Bachelor Cooking: Fried Hash Browns with Eggs

Oh yeah, it’s snowing out there.  And when you need to get through a snow day, you need some hot comfort food.

And rather than schlep to the fast food restaurant for some eggs and hash browns…

A true bachelor can make that food at home with little trouble.

Let me explain.  Here’s my recipe for fried hash browns with eggs.

  • Four or five baby potatoes
  • Two tablespoons of butter
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Dash of smoked Kosher salt (everything tastes better with Kosher salt)
  • One fresh egg

Slice up the baby potatoes into tiny, ribbon-like cuts.  You can peel them beforehand or leave the skins on, it’s your choice.

Soak the potato shavings in a bowl of cold water, stir until the water gets cloudy.  Drain the water, add fresh cold water, stir and drain again.  Take the shavings and place them on paper towels.

Melt two tablespoons of butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add the potato shavings, along with dashes of smoked Kosher salt and cayenne pepper.  Fry until brown, about five minutes, flip and stir for  another five minutes until the potatoes are golden to deep brown.  Plate.

With the remaining juices in the pan, crack open one fresh egg into the skillet.  Fry to preference, and add to the hash browns.

Serve to hungry and grateful people.

Doesn’t that look delicious?

And if you do it correctly … it should look like this.

Doesn’t that look yummy?

And it tastes just as good as it looks.  Mmm.

Bachelor cooking at its finest.  Great for a snow day, when you need to stay home and take care of all the stuff you said you would do over the weekend.

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Bachelor Cooking: Fried Pierogis

First off, if I’m going to do these “Bachelor Cooking” recipes, I should add a searchable category on the blog for them.  So I did.

Now that the housekeeping is out of the way…

One of the good things about bachelor cooking is that if you don’t want to wimp out and get fast food, or make something that ends with the word “helper,” you can often purchase food as part of a church fundraiser or charity sale.  And that’s what I did yesterday.

Let me explain.

The St. Nicholas Orthodox Ukrainian Church in Troy offered a pierogi fundraiser, where one can purchase a dozen pierogis for $8.  Pierogis, if you’re not familiar with them, are cheese and potato-packed dumplings and are fried to deliciousness.  I ordered two dozen pierogis from the church, and figured this should be simple.

Then I looked up recipes on how to make pierogis.  And boy oh boy there were plenty of different recipes.

No matter… when I get the pierogis from the church, I’ll simply ask the best way to prepare them.

And sure enough, as I paid for my two dozen pierogis, I asked, “Now how do you prepare these?  I read one recipe that said I needed to boil the pierogis first …”

“No, you don’t have to boil these,” I was told.  “You can fry them when you get them home, and you can also store the uncooked ones in the freezer until you want them.”

Gotcha.  Now one recipe told me that I should fry the pierogis in two tablespoons of butter and some olive oil –

“No, you need more than that,” I was told.  “At my home, we use at least a full stick of butter.  Butter, not margarine.  And don’t worry about the olive oil.”

Makes sense…

“But the secret ingredient you need is onions,” I was told.  “Fry the onions in the butter until they’re soft and carmelized, and then add your pierogis.  I like them cooked until they’re nice and warm, but my son and my husband like them with a crispy shell.”

All right … let’s do this.

So here’s what I came up with for a full-blown recipe.

  • One dozen pierogis
  • One sweet onion, sliced
  • One stick of salted butter (I used Breakstone)
  • Kosher salt (you should always use Kosher salt in meals)
  • Sour cream

I melted the stick of butter in the frying pan over medium heat, then added the sliced onions and a couple dashes of Kosher salt.  A few minutes later, after the onions had that nice brown carmelization on them … I added some pierogis.

Cook, flip, cook, flip, drizzle some of that melted butter and onion slivers over the pierogis.  I cooked the pierogis until they were nicely browned.

Serve pierogis and onion slivers on plate, add a dollop of sour cream.

And you get this.

Now you tell me …

Doesn’t that look delicious?

Yes it does.

And it tastes as good as it looks.  One bite, and I could feel that hot potato filling warming my mouth and throat.  This is the kind of comfort food that works great for cold winter days.

Now I’m certain that the way I made these pierogis is probably not the way you make pierogis… so if you have tips on how I can adjust my recipe, by all means I’m open to suggestions.

And if you’re interested in ordering pierogis from the St. Nicholas Orthodox Ukrainian Church in Troy, they’re having another bake sale on April 1.  Contact the church to order your pierogis, all proceeds will help benefit the church and the congregation.

