Lazy Day Recipe Help #3

I think you will find that most of my lazy day recipe help blogs will revolve around breakfast. While I do come up with on the spot things for other meals breakfast is usually the one I experiment with the most in trying to make quick and easy. Today we are all about breakfast tacos. I know some of you will read this and say “what are breakfast tacos”? This makes me sad to know that there are places in the this country that do not serve breakfast tacos. Shame, Shame, Shame. But back to it.


I woke up one morning and was having a hard time figuring out what I wanted to do for breakfast. I did not want to pick something up and I wasn’t really up for cooking and elaborate meal that morning so I opened the fridge door and stared in waiting for something to jump out at me. I had smoked a nice big brisket the weekend before and had a few pieces of that left over. I of course had eggs and I remembered that I had saved a couple of left over tortillas from dinner a couple of nights before. So with that a plan started to form in my groggy early morning brain. Brisket breakfast tacos. “mmmm good”

Tip: Always keep eggs in the fridge. They are a very versatile and easy to make.

In a medium bowl I whisked up three eggs and poured them into a hot pan to scramble. When those were done I placed a few pieces of the brisket in the same pan and let it heat up (this doesn’t take long and makes a nice crispy edge that is wonderful). I took those out and added them to the plate with the eggs and then dropped in a tortilla. I heated those one at a time (since I was using the small pan that day) and heated them until them were soft and easy to roll.

Tip: If you do not have brisket a piece of leftover steak sliced thin or even microwave bacon can be used to make an equally tasty meal.

I laid out the now warm tortillas and then placed and equal amount of egg on each one. Then I added a slice of brisket to each, but after looking at it thought to myself that something was missing. I looked in the fridge and thought for a minute…CHEESE!!! I grabbed the bag of shredded cheddar and sprinkled a little on each taco then added a few drops of hot sauce.  Now all that was left to do was fold them up and enjoy. They turned out great and only took about 15 minutes to make (I was moving slow that morning).

 

Thanks for reading

JMW

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Grumpy’s Mexican Cafe

Great ***

Pretty Good

OK

No Thanks

Every now and then I get a taste for good ole home cooked food like I grew up on. I remember standing in my Grandma’s kitchen as she would cook breakfast and the smell of the bacon and eggs frying and the biscuits baking was almost too much to have to wait for but of course she would always slip me a piece of bacon when no one was looking. Every now and then I run across a place that brings those memories back and I am happy to say I can add another to my list. Grumpy’s Mexican Cafe is just that place. Located just outside of 1604 on Nacodoches near Garden Ridge this little place is just far enough off the radar to have almost escaped my site but not quite. I don’t know if you like more traditional San Antonio breakfast dishes like breakfast tacos and huevos rancheros or a more southern style like biscuits and gravy or chicken and waffles, but whatever your pleasure is you can be sure to find it at Grumpy’s. I have tried several different dishes over a few visits to Grumpy’s but kept forgetting to take pictures until I was about half way through the meal. Yes it is that good. But I was able to set my excitement aside on one trip and get a couple of pics of the biscuits and sausage gravy I finally decided to give a try. I only say finally because biscuits and sausage gravy are one of those dishes that I doubt I will ever find as good as Grandma used to make but do get brave enough to try every now and then just to see.

I will say that the gravy was great even though it was pretty different from Grandmas. I’m pretty sure they didn’t use a cast iron skillet to cook it in but it was tasty non the less. The biscuits on the other hand were just like she was back in the kitchen mixing them up herself. They were moist and flaky and not dry and crumbly like a lot of restaurants make them.  You can order a half order or a whole order. Half an order is one biscuit split in half and a whole order is two biscuits both split in half. I ordered a whole order and now know that next time I will get the half order. This is a lot of food.  The gravy has a nice texture and flavor that compliments the biscuits but needed a little more black pepper to get up to my standards. You can get the gravy with or without sausage, but whats the point of biscuits and gravy if you don’t have sausage in the gravy? This meal also comes with a side of hash browns that are pretty tasty with a hint of a butter flavor and two eggs however you want them cooked. I had mine over medium because I like the yellow runny but not the white.

