Fast Food Grumbles
Posted Wed, 11/19/14
Over the last week, I've had a couple of "unpleasant" fast food experiences...
First, I decided to try the new crisp burritos from Carl's Jr. While pleasing to the eye, the burritos were smaller in size than I envisioned (more like appetizers than lunch) and the tiny container of guacamole was not sufficient to finish the "meal." I suppose I've been spoiled by Taco Time's crisp burritos over the years, which are better than Carl's by a long shot.
Second, I picked up halibut, shrimp and fries from Arctic Circle last Monday (two halibut filets, three small shrimp and a lot of fries for filler with a $1.00 off coupon). I've had the meal many times before, and it's quite good. I'm not sure if it was the incompetency of the cashier or if the offering was recently reduced, but I was given the order missing one halibut filet. I always check my orders before driving away, so I brought the missing filet to the cashier's attention. He told me he'd only charged me for one filet, but if I wanted another it would be an additional $2.99. When purchasing the same meal in the recent past with a coupon, it always came to $6.99. So if I wanted the second filet, my order would have topped over $9. I chose not to get the second filet, instead driving away a bit peeved by the rip-off.
I've been a customer of Arctic Circle for more than two decades, mainly because the restaurant is just minutes away from my residence. However, after Monday's experience, I came home and tossed my remaining AC coupons.
Needless to say, I won't be returning to Arctic Circle any time soon.
Posted Sun, 11/02/14
This was my luscious Sunday lunch:
While utterly yummy, the best part of the meal was the ease and quickness in which it was prepared - about ten minutes from start to finish.
The main dish was the "Meals at Ease" brand of General Tso's chicken skillet dinner (22 oz) via the stove-top method (chicken cooked in a bit of oil; vegetable-rice pack added with the sauce coming last).
As a side, I prepared the 9.49-oz. box of Pagoda Express Chicken Potstickers (10-count) using the pan-fry method (in oil and water). The box also came with two packets of soy sauce, which I heated in warm water for serving.
It was an excellent lunch, with enough left over for another complete meal. Perhaps my only complaint would be the tiny amount of chicken in the skillet pack, although there was plenty of rice filler (naturally!).
I enjoyed the potstickers more than the chicken and rice. I've always had a weakness for the little gems, whether they're fried, baked or boiled.
Turkey Meat Loaf
Posted Sun, 10/19/14
A unique but appetizing twist on meat loaf from McCormick:
Confetti Turkey Meat Loaf
2 LBS ground turkey
1/2 C plain breadcrumbs
1/2 C grated carrot
1/2 C grated zucchini
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C ketchup
Preheat oven to 350-swgrees F. In a large bowl, mix together ground turkey, bread crumbs, carrot, zucchini, egg and seasonings. Shape into a loaf; place in a shallow baking pan. Pour ketchup over top. Bake for fifty-five to sixty minutes, or until meat loaf is cooked through. Allow to stand for five minutes before serving.
Scrumptious and colorful, and relatively easy to prepare.
Quick "Southern" Brunch
Posted Sun, 10/19/14
Although Biscuits & Gravy is one of my favorite breakfast and/or brunch meals, I typically only prepare and eat it two or three times a year. While utterly tasty, the contents and preparation thereof are not known to be the healthiest of food arrays.
The following is my original recipe for Biscuits & Gravy, but today I assembled something entirely different.
Biscuits & Gravy
4 bacon strips, fried & drained
3 sausage links, fried, drained & sliced thin
1/2 C to 3/4 C Bisquick Baking Mix
Salt & black pepper to taste
1 C milk (or more to regulate gravy consistency)
1 container Pillsbury Biscuits
Cook the biscuits according to package directions. Fry bacon in a large skillet until crisp; drain on paper towels. Important: Reserve grease in skillet. Fry link sausage in a skillet until cooked; drain on paper towels and then slice. Add Bisquick Baking Mix to grease in skillet; brown over medium to medium-high heat and mash lumps with a fork or a whisk. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Add milk, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Add more milk if necessary to thin gravy. Keep in mind the longer you stir over high heat the thicker the gravy will become. Add link sausage slices, stir and heat through. When desired gravy consistency is reached, remove from heat and ladle over biscuits. Serve. Use the leftover bacon as a side accompaniment.
Shenanchie's Note: I learned how to make biscuits and gravy in 1981, taught by my aunt Delores O'Toole, who is a native of Shawnee, Oklahoma. Over the years, I've made my own adjustments to the basic recipe, changing from flour to Bisquick Baking Mix early on. The mix gives an extra-rich flavor to the gravy. However, the gravy can also be made using flour to preference.
I didn't have any biscuits or bacon, so I cooked link sausages and made gravy from the grease (using Bisquick and milk as usual, along with salt and black pepper). I also fried two frozen hash brown patties and toasted an English muffin to accompany the meal.
Not bad for a "quick" southern brunch.
Kikkoman Halloween Treat
Posted Fri, 10/03/14
The following is an unusual but tasty Halloween treat from Kikkoman:
Crispy Apple Rings
2 C Kikkoman Panko
3/4 C sugar, divided
3 tsp. cinnamon, divided
1 C Kikkoman Tempura Batter Mix
2 TBS cornstarch
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 C Kikkoman Pearl Organic Original Soymilk
Vegetable oil for deep frying
1 C powdered sugar
Mix together Panko, 1/2 cup sugar and one teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl; set aside. In a large bowl, stir together Tempura Batter Mix, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and remaining 1/4 cup sugar and two teaspoons of cinnamon. Add Soymilk to the flour mixture with a whisk to make a smooth batter. Peel the apples and slice into six circles. Remove seeds from each apple ring with a sharp knife. Add apple rings to the batter, coating all sides. Heat a deep fryer or a large pan to 350-degrees F; add 1-1/2 to 2 inches vegetable oil. Dredge battered apple rings through the panko crumbs and place in the hot oil, several at a time so they don't touch. Fry until brown, then flip and brown the other side. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel. Cook the remaining coated apple rings. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve warm. Recipe makes twenty-four servings.