Nik Snacks

Bite it and write it. That's what I do. Fueled by butterbeans & collard greens.


On 6:30 AM by Nikki @ NikSnacks in , , ,    No comments
Thanksgiving turkey reimagined. As part of my $25 Thanksgiving dinner challenge, I've received the most comments and questions about the turkey.

Watch the news broadcast and see how I completed the meal by clicking HERE and see the complete menu, tips and price breakdown by clicking HERE. if you want the turkey recipe, just follow along below!

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.

Stuffed Turkey Breast Roulade

1 box Stove Top stuffing (any flavor), prepared
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt
1/4 cup white onion, diced
2 boneless, skinless turkey breast halves, butterflied

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Lay the butterflied turkey breast between two large pieces of plastic wrap on clean work surface. Use a tenderizer (flat side only) or rolling pin to pound turkey breast to an even thickness. Use firm, tight sweeping strokes to pound out the breast. Remove plastic wrap and discard.

Place one turkey breast half on a sheet pan covered with aluminum foil. Season turkey generously with salt and pepper.

Add diced onion to prepared Stove Top stuffing. Divide and spread the stuffing mixture evenly over the turkey breast, leaving about a 3/4 to 1/2-inch border. Be careful not to overstuff the turkey or you will have a difficult time rolling it up. Starting with the long end of the breast, roll the turkey up and over the stuffing, jelly roll style. Repeat with remaining breast.

Place the turkey roulade seam side down on the foil. Wrap roulade and twist each end of the foil tightly. Place on sheet pan and bake for 35 minutes.

Slice the turkey into 1-inch thick slices and serve with gravy.

Money can be tight around the holidays, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the important things, like sitting down to a successful Thanksgiving dinner with your family and friends.

I was challenged by our local Fox News affiliate to create a Thanksgiving dinner for $25 or less. Being the frequent Nik Snacks reader you are, I know you're familiar with my $20 Challenge TV show. I come up with some tasty things virtually every time. This time was no different.

Natalie Wilson of Fox 8 and me post-dinner 
As soon as the video is posted online, I'll post it here.

I scanned this week’s grocery store circulars to see if I could come up with a Thanksgiving feast for four to six people for $25 or less. And believe it or not, I DID IT!

I'd love to see others create their own meals. Do you think you would do this for YOUR family? The average American spends $50 on Thanksgiving dinner. With a little planning, there’s no reason you can’t find excellent deals between now and the big day.

My first choice in grocery stores for this challenge was Aldi. High quality, premium products at reasonable prices is exactly what I was looking for and Aldi always delivers.

For everything I couldn't find at Aldi, I went "homegrown" and went to Lowes Foods. Y'all know I know about Lowes Foods!

Using very basic items I had on hand (salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, eggs, flour, mustard, brown sugar, olive oil, onion--THAT'S IT) I made it happen.

I was concerned mostly for the turkey. You could easily roast a chicken, but to me, Thanksgiving means turkey. It's not really Thanksgiving without it. And we got turkey. Gobble, gobble, y'all! I found that AND MORE!

Here’s the menu for a Thanksgiving meal that will feed a family of four to six for under $25 (including tax; In North Carolina, food tax is 2%):

Turkey Breast: $5.99
Cornbread Dressing: $1.00
Roasted Carrots: 7
Mashed Potatoes: $1.00
Gravy: 69¢
Baked Macaroni And Cheese:
*cream cheese 89¢
*milk 2.09
*cheddar 2.79
*pasta 1.25
Jellied Cranberry Sauce: 89¢
Brown 'N' Serve Rolls: 89¢
Sweet Potato Pie
*sweet potatoes 1.89
*butter 2.29
*pie crust 1.25

Total: $24.09

What Nikki Ate

In retrospect, I would not have purchased the butter because I had some already, but I wanted more for this dinner. I would have purchased additional cans of green beans and a can of cream of mushroom soup to make a green bean casserole. That would have been $2.20 at most since I had an onion on my pantry list.

Plan, plan and plan.  Make a list of everything you plan to make

Limit the number of grocery stores you visit. You want to spend more time with your family or cooking and less time shopping.

Don't reinvent the wheel. Don't try new recipes on Thanksgiving Day.