Like I said earlier I have been back several times and tried multiple things on the menu but did not take pictures. I guess I will have to go back and try them all over again. It’s hard being me.

A couple of note worthy dishes to mention and ones I know I will be getting again is the chicken and waffles and the country fried steak. Great tasting fluffy waffle and had breaded chicken coated with powdered sugar and syrup and a large side of potato twisters which are kind of like a giant twisted potato chip that covers half the plate. This is one to try. And the country fried steak will take up most of your plate and can be cut with a fork it is so tender. Don’t forget to get a side of biscuits instead of toast. They just compliment everything.

Grumpy’s isn’t just a breakfast spot but also has a lunch menu that has quite a few great looking selections that I will have to try some day.

So you can guess that after reading this I will without a doubt be back for more. I hear they have a pretty incredible steak and eggs breakfast that is now on my list of dishes to try.

Thanks for reading

JMW

Auden’s Kitchen

Great

Pretty Good

OK

No Thanks ***

Every now and then you hear about a place that is supposed to be a good place to eat so you decide to go try it out, but when you do you think to yourself (or if you are like me out loud) “what were they thinking”? This is the feeling I got when I tried Auden’s Kitchen in San Antonio off of East Sonterra BLVD.

When you walk in the door it has an odd feeling right off the bat. Is it a pub? Is it a bistro? Is it an eatery? Is it a wine bar? Its kind of all over the place. Behind the front desk was a black board with the daily specials written in chalk like  lot of kitschy little places do but just passed that were shelves full of wine bottles like a wine bar and to the right was a little lounge area with leather couches and a TV. The front dining room was laid out with a decent amount of space between the tables and had an open feel to it while the back dinning room seemed to be delegated for prep work in the down hours because one of the waiters was ripping paper for table coverings almost the entire time I was there.

When it comes to food Auden’s kitchen has a wide variety on the menu and some really nice sounding dishes. Unfortunately if you go in on a Sunday the menu is cut down to a handful of selections for brunch only which I found a little disappointing. After looking through what they did have available I decided on the Fish and Chips, since the menu is an Americanized English pub style food I thought that this would be a great choice. My dining partner for that day went with the selection on the menu labeled simply as Burger.

When the food arrived it was hand delivered by one of the Chef’s who had the overall personality of a lump of wet clay and did not even look at us when setting the food down and waking away. That being said both dishes looked pretty good. The fries had a good texture and were seasoned nicely. The fish had a decent flavor but I was disappointed to see that the three little pieces they put on the plate were all about 75% batter and 25% fish.  I would have thought if they were going to be so selective on the size of the fish they would have at least tossed a couple more on the plate instead of trying to hide it in an enormous amount of batter.
I did try the burger and it was pretty good and made me wish I had put more thought into my choice.

I don’t usually focus on the condiments but have to say something about the “House Made Catsup” at Auden’s. This is something that they make sure to point out on the menu and seem to be proud of.  For starters go ahead and be prepared to ask for regular ketchup unless you like dipping your fries in something that tastes like a combination of apple sauce and cinnamon with a little tomato sauce mixed. I did not find it pleasing at all and it actually took a bit to get the awful taste out of my mouth before I could try to enjoy the rest of my meal. This is one of those cases where the person that came up with this concoction is obviously out of touch with their customer base.

I hate writing bad reviews almost as much as I hate the bad experience that leads to them but sometimes it is just unavoidable. So with all that being said I can assure you I will not be making a return trip to Auden’s any time in the future. The food is OK but the price you pay for what you actually get is not worth the trip.

Thanks for reading,

JMW

Lazy Day Recipe Help #2

I bet you get up some mornings and are getting ready for work and get stuck in that moment when you have to decide on making something at home or stopping and picking up something on the way in and in that moment you usually decide to pick something up because you don’t think there will be enough time to make something. Don’t fall for it! You are telling yourself a lie. Breakfast is a very important part of the day and is also very simple to make. The most important thing to do is plan ahead.

