Category: sandwich

Red Lobster Cheesy Biscuits

Recently given a  choice between dining at a hole-in-the wall Cuban restaurant, a Mom ‘n Pop Indian food spot and a local Irish pub, I chose Red Lobster. It’s inexplicable. Folks, I haven’t been to Red Lobster in…[counts on both hands]…6 years? Yet all I wanted in that moment were baskets of cheddar bay biscuits.

After appropriately stuffing my face with four course for $14.99 including unlimited biscuits, I was quite happy –  and also curious. How hard is it to make their famous biscuits? A Google search reveals a host of copycat recipes but I wanted one with instant gratification. Enter this super easy recipe from Love Bakes Good Cakes.

raw biscuits
Faux cheese, plus biscuit dough topped with margarine.

Drawback: that whole lactose intolerance thing means I don’t keep dairy milk or shredded cheddar cheese around. Turns out, it doesn’t matter! The almond milk and veggie shreds incorporated perfectly, along a few tweaks for personal preference.  I just ate 3 of these babies, 2 with ham and mustard and honey, and one straight up. Ho boy, this is going in the stack of new favorites:

2 cups Bisquick mix
⅔ cup milk – I used almond
½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded – I used Go Veggie! Parmesan, Mozzarella and Romano blend
1 TB butter, melted
2 TBS margarine, divided
1 tsp. olive oil
⅛ tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp. parsley flakes
⅛ tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. garlic powder – I used onion powder

finished cheese biscuits
Picture 2: Ta da! Finished, delicious cheesy biscuits

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the Bisquick, milk and cheese until a soft dough forms. Drop by 9 spoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet. Top each biscuit with a spread of margarine (see picture 1).
3. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown on the tops and sides. Remove from oven. top each biscuit with another sliver of margarine. (I’m not going for health here, people, and these biscuits need salty tops).
4. In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, 1 TBS margarine, olive oil, Old Bay, salt, garlic or onion powder and parsley. Brush the butter mixture over the warm biscuits.
5. Eat! Repeat.

Next time I’ll probably use faux cheddar cheese to obtain that classic orange color, and garlic powder in the butter topping blend. But I am very pleased overall. To boot, the entire process took 15 minutes!

I wonder how many I can eat before the bf notices?

Skinny Sloppy Joe’s

I’m craving big, bold flavors right now. No mansy-pansy olive oil and parsley for this chicka. I stumbled on this recipe for Hungry Girl Broccoli Slaw and saw an opportunity. Veggies + ground turkey + BBQ sauce  = a sloppy joe!

12-oz. bag (4 cups) dry, prechopped coleslaw, broccoli slaw if you can find it
1 pound ground turkey
8 oz marinara sauce, pizza sauce or tomato sauce
Bottle of favorite BBQ sauce – I used Weber Molasses Sauce
1/2 cup vinegar – I used a combo of rice and balsamic
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tsp. onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
buns for serving

1. Combine chicken broth and bag of coleslaw in a large pot. Set over low-medium heat for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cabbage begins to soften. Don’t wilt it; you want some crunch left.
2. While the coleslaw softens, cook the ground turkey in a skillet with salt and pepper.
3. Add the marinara sauce, onion powder, 1/2 the bottle of BBQ sauce and 1/4 cup of vinegar to the coleslaw mix. Stir, and let simmer 5-10 minutes to blend the flavors. Taste and adjust. TIP: I used a lot of vinegar since the sauce was so sweet, but this will vary based on your preferences. Add remaining tomato sauce and BBQ sauce to taste.
4. Add the cooked, ground turkey to the BBQ coleslaw pot. Stir to combine. Simmer another 10 minutes. Taste and adjust.
5. Spoon the mixture onto your bun and nosh! Keep the paper towels handy, and don’t eat this while wearing a while shirt.

I liked how easy this was, and how the half-meat, half-veggie filling offered a way to get more greens in the diet. Even my meat-lover bf thought they were a hit, eating 3 skinny joe’s to prove it! Oh, and this paired well with Yeungling Light beer.

Käsekrainer – Pork sausage stuffed with cheese

Greetings from Vienna, Austria! Many food adventures are underway, but the latest and greatest was today’s käsekrainer.

A what? A käsekrainer. It’s a smoked sausage made of pork with about 10 to 20% cheese (like Emmentaler) melted in the center. They’re a local street food, and according to my hosts, very popular.  They were invented in Austria at the beginning of the 1980’s and are among the standard offer of hot dog stands here. It’s about 3 hands long (As I read this, I’m giggling.)

I attempted to purchase my 3 euro sandwich with a 50 euro note, to which the vendor scoffed and told me to find something smaller. I said she could hold it and I’d be right back. This was not agreeable; she didn’t want to hold my sandwich; she wanted to help the next customer in line. Ah, the joys of new cultures.

