Category Archives: FOOD

The Ultimate Snack Burrito

Here is a fun little morsel that I put together tonight when I was looking for something to snack on, but didn’t want to cook anything.

PBJC BurritoAs a bachelor, I am constantly moving back and forth over the line of ‘to cook my food or to not cook my food’. I don’t have a family or significant other to cook for, so often times I’ve really got to be inspired to cook anything of note. The times I don’t cook, I’ll either just grab a bowl of cereal for dinner, or polish off a bag of Tostitos with a bowl of salsa, and maybe an apple so I can feel good about my decisions (don’t judge me).

When I come home from work and don’t want to do anything because my brain is mashed potatoes, there’s nothing wrong with a bowl of Ramen and a stick of string cheese. But then there are other times when culinary creativity strikes, but the need to go grocery shopping is close at hand and only remnants of what was once a plethora of choice cuisine remain.

It is in these times that bachelor creativity has the potential to shine the brightest! With only a few items in the cupboard and a willingness to try something new, things like this little jewell tend to emerge. There’s not much else to say about it, so I’ll just call it what it is.

The peanut butter, jelly, and Cheerio burrito.

I had in my cabinet a jar of creamy peanut butter, a box of cereal, and a package of tortillas. I took the jelly from the fridge and thought to myself, if I can enjoy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I’ll bet I can also enjoy a peanut butter and jelly burrito! But then I realized that that would just be a tortilla filled with goop. Delicious goop, but goop nonetheless. So I looked to my Cheerios to lend their substance to the otherwise formless and squishy concoction.

I know, I know, it sounds weird, but it’s a simple and delicious little snack wrap that’s both satisfying and healthy … well, at least satisfying! Incidentally, this is also a great portable snack to load up for kids on day trips and what not … probably. Just wrap it up in plastic or foil or something and it’s good to go!

There ya go. If you would like to try your hand at this strangely delicious spectacle of culinary oddity, you can find a “recipe” in the recipes section of the blog.

That’s all until next time!

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The Art of Chili

First let me acknowledge that it’s been a while since I’ve posted, and for that, I apologize. I’ve had more life and less food happening lately. But it’s good. Lessons have been learned, growth has been achieved. What’s life without a few bumps right?

Anyhow, it’s been getting cooler around here lately, and so the other day, I decided to make a batch of chili. Truly one of the simplest meals to make, chili is an art form. Often times the best chili is impossible to reproduce, making every great chili one of a kind.

All one needs to make a memorable chili is a crockpot, some cumin, and enough ingredients to fill in the rest. Like I said, it’s not hard, and if you’re creative, you can make some interesting flavors, as you can make chili out of just about anything! I’ve been known at my company’s annual chili cook-off to make some of the tastiest chili in the line up.

I remember one year I made what I called White Fire Chili. It was a white chicken chili with plenty of jalapeños and black pepper. That was my first foray into the chili arena. Another year I made a Black Mango Chipotle Chili, for which I “roasted” my own peppers and garlic on a charcoal grill. I say “roasted” because I left them on for a bit to long, and my peppers were a more blackened than I had intended intended. But they still had plenty of heat! Combined with a couple mangos, it made for a delicious sweet and savory spice. Another year I made a Buffalo Chicken Chili. That was a good one! I even made my own Buffalo sauce. Fact: Buffalo sauce is almost half butter. A year later, I made a Spicy Chipotle Chili. I think that was by far the hottest chili I’ve made to date. I decided to outsource my chipotle peppers after my last attempt at roasting peppers, and with two cans of roasted chipotle peppers, a few habaneros, and plenty of garlic & cumin, it had a hefty kick, but it was so tasty the pain was well worth it!

sChiliThis time, the decision to make chili was a last minute one, and so I just used what I had on hand (with a little help from friend). I was making it for my church small group, so I couldn’t give it too much of a kick. It wasn’t my best chili, but it was still pretty good. It was simple enough that it may be reproducible. A simple tomato based chili with ground turkey, beans, and a few hot peppers to give it some tingle, it’s a lean but delicious concoction. I’ll drop a recipe in the recipes section of the blog. You can try it for yourself, or you can use my recipe as a launch pad to prefect your own one or a kind creation!

What is the best chili you’ve ever made or tasted? Drop a note in the comments below!

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Burritos! For Breakfast!

Every once in a while, on my way to work I’ll swing by McDonald’s and get a couple of their sausage burritos for breakfast. They’re small, but they’re only a buck. The only issue (well, one of the issues) is that while it seems like a simple burrito – just sausage, cheese, eggs & peppers, I don’t really know what all is in there. I’m guessing that there’s a pretty good amount preservatives and fat in there that wouldn’t be there if I were to make my own.

Breakfast-Burrito

I know I said a good burrito doesn’t need a plate, but for the sake of showing the burrito innards, I’ve used a plate.

This got me to thinking. What if I just made a bunch of my own burritos and froze them. Then I could just pop one into the microwave before I leave for work, and voila! Instant breakfast! And that’s what I did.

Instead of using pork sausage, which naturally has a high fat content, I used ground turkey. It’s surprising, ground turkey, when it’s browned, has almost the exact same texture as hamburger. It tastes a bit different, but not much. Plus it’s naturally something like 95% lean. With the ground turkey, I used eggs, onions, green peppers, jalapenos, and shredded mild cheddar. It took about an hour and a half to cook everything and fold and wrap the burritos, but it was worth it. Sixteen frozen breakfast burritos can last quite a long time.

