Sunday, January 30, 2022

National Croissant Day - Videos

I prefer a heated plain Croissant with coffee in the morning. When I have them in bed it's a flakey affair. I usually have the L.A. Times newspaper laid out underneath my chin to catch the crumbs. That's how I like to start National Croissant Day

Croissants can be filled with chocolate or feta cheese and spinach along with many other sweets or savories. Usually associated with the French, Croissants originated in mid 1800s Austria. The pastry is layered with butter so you get a puffy and airy interior with a hard flakey brown exterior. 

While not the same by any means, Flakey Biscuits and Crescent Rolls in the can/cardboard roll give you a rough idea if you have never had a Croissant.

Croissants are now featured on many breakfast menus, even in fast food joints like a Jack in the Box Supreme Croissant made with scrambled eggs, cheese, ham, and bacon, and they are pretty tasty, too. If you are staying at a vacation B & B (Bread and Breakfast) they often serve a Continental Breakfast that includes Croissants. But Croissants are best fresh from a bakery deli case. 

Lately, I get mine cheaply from my local Ralphs supermarket bargain bin. They may be a few days old, but because I like them warm they reheat to an almost fresh state, crunchy on the outside, and buttery soft on the inside. 

I like to buy a container or two at a time as they freeze and defrost fine. Since I get a great deal there is no reason to make my own...maybe one day I'll give it a shot.

I reheat them on the stovetop in a pan, just for a minute on each side. A toaster oven works quite well, too. If I am heating up a few Croissants then I will heat them in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes or so - they don't need to brown anymore, just heat through - so check on them frequently just in case - warm to the touch is enough. Of course, they are delicious at room temperature.

I like my Croissants warm and plain, but lately, I've been making stuffed Breakfast Croissant Sandwiches. Check out my Scrambled Egg Croissant Sandwich video below. Nothing to it really just scrambled eggs anyway you like it, then load them into a sliced-open Croissant. I finally heat the Croissant about a minute on each side.

For my next recipe video, I add cheese on top of the scrambled eggs. I use American cheese, but you can use any favorite cheese. Again, nothing to this simply delicious breakfast sandwich, it's so quick and easy to do!

My last Breakfast Croissant Sandwich is the most decadent with not only scrambled egg and cheese but add a slice of ham -- check it out below.

I'll celebrate National Croissant Day any day of the year, and when you try my above Croissant Breakfast Sandwiches you will, too.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Fried Egg Sandwich - Breakfast Recipe

When I'm lazy in the morning and coffee is working too slow, I don't want to think about breakfast too much so I'll make a Fried Egg Sandwich

Just get the egg to frying, pop some bread in the toaster and get out the mayo. Sometimes I'll stop there...that's enough for an Egg Sandwich. If I have a tomato then I'll slice off some and if I have lettuce then that's added too. You can make your own Egg Sandwich any way you like.

Lately, eggs have come up in price, I used to get a dozen for 99 cents, but now at my local Dollar Tree I get  6 to 8 eggs for a buck -- still a great deal. They're one of the cheapest ingredients to start your day. 

Lately, I fry my eggs so the sandwich can be a bit messy with yolk spilling out, but I do like it that way as a raw semi-cooked yolk is quite yummy. It's okay to scramble an egg if you like it that way. 

If you have a grocer bakery look for day-old bread. My Ralphs grocers have a "bargain bin" and I'm always on the lookout for bread deals. 

I've got everything from grainy Mill Bread to pungent Marble Rye. If they have a nice sourdough or wheat, then I'll get that - mix it up I say!

Now it's not fresh so it doesn't hold up to just slicing it for a sandwich, usually day-old bread is not soft, so I always toast the bread. Day-old bread holds up really well as toast - you can't tell the difference between fresh and day-old bread when toasted.

It's okay to use any favorite bread you find on sale or regular price.

I like mayo on my Egg Sandwich. I still get mayonnaise cheaply at my local  Dollar Tree. I can get tomatoes and lettuce cheap enough.