If you're unsure of your cooking skills, start prepping the night before. Everything can be assembled the night before and put in the oven on Thanksgiving Day.

Dinner tips:

Turkey: If you can find a 10-lb turkey for 56¢/lb or less, get it! Don't worry about creating a roulade. The average consumption per person is 1 to 1.5lbs.
The turkey breast package came marinated and was only 2 lbs so to maximize the meat, I pounded it out thin and stuffed it with the cornbread stuffing, rolled it up and baked it off! Boom! Roulade! I'll post the recipe for it tomorrow.

Dressing/Stuffing: on sale for $1 per box, moistened with chicken broth, I added fresh diced onion for a little crunch. You could do the same with celery or even toasted nuts.

Carrots: 79¢ for 2lbs. Roasted simply with salt, pepper and olive oil for 30 minutes, this was my favorite part of the meal. And simplest.

Mashed Potatoes: I used good ol' Idaho Potato flakes, on sale for $1

Gravy: Made from scratch using flour, chicken broth and a little caramelized onion.

Macaroni and cheese: milk, cream cheese, eggs, sharp cheddar, macaroni, prepared mustard, salt and pepper makes up my family's famous macaroni and cheese. Well, it's famous in our house, anyway.

Cranberry Sauce: only 89¢, I can't have Thanksgiving without the gelatinous wiggle and jiggle of canned cranberry sauce. That's all I really want. And I got it. For less than a dollar. I win.

Rolls: I could have easily made some some yeast rolls with flour, yeast and butter, but 12 rolls for 99¢? Why not?

Sweet Potato Pie: mashing together sweet potatoes, brown sugar, milk, egg, pie spices and pouring it into an unconventional graham cracker crust, was one of the best decisions of the day. $3 pie, anyone?

On 11:23 PM by Nikki @ NikSnacks in , , , , ,    11 comments
Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks with and for family, friends and being able to break bread together.

Thankfully, the food blogging community is all about those things too. To celebrate the holiday, Meghan from Cake ‘n Knife and Susannah from Feast + West are hosting Blogsgiving Dinner. There are more than 60 blogs sharing recipes for this excellent event! Click on the links above to see the Thanksgiving recipe round-up menu in two parts, in all its glory.

The idea is based on an old-fashioned potluck dinner party. Each blogger is bringing a dish to the party, so be sure to stop by and get some ideas for your own Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving meal.

We’ll be posting to social media with the hashtag #blogsgivingdinner.

I'm bringing pear preserves to the party (because every meal should be looked at like a party, especially Thanksgiving).

I am a die hard cranberry-sauce-from-the-can fan. I love the ridges, the gelatinous wiggle and jiggle on a platter or plate and my first, second and third helping plates are not complete without it.

But not everyone feels the same way. I really have to disagree with these people, but it's not all about me all of the time, so enter pear preserves.

My friend Gina called me up one day and asked if I wanted to help put up (or can) some fresh pears a neighbor dropped off. Until that day, I had never canned a thing. Daunted by all of the tools and possibility of making people sick with botulism, I never tried it. UNTIL NOW!

Special equipment for canning:
Jar grabber
1 or 2 large pots
Large spoons and ladles
Ball jars (quart jars including the lids and rings)
1 Water Bath Canner (a huge pot with a lifting rack)

If you're going to can a couple of times ahead, invest.

Washing the jars & lids. Using the dishwasher can save you a step 
A pound of pears will yield 2 cups of sliced pears. Keep this in mind when you buy or pick your pears. Pears ripen after you pick them, so if they're a little firm when you get them, that's okay! Store them in the refrigerator in a brown paper bag.

1. Sterilize jars and lids in boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Alternatively, use your automatic dishwasher on the shore cycle to do the same.

2. If using the large pot, let the water continue to simmer while making jam. Otherwise, bring water to boil,  while making preserves.

Organic pears, from a neighbor's yard 

3. In an additional large saucepan, combine pears, water, and lemon juice. Cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

4. Stir in pectin, and bring to a full boil. Stir in the white sugar, and continue boiling and stirring uncovered for 1 minute, until sugar is dissolved and the mixture does not bubble up when stirred.

