Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Your guide to eating cheap including tips, recipes and techniques

Archive for June, 2006

[ Currently Eating: ]

Helloooo Sodium Nitrite fans. In honor of the upcoming July 4 holiday, I decided to feature hotdogs here at Cheap Eats. But not just any hot dog. No, these are Jennie-O Turkey Franks that I picked up on impulse the other day.

Well, the main reason I picked them up is because they were only $1.00 for a pack of 10 hot dogs. I haven’t had the Jennie-O brand of turkey hot dogs before, but I have bought their packages of ground turkey quite often in the past. I’ve been pleased with the quality of the turkey. We usually used the ground turkey as turkey burgers or in lasagna or tacos.

Hot dogs are just one of those things that you have every so often even though you know how bad they are for you. It’s a nostalgia thing for me… baseball games, beach cookouts, etc. I haven’t had hot dogs for quite awhile now. I’d certainly forgotten how small the supermarket type have shrunk too. These turkey wieners are fricken TINY. Now I’m usually not one to make a big deal about wiener size (huhrr, huhrr…) but as you’ll see below, they sort of get lost in the bun. By the way: Big Buns and Small Wieners, gosh the jokes. The fun never stops, ey?

Continue reading “Jennie-O Turkey Franks” …

[ Currently Eating: Cheese and Spinach Quesadilla ]

One of these days I WILL get around to making homemade chicken soup. Until then, we’ll continue to see a good variety on canned soups here on Cheap Eats. Like this Chunky Herb Roasted Chicken Soup with Potatoes and Garlic which I happened to pick up the other day to try out.

I haven’t had Chunky Soups for years. The famous “Soup That Eats Like A Meal” wasn’t on my list of cheap soups to buy. One of the main reasons is that I never seemed to find the bulk packages of Chunky at CostCo. So we got to try many more of the Progresso soups. Both of these types of soup are the “ready to eat variety” versus the condensed Campbell’s soup where you add water.

I don’t know what came over me, but I decided to splurge on two cans of this Chunky Chicken soup when it wasn’t on sale at Albertson’s. That’s a big no-no with soups. They set me back $2.50 EACH. Man, what happened to cans of soup for 30 cents? I know I’ve been harsh before on plain old Campbell’s condensed chicken soup before, but I’ve had a slight change of heart lately after getting completely gouged by ready-to-drink soup that costs 4 times as much. It’s my own fault though… never buy canned soup unless it’s on sale.

Continue reading “Chunky Chicken Soup” …

[ Currently Eating: Coffee with Soy Milk ]

Frozen Dinner PollHello, what’s this. I seem to have left our Frozen Dinner poll running on autopilot for a couple months without switching it out. That might be for the best, because it actually took this long to get a sufficient number of responses. I guess frozen dinners aren’t the must-have, technological wonder-food that they were in the 50s anymore…

Anyhow, color me surprised (mangled Heatherism). Dark horse candidate Healthy Choice Frozen Dinners ended up beating out the competition. I had thought for sure that either Michelina or Banquet would have taken the honors. Though, it was quite close between those top 3… they were all within 30 votes of each other. Swanson frozen dinners brought up the rear. I wonder if that has anything to do with my giving their potpies the cold shoulder.

Frozen Dinner PollAs I’ve said many times before, the Cheap Eats site is about cheap food, not health food. Though, over the course of the year, I’ve managed to sneak in quite a few more healthy choices. That has something to do with the fact that I’ve been having stomach issues the past 2 months. (I can hear the peanut gallery saying “See, I told you all those boxes of macaroni and cheese and instant ramen meals would catch up with you.”)

Continue reading “Healthy Choice wins Poll” …

[ Currently Eating: Potato Bread ]

Wow, I was SO disappointed with these Swanson Pot Pies. I remember eating these as a snack when I was a kid and thinking that they were the best thing in the world. I think they were also only 33 cents or less at the market.

So twenty years later I decided to give them a try again. They couldn’t be THAT bad right? Plus, even with inflation the price of one of these cheapie frozen pot pie ranges from 49 cents to about a buck. Good cheap eats right? Not even close.

Oh, full disclosure: in my salad days at an unamed dot com (where we used to fold 100 dollar greenbacks into paper airplanes, light them on fire and throw them off the balcony), I used to buy the expensive Marie Calendar Chicken Pot Pies and those were pretty durned good. You put them in the microwave for like 5 minutes and the crust is actually nicely browned and crisp and there’s like big chunks of chicken, carrots and potatoes.

The Swanson Turkey Pot Pie, when put into the microwave, nicely exploded into a Simpson-esque radioactive pie disaster. I followed the directions correctly, scoring the top of the pie carefully to vent the steam but that didn’t help at all. Well before the recommended cooking time, I heard sputtering and popping in the microwave. I looked inside and the contents had started to come out all over the plate. I had to keep going though, because the inside was still cold.

Man, this was pretty nasty looking… and you know at Cheap Eats we aren’t that particular. It tasted even worse. The crust was pale and unappetizing. (Later, I over-nuked another one by a few minutes for good measure to try and get it brown. No luck.) Let me tell you what the crust tastes like: it tastes like library paste. Don’t ask me how I know what library paste tastes like.

Continue reading “Swanson Turkey Pot Pie” …

[ Currently Eating: TJ's Peppermint Tea ]

I didn’t feel like writing too long of a post today. Shoulder acting up. What to do? Why, put up something controversial and let everyone else write the post for me of course. Via the comments.

No, I know it’s not exactly controversial. But people tend to either think it’s the food of the gods for college kids and cheap eaters, or it’s an unpalatable, salty disgrace that has less nutritional value than marshy sawdust. I think the true answer may be a surprising combination of those two opposites…

This particular variety is called “Creamy Chicken Ramen”. I’m not even going to talk about the ramen; it’s the same in every package. Just the seasoning packet changes. If by “creamy chicken” they mean “original chicken flavoring plus random dairy solids” then this is a pretty good description of how it tasted.

You know, it’s sort of surprising that we haven’t featured Instant Ramen here at Cheap Eats as of yet (we’ve only talked about “real” ramen). I was sort of saving it for a full-featured spread whereby I went and tasted all the different possible varieties. I know there’s books that have been written exclusively about Instant Ramen.

But I don’t think that’s gonna happen, since ramen is sort of off limits for me for the time being. What? A Cheap Eater dieting? Sorta. Perhaps more later in the month on that.

In any case, my own opinion of instant ramen in general is that it’s a decent staple to have around for people on a budget, BUT you absolutely cannot eat this stuff every day. For that matter, I never eat it as a meal but only as a snack. I also discard the cooking water after making the noodles and then add fresh hot water with only 1/2 the seasoning packet.

How about you?

Price: $0.15
Found At: Ralph’s
Cheap Eats Score: 5/10



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