When I go for my weekly market trip I make sure to pick up various items to use throughout the week. This last trip I spotted some croissants in the bakery and picked up a pack of 8. I also try to keep things in the fridge like eggs and something easily microwavable like microwave bacon or sausage. You don’t always have to do everything fresh and elaborate. Most times the easy to put together stuff will taste better and leave you more satisfied than if you pick something up at a drive through.

Tip: Keep a pack of microwave bacon (or sausage)in your fridge. It lasts for a while and is quick and easy to prepare. If you are concerned about health then there are a couple of really good microwave turkey bacon’s available.

So for my lazy morning breakfast I pulled  a few items out of the fridge to get started. A few strips of microwave turkey bacon, a couple of slices of fat-free cheese, 2 microwave sausage patties and two eggs. I also set out two of the croissants I picked up earlier in the week.

Now I know you are thinking that sounds like a lot of work and that you would rather just hit a drive through. Well it is actually not a lot of work at all. The entire process took me less than 10 minutes. I got out a frying pan and turned on medium heat and sprayed it with non stick oil. While it is heating up I laid out the bacon on a paper towel and stuck it in the microwave for a minute. I then cracked the eggs in the pan and sprinkled with a little salt and black pepper. While those started cooking I removed the bacon and put in the sausage for a minute and a half. Then it was time to flip the eggs. Once I turned them over I used the spatula to pop the yolk. I know some people like it to be a little runny but if you plan to eat this in the car on your way to work you don’t want something drippy and runny in your hand. While the eggs were finishing up i cut the croissants in half for sandwiches and then scooped the eggs out on to a plate. I then laid the croissants cut side down in the pan to heat them up and give them just a little bit of toastiness. They only take about 45 seconds to warm up.

Tip: While croissants are always best fresh you can heat them up in a frying pan to give them back a little bit of the toasty, crunchy flakiness for your sandwich. This will allow you to buy a few more to keep throughout the week. Or you can just use toasted bread if you like.

Now it is time to assemble the sandwich. lay down egg on the bottom half of the croissant, place a slice of cheese then put down the bacon or sausage and cover with the other half of the croissant. There you have it. A quick simple and very tasty breakfast that will rival almost anything that you can be handed out of a window of a fast food place. You don’t have to use croissants either as a couple of slices of toast will work just as well.

Tip: It’s all in the seasoning. If for some reason you have a problem with making eggs that taste like the do in a restaurant remember these two things. Salt and Pepper. a few sprinkles of salt and black pepper go a long way to transform your eggs from bland into a taste sensation.
Well I hope that this can get some of you motivated in the mornings to treat yourself to a home-made delight instead of just heading off to the drive through.
Thanks for reading

JMW

Clear Springs Restaurant

Great

Pretty Good ***

OK

No Thanks

I have not done a review in a bit so here we go.

I heard about this little seafood place called Clear Springs Restaurant from a friend on Facebook and immediately went online to check out the menu. Well on the home page was this picture of a giant stack of home-made onion rings, so that made me decide to go and try it all by itself. For those of you that read my blog you know I am a sucker for a good onion ring. I checked to see where they were located and was happy to see that there are several locations and one was not to far from me out 1604 near the Stone Oak area in a little place called Afton Oaks. There is also one in the New Braunfels area but this one was closer to me and I was feeling a little to lazy to do any extra driving (it was Sunday after all).

When you walk in the door you can tell that these people are all about their fish. The inside is a neat mix of fishing cabin and antique store. They have old antique toys, fishing polls, and mounted fish scattered around the rafters and old west movie and TV posters hanging on the walls. The floors, tables and chairs are all wood to give it that rustic feel and it is a relatively spacious place inside.