And honestly … for my first try, I only made six pierogis.  That just means I have more available for later …

Yummy…

Bachelor Cooking: Panko Fried Steak

Welcome to another episode of Chuck Miller’s “Bachelor Cooking,” where I show you tasty and nutritious meals that can be cooked for a single serving.  Or as Steve Barnes might call it, “Who is this Chuck Miller person and why is he trying to poison the Capital District with these recipes?”

So here’s the deal.  You want something to fill you up on a weeknight, with a minimum of prep time and a maximum of tastiness.  To that, I bring you my recipe for Panko Fried Steak.  Yum.

Ingredients are simple.

  • One filet of cube steak
  • Kosher salt (Always use Kosher salt in your meals)
  • Two eggs
  • Panko-flavored bread crumbs (I use 4C’s chipotle-flavored crumbs)
  • Vegetable oil

Take the two eggs and break them open into a bowl.  Mix together until blended.

Pour the bread crumbs into a separate plate.

Rub the Kosher salt into the cube steak.  Then dip the cube steak into the blended eggs until the steak is nicely coated.

Then transfer the steak to the bread crumb plate.  Dip and coat the cube steak with the breadcrumbs.  Make sure to coat both sides.

Bring the cube steak back to the egg mixture and give it another dip.

Then back to the breadcrumbs.  Make sure that steak is nicely coated.

Pour vegetable oil into a frying pan.  Allow enough to just cover the steak.  Cook on medium heat.

Slowly place the cube steak into the vegetable oil.  Don’t throw the steak in.  You don’t want hot oil splashing all over you.  That’s not fun.

Fry for three minutes on each side.

Okay, while this is cooking, you need some veggies for your meal.  Luckily, most grocery stores have “steam-and serve” vegetable medleys available.  Toss a bag of steam-and-serve beans and carrots into the microwave.

Ooh, look.  Panko fried steak is done.  Place it on a plate.  And just in time, the microwave bell went ding.

And here it is, nicely plated and ready to serve.

Panko Fried Steak with green beans and carrots.

Ah, another delicious meal for one … bachelor cooking at its best. 😀

Bachelor Cooking: Roasted Vegetables for One

In an effort to make some major health changes in my diet, I’ve been looking at recipes for various delicacies.  And in my searches, I came across a recipe for roasted vegetables, as offered by someone called the Pioneer Woman.  Never heard of her before, but many of my Facebook friends swear by her recipes, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

Her recipe for roasted vegetables was mixed with dozens of high-quality photographs and lots of patois (add garlic for “majah flavah,” butternut squash “makes my skirt fly up in a major way”).  This should be easy.  I can chop up these vegetables, roast them, and I’ll have a nice garnish for a meal.

Unfortunately, what I didn’t realize was that the Pioneer Woman’s recipes are designed to serve an entire pioneer family, not just one bachelor.  Yeah, Chuck, you can’t watch one episode of The Joy of Painting and think that you’ve become Bob Ross, no more than you can watch an old episode of Pimp My Ride and fill out a job application for West Coast Customs.

So I have to “Chuck-i-fy” her recipe to suit me.  Yep, Chuck’s talking about cooking food.   I’m sure Steve Barnes would be impressed – then again, Steve Barnes has never heard of me, so it’s a moot point. 😀

Ingredients for Chuck’s Roasted Vegetables.

  • One rubber-banded batch of asparagus
  • One bell pepper (green or red or yellow)
  • 8 oz of mushrooms, diced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Minced garlic, about three or four pinches
  • Kosher salt

Take about five or six asparagus stalks from the rubber banded batch.  Slice each asparagus plant into three sections.  Remove top and bottom of bell pepper, discard center, dice the remainder.  Slice up mushrooms – or just do what I did, buy them pre-sliced at Market 32.  I told you, it’s bachelor cooking.  Go call Gordon Ramsay if you want something high-end.

Pour all diced and sliced ingredients into mixing bowl.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.  Add some pinches of minced garlic.  Again, Market 32 has the garlic already pre-minced, no muss, no fuss.  It’s not going to taste any different if you mince the garlic yourself.

Spread the mixture onto a cooking sheet.  Shake Kosher salt over the mixture.  Insert in the oven at 450° for 20 minutes, mixing the vegetables every ten minutes to make sure they’re spread and aerated on the sheet.

Scoop onto plate and serve.

Bachelor Roasted Vegetables.
Bachelor Roasted Vegetables.