On a side note, about year ago, I was eating at Taco Bell fairly regularly, and as I would wait for them to prepare my order, I would watch them speedily fold their burritos. From that consistent and regular observation, I was able reverse-engineer their burrito fold and copy it. This method – I call it the air-tight seven fold burrito – makes sure that everything that’s inside the burrito stays inside the burrito. I’ve found it to be very effective. I’ve illustrated it for you, so you too can fold burritos like a boss!

If this idea has you inspired to do the same, you can find the recipe on the recipes section of the blog.

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Holy Guacamole

Guac-IngredientsTonight, I tried my hand at a creation suggested by one of my good friends. She is walking along with me in this fruit and vegetable desert. We’re often exchanging ideas about how to break up what can become a monotonous stream of fiber. She’s very creative, so I’m always eager to hear what she’s coming up with. The other day she told me she had enjoyed black beans topped with guacamole. Anything, according to her, with guacamole on it is bound to be delicious.

I’m inclined to agree. So I borrowed her idea. However, I decided to add to it a bit to make this my own. What I ended up with is a simple yet delicious plate of seasoned black beans over a bed of brown rice, topped with a mango-lime guacamole.

The unlike most guacamoles I’ve tasted, the mango and lime work together to give it a sour and sweet quality that goes very will with salty things (such as tortilla chips). Unfortunately, tortilla chips are not part of the landscape of this veggie desert. This is where the beans and rice come in. Savory black beans with a sweet guacamole isn’t the same as guac and chips, but it’s still pretty damn delicious! I recommend it!

Black-Beans-and-Rice-with-Guac

If you’d like to try it, you can find the recipe in the recipes section of the blog.

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disappointment

I was not feeling particularly led to cook anything today. Not really. I already have a couple sets of leftovers from the few previous meals I’ve cooked – all of them delicious – and there really isn’t a need. There’s that, and there’s also the fact that I’m still making my way through my self-imposed fruit and vegetable desert. When you can’t cook what you really want, the desire to cook is somewhat diminished. But… I figured since this is still a budding little blog, it would be a good idea to do something. So I thought, what can I cook that requires the least effort, but will still be worth sharing with all of you.

ImageLong story short, I cooked up some black beans and rice with avocado & mushrooms. It was alright, but it wan’t great. I plated it and tried to make it look nice and pretty, and honestly, for as simple as it was, it tasted pretty good. But the reality is, when all you really want is a bowl of fruit loops & milk, a plate of black beans & rice really doesn’t do much. You know?

So I finish my meal and get on my computer to check email and I see that one of my fellow food bloggers has posted a new recipe. I like to see what other cooks in the bloggosphere are up to, so I checked it out. Given the disappointing experience with tonights dinner that I just recounted, this was a poor decision.

I click on the link to go to her blog, and she has posted a recipe – with pictures – of Red-Lobster-style cheddar biscuits! WITH PICTURES!! Oh my word! I thought my beans and rice didn’t measure up to fruit loops. Put it up against those lumps of baked cheesy goodness, I might as well be eating mud.

Anyway, now that I’ve really sold you on MY creation, if you’d like to try it out for yourself and draw your own conclusions, you can find the recipe in the recipe’s section of the blog.

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Vegan Buffalo Wedges

I was out the other night with some friends at a local bar, playing a game of competitive trivia, when one of the guys that was with us came back after being gone for a little while with box full of Buffalo wings. My eyes got wide and my mouth started to water, but then almost instantly I was punched in the tastebuds when I reminded myself, I’m still doing this three week no meat no dairy, fruits and vegetables only diet.  But they’re Buffalo wings!  Right there in front of me!

But allas, Buffalo wings contain both meat, and dairy – Buffalo sauce is about half butter – and are usually fried. Three strikes. All I could do was stare longingly at my friend’s Buffalo wings as I sat in the bar with my cohort, drinking my cup of water. All the while my stomach is screaming at me ‘Why!? Why are you doing this to me!? WHY!?’

All that to say, since that night I’ve been craving Buffalo wings, but I’ve got two more weeks to go with this diet. Two more weeks in this meatless, cheeseless vegetable desert. It’ll be worth it though. I’ve done this before, and I know that at the end, I will feel so incredibly healthy. It will be good, even though I have to give up Buffalo wings for while.

Anyway, Fast forward a couple days to me lying in bed, and an idea pops into my brain. I’ll bet I can make a buffalo sauce without using butter. And I can’t have chicken, but I can have potatoes! So I determined myself to find a way to make vegan Buffalo potato wedges.

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And I did. Instead of using butter, what I ended up doing was using butter beans. If you’ve never seen these, they are large pale beans that, when they’re heated up, the insides become very squishy, almost like butter. They’ve got a very nice, almost creamy texture. So I boiled them in some water, mashed them with a fork, and strained out all the bean skins. What I was left with was a kind of sloppy, cream-like bean paste. Add a bit of vinegar, a good amount of Frank’s RedHot, and some seasoning and bring it to a simmer. Boom. Butter-less Buffalo sauce!  Add a green pepper and guac salad to go along with it. That’s a good lunch right there!

When it was all said and done, the sauce was more like a paste, but the flavor was dead on. I was craving Buffalo wings, but my alternative – vegan Buffalo potato wedges – kicked that cravings ass!

If you’d like to try your hand at this, you can find the recipe on the Recipes page.

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