The menu of course has many seafood items from catfish to fried oysters but also has a few steak selections for the non fish eaters of the world. To start out I of course ordered the onion rings to sample. The waitress was nice enough to suggest a small order so I wouldn’t fill up on them, but to my surprise a small order was huge. I have had some great onion rings in my time and I would count these among them. I would have to rank them in the top five best onion rings I have ever tried. The breading was flaky and crunchy and the onions themselves were easy to bite through and melted in your mouth. They were perfectly seasoned and to be honest I probably could have made a meal off just them but I did come here for fish after all so I placed my order for the main course. I ordered a 3 combo platter where you can choose between several different entree’s. I chose catfish, fried oysters, and fried crawfish.  The platter also came with borracho beans, hush puppies, french fries and cole slaw which to my surprise actually tasted like cole slaw and not that typical bland cabbage with a little vinegar tossed on it that you usually find in Texas. This was creamy and actually pretty tasty. The fries were your standard french fries, nothing special but not bad overall. I guess after those onion rings I would have a hard time judging anyone’s fries. The beans were good and tasted like every other borracho bean you can get in San Antonio, so nothing special. I cant really comment on the hush puppies as my dining companion stole those from me but they looked good. When it came to the three entrees I tried the crawfish first. While I have had better these were pretty good. My only complaint was that they were a tad on the chewy side but it is pretty hard to avoid that. Next I moved on to the oysters and was pleasantly surprised. The breading was crunchy and the oysters were flavorful and melted in your mouth. Now on to the main event, the catfish. Being a southern boy from Florida I have to tell you that I am kind of a fried catfish snob. I have had it cooked many different ways and even cook it myself so it is hard to impress me with catfish. Well I will say that this catfish is pretty good. It has a nice flavor and is seasoned good. It also has a crunchy breading while leaving the fish nice a flaky on the inside. I would not say it is the best I have ever had but it was far from the worst too. I would rate it around a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10 and would definitely go back again. Overall it was a pretty good meal but the onion rings are the clear winner this round. If nothing else I recommend going just to try them.


So if you are in the mood for good seafood in a down home type of settings this is the place to go.

Thanks for reading

JMW

Lazy Day Recipe Help #1

I am sure that everyone out there has come home from work and had that feeling of dread when it comes to thinking of what to make for dinner. Well I hope to help you all out with some suggestions and tips that I have come up with over the years. I got home from work last night and was not really in the mood to make an elaborate meal but also did not want to do take out or order in food. So I did what I have done on many occasions and stared into my fridge hoping that something would jump out ready to go on a plate. While that thankfully did not happen (because that would have meant there was something living in my fridge) I was able to look around at a few things I had and like MacGyver came up with a quick idea that while it involved some cooking it did not take long at all.

Tip: When you buy fresh veggies at the market take them home, rinse them off and cut them up and put them into containers right away. That way you will have them ready to use throughout the week.

See, cooking does not have to be an elaborate event every time you want to make something tasty. Looking in the fridge I saw a container of left over spaghetti noodles (no sauce), soy sauce, a little bit of General Tso’s sauce left in a bottle and some veggies that I cut up earlier in the week. So now all that was left was figuring out what meat I wanted to add. As I was thinking a light bulb went off over my head. I have a small bag of shrimp in the freezer.

Tip: It is always good to keep small single portions of a protein that can thaw out quickly in the freezer just for those lazy days.
So with a clear plan in mind I dumped the shrimp in the sink and covered them with hot water and put a medium frying pan on the stove to start heating up (to medium high heat).  I added in about 2 tbsp of olive oil and tossed in a handful of the pre cut onions and peppers.  While those started to sizzle I took the thawed shrimp (it does not take long at all for them to thaw) and placed them on a paper towel covered plate to get the excess water off and then dumped them in the pan with the veggies. I then poured in about a tbsp  of olive oil and sprinkled in some garlic powder from the pantry and gave a good stir. As soon as all of the shrimp had turned pink I added the left over noodles and poured in the General Tso’s sauce (about 1/4 cup). I then stirred it all together stirring it for about 2 minutes until the sauce started to reduce and then poured it out onto a plate.

That’s it. The whole process took about 15 minutes from start to finish and turned out fantastic. Keep in mind that you don’t have to use shrimp either. This can be done with a piece of left over chicken breast or steak from the a couple of nights before. Just chop it up and go.

Tip: Try and keep a variety of sauces in the door of your fridge for Lazy days like this. It can go a long way in throwing something together quickly.

I plan to do more of these lazy day recipe helpers from time to time. So keep your eyes on my blog for more tips.