5. Remove from heat and quickly fill jars to within 1/2 inch of the top. Wipe rims clean, and top with lids. Process jars in boiling water for 10 minutes to seal.

For additional links and notes about canning and preserves visit these sites:

USDA Complete Guide To Home Canning

Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan
On 3:24 PM by Nikki @ NikSnacks in , ,    11 comments
I have to tell you: I feel some type of way about pizza. When I see it on TV, it does something to me, like I'm in love or deep, intense infatuation. I've been known to rewind the DVR to see a pizza cutter crash through a crust or slo-mo the pull of a gooey string of cheese. Yeah. I'm a little obsessed. 

What's not obsessive is that I usually leave my refrigerated dough options up to the name brand retailers and focus on premium toppings to satisfy my cravings.

I don't have to do that any more.

Let me introduce you to Wewalka. It's a premium refrigerated dough that "combines authentic European bakery quality with improved convenience."

I'm not familiar with many refrigerated dough brands. I don't make pizza often because I prefer to make my own dough. And I don't always want to wrestle with yeast, measure flour and wait. And wait. 

When I was approached about trying out Wewalka, I did a little research and it's a win-win for everyone. 

My FAVORITE of the line is the Wewalka Bistro Style Pizza Dough. Thin, easily customizable and in less than 15 minutes, I was eating!

Pizza time, pizza time, pizza time!

Not only is the dough convenient and ready-to-bake from the fridge, it comes on a piece of parchment paper so you don't need a rolling pin (or a pan, I guess)! Score!

Initially, I wasn't thrilled with the impressions left on the dough from when it was rolled up in the package, but as you'll see later, it doesn't really matter.

A little store bought sauce, leaving a little room for crust is the way to go.

Brush that crust with a little olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper to bring out the natural flavors of the dough and help that crust stay crispy, crunchy and delicious.

I use a mix of mozzarella, provolone and Parmesan cheese to make sure my cheese game is strong.

The Wewalka website is full of recipes for inspiring your next weeknight dinner. Start here for a hearty meatball pizza recipe that will "make you feel some type of way".

This is a sponsored post. I received compensation in exchange for writing this review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own. 
On 11:01 AM by Nikki @ NikSnacks   1 comment
In this month's episode I decided to go in search of "a honey of a deal" and challenged myself to find the best deals possible to create a meal for a family of four for less than $20.
Off-camera, I was challenged by the farmer's market to incorporate honey into one or more of my dishes. Today's post is the result of that task: Honey Glazed Shrimp. That's right. Shrimp. At the farmer's market!

Come back tomorrow for the second set of recipes for SHAKSHUKA (eggs in Purgatory) and SAVORY FRENCH TOAST!

Today I'm posting the first dish, honey glazed shrimp: sweet yet savory, briny shrimp glazed with a simple sauce that can be whipped up in less than 3 minutes.

Watch the freshest #20dollarchallenge episode and give it a thumbs up so the internet knows it exists.

Hopefully, I've been able to inspire you to visit the Dixie Classic Fair Farmers Market. I sincerely hope you create these dishes or are able to create your own dishes using farmers market ingredients.

Honey Glazed Shrimp

1 lbs shrimp
⅓ cup honey
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce or teriyaki sauce
1 Tbs olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Whisk together honey and Worcestershire sauce togetherin a small bowl. Set aside.
Add shrimp into a saucepan with olive oil and saute over medium heat. Pour honey glaze over shrimp and cook for about 3-5 minutes. Turn over and cook another couple of minutes until shrimp are cooked thoroughly and have turned pink. Remove the shrimp and put on a serving plate, keep warm. Continue to simmer marinade until it thickens slightly.

Once it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, drizzle over the shrimp. Serve.

To prove that you can eat locally grown food AND stay within your grocery budget, the Dixie Classic Fair Farmers Market and the City of Winston-Salemis sponsoring the $20 Challenge twice a month  through September 2015.

I will stage a live cooking demonstration in which I will prepare a meal for a family of four for $20 using ingredients I buy at the market that day.

Did you not make it to the market on Saturday? Watch the $20 Challenge on WSTV-13 on Time Warner Cable (Channels 74.3 and 1303) OR subscribe to the City of Winston-Salem's You Tube channel.