Start your day with my Fried Egg Sandwich -- it's so good and goes down perfectly with coffee.

Fried Egg Sandwich - Video           Play it here, the video runs 1 minute, 32 seconds.

My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.


  • 1 egg - fried or scrambled to your taste. 
  • 2 slices of bread - I like to toast mine. Okay to use bagel, croissant, or any favorite bread you like and find on sale.
  • Tomato slices - I like cherry tomatoes too.
  • Lettuce leaf - spinach is a tasty addition.
  • Veggie oil for frying egg.
  • Salt and pepper to taste - for the fried or scrambled egg.


You know how to fry an egg right? I heat the pan, add some oil and break the egg into the pan.

I don't move the egg at all. I just let it cook until the whites are solid, usually about 3 minutes, depending on the heat of the frying pan. 

If you like your yolks semi-done then break the yolk and it will cook that way.

It's okay to scramble the egg as well if that's how you like it. It's always best to cook the egg the way you like it.

When the egg is halfway done, I'll start toasting the bread. I'll also slice the tomato and wash off the lettuce leaf. 

When the egg is done and the bread is toasted then assemble the sandwich. As I mentioned above I like mayo on my sandwich, it's okay to add any condiment you like.

Friday, January 21, 2022

National Squirrel Appreciation Day - Composting & Squirrels Video

 In the acting world, you shy away from performing with children and animals. Why...because, after all those years of distilling your experiences into being spontaneous and natural in front of an audience, there is nothing worse than being upstaged by cuteness.

 In The 99 Cent Chef's latest video you'll see what I mean by watching birds and squirrels upstage the Anthropomorphic Chef.

My neighbor feeds the birds and squirrels every morning. So I got the idea to set out some seeds and have them do the work of making an opening title sequence for me. Only a nut would let squirrels and birds do the typography for my videos...well, I'm that Chintzy Nut.

And my front yard critters will work for 99 cent peanuts and birdseed.

 For the final video scene, it's a squirrel feeding frenzy when The Doctor Doolittle of chefs scatters lettuce in the most unique way for the tree-dwelling rodents.

It's all in the wrist if you want to compost like The 99 Cent Chef. With shovel in hand, the Chintzy Composter shows you a simple method that reduces the garbage you throw away by about half - so that means fewer trips to the dumpster. Plus, if you have a small garden you will never have to buy potting soil again. Just scroll to the end of this post for my Composting Video.

There are many techniques for Composting. Just Google the word and you'll see what I mean. It really just depends on how much you want to deal with. You can start a giant compost pile with everything from veggie table scraps to lawn trimmings, and even newsprint and paper. I live in the city, so composting is best not seen or smelt!

I've come up with an easy-to-do method. Every day my girlfriend and I collect the veggie and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, and eggshells into a small container with a top. I live in a condo complex with a lot of land per unit and there is an outdoor common area in the corner that is not used. So every 2 to 4 days I take my full compost bin and bury the scraps in a 4 by 4-foot square area. Nobody complains and some of my neighbors offer encouragement, even compliments.

With a minimal amount of compost area to work with, I find it's just enough. I bury my small scrap amounts and a couple of days later dig a new hole. If you roughly chop up the scraps with the shovel and mix in a little dirt, the decomposition is complete in less than 2 weeks.

So by the time I've filled my 4 food square, it's ready for a new round of veggie scraps. (You'll see black nutrient-rich-looking compost clumps as you work your way around.) It takes a month or so until the compost is ready for my garden -- just in time for Fall and Spring planting.

A quick gardening note: composting veggies with seeds, like cucumbers, squash, and tomatoes, means you will get sprouting seedlings popping out all over. I'll prune out most of them as they come up, but I like to keep a few plants just to see how they do. Every year I get some type of squash plant that yields a bouquet of edible squash blossoms -- just type "squash blossoms" into the "Enter Ingredient or Recipe Keyword(s)" search window located at the top right side of this page to see all the recipes I use them for.

