Bacon, Beets and Bleu Cheese Microgreens Garden Salad

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Servings: 4 Side Salads or 2 Entree Salads
Prep Time: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

16 ounces fresh Microgreens, washed and dried
1 (15 oz) jar Pickled Beets, drained and thinly sliced
1/4 cup Red Onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Bleu Cheese crumbles
6 slices cooked Bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup Walnut or Pecan pieces, optional
1/2 cup of your favorite Salad Dressing

DIRECTIONS:

1. Layer salad greens on a serving platter or individual plates.
2. Top with pickled beets, red onion, bleu cheese, bacon, nuts and dressing. 
3. Serve immediately.

NOTE: If preparing salad in advance, forego adding dressing until ready to serve. 


Loaded Bacon Bloody Mary

Loaded-bacon-bloody-mary-the-cheap-gourmetYield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 5 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

2 ounces bacon infused Vodka
8 ounces Tomato Juice
1/8 teaspoon each of celery salt (try Bacon Salt), freshly ground pink Himalayan salt and black pepper
3-4 dashes each of Worcestershire and Hot Sauce (try Bacon Hot Sauce)  
2 large Green Olives​1 slice Lime
1 slice Bacon, cooked crisp

DIRECTIONS:

1. Fill 16-ounce glass halfway with ice cubes.
2. Pour vodka over ice.
3. Add tomato juice and seasonings. Stir to combine.
4. Garnish with olives, lime and bacon or any of your favorite condiments.


Cinco de Mayo Recipes to Satisfy Everyone's Chile Spice Preferences

Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on May 5th within certain regions of Mexico and the United States. Festivities include showcasing Mexican foods and beverages, music and dancing, parades, concerts, and celebration of Mexican culture and traditions.

The following Cinco de Mayo recipes embrace traditional Mexican fare with a hint of American flavor. These Mexican food recipes are easy to prepare and can be adapted to suit your taste buds and spice tolerance. Not only are these spiced-up recipes great for Cinco de Mayo parties, they are tasty any time of the year!

MEXICAN MEATBALL SOUP (Albondigas)
Serves 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

Broth:
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 medium Yellow Onion, chopped (1/2 for soup and 1/2 for meatballs)
4 cups Water
2 tablespoons fresh Cilantro, stems removed and loosely chopped
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 16-ounce can diced Green Chiles
2 medium Tomatoes, diced

Meatballs:
½ pound Ground Round Beef
½ pound Chorizo Sausage
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper

DIRECTIONS:

1. Add olive oil to 4-quart saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add one-half of chopped onions. Stir frequently and cook until onion is translucent.
2. Add four cups water, along with cilantro, oregano, green chiles and tomatoes. Bring to a boil for 10 -12 minutes. Stir frequently.

To Prepare Meatballs:
1. In medium bowl, combine ground round, chorizo, remaining onion, garlic and oregano.
2. Blend well and roll mixture into 1-inch balls.
3. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Carefully add to soup base and continue cooking until meatballs are done; about 30 minutes.
5. Transfer to serving bowls and serve immediately.

If desired top with shredded longhorn or cheddar cheese and serve with tortilla chips.

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VEGETARIAN TAMALE PIE
Serves 6
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Bake Time: 30 to 40 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, chopped
2-3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 fresh Jalapeno Pepper, seeds removed and minced
1 15-ounce can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can Refried Beans
1 15-ounce can Corn
1 15-ounce can diced Tomatoes, with juice
1 tablespoon Chili powder
1 teaspoon crushed Red Pepper flakes (or Cayenne Pepper)
1 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Sour Cream, optional

Topping:

3 cups Yellow Cornmeal
2 tablespoons Honey
1 tablespoon Salt
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 cups Water

DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2) In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and jalapeno pepper. Sauté until crisp tender.
3. In medium mixing bowl, combine black beans, refried beans, corn, tomatoes, spices and sautéed vegetables. Mix well.
4. In small mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, honey, salt, olive oil and water. Mix until smooth.
5. Pour bean mixture into lightly greased 8-inch glass baking dish.
6. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of bean mixture.
7. Using a large spoon, place dollops of tamale pie topping on cheese and bean mixture. Carefully spread across the top as if icing a cake.
8. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into cornmeal topping comes out clean.
9. Remove from oven and let set for 5 minutes.
10. Transfer to serving dish. Top with sour cream, if desired.