On 3:22 PM by Nikki @ NikSnacks   8 comments
I love cookbooks. Generally, I use them as reference books, rather than textbooks with pictures that show me how to do something.

A new book I'm crushing on: Dinner Solved by mom and two-time cookbook author, Katie Workman. 100 recipes for busy moms and families that covers everything from lunch, snacks and picky eaters. I'm raising my hand right now, because I'm one of those picky eater people.

I met Katie two years ago in Orlando at the annual Food & Wine Conference. She got to witness my joy of winning my first culinary competition and crying on stage in front of 100s of people I didn't know.

This week, I get to be reunited with Katie and hopefully neither of us will be crying. We had a nice little phone interview last week for my podcast, Tart & Tangy Triad. Click here to listen to me fumble through this interrogation interview.  

There's an Eat & Greet with Katie Workman on Friday, September 11 at 10am at Knollwood Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The tickets are $28 and includes:
*Entry to the event
*A recipe demo
*Tasting (light breakfast/brunch)
*A copy of Katie's new book, Dinner Solved.

Here is a link to tickets:

Event sponsored by Bookmarks
Photo Courtesy: Katie Workman
One of my favorite parts about Dinner Solved is the Fork In The Road. All of the recipes take you to a certain point and then you can either make it fancy for mom & dad or change up ingredients for the little people in the house. Or vice versa.

Fork in the road. Or a tamale. Whatever. 
I'm looking forward to seeing you there. The first THREE PEOPLE to comment that they want FREE TICKETS, will get them. Very simple. Send your friends to come t if you can't come. See you on Friday.

On 4:36 AM by Nikki @ NikSnacks in , , , ,    11 comments
In this month's episode I challenged myself to create TWO MEALS for a family of four for $20. I got some online feedback that said "it really isn't a challenge to do one meal for $20..." and even though you and I know it is, I had to push my limits and go for the gold. Go back to see the first recipe for CHICKEN and RICE SOUP
Today I'm posting the second dish, chicken burritos: chock-full of vegetables, seasonings and farm-fresh, antibiotic free chicken.

The blueberry coleslaw recipe isn't new to this blog and you can find that recipe HERE. But this is the first time I've ever done burritos on the blog!

At home, I joke that I eat like a teenaged boy: pizza, chicken nuggets, tacos, burritos, Doritos and that's pretty much it. It's a rarity that I eat "fancy" food when I'm at home alone, when no one is watching. Occasionally, I'll get a wild hair and whip out my culinary skills for myself. But at home, it's KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid.

The recipe below is simply a guideline and it's easy to follow.  Watch the newest $20 Challenge and watch me work my culinary magic while making TWO meals for less than $20! Show time: 27 minutes

Hopefully, I've been able to inspire you to visit the Dixie Classic Fair Farmers Market. I sincerely hope you create these dishes or are able to create your own dishes using farmers market ingredients. Add cheese, rice, beans and anything else you can find at the market to make these your own. 

Serves 4-6

1 Tablespoon light olive oil
1 cup fresh corn kernels 
2 cups tomatoes, quartered 
1 cup cabbage, shredded
1 1/2 cups shredded chicken, skin removed
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 Tablespoons taco seasoning 
4 10-inch flour tortillas

Chicken Burritos 

Heat the oil olive in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add corn kernels, tomatoes, cabbage and chicken; cook until the mixture starts to sizzle, about 2 minutes. Add the taco seasoning, then stir in the chicken and cook until the mixture is coated, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and season with salt.
Heat the tortillas as the label directs. Arrange the mixture  in the middle of each tortilla, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border on all sides.
Fold the bottom edge of each tortilla snugly over the filling, tuck in the sides and roll up tightly. Cut the burritos in half and serve.

The Dixie Classic Fair Farmers Market and the City of Winston-Salem is sponsoring the $20 Challenge twice a month through September 2015.

I will stage a live cooking demonstration in which I will prepare a meal for a family of four for $20 using ingredients I buy at the market that day.

Did you not make it to the market on Saturday? Watch the $20 Challenge on WSTV-13 on Time Warner Cable (Channels 74.3 and 1303) OR subscribe to the City of Winston-Salem's You Tube channel.