Shortcuts to Homemade Pot Pie – Recipe

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The calendar says it’s fall, which makes my stomach prep for hibernation food. Chicken Pot Pie is a comfort staple that has several variation possibilities. A few ideas: broccoli and cheese, mushrooms, swap turkey for chicken. It’s also a dish that was available in the microwave variety. Bachelor Basics ideas usually come from the frozen food aisle of the grocery. Here’s my Chicken Pot Pie recipe. It’ll take more than 10 minutes until you hear the ding for supper time, but it’s worth the time investment. Plus, it’s a great dish to cook for friends (or a date).

Homemade Pot Pie Recipe Continue reading Shortcuts to Homemade Pot Pie – Recipe

Braised Pork with Cider and Tomatillos – Recipe

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Fun Fact: I can guzzle a lightly chilled bottle of apple juice in one sitting.

Despite my love for apple juice, I never explored the world of ciders. It wasn’t until dating Leann that I started sipping the alcohol version of apple juice. With my limited exposure to the boozy fruit juice, I didn’t know about distinctions between styles of distillation or variations in the amount of sugar.

Leann and I escaped to Michigan for a quick trip before I started my new job. The area surrounding Holland, Michigan, offers the perfect amount of activities for a weekend. After a few Google searches for “Things to do in Holland” we compiled our own list. I’ll post our guide as soon as I can decide which pictures to share.


High on our list was visiting Virtue Cider in Fennville. They have a treasure trove of info on their site showing how cider is made. But I’ve never been one for reading. I’m more of a visual and experiential learner. Plus, it’s a real farm with pigs! So, Leann and I reached out to setup a tour (I highly suggest you do the same). It was a roaster of a day when we visited the farm. Thankfully, Virtue had plenty of beverages to curb the heat.
I’ll write more about the tour experience later, but while there, we chatted with the staff to learn about different ways to cook with cider. Did I mention they have pigs? And apples. Nearly a month later, Leann and I opened the mini growler of Percheron cider to braise pork loin. Continue reading Braised Pork with Cider and Tomatillos – Recipe

How to Brunch in Downtown Chicago

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“Bros who brunch” has yet to take off among my friends, likely because we call ourselves by name instead of bro. At its best, brunch is breakfast with booze. At its worst, brunch is long wait times, rushed service, overpriced eggs and shouting over the din at your friends. When Grand Lux Cafe invited me back to try out their brunch offerings, I dusted off my seersucker and ventured to downtown Chicago with Leann to sample how they do brunch on the Mag Mile. (I ate my way through their dinner menu a few weeks back. You can read up on that here.)

Looking around the massive restaurant in the daylight, most brunchers appeared to be tourists. Grand Lux Cafe has a prime location for shoppers stocking up at stores on Michigan Ave. The restaurant is huge, which nearly guarantees you won’t have to wait for a table to get brunch. That tackles one of the main brunch irritants. Since it is a larger restaurant, they have more servers who can give better service. The menu is far from the diner offerings in My Cousin Vinny.

My Cousin Vinny menu

Continue reading How to Brunch in Downtown Chicago

Super Simple Pasta Salad Recipes

Super Simple Pasta Salad Recipes |TheBachelorBasics.com

I have a habit of making way too much food when hosting. The upside is I have leftovers for days, which is always a perk after all the work of having a party. For my birthday shindig, I decided I was going to make pulled pork (recipe/walk through forthcoming) and some sides. The pitfall was thinking people love pasta salad as much as I do.

Sooo, I made two pounds of pasta for 20ish friends and family. I received some sweet products from Colavita that I wanted to try out, which made the only real steps cooking the pasta and figuring out what to add in the salad. Continue reading Super Simple Pasta Salad Recipes

Sicilian Style Tuna – #GreatAmericanCookIn

This Sicilian Style Tuna will seem fancy to your dinner guests with its robust flavors from the olives, capers and wine, BUT it is straightforward and quick to make.

Sicilian Style Tuna | TheBachelorBasics.com

Sicilian Style Tuna - #GreatAmericanCookIn
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Sicilian Style Tuna - #GreatAmericanCookIn
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Instructions
  1. Generously season both sides of tuna steaks with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add tuna to the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Lower heat to medium and add shallots to pan. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes. Deglaze pan with wine. Add tomatoes and cook for 5-7 minutes until liquid begins to reduce. Add olives and capers, cook for a few more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Return tuna to pan for another minute to finish cooking and then transfer to serving dish. Spoon tomato sauce over the top and garnish with toasted pine nuts and parsley. Serve immediately.
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Zucchini Noodles with Tomato Sauce – #GreatAmericanCookIn

Zucchini Noodles with Tomato Sauce |TheBachelorBasics.com
Food Stylist: Johanna Lowe

Here’s a simple and quick dish that doesn’t feature a lot of ingredients. If you love Italian food and want to start gaining experience with what I’d argue is one of the best cuisines, this Zucchini noodles with tomato sauce recipe is a great entry point.

Zucchini Noodles with Tomato Sauce |TheBachelorBasics.com
Zucchini Noodles with Tomato Sauce - #GreatAmericanCookIn
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Zucchini Noodles with Tomato Sauce |TheBachelorBasics.com
Zucchini Noodles with Tomato Sauce - #GreatAmericanCookIn
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Instructions
  1. Lay zucchini noodles in a single layer on paper towels. Lightly salt and let sit for 15 minutes to draw out moisture. Pat dry with additional paper towels.
  2. In a medium sauté pan, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant and golden, approximately 3-5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir in fresh oregano and simmer five minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. In a medium sauté pan, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant and golden, approximately 3-5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir in fresh oregano and simmer five minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer zucchini to serving bowls and pour sauce over the top. Sprinkle feta cheese and fresh oregano over each dish. Add freshly ground black pepper, if desired. *If you don’t own a spiralizer machine, cut zucchini into 1/2 inch rounds
Recipe Notes

Tips

  • Craving carbs: This sauce tastes great over pasta
  • Stay seasonal: In the winter months, serve this sauce with spaghetti squash
  • Extra flavor: Simple grilled shrimp makes for a yummy add-on to this recipe
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Beer-Braised Brats

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I almost always have beer in my fridge, but not for the reason you might think. Since moving in and hosting a few parties, friends have brought beer. I don’t drink much beer, so the cases have stacked up.

What is a guy to do with all that beer?

Host more parties? Play myself in beer pong? Drink myself into a constant state of stupor?

I defrosted a pack of brats for dinner and decided to use up some of that beer. Typically, I have either grilled sausage or pan fried it. With both of those methods, I never really know if the sausage is done cooking. A few times I have had to return the encased meat to the flame or pan to cook just a bit longer. But there’s a better solution than rolling the “you may get food poisoning” dice.

Start the brats or sausages in half a bottle of beer in a sauce pan. The fluids should cover the links. It’s your choice what you do with the rest of the bottle. Set the heat to medium-low and start the braising process. Starting them in fluid ensures they cook from the inside out. Grilling or frying on the stove cooks the exterior first and eventually the inside.

I simmered mine for about 20 minutes before transferring to my hot cast iron skillet to get some crusty exterior. My girlfriend sliced onion and mushrooms and we cooked those to top the brat.

99 bottles of beer on the wall. 99 bottles of beer. Take one down, pour it in a sauce pan, 98 bottles of beer…