Cheeks flaming and feeling like a thief, I carried my bread-encased lunch across the street to a chocolate shop and loaded up on sweets to get change. (You’re welcome, family!) How does one dig out money while holding a giant sausage? I asked/thrust the meat into the cashier’s hand and smiled weakly.

Sidenote: why do European countries insist on 18 types of coins? What’s wrong with a few coins and mostly bills? I paid for an espresso and tip with nothing but 2 piles of coins today, thankful to lose some of the clanking weight.

I returned to the street vendor and triumphantly handed her a 10 euro note, and then slunk off around the corner to chow down. It’s damn good stuff, people! Salty, juicy and plump, shoved in a hard roll with ketchup and mustard. The cheese oozes out with each bite but isn’t drippy. I ate all the meat and only tossed a bit of the ketchup-mustard flooded bread.

The only down side is that I’ve been burping käsekrainer for going on 4 hours now, so maybe a Tums is in order.

Secondhand Smoke

Guest Post  – Smoked Brisket

Earlier this summer, I procured a smoker from a friend for the very reasonable price of $30. It was older and well-loved, but still in decent shape. My friend was trying to sell it on Craig’s List but I was willing to take it off his hands after tasting some of is smoked meats. I had no prior experience with smoking but I was quite eager to step into the game. Throughout the summer I’ve used it three times: first  with beef brisket, then pork ribs, then brisket again. I chose brisket again because of the success on the first go-round and the fact I knew it would be a crowd pleaser. (We’ll ignore the ribs for now; still got some tinkering to do there.)

I researched what type of rub to lather on the delicious cut of meat. There seems to be quite a variety so I won’t lie to you and pretend I looked extensively; I just randomly picked one of the first recipes I came across. Hats off to Bobby Flay’s Oklahoma Joe recipe, which served as the basis for my first rub. Of course I didn’t have all the spices on hand, so I made some alterations. Here is how the rub actually shook out:

To note: I didn’t have onion powder so I replaced it with dry mustard. Are these things similar? Well, no, not really. However, I learned through my previous tasting experiences that mustard in BBQ freaking rocks. I also didn’t have white pepper because who the hell keeps white pepper around?

I gave the cut of brisket a good smothering, wrapped it in plastic wrap and placed it in the refrigerator for a few hours. Once I got the coals going, I took out the brisket to let it sit at room temperature for about half an hour. I used hickory wood chips as recommended. The most difficult thing in smoking is regulating the temperature. It flared up a little too hot at times and in my overzealous tempering, it got a little too cool. I was lacking a meat thermometer and the “thermometer” on the smoker only lists “warm, ideal, and hot.” I’ve now learned that you want to stay on the low-end of ideal, closer to warm (at least for the brisket – don’t quote me on other meats yet). As the recipe states, I kept the brisket moist with apple juice throughout the process. It says use a spray bottle, but a turkey baster is a perfect alternative.

With smoking,  the size of the cut of meat is going to heavily play into the time it takes to cook. The recipe calls for around 6 hours of smoking for a 5 to 8 pound cut of brisket. You could probably find that size at a butcher but if you are just heading to the meat aisle at your local grocery store, you’re more likely to find a smaller cut – more on the order of 3 pounds. It took around 3 hours for the approximately 3 pound cut I purchased.

Since I’m a sandwich hound, and have written about my concoctions here and here on this blog before, I should note that I did enjoy a brisket sandwich. I used a medium-sized sub (or a hoagie roll would suffice), and the kicker for me was also smoking some jalapeños and some Gouda cheese to finish off the sandwich.

Everything went over well with the guests and I highly recommend this rub. I still have awhile to go to perfect my smoking skills, but not bad for my first foray. Meanwhile, the house still smells like a campfire…

– posted by Bryan

Curry Salmon Salad Sandwich

unsexy freezer burn

There’s really a dirth of recipes for single folks who like to cook. I can’t eat a whole pan of lasagna by myself. Even soup makes 6 servings, and let’s be honest, I get tired of it after 3  meals. I know, I know, “Freeze the leftovers!” they say. So I do, and then 6 months later I throw away the frozen tupperware of mysterious, icicle-covered contents.

Which brings me to my latest recipe that churned out 2 delightful servings: curry salmon salad.

1 package (or can) of salmon, drained
1 snack-sized box of raisins
1 green apple, chopped, skin on

Viola! Curried salmon salad sandwich

Juice of 1 lemon
1 TBS olive oil
2 TBS yellow curry powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 TBS chopped almonds
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Mix it all up in a bowl and let sit in fridge for at least an hour for best flavor. Leaving it overnight is even better. Serve on a sandwich, with crackers, over a green salad, or eat it straight up with a fork.  Flavor for one!