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MEXICAN RICE
Serves 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

This Mexican food recipe has quickly become one of our family favorites. We serve it with tacos, burritos, nachos, enchiladas and quesadillas as well as a side dish served with steak. Leftover rice can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days and can easily be reheated in the microwave or stovetop. Add a tablespoon or two of water or broth to fluff it back up

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup short grain White or Brown Rice
1 small Yellow Onion, finely diced
2 medium fresh Tomatoes, medium diced
2 Jalapeno Peppers, seeds removed, finely diced (use 1 pepper for mild spiciness)
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 cups Beef Broth

DIRECTIONS:

1. Add olive oil to 4-quart saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Add rice and coat each kernel in oil. Cook 5 to 7 minutes or until rice is light brown (medium brown if using brown rice).
2. Add onion, tomatoes, jalapeno pepper, garlic, and beef broth and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat to low and simmer until rice is soft and all water is absorbed.
4. Remove from heat and set 5 minutes.
5. Gently fluff rice with fork. Transfer to serving dish and serve immediately.


Pepper Steak and Orzo

I made this pepper steak and orzo dish the other night using leftover ingredients that were running out of shelf-life. I had about 1/3 pound of sirloin steak, 1/2 of a yellow onion, 1/2 of a green pepper, a handful of cherry tomatoes, some garlic and Gorgonzola cheese.  I had a variety of pasta choices, but opted for orzo because I wanted something more along the lines of pepper steak & rice. 

This is one of those dishes that you can easily swap out ingredients for whatever is lurking in your fridge & pantry. Zucchini & summer squash would make a nice addition, as would baby spinach or artichoke hearts. You can also change the meat to chicken, turkey, different cuts of beef, or shrimp. Same holds true for the cheese, as long as it's a soft, crumbly cheese that melts quickly. 

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PEPPER STEAK AND ORZO
Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 medium Onion, chopped
1/2 Green Pepper, chopped
1/2 pound Sirloin Steaks, thin strips, about 2-inches long
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce (or Tamari Sauce)
2 cloves Garlic, minced
6-8 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1 cup Orzo, cooked
1/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese crumbles
Salt & Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook orzo according to package directions.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add onions and green pepper and cook for 4-5 minutes, until onion becomes semi-soft. 
  3. Add beef strips and stir to incorporate ingredients. Cook 3-4 minutes. 
  4. Add garlic and tomatoes. Season with salt & pepper, if desired. Stir to incorporate ingredients. 
  5. Drain orzo and add to vegetable mixture. Stir well.
  6. Top with Gorgonzola cheese crumbles. 
  7. Transfer to dinner plates and serve immediately.

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Introducing The Original Craft Beer Club

Beer-of-the-month-club-the-cheap-gourmet

I love monthly club deals. I've enjoyed beer of the month, wine of the month, bacon of the month, flowers, chocolates, coffee and even tee shirts. They are a great way to try things you most likely wouldn't even know about.

Reputable clubs spend a great deal of time sourcing ingredients, craft breweries and vineyards, coffee plantations, etc. For instance, Craft Beer Club partners with pioneers in the craft such as Rahr & Sons Brewing of Fort Worth Texas, with over 160 years of brewing history, and D.L. Geary Brewing Co. in Portland, who celebrated their 30th anniversary in 2016.

Right now, craft beers are soaring in popularity. While many towns and cities have local breweries to partake in craft-batch brews, there's something quite thrilling about receiving a box of world-class beers delivered straight to your door. 

BENEFITS OF CRAFT BEER CLUB

There are several things I like about the Original Craft Beer Club.

  • You can customize the style of beers you receive, if desired.
  • You can choose if you strictly want to receive only bottles or cans.
  • You always receive free shipping.
  • You'll receive a free 1-year subscription to Beer Connoisseur with any purchase.
  • New club members receive up to 3 more Bonus Gifts in their first shipment.
  • Each shipment includes 12 (12-ounce) beers in 4 different styles (3 beers each). 

Currently, a monthly subscription to Craft Beer Club is $42, which breaks down to $3.50 per beer. It's hard to find domestic beers at that price being served in  local pubs or restaurants. Now is the perfect time to treat yourself, your family and friends to hard-to-find, outstanding brews from some of the best Brewmasters in the country. Click here to learn more or place your order

 

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