The trick is to keep the compost area clean and odorless. Instead of a smelly compost pile, I bury mine. Now, that means I can't compost everything, but it's good enough for big city living.

So, check out my Composting with The 99 Cent Chef video below. As I mentioned earlier, "It's all in the wrist," and I don't just mean how you handle a shovel, as you will see during the video's outrageous ending.

Composting, Squirrels, and the 99 Cent Chef - VIDEO

 Play it here, video runs 3 minutes, 17 seconds.

My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.

And 99 thanks to Bob McGuinness, and Amy for shooting the Chef.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

National Bagel Day - Recipes

 How about a Salmon Schmear that's 99.99% Kosher on National Bagel Day!

I never had a Bagel when I lived in Louisiana and Texas as a youth, but now you can get them in coffee shops and larger grocery stores. Bagels are boiled and then baked to create a crunchy surface and chewy interior. They go back to the 17 century in Jewish communities of Poland.

My girlfriend Linda grew up a half-hour from New York City the capital of Bagels. I got a crash course there when we visited her family. 

Check out our breakfast video below at Ess-a-Bagel restaurant in NYC where they are baked on the premises serving a dozen varieties of amazing Bagel Sandwiches!

Ess-a-Bagel - Movie

I do love a toasted Bagel in the morning, usually as a sandwich with a fried egg, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. Also, you should try a simple breakfast recipe with sauteed and caramelized onions that are mixed into your favorite egg scramble, and served on a slice of toasted Bagel. A Bagel for breakfast gets the job done to get you out the door...or at least out of bed.

In past film commercial shoots this non-kosher cameraman /chef was quick to line up for a catered breakfast; going past the multitude of sugary pastry confections and heading straight for Bagels, cream cheese, Lox (cured salmon,) sliced red onion, and tomato to build a Jewish deli kosher classic. 

You should click here to see my Homemade Lox recipe. It's really easy to do, just coat a thick slice of raw salmon in equal parts of sugar and salt, wrap in plastic, or a glass container, and let it cure in the refrigerator for a couple of days (unwrap and drain liquid  during curing.) Finally, rinse and pat dry, that's it.

Now Lox (mildly brined, cold-cured raw salmon) is too expensive for this Chintzy Chef but canned, or soft packaged cooked salmon is a fine inexpensive substitute. 

Fold it into room-temperature softened cream cheese, lightly mix with some lemon juice and you have a spreadable feast - a Salmon Schmear.

I find small tubs and packages of cream cheese in the 99c only Store cold cases quite often; bagels, as well as small cans of cooked salmon, are usually stocked.

Bagels still turn up in bargain bins at chain grocery stores, 99c only Stores and Dollar Tree, too.

A Salmon Schmear is also a delicious party dip, just set out your preferred cracker, pita, or toasted wedges of bagel. This kosher morning starter is a Chef's favorite; right up there with McDonald's decidedly non-kosher sausage and egg, syrup-filled pancake sandwich "McGriddle".

Ingredients (serves 2 - 4)

  • 8 oz. package of cream cheese (Philadelphia Cream Cheese is kosher)
  • 3 oz. small package or can of cooked salmon (Pillar Rock salmon brand is kosher)
  • Sliced tomato and onion (preferably red onion - for this recipe I used yellow onion)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
  • 99.99 cent bagels


Allow cream cheese to reach room temperature. Drain salmon and mix it into cream cheese. You can use less cream cheese for a fishier version.

Add a teaspoon of lemon or lime juice. Mix lightly for a chunky spread.

Toast bagel then add Salmon Schmear with tomato and sliced onion.

Blueberry Bagels are somewhat controversial. I like them but my girlfriend Linda despises them - won't go near them.

Hey, we have to agree to disagree, I like them toasted with a smear of butter.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Best Cheap$kate Food Finds of 2021

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to check out my Best Cheap$kate Finds of the Year! And these are just the highlights. First off, I have to give my local 99c only Store and Dollar Tree a big 99 thanks! It's quite fun to riff on what they stock on their shelves. Sometimes I will only use one ingredient for a recipe from there, and other times a recipe rises fully formed. So read on and imagine what you would come up with if you had run across any of these great deals.

