Bachelor Chow

Updated: July 14th, 2007

When I got this domain, I wanted to experiment with foods that were shelf-stable in packages that even the lowest of intelligence people could open and make.  The idea is inspired by the "Bachelor Chow" brand of food as depicted by Matt Groenig in his animated series "Futurama".  And if Bender made a little cash from it, would he complain?

This section of the page is dedicated to recipes and techniques in bringing those culinary bits of knowledge into the kibble we as single males eat.  One can say it's "Hacker" food, but really it's meant forevery 18-45 single male who survive on the minimalist of nutrition.

Usually a single female won't stoop as far as eating kibble and meal from a dogbowl.  Let alone subsisting purely on take-out and pizza.  But men do all the time because that's what we do.  It's not that we don't desire better food.  But when it comes to simple sustenance such as food women have standards.  Men have low ones. :-)

While technically one could just eat dog food and be done with it, we'd like to think that the kind of meat we give to the dog is better in quality and inspection than the meat that we give Fido.

So without further ado, here are some ideas on cheap nutrition for us "Bachelors" waiting for a reason to bust out mad culinary skills - or better yet, her having skills and you assisting or whatever...


The food of many college kids.  Where .25 cents buys you a full belly but little else.  If you're in need of a diet and extra cash, you can't beat a package of it.  But after a while, it begins to taste the same.  Asians typically don't eat ramen plain.  Usually it's the "base" of a soup where they add green onion, hard boiled egg, a little smoked fish and maybe some asian style hot sauce to "kick it up a notch".  In the joint, we would by cases of it and store them in our cubes when we didn't feel like eating one of the 3 meals we got with our cot.  There, we added SPAM-from-a-can, velveeta cheese, a package of mayo and canned tuna.  Maybe some tomatoes smuggled out of the kitchen or diced onion.  Just remember it's a starch and a little of what you add goes a long ways.  http://www.mattfischer.com/ramen/

Chili and Canned Foods

Typically you can find this on sale in whatever varities.  Personally, I mix it with ramen sometimes and eat it with Ritz crackers.  Add cheese or extra ground meat and it becomes a hearty meal.  But there is also another chili you may/may not know about:  Stokes brands.

Stokes Chili is sort of a regional thing from my original home state of Colorado.  Usually it's available throughout the mountain states but when I moved to the west coast, it was nowhere to be found.  After searching around some, I finally found the distributor of the brand and they are more than willing to ship cases of it to you anywhere in the world.   

What makes this Chili different?  It's not the normal Texas style chili that you're used to with meat and red beans.  It's a canned version of the Chili Verde or Chili Colorado that you get in a mexican restaurant.  The taste and flavor is good and sometimes alot better than what you get in the restaurant because of their recipe revealing a thicker consistency.  And it's excellent in all sorts of foods like burritos, tacos, beef franks, pork ribs, etc..  If you're not sure, do some research and check them out.  Average cost of a can is on par with Nalley's or Hormel.

Freezer Foods

Most of us single people on the go tend to hit the freezer section to restock on corndogs and frozen pizza's.  While both certainly are easy to prepare, on a cost basis it may or may not be practical.  Personally I like better food and while frozen pizza's sometime taste better than delivery, one really should strive to get a little more nutrition out of their foods.  Frozen burritos from the store should only be used in a deep fryer in my opinion.  And I've never found that tv dinners satisify my appetite.  

But there are some exceptions:

-  Frozen Lasagna:  When it's just yourself or a friend stopping by to game, a frozen lasagna is pretty pimp.  The time it takes to prepare is about the same as making it but the cost is hugely different.  Usually I like adding a little to the top of it about mid way through the cooking process.  Stuff like extra cheese, sliced Bar-S beef franks, sliced mushrooms and bell peppers, a few splashes of red wine/cooking sherry.  Add some fresh french garlic bread that's pre-buttered (tho, I recently used some garlic paste and whipped butter mixed and spread it heavy on a couple loaves and it was the bomb... the paste was heavily concentrate) and maybe a bag of salad and you got a meal that might even impress someone enough to stay over. :-)

- Marie Callender's Pot Pies:  When you want a meal in a box, these $5 pies are filled with large chunks of chicken/beef and vegetables.  *urp*

- Totino's are probably the pimpest pizza out there.  Usually found for a buck or less per box, you can add cheese and extra pepperoni to them.  But for something better than California Pizza Kitchen, you really need to use a Boboli shell or a large piece of flatbread and add some spaghetti sauce, cheese and add your own fresh toppings like mushrooms and sliced bell pepper.  If you do add meat, make sure you cook your meat in a pan till it's just past rare then let the oven do the rest.

- Meat pies: I've only ever seen these in asian groceries.  Usually they're in the freezer/refrigeration isle.  What they look like are balls of dough about the size of your fist and one might think of it as bread dough from afar.  But if you read the label on them, they're filled with a meat filling like roast beef, chicken teriyaki, pork sausage, etc... They come 4 to a bag and keep fairly well in the fridge (about as long as a loaf of bread does).  Usual cost: $3-4 bux a bag.  Makes for a handy lunch at the office (just nuke and go).

I don't know about the rest of you, but when I cook for myself, I usually think about what I want to eat for the next couple weeks.  The kinds of food I want to experience and then shop accordingly.  For instance, if I want good burritos: I'll get the ingredients together then double or triple the quantity.  After which I'll just wrap the extra burritos in foil and toss in the freezer after a "pre-cool" in the refrigerator overnight.  You can do the same with any sort of "filling" or "tray" food like lasagna.Usually I'll save this technique for a evening when I'm doing laundry and housekeeping work.  


When the weather is not rainy or cloudy (which isn't often in the Pacific Northwest) I like to Barbecue.  It allows me to exercise any pyromaniac tendencies I might have in a productive way. :-)

Some tips tho for the geek:

- Don't buy prepackage patties from the freezer section.  The 1/4 pound it says on the box is prefrozen weight and there is alot of moisture in those patties.  Once cooked, they resemble a table coaster. Go to the meat counter and ask for the premade patties under the glass.

- Don't put B-B-Q sauce on the meat while it's cooking.  Wait till it's done, then put some on and let it warm up for a minute or two.  If you put it on earlier, the sugars in the sauce will caramelize and you'll be left with the outside being charred meat that no-one will want to eat.

- Do plan ahead if you want to cook steaks or meats that marinade.  My personal favorite is a good label Worshestershire Sauce.  Marinade your meat at least overnight if not longer (1-2 days).  The meat will be more tender and have a better taste thanks to the time necessary for osmosis to occur.  For chicken, I would marinade breasts with a bottle of "Jamaican Mistake" over night.

more additions later...