May 30: Corn Chowder; Gordon Birsch


Lunch was from leftovers. We had a mix of salmon chowder and Shanghai noodles (as there were really more than four servings.)

The slightly smaller lunch serve cost $1.44 per serve.


It was our regular “beers” night with a friend, and we were once again at Gordon Birsch in Burbank. We may have moved from Burbank but we seem to be at Gordon Birsch with about the same frequency.

The Gastro Pub burger is pretty good, and the fries were crisp, hot and fresh. $12.95 on the menu, but closer to $16.95 with tax and tip.

May 29: Smoked Salmon on an Onion Bagel; Stir Fried Shanghai Noodles with Ground Pork and Cabbage


Wild caught smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers on an onion bagel. What’s not to like?

  • Smoked salmon is normally $5.99 for the 4oz pack, but today it was on special at $1 off, with another $1 coupon, or $2 a serve
  • The pack of six onion bagels is $1.99 or 33c per serve
  • Cream cheese is about 60c a serve
  • Add 5c for capers.

Lunch today cost $2.98 per serve.


What to do with a pound of ground pork from our last meat delivery? Stir Fried Shanghai Noodles with Ground Pork and Cabbage, that’s what. The recipe makes four very generous serves.

  • The pork came from our Prather Ranch meat delivery – 1 lb of ground pork cost $8.55 or $2.14 per serve
  • The pre-cooked organic noodles retail for $3.19 or 80c per serve
  • The various seasonings add around 30c per serve
  • We used one third of the $1.29 spring onion on two serves or 22c per serve
  • The shredded green cabbage was $1.29 for the pack, or 33c per serve.

Dinner tonight cost $3.79 per serve for a filling and very tasty dish.

May 28: Country Deli; Chili with fixings


We decided to go out for lunch, for no particularly good reason. Our favorite is The Country Deli. They serve a 10 oz marinated skirt steak that is always good when cooked rare. Served with three eggs, home fries and a bread/bagel, it’s a huge meal.

Foodie Greg’s corned beef sandwich was likewise excellent, although he was thankful he ordered a half!

  • Lunch at the Country Deli runs out around $20 a serve with tax and tip.


Tonight we revisited Bacon and Black Bean Chili. Again we doubled up on the beans. This is an amazingly good chili. The recipe officially makes four serves (and that’s what I used to calculate pricing) but we find it makes six serves with the extra beans, and the ‘fixins’: avocado, sour cream, and spring onion.

  • Bacon ends cost $4.99 for the container, but this recipe used about 1/2 of that, or 63c per serve
  • Onion and garlic – about 5c a serve
  • The beef we used is expensive – pasture raised, dry aged ground beef from our monthly meat delivery – at $8.95 for slightly over a pound, or $2.24 a serve
  • Spices – about 10c a serve
  • Diced fire roasted tomatoes are $2.19 the can, or 55c per serve
  • Tomato past was 89c or 22c a serve
  • The beans were 99c a can, or 50c a serve
  • Each serve got half the 99c Avocado or 50c per serve
  • Cheese was 55c per serve
  • Sour cream – 20c per serve

All up dinner cost us $5.53 for a very filling serve.

May 27: Chicken Wrap; Smoked Pork Sausage with Potato, Apple Halloumi Bake


We used theTrader Joe’s Just Chicken’ again. As it was yesterday today’s lunch cost $2.32 per serve.


Continuing our experiments with the new smoker, we smoked some already-cooked (but not smoked) pork sausages from our Prather Ranch delivery.

The smoking definitely enhances the flavor, although the result was a little more subtle than the meat we’ve smoked from raw. Served with a double serve of the double ‘potato’ halloumi bake left over from last night.

  • The sweet potato, bell pepper, apple and halloumi bake is $1.93 per serve, and we doubled up for $3.86 per serve.
  • The sausages $12.46 for two packs, or $3.11 per serve for the best pork sausages we’ve ever had, even better with a little smoke.

Dinner tonight coast $6.96 per serve.

May 26: Chicken & Salad Wrap; Smoked Pork Chop with Double Halloumi Bake


We used theTrader Joe’s Just Chicken’ again.

  • The $6.99 chicken pack contains six serves, or $1.17 a serve
  • The flatbread is 50c
  • Hummus is $3.99 per container and we used about 1/6 or 33c per serve
  • Today’s salad was a repeat of the Kale and Broccoli pack we had a couple of days ago. The pack is $2.49 and for today’s lunch we used 1/4 or 32c per serve.

Lunch today cost $2.32 per serve.


Since we now have a smoker and there were thin-cut pork chops in our Prather Ranch delivery, the decision was obvious: smoke the pork chops! First a brine to ensure the result was tender and juicy.

Serve with a modified version of Nigela Lawson’s Double Potato Haloumi Bake substituting Granny Smith apples for the potato, after all pork and apple is almost a cliche. It’s a great modification but we would put the apple in about half way through cooking, rather than for the full duration. The recipe makes six serves.

  • The pork chops were $9.95 or 12oz or $4.98 per serve
  • We used the whole $3.76 packet of halloumi, or 63c per serve
  • Sweet potato cost $2.10 or 35c per serve
  • The large red onion cost $1.10 or 18c per serve
  • Red and Green peppers cost $1.49 or 25c per serve
  • The organic Granny Smith apple cost $2.63 or 44c per serve
  • The whole 50c head of garlic was used, or 8c per serve

Dinner tonight cost $1.93 for the side and $4.98 or the protein or $6.91  per serve. The smoked pork chop may not have looked as appealing as one fried off, but the taste and texture were amazingly good.

May 25: Salmon Corn Chowder; Umami Burger


Left over Salmon Corn Chowder makes an excellent lunch. A slightly smaller lunch serve.

Lunch today cost $1.44 a serve.


A business meeting found us at Umami Burger where had a burger each and shared truffled fries. Everything we’ve had at any Umami Burger has been great.

  • Umami Burger $16.75 with tax and tip
  • Truffled fries $1.94 per serve with tax and tip.

Dinner tonight cost us $18.69 per serve.

May 24: Steak and Ale Pie; Salmon and Sweet Corn Chowder


A cool ‘May gray’ day was perfect pie weather, and a Trader Joe’s Steak and Ale Pie hit the spot perfectly.

  • The two pack is $6.49 or $3.25 per serve.


This is a recipe that Foodie Greg created, but it’s a pretty basic seafood stew. It’s big advantage is that everything is available from a supermarket. The recipe makes six serves and it’s a favorite of Foodie Philip

  • Canned Salmon $4.99 or 83c per serve
  • Two cups of Half & Half $1.79 or 30c a serve
  • 2.3 lbs of potato was $2.26 or 38c per serve
  • Two carrots were 30c or 5c per serve
  • Carton of chicken broth $1.99 or 33c per serve
  • A medium onion is around 20c or 3c per serve.

The salmon chowder cost us $1.92 a serve. Served with Simple Truth Ready to bake garlic bread – $2.50 for the loaf (on special) or 60c per serve.

The total for this quick and easy meal is $2.52 per serve.


May 23: Hamburger; Meatloaf with Grecian Style Eggplant and peas


Burbank Monday was a little different this week, so we ended up having burgers from a little burger shack on Riverside Drive at Camarillo St.

  • Bacon cheeseburger with tomato, pickle and lettuce for $5.38 with tax.


Time for the second half of the meatloaf, served with Trader Joe’s Grecian Style eggplant and frozen peas. We heated the peas and eggplant after frying off the meatloaf.

  • Meatloaf, as per May 21, is $3.17 per serve
  • The Trader Joe’s Grecian Style Eggplant with tomatoes and onions is $2.49 per can, or $1.25 per serve
  • Frozen peas are $2.79 per pack and we used about 1/3 or 47c per serve.

Dinner tonight cost $4.89 per serve.

May 22: Baguette and toppings; Smoked Cod with Kedgeree sauce and rice


Being a Sunday lunch we bought a baguette and had it with a variety of toppings: liverwurst; mayo, egg and pickled onion; and cheddar and sauerkraut pickle.

  • The baguette was $2.69 and we had about 1/4 each for lunch, or 67c per serve
  • The liverwurst was $3.23 and we had about 1/4 each for lunch, or 81c per serve
  • Irish cheddar is $3.69 for a 6 oz block, and we had about 1 oz each, or 46c per serve
  • We had an egg each at 50c per serve
  • The Australian/English style pickled onion – onions in a sweet vinegar pickle – cost $5.09 per jar and we used about half for lunch, or $1.28 per serve.

Lunch today was $3.72. It’s clearly time to make our own pickled onions!


The semiSerious Foodies have a new stovetop smoker, and the first thing smoked was some cod, because it’s impossible to get smoked cod otherwise.

You can see the smoke layer around the edge of the cod.
You can see the smoke layer around the edge of the cod.

The cod would normally be cooked in the kedgeree along with the rice, but we did a somewhat deconstructed version.

  • We buy the cod filets frozen: 7 pieces for $11.99 or $1.71 per piece. One of us had two, the other only one, so the average serve price was $2.57
  • Rice and peas add 65c per serve
  • An onion is 28c or 14c per serve
  • The tomato cost $1.02 or 51c per serve
  • A pint of half-n-half is $1.99 and half was used, or 50c per serve
  • Other ingredients add another 32c per serve.

Dinner tonight cost $4.69 per serve. The smoked cod was very good, with a more subtle smoke than commercially smoked fish. Now on to smoking pork chops!

May 21: Smoked salmon on an onion bagel; Meatloaf with cauliflower mash and brown gravy


Wild caught smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers on an onion bagel. What’s not to like?

  • Smoked salmon is normally $5.99 for the 4oz pack, but today it was on special at $1 off, with another $1 coupon, or $2 a serve
  • The pack of six onion bagels is $1.99 or 33c per serve
  • The avocado was a bargain at 39c or 20c per serve
  • Add 5c for capers.

Lunch today cost $2.58 per serve.


Two pounds of Prather Ranch dry-aged ground beef in the freezer was calling to us and a beef meatloaf answered. Paired with mashed cauliflower and brown gravy it makes a great diner-esque meal.

We chose Barefoot Contessa’s classic recipe with 2 lb of beef. Because we get a direct-from-farmer meat delivery, the dry-aged ground beef was around $8 a pound.

The secret to successful cauliflower mash is to let it steam off moisture after the boiling/pressure cooking. Otherwise the mash ends up too sloppy. Mash the cauliflower and parsnip or use a Cuisinart like we do, with some butter, lemon, garlic and sea salt to taste.  (But a quick search will find many interesting variations on the basic recipe.)

  • 2 lb of grass fed, dry-aged beef cost $8.00 per lb or $2.00 per serve.
  • A small organic cauliflower cost $2.97 and was shared among two, or $1.43 per serve per serve
  • Onions add another 15c per serve
  • As an alternative to chicken stock plus tomato paste, we used tomato juice for 12c per serve
  • Eggs add 25c per serve
  • Add in another 27c for seasonings, Worcestershire sauce and bread crumbs
  • 8 oz Panko breadcrumbs are $2.99 and we used half, or 38c per serve
  • The prepared brown gravy is $2.00 per pack, or 67c per serve.

The meatloaf had great texture and flavor, and cost $5.27 per serve.