Sometimes I like desserts first, how about you? 

I have started the day with many of the following breakfast items I've found.

Most times the eggs from my local  Dollar Tree come in 8 count containers, this one time they carried a full dozen for a buck!

I bought a couple cans of Homemade Sausage Gravy to review, so come back for that one..if you can stomach it! My own Homemade Country Gravy with Sausage recipe is based on a childhood breakfast, so click here to see the real thing.

JalapeƱo Cheddar Grits would go great with my nephew Matt's Shrimp & Grits Recipe. We made a tasting party video you can see here.

I mostly run across sugary cereals for a buck and I am not a kid anymore, so when I find one with low sugar then I'm on it and get many boxes, as they will keep quite a long time. The Kashi brand is a tasty cereal.

I like milk in my coffee and that's about it. I prefer Almond "Milk" in my cereal and oatmeal these days. 

I was skeptical about trying Hemp, Sesame, Oat, and Mushroom Oat Blends but they are quite tasty. I can recommend them all, especially for 99.99 cents. I prefer unsweetened as even organic cereals have added sweeteners.

Dollar stores were late to stocking organics and so were most chain grocery stores. Every year there are more organic and gluten-free products to choose from. 

I can always get rice and beans for the right prices.

Here are some toddler eats for your littlest 99er.

I like a cold-cut sandwich with cheese or dairy spreads. And when I fly to Louisiana to visit mom I always make a sandwich to take on the plane, it's cheaper that way. My local 99c only Store almost always stocks deli meats and cheese. 

I've tried these vegan imitation cheese slices and can't get behind them. I mean they are okay, they melt and all. The packages use cheese names like cheddar, mozzarella, and provolone, but they taste nothing like advertised. As a test, I made grilled cheese sandwiches one after the other so I could see if there was a difference -- hmmm, not much really. Cheddar should have stood out, but it was dull and barely tasted like the mildest type of cheese, not cheddar at all. The vegan cheeses are fine if you really want non-dairy, I think they are nothing to brag about, yet. 

I've been lucky to find tasty loaves of bread at budget prices and I'm talking about artisanal bread. My street corner has a Superior Latin market, a Dollar Tree, and a chain Ralphs supermarket that has a bargain bin with locally made loaves for a buck or two, that normally sell for four dollars and more. 

The budget bin bread is not fresh, maybe even a little stale, but I find when you toast it the bread center becomes soft again plus you get an extra crunchy surface that makes great sandwiches. Sprinkle a little chopped garlic and a drizzle of olive oil on a few thick slices then broil a few minutes for great Garlic Bread.

Marble Rye - great with my Homemade Pastrami.

Mill Bread



Seafood is the most expensive protein, but I still manage to find deals for around a buck, mainly of the canned variety. Get out the cheese, crackers, nuts, and olives for tasty appetizers with tins of sardines, smoked oysters, or salmon. 

I still get canned tuna for a buck and boy do I have a great Loaded Tuna Salad Recipe video a click away.

I like cod fillets for a very crunchily British Fish & Chips and of course I have a recipe for that, too. These dollar fillets are small but you can still get a couple of nice bites per package. 

I've been making Stir Frys lately and the above-cooked shrimp is enough for one large serving.

I'm a fan of fake crab or Krab. It's just fish that is reshaped and shredded to form chunks or sticks that taste like crab. I first had it as a California Roll, which you can find in almost any grocer deli case now. I made my own version of a California Roll and also a Mexican Krab Ceviche, both tasty party appetizers.

I'll finish my Best Cheap$kate Food Finds of 2021 with a few odds and ends.
It was a pleasant surprise to find Zapp's Potato Chips at my corner Dollar Tree. These are my preferred chips that are locally made right near where my Mom lives in Louisiana.

Hmmm...should I do a Cheap$kate Review of Cheetos MAC 'N CHEESE
Flamin' Hot?

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