Italian Fried Chicken Breast

So I’m sitting at work the other day when I got a text from Mrs. CB mentioning something about dinner.  We figured that it was a night to cook because I was getting off at 3 p.m.  She had a couple of ideas.  But I had an idea so I quick sent her a text with the barebones of the recipe in it.  And frankly it sounded good. (That should give you an idea that there’s some downtime in selling cars).

Let’s see, I texted her the following:  “…take out one of the bigger chicken breasts.  I’ll pound it, bread it, panfry, melt some cheese on top & serve it on top of sketti or grits with some sketti sauce.”

I’m starting to look forward to being just a bit creative for a change.  Doing something with just a bit of panache.  I got home and my phone goes off about 2 minutes later.  It’s 5:45.  (I didn’t get off until 5 because of a customer).  It’s another customer.  She’s telling me that they’re on their way to the dealership to buy the car I showed them the day before.  OK.  It’s a 40 minute drive but I’m on my way.  Long story short, the dinner didn’t get made, sold a car and got home at 10.  Damn.

Italian Fried Chicken Breast

So, the good news is that the next day is my day off.  I can cook up a storm. And I did.  It was the recipe that I imagined the day before.  It felt great!  I don’t get enough chances to do that lately—especially coming up with a new recipe. Continue reading

Posted in Comfort Food, family meals, frying/sauteeing, Italian, pasta & pizza, turkey & chicken | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Ramen Noodle Cold Salad

A lot of the country is starting to get into Fall weather. Not here in San Diego. Over the last 2 or 3 weeks we’ve had some of the hottest, muggiest weather in a long time thanks to 2 hurricanes which came up the coast of Baja California and cut inland far enough south to do us no good at all. We got virtually no rain but 100 plus temperatures and humidity. It’s been miserable.

What do you do when it’s “butt stinkin’ hot” and you don’t want to heat up the kitchen but you want something cool and refreshing, cheap and tasty with just enough meat so you know you’ve eaten something? You get creative.

So I had an idea. Often my food ideas start with a flavor that my imagination puts into my mouth and starts me salivating. And because of that my newest recipe for “Butt Stinkin’ Hot Ramen Noodle Cold Salad” was born.

Butt Stinkin Hot Ramen Noodle Cold Salad

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Posted in Comfort Food, family meals, Oriental, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

BBQ Beef Ribs

Geesh, Cheap Bastid waited until after Labor Day to write about a fantastic dish tailor made for late summer grilling and feasting—BBQ Ribs. Well, better late than never. And, at least in our little slice of SoCal, the grocery stores always lay on Labor Day specials on ribs.

So, let’s start with just a bit of clarification before some good old boy with a big belly and belt buckle and a smoker he hauls around with an F-350 gets outraged. These are NOT barbecued ribs. No way. Barbecue by definition is low and slow on a cooker using woodsmoke to impart a flavor and texture unique to that style of cooking. So what are these? Maybe “faux” BBQ ribs? Who cares. They’re really good! And I’m calling these BBQ Beef Ribs for the “SEO”.

bbq beef ribs plated

For the vast majority of us who do not have the tools and equipment to do a proper barbecue, we can use what we have to get about 85% of the way there and create a feast. And when your grocer has the beef ribs on special you can cook these up pretty inexpensively. Mrs. CB picked ours up at Stater Brothers on special for $1.59 a pound. You can’t get anything for $1.59 a pound anymore that’s how berserk meat prices have become this year. Continue reading

Posted in Beef Recipes, Comfort Food, family meals, grilling, party and entertaining food, Southern Cooking | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Sriracha Mayo on Grilled Chicken Breast

Here’s another quick recipe—especially good on those hot summer evenings when you just don’t want to heat up the kitchen.

OK, this is actually because I had a small “brain-fart” last night and decided to try something just a little bit different—grilled chicken breast with Sriracha Mayo.

We love to grill bone-in/skin-on chicken breasts. While this is not considered as healthy as a bonless/skinless chicken breast, it’s certainly tasty. The bone and skin help to give a bit more flavor and keep it juicy. Cooking it fairly slow renders out the fat under the skin.