Thanks for reading

JMW

JMW’s Snack cups

Snack Cups

I hope that you are all ready because after a long pause I am back with more yummy goodness.

Today we will talk about JMW’s snack cups.

Now I can hear you all scratching your heads and saying “what are snack cups”? Well I will tell you, like I said above they are yummy goodness of pretty much anything you can think of baked inside of a flaky biscuit cup. For this round I made two different batches, BBQ and Taco. These snack cups are simple to make and can be made in large batches for a group or to be frozen and served later on. Both kids and adults can enjoy these.

First you need to decide on what flavor you have the taste for. I will start off with the BBQ ones that I made since they are my favorites.

What you need (for one batch).

1LB Ground beef

1 medium onion (diced into small cubes)

½ cup brown sugar

1 cup BBQ sauce (I use my home made sauce but just regular old Kraft BBQ sauce will work just fine).

1 tube of Pillsbury butter tasting biscuits (10 count)

1 bag of shredded cheddar cheese

1 muffin pan

non stick spray

Salt and pepper

First you will want to saute the diced onion in a medium size frying pan (on medium) until they start to turn clear, then add the ground beef and brown it (adding salt and pepper to taste). Once you have your beef browned you will stir in the brown sugar, and then add the BBQ sauce. Now stir it all together and let it simmer on low for about 10 minutes (stirring occasionally).

While that is simmering coat the muffin pan with non stick spray and then place a biscuit in each muffin slot. Most pans hold 12 but the biscuits come in packs of ten so you will have two empty slots (no big deal). Now use your put your fingers in the middle of each biscuit and start pressing outward to the wall of the pan forming a little bowl. Do this for each biscuit. Now you should have a bunch of little biscuit bowls.

Now spoon the BBQ mixture into each biscuit until the are full. Once all biscuits are full you will then cover them with cheddar cheese. I like to put a nice pile on top so that when it melts you forms a nice little cover on top.

Place the muffin pan in a preheated 400 degree oven and bake for about 12 minutes. You will know when they are done when the biscuits have risen up over the edge of the muffin slots and the edges of the cheese have started to brown.

Now remove them and let them cool.

The procedure for the Taco is pretty much the same thing with a few modifications.

What you need (for one batch).

1LB Ground beef (or ½ lb ground beef, ½ lb Mexican chorizo)

1 medium onion (diced into small cubes)

2 roma tomatoes (diced into small cubes)

2 tbsp garlic powder

4 tbsp chili powder (regular chili powder is fine)

1 tube of Pillsbury butter tasting biscuits (10 count)

1 bag of shredded colby or Mexican blend cheese.

1 muffin pan

non stick spray

Salt and pepper

First you will want to saute the diced onion in a medium size frying pan (on medium) until they start to turn clear, then add the ground beef and brown it (adding salt and pepper to taste). Once you have your beef browned you will stir in the garlic powder and chili powder. Now I use 3 different chili powders for mine, but any regular chili powder will work fine.  You may also need to add just a little water to keep it from drying out. Add the tomatoes and reduce heat to low to simmer for about 10 minutes (stirring occasionally).

While that is simmering coat the muffin pan with non stick spray and then place a biscuit in each muffin slot. Most pans hold 12 but the biscuits come in packs of ten so you will have two empty slots (no big deal). Now use your put your fingers in the middle of each biscuit and start pressing outward to the wall of the pan forming a little bowl. Do this for each biscuit. Now you should have a bunch of little biscuit bowls.

Now spoon the taco mixture into each biscuit until the are full. Once all biscuits are full you will then cover them with shredded cheese. I like to put a nice pile on top so that when it melts you forms a nice little cover on top.

Place the muffin pan in a preheated 400 degree oven and bake for about 12 minutes. You will know when they are done when the biscuits have risen up over the edge of the muffin slots and the edges of the cheese have started to brown.

Now remove them and let them cool.

See I told you it was pretty simple and the results are amazing. These are a fun to make and versatile snack that everyone will love. You can even try it with pizza topping and sauce and cover it with mozzarella cheese if you like. Comment if you come up with any out there combo that sounds good.

As always.

Thanks for reading,

JMW