Quick Salmon Wraps w/ Dill Yogurt Sauce

I like to eat healthy, but I demand flavor too, which is one of the many reasons I’ll never be a professional bodybuilder. Can you imagine subsisting on egg whites, steamed broccoli and broiled chicken? Yes, it’s food – but it’s not good tasting food.

This is a tasty wrap that’s fast and flavorful:

– Pouch of pre-cooked, flavored salmon, like the Lemon & Dill from Bumble Bee
– Wrap of choice. I like Trader Joe’s Reduced Carb Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas
– 6 oz. plain greek yogurt, any brand
– Juice of 1 lemon
– Dill, 1 sprig fresh or  1 TBS dried
– Garlic powder to taste
– Salt ‘n Pepper to taste

1. In a small bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper – stir til smooth and juice is incorporate. Add in dill and stir. Taste and modify. The sauce’s flavor will enhance with time – keep extras in the fridge.

2. Portion out salmon and yogurt sauce in your wrap of choice. Roll up.

3. Chow down! Over a plate, preferably, to catch drips.

Sandwich Spotlight: Volume 2

Well it appears my skills are good enough that a running segment is warranted (#humblebrag). While wasting a little time on the internet at work last week, I came across a Top 10 sandwiches in the world list. At first I was skeptical but then I got a look at some of this beauties and they looked slap-your-mother good. The one that really caught my eye (or appetite) was the cemita.

Cemita: marinated fried pork, shredded queso, avocado, adobe sauce

This is a Mexican sandwich hailing from the city of Puebla. There seem to be several takes on this (and several meats used) but I decided I wanted to make the most authentic version possible. Actually the best “recipe” I found was a video from Diners, Drive-in’s and Dives when Guy visited a restaurant named Cemitas Puebla in Chicago. The owners are obviously native Poblanos.

Since I went with a video/secret recipe, there are no measurements for this recipe but I can give you estimates for what I used:

Boneless pork chops (tenderized and flattened out)
White onion
3 garlic cloves
Black pepper
Bread crumbs
Queso Qaxaca (basically queso fresco so you can use that too)
Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce (canned)
Kaiser or sesame rolls

Combine about a 1/4 of the white onion (chopped), 3 garlic cloves, and dash of cloves, a TBS or so of black pepper (I’d say a little more), dash of salt, a about 2 cups of milk, and a cup of bread crumbs. Blend these ingredients and place the tenderized pork chops in the mixture to marinate for 20-30 minutes.

Once marinated, heat some olive oil in a skillet or cast-iron pan. Cover the marinated pork chops in bread crumbs and fry 4-5 minutes until cooked through (depends on thickness). While the pork chops are cooking, lightly toast the rolls. Then, top the bottom half of the roll with some mashed avocado and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (be light with these if you can’t handle spicy). Once the pork chops are cooked place on top of the avocado and peppers, then top with some thin shavings of the Queso Oaxaca. This is supposed to be then topped with leaves of Papalo, which is a spice I just couldn’t find. This prevented it from being completely authentic but certainly didn’t stop it from being delicious. I highly recommend this sandwich and playing around with your own take on it. Enjoy!

– Guest post by Bryan

Guest Post: Sandwich Spotlight

Guest post: Faux Fried Fish Sandwich

For some reason or another, making sandwiches is something that stimulates my creative side (and I’m not even sure I have a creative side). Maybe it’s the simplicity of them: bread, meat product, cheese, maybe veggies, and some delicious tangy (or spicy) condiment. The possible combinations of all these edible variables in endless, but I’m damn sure going to try to get to the end.

On a lazy saturday night I was hungry and feeling creative. The first selection for me is the meat product or base of the sandwich. While not technically a “meat” the cheap frozen whitefish in my freezer was my choice. Who doesn’t love a good fish fry? And why not put it on a sandwich? From there I went to work. Here are the ingredients for this simple creation (I really didn’t measure anything):
Some kind of whitefish (whiting, cod, etc.)
Bread crumbs (I’d go Panko but only had Italian)
1 Egg
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
2 TBS Olive Oil
Bread of choice (I had wheat)
Cheese of choice (if desired, I threw on provolone)
Blue cheese dressing
Dijon mustard
Loose directions
Pre-heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Coat the thawed and dried whitefish in the beaten egg, then coat with a mixture of bread crumbs, pepper, and Old Bay. Once coated drop in the pan with the olive oil. Cook about 3-4 minutes each side depending on thickness.
For the aioli/sauce, mix a desired mixture of the blue cheese, Dijon mustard, and mayo. I like things on the spicier side so I went heavier on the mustard. If you want tangy, maybe use more of the blue cheese or mayo.
Toast the bread lightly before adding the fish. Throw on a cheese if you want. Cover with desired amount of aioli/sauce/. Enjoy.
– posted by Bryan