Usually I just season the chicken breast with my secret blend of spices—the secret is simplicity using just salt, pepper and garlic. I lift the skin and make sure to get a goodly amount underneath to season the meat and then sprinkle the seasoning all over the outside—top and bottom. For this version I used the smaller grind of salt and pepper and garlic rather than the chunky version I usually do.

And last night I thought to myself—what would happen if I mixed some mayo (actually “salad dressing) with Sriracha? So I got out a small bowl and my trusty spoon. I plopped a couple of good spoonsful into the bowl and then squirted a good teaspoonful of Sriracha into it, tasted it and then another squirt for good measure.

Sriracha  sauce on Chicken Breast

I put the chicken on the grill…bone side down first for about 3-4 minutes then flip it to the skin side for a couple minutes. Then I turned down one side of my gas grill as low as I can and put the pieces on that side, bone side down for about 15-20 minutes.

The last 5 minutes, I slathered the top of the breasts with the Sriracha Mayo and closed the lid. When I opened it, the sauce had caramelized nicely and everything was done.

Oh man, this was tasty. We also used the left over sauce for dipping. What I love about Sriracha is that it gives you a nice little jolt of heat and flavor in your mouth and then goes away ready for the next bite. This caramelized crust had a hint of flavor and the dipping provided the quick jolt. Continue reading

Posted in Comfort Food, grilling, turkey & chicken | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Budget Stretching with Cheap Bastid

If you’re like me, you’ve been scratching your head for a couple of years wondering how long it’s going to be before you wake up one day to discover that you are now a vegetarian.  Not because you happen to prefer vegetables over meat but because you can no longer afford meat.

Isn’t that kind of scary!  So today, I’m going to invite you to do some budget stretching with Cheap Bastid.

You have to shop like crazy anymore to find ground beef for as low as $3 a pound.  Bacon has gone from $1.99 a pound to $5 a pound or more in a lot of places

We find ourselves eating smaller portions of meat and cooking meals where a chunk-o-beef isn’t the star but rather where meat is a part of a dish.  Kind of like Clara Peller in the old Wendy’s commercial saying “Where’s the beef?”

And before some goodie two-shoe out there says something like, “you’re better off not eating meat” I just want to say that we are dedicated, life-long carnivores who would rather gnaw cooked flesh than raw carrots or yummy tofu.

Bacon and Pepperoni

For a while now we’ve been buying our pepperoni supply at Smart and Final.  I can get 3 lbs. of pepperoni, already sliced for about $10.  Now that’s not too bad for pepperoni.  And, I use about a quarter pound of pepperoni on a full size pizza.

So we went on a pepperoni run today at Smart and Final.  We cruised down the prepared meat refrigerator case and I saw something that made me put on the brakes.  They had a 3 lb. package of bacon ends and pieces for $6.  That’s $2 a pound.  When’s the last time you saw bacon for $2 a pound?  Even ends and pieces.  I remember about 3 years ago when the meat manager at our local Stater Brothers told me that he only buys ends and pieces because the “good stuff” was just too pricey.  And it was $2 a pound then!

So I grabbed a package of it.  And we instantly changed our dinner plans from plain old “Sketti” to Mrs. CB’s favorite “Spaghetti AbbaZabba” (what the rest of us call Spaghetti Carbonara).

I spent $16 on 6 pounds of meat.  And, as I have done many times in the past, when I got home I spent about 10 minutes  breaking it down into smaller packages that I can put into the freezer until we need it.

Bacon and Pepperoni Packaged

I got 3 bags, 12 ounces each of bacon slices and 2 bags 6 ounces each of pieces (that’s what you need for Spaghetti AbbaZabba is pieces).   That’s a total of 5 bags.  Plus I got a dozen 4 ounce bags of sliced pepperoni for pizza, salads or however else we want to use it—that’s about 4 dozen slices per bag.

So I had to shell out $16 but we’ve got plenty of pepperoni and bacon for a while.  I’m looking forward to BLT’s and bacon and eggs.  And all we had to do was 2 things—a bit of shopping and a few minutes to re-package into serving size freezer bags.

That’s the Cheap Bastid Way:  Eat Good. Eat Cheap. Be Grateful!

Posted in family meals, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments