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Wing Sauce Wednesday–Wheat Thins Spicy Buffalo

Chef JimI love Buffalo wing sauce. I love it so much that I am starting a new column every so often here called “Wing Sauce Wednesday” in which I will review a product made with Buffalo wing sauce, or tell tales of something related to wing sauce, or bathe in it. Okay, maybe not bathing in it. But man, my mouth waters when you mention this stuff. Anyway, it’s become a mainstream flavor in so many foods now, that I thought we’d start to mention as many as we can–weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, or whatever.

First up, Nabisco Wheat Thins Spicy Buffalo. Wheat Thins are delicious, and have a signature sweetness that offsets the whole grain crunch. So how would a spicy flavoring alter the overall experience? It’s really good–with a very generous dusting of Buffalo wing sauce powder, a bit spicy but not too spicy, and with that nice tang that wing sauce has. And you can tell by the sweetness you are eating Wheat Thins. The only drawback? That sweetness is a bit odd against the salty and spicy tang–odd, but tasty…if that makes sense.

Anyway, if you like Wheat Thins and wing sauce, you should definitely try these crackers.

A can a week: Swanson Chicken & Dumplings

Chef JimA can a week is back! We hope to bring this feature each week, since grocery store shelves are lined with the stuff…canned food, that is. Anyway, this week we tried Swanson Chicken & Dumplings. It’s not soup, but rather chunks of chicken and small dumplings in a rich chicken gravy.

The pros–very tasty and satisfying, especially on a cold day like today; quality chicken meat and nicely made dumplings; perfectly seasoned
The cons–a bit thin, and if I would have known, I could have tried it over noodles or rice; the chicken chunks were small; and I would have liked some carrots, peas or celery in addition to the chicken and the dumplings.

But overall this is a winning can of food, and as I said a very satisfying cold weather lunch.

Product review: Taco Bell Beefy Crunch Burrito

Memo to Taco Bell–your commercials work. I was watching football on Sunday and a commercial came on for the limited time only “Beefy Crunch Burrito.” It’s a burrito with (are you ready for this?) Flamin’ Hot Fritos right in the burrito. Are you kidding me? I knew I wouldn’t want to be plucked from my comfy blue recliner while watching my Giants crush the Falcons, but dammit, I will get to Taco Bell this week. That’s what I said to myself. Monday came and went and I forgot. Tuesday morning came and a light bulb went off in my head around the time I had lunch hunger pangs. Oh yeah, it’s time, I thought.

I had to pick up our son from preschool which meant I had a short window of time to get to the Bell and then pick him up, and get home before my food got cold. The line was literally out the door, and I stood there for a few minutes, and then noticed the drive thru lane was near empty. I got in my car, cruised up and ordered, “Two Beefy Crunch Burritos, please, no sides, no drink”…..and amazingly, it was only $2.09. And I would still be in line if I didn’t do the drive-thru.

Anyway, I got some hot sauce to go with the burritos, but these babies needed no sauce–there was some saucy taco meat, rice, some oozing cheese, sour cream, and of course, the spicy corn chips, wrapped in those pillows of flour tortilla. Damn. This is as close to dude food nirvana as it gets–of course, it’s not like it’s a juicy steak, but there is certainly a place for nicely crafted and delicious fast food in any guy’s diet. (speaking of which, don’t tell my doctor I ate these).

Oh, and they did get cold by the time I got through my second one, because I was working while eating, and because I was savoring every bite. For real, yo. Go try these now…..seriously, go try these now!

It’s bacon week!

We’ll have plenty of bacon talk this week, but I wanted to just offer a few items today to kick things off.

First of all, I have to have blood drawn tomorrow morning for my semi-annual cholesterol check. I’ve come to learn that it’s not so much bacon and eggs that muddy your blood, or at least my blood. But rather, it’s carbs. So I like to eat lots of bacon and other meats when I’m watching my weight and/or carbs. But that doesn’t mean I at a pound of the stuff today before my blood test. But I will indeed eat much bacon this week as I sample and create some more recipes. Our 4 year old son also loves bacon, and often pulls the package out of the deli drawer in the fridge and hands it to me or Mrs. Mikey. Pretty funny.

Anyway, the other thing I wanted to mention was how to best cook bacon. The traditional way is in a frying pan, but this can get extremely messy and not result in the best product. You can also bake it in an oven on a wire rack set over a baking sheet, and it comes out perfectly crispy this way, but also takes a while.

The best way is to use a microwave. And I don’t mean cooking that “pre-cooked” bacon that you nuke in like 15 seconds. That stuff isn’t the same. I’m talking nuking real slices of bacon with either a bacon tray or a plate with paper towels. I’ve broken many a tray, so I am currently using the plate and towel method. You put about 2 sheets of paper towel down on the plate, lay a few slices of bacon down, and top with 1-2 more sheets of paper towel. You nuke on high for two minutes, turn the paper towels over and change them, and then nuke for another 1-2 minutes. Your bacon, unless it’s super thick, will be just about perfect. And you may never look at cooking bacon as a chore again!

Chicago: foodie weekend

Greetings fellow readers of Mikey’s Kitchen. This past weekend Mrs. Mikey and I went to Chicago for the weekend, for the sole purpose of eating at some of the city’s great restaurants we have heard much about. The rest of this week will be devoted to talking about the meals we had–at The Purple Pig, Rick Bayless’ Frontera Grill, and Graham Elliot. There was some interesting food–stuff we would never try on any given day–but it was all good. So stay with me this week for the recap….

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