromptu bbq cravings, a way to doctor a burger up and/or "Plan B"/leftover offerings.  I hope this list helps you in your store-bought bbq sauce shopping!

For the list of worst to best BBQ sauces, go to

Drink Review: Yukon Jack Perma Frost Schnapps - Bachelor on the Cheap

20190609_174016_resizedBy Mike Thayer

In my sampling and tasting of various flavored whiskeys, I've become a fan of Yukon Jack Jacapple, a very nice pairing of apple, spice and a smooth bourbon.

Every time I need a resupply in visiting my neighborhood liquor store, there's this bottle of "Perma Frost" parked right next to the Jacapple....  It's not a flavored whiskey, but I decided to give it a try.

The Yukon Jack description:  A Canadian schnapps flavoured with peppermint and cinnamon to give an interesting burst of hot and cold in the mouth. 

Read the full review at

Food Review: Parkview Cheddar Brats - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

20190607_142023No fridge or freezer is complete without a variety of bratwurst, hot dogs or sausages of some sort in it.

Today I'm reviewing Parkview Cheddar Brats.  Parkview is an Aldi brand and I picked up this package of six brats for just $2.49.  That's not a sale price, that's the regular price!  Fully cooked, all I needed to do was heat these through before slapping them on a bun.  I opted to pan fry, drizzling them with a bit of olive oil over medium heat for about seven minutes.

Read the full review at


Food Review: Specially Selected Lattice Cut Kettle Chips - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

Specially Selected
Tasty, tasty!

Shopping at Aldi and in the ever-dangerous chip area, I happened upon Specially Selected brand Lattice Cut Kettle Chips, Aged Cheddar and Black Pepper.

I love chips prepared kettle style...  Who am I kidding, I love chips prepared ANY style!...  But I've never had lattice cut chips before, let alone the flavor combination of cheddar and black pepper, so I grabbed a bag.

Read the full review at