Now don’t that look tasty?

Some of you are probably reading this blog and going, “Oh guh-reat, Chuck’s turning this blog into a foodie blog.  How original.  Whoop dee doo.”

No, I’m not turning this blog into a foodie blog.  But what I am doing is trying to show how single men can still survive in this day and age, whether it’s with cooking, laundry, shopping, or anything.

Trust me, it’s not easy.

But I’ve learned over the years that in all respects, the only person you can ever count on in this world is yourself.

You have to look out for #1, without letting people treat you like #2.

Bachelor Breakfast: Whip it out and bang it on the counter!

Last week, while traveling through Greene County for some last-minute fall foliage photos, I saw this little local meat market / butcherie.  Now if you know me, you know that I am a sucker for regional products.  One right turn and a quick parking job later, I was in the meat market, looking at the store’s wares.

I wasn’t ready to experience the meat market’s exotic foods – apparently they sell farm-raised venison, as well as buffalo and the like – but I did pick up some fresh sausages and a dozen range-free eggs.

And after driving back to my apartment, I decided to make a little bachelor breakfast.

Now “bachelor breakfast,” if you’re not familiar with the terminology, is when you cobble together various delicacies in a pan or in the oven.  You add whatever salts or spices suit your fancy, and you don’t care about making enough for anybody else because, hey, you don’t have to share with yourself.

Frying pan with about two tablespoons of salted butter.  Oh yeah, the salted butter came from an Amish grocery store in Fort Plain some time ago.  Salted butter is delicious.  Trust me on this.

I sliced up the sausage and fried the pieces in the pan.  A few minutes later, the sausages went from frying pan to plate.  And not wasting any of the sausage-salted-butter in the pan, I cracked open two of the range-free eggs and fried them in the grease.  Nice and crispy, just the way Grandma Betty used to make them for me when I was a kid.

And then… when I was sure that the eggs were perfectly fried (for me), they went to the plate as well.

Bachelor sausage and eggs.

breakfast

Don’t that look tasty?  This is the kind of meal Rachael Ray would make, amirite?

So I’m going to need some starch to go with this little cholesterol bullet.

Normally I could drive over to Stewart’s or Dunkin’ Donuts or Bruegger’s and get some bagels or donuts or both.

Nah.  Not this time.

I’ve got an oven in this apartment.  Time to use it.

See, the other day I got up the nerve to purchase something called Pillsbury Grands Biscuits.  The idea is that you can open up this can, put it in the oven, and 13 to 17 minutes later, you have biscuits.  And they come in these little cardboard tubes.  All I need to do is bang the tube on the counter to open the can, and bake from there.

Well damn that sounds easy.  Easy enough for me.

Let’s see… Here’s a can of biscuits.  Butter flavored.  Hmm.

And here’s a counter.

BANG

Can didn’t open.  Try again, Miller.

BANG

Damn.  Oh, the directions say you have to apply pressure on the can’s spiral seam.

Hell with that.  One more try on the counter and –

BANG-POP

Oh look.  Little pats of doughy biscuits dough.

13 to 17 minutes later, and …

First time making biscuits. #bachelorcooking #pillsbury #bangitonthecounter

A post shared by Chuck Miller (@kchuckradio) on

Look at all that doughy fluffy goodness. Home made and from scratch.  And by “scratch” I mean I probably scratched my countertop from banging the can on it; and by “home made” I mean that I cooked these biscuits in my oven, which is in my home, so technically I “home made” them.

Meanwhile, I can imagine every foodie in the blogisphere is laughing their collective tuchus off at this.  “Wow, Chuck Miller figured out how to bake biscuits from a can.  Whoop dee doo.  Any child can do that.  What’s next, you gonna figure out how to make cupcakes with an Easy-Bake Oven?”

I dunno.  First I’d need to acquire an Easy-Bake Oven, wouldn’t I?  That, and an old-fashioned light bulb, since those compact florescent bulbs aren’t strong enough to cook water to a lukewarm temperature.

No, really this is just a blog post to show that you’re really not limited to what you can make for breakfast.  A bowl of cereal, some pancakes, maybe some hash browns, etc.  And if you step out of your normal comfort zone, you can take that first step into making more elaborate meals.

That, and bachelor breakfast is okay.  You don’t need to worry about people judging you for what you eat.

They’re not cooking your breakfast for you, so they don’t get an opinion or a choice.

And they don’t get to judge you.

That’s the most important thing about bachelor breakfast.

Nobody gets to judge you for it.