Shredded Beef Barbecue Sandwiches

Every once in a while I forget that some of the easy, routine things I do with food should be posted here on “Cheap Bastid Cooks”.  So here’s something incredibly easy, cheap and tasty.

Stater Brothers had a special recently on “London Broil” or top round.  It used to be that you could get this cut fairly often for $1.99 a pound.  No more.  Have you noticed how beef prices have gone up?  Most of the time this cut is about twice that now.  So you have to be a bit more careful and stock up when you can.  I found the special price of $2.88/lb to be irresistible.

So Mrs. CB put about a 3 1/2 lb hunk of it in the slow cooker the other day to make “Roast Beast”.  First she seared it on the grill.  Then she cut up a couple of potatoes and an onion and tossed those with about 20 mini-carrots into the cooker with some water, Worcestershire and soy sauce.  Some garlic powder and pepper makes this a leave-it-alone, hands-off meal that can slow cook pretty much until you’re ready to eat it.  It’s fall apart good and breaks off into hunks when you serve it—we eat it out of bowls rather than on a plate.

Shredded Beef BBQ sandwich

And we made sure that there was plenty of left overs.  Now you can just reheat the “Roast Beast” the next day or you can do something different with it. Continue reading

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Buttermilk Pancakes

OK, everybody who likes pancakes raise your hand!  Well, I see lots of hands out there because just about everyone loves pancakes.  Golden brown, puffy, tender and tasty slathered in butter and syrup.  Sound good to you?  Yeah, me too.

But, where do you usually get pancakes like this?  Not at home.  You have to go to a someplace with a good griddle and the knack of cooking them up just right.

Over the years I’ve made some pretty good golden brown Frisbees.  If you use enough syrup they’re OK.  My kids would snarf them down along with sausage and scrambled eggs for “brinner” or breakfast.  But they weren’t that great.

One reason was that I always took the “easy” way out using “Pancake Mix” from a box—and there’s lots of different kinds from name brands to store brands.  What my tastebuds wanted and what these boxed mixes were able to provide were two different things.

So what’s the solution?  Well, you can make fantastic pancakes, just like the best cook at the greasiest greasy spoon diner whose pancakes you’ve ever loved.  It’s simple.  Make your own batter.  It takes about 5 minutes rather than the 3 minutes you spend dumping the stuff from the store-bought box into a bowl and adding water or milk according to directions.

Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes

What’s the secret?  There isn’t one!  But if you’re a Cheap Bastid like me, you’ve got all the ingredients at home right now to make tastier, fluffier pancakes cheaper than from a box. Continue reading

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Tuna Salad

It would get absolutely hot and muggy in Tampa, FL when I was a kid.  And it was several years before we had any kind of air conditioning.  And I remember my favorite hot summer dinner that Mom would make–Tuna Salad.

She’d do it early in the morning before everything got too hot and then she’d pop it  in the fridge to chill down for dinner.  I’m talking about simple, homemade tuna salad.  This is something I still really enjoy eating on a hot summer night always accompanied by a stack of saltines to add their salty crispness to the meal.

And I never really had a recipe for it…I just kind of knew how to make it from watching my Mom do it all those years.  But I like to kick it up with just a bit more crunch fresh vegetables including fresh jalapeno.

tasty summertime tuna salad

Continue reading

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Homemade Pasta

I’ve been cooking pasta for years.  I’ve scorched it.  Left it nearly raw.  Turned it into mush.  But mostly I’ve cooked it just fine.  It got a lot easier a couple of years back when Mrs. CB gave me my very own ‘sketti pot for Christmas.  I thought it was my “major gift” that year but she assures me that it wasn’t—it was something electronic—but I’ve been using that big old pot from WalMart ever since.

So, I finally figured it was time to try something different.  Something I’ve seen done a whole bunch of times on cooking shows like “The Chew”, “Top Chef”, “Iron Chef” and others.  Let’s make spaghetti/pasta from scratch.  I always thought that you needed a “pasta maker” to do it.  But, I’ve seen chefs like Mario Batali do it and roll out the pasta on a bread board then cut it with a pizza cutter.  (This is a variation on Mario Batali’s basic recipe).

And the results are really, really good.  The only thing I need to do next time is a better job of working the flour down into the egg volcano and get a better mix going AND roll the dough out thinner on my bread board.

homemade pasta and bolognese sauce

This had tooth.  Plump strands of pasta coated in Bolognese sauce.  So I had a sauce that had some oomph to it and pasta to match.  Give it a try yourself.  You’ve got the ingredients on hand—flour and eggs.  You’ll be amazed at the results.

You don’t need a pasta machine.  You can make this by hand and roll it out.  It’s even more rustic that way too. Continue reading

Posted in Beef Recipes, Comfort Food, family meals, Italian, pasta & pizza, Slow Cooker/Crock Pot | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bolognese Sauce Cheap Bastid Style

 In case you haven’t guessed, we like ‘sketti.  All kinds of ‘sketti.  ‘Sketti with meat sauce.  ‘Sketti with meatballs.  Baked ziti.  Lasagne.  ‘Sketti Abbazabba (Mrs. CB’s term for Spaghetti Carbonara.  Shrimp ‘n ‘Sketti.  You name it.  We like it.

It’s easy and it’s cheap.  And I like cheap.  I go through a lot of Hunt’s Spaghetti Sauce–$1 for a 28 oz. can.  I like it better than any of the sauces that come in a jar.  I think what happens with the sauce in a jar is that it’s pretty much the same sauce but the glass and lid and the “autograph” costs more than the can.  “I’m just sayin’”.

So, a couple of months back I get thinking of Bolognese sauce.  Most spaghetti sauces would like to claim to be a version of Bolognese but they’re not.  According to Food Nouveau there is a whole list of “rules” about what constitutes Bolognese sauce.  (Apparently in 1982 the Academia Italiana della Cucina officially registered the recipe with Bologna Chamber of Commerce).

And arguably, the most important statement in the recipe is this:  “Tomatoes are not a main ingredient in the sauce.  It is a meat sauce first and foremost.”  I agree.  The times when I’ve eaten Spaghetti Bolognese (few and far between unfortunately) it has invariably been about the meat and meat flavor rather than tomatoes and seasonings.

Spaghetti Bolognese Plated

Food Nouveau says that the classic recipe must contain onions, celery, carrots, pancetta, ground beef, tomatoes, milk and white wine.  Well, Cheap Bastid’s version has most of these.  I didn’t use pancetta (it’s way too expensive) but you can add some finely chopped bits of rendered bacon.  And, I don’t use wine in my cooking and didn’t see the need for any extra acid in this dish. Continue reading

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