Oct 20: Split Pea Soup; Mushroom and Red Wine Meatloaf with Mashed Sweet Potato and Sugar Snap Peas


We finished the pea soup from a few night back as a lunch and it was still pretty good for 43c per serve.


A favorite meatloaf is the Mushroom and Red Wine Meatloaf from Chowhound. Tonight we paired with mashed sweet potato and steamed sugar snap peas.

The meatloaf will make four very generous serves, exactly the kind we like!

  • The ground beef is $4.78 per serve
  • Baby portobello mushrooms were $2.49 or 63c per serve
  • Onions and garlic add 20c per serve
  • Two large eggs are $1.10 or 27c per serve
  • The butter is $3.99 per block, and we used about 3/8 for four serves, or 38c per serve
  • Red wine adds $1.00 or 25c per serve
  • Add 20c for Worcestershire sauce and other spices per serve
  • Sweet potato was $2.18 or $1.14 per serve
  • Sugar snap peas were $3.99 but we only used half, or $1.00 per serve.

The meatloaf came out well, as it usually does and was almost like a beef Wellington in flavor profile (without the paté) for $6.71 per serve. The sweet potato and snap peas add another $2.14 to the meal for a total of $8.85 for a very, very generous portion of meatloaf.

Oct 19: Avocado and Sardine Sandwich; Lamb Leg Steak with Greek Style Braised Green Beans


A return to a favorite sandwich: avocado and sardine. Today’s sardines were in water is easier for our septic system.

  • Two slices of bread are 32c per serve
  • The avocado is $1.89 or 95c per serve
  • Sardines in water are $1.29 per can or  65c per serve.

Lunch today cost $1.92 per serve.


While lamb isn’t a big part of the American diet, it’s something we grew up with in Australia as lamb is very popular, and was inexpensive when we were growing up. Grilled was deemed to be the best way to cook a leg steak.

We still had green beans remaining and this greek style recipe used both the beans and our remaining heritage tomato.

  • The lamb steak from Whole Foods was $6.79 for about .7 pound or $3.40 per serve
  • Green beans were $3.07 or $1.54 per serve
  • The heirloom tomatoes are $4.99 for two pound, and we used about 1/4 lb today, or $1.25 per serve
  • Add 30c for the onion, garlic and seasonings.

The lamb was excellent and perfectly cooked to medium rare and the greek style beans was also tasty, with a little crunch still in the beans. A pretty good dinner for $6.19 per serve.

Oct 18: Supermarket Sushi; Stir-fried Ground Beef with Oyster Mushrooms, Green Beans and Oyster Sauce on Brown Rice


As we haven’t had it for a while, some sushi seemed like a good idea, and Whole Foods has our favorites. At $11.49 per serve it’s not the cheapest sushi in Los Angeles!


A modified version of Serious Eat’s recipe, Stir-Fried Beef With Snap Peas and Oyster Sauce we used ground beef this time. Because Ralph’s were out of snap peas we substituted green beans.

  • The ground beef cost $9.12 or $4.56 per serve
  • Green beans were $3.07 or $1.54 per serve
  • Mushrooms were $2.03 or $1.02 per serve
  • The various sauce and marinade ingredients add $1.00 per serve
  • Brown rice adds 45c per serve.

Although the dry aged ground beef makes this a relatively expensive dish, it was full of flavor for $8.57.

Oct 17: Vietnames Chicken Salad; Greek Style Tuna Salad


The Foodies were in Santa Monica at lunch time and found a take out Vietnamese Chicken Salad that was reasonably good. Good flavor on the chicken, a spicy dressing and good range of vegetable for $8.74 per serve with tax.


Tonight we returned to the Greek style tuna salad.

  • A can of yellowfin tuna costs $3.49, or $3.49 per serve
  • Persian cucumber cost 40c or 20c per serve
  • A bell pepper is 99c or 50c per serve
  • Tomatoes were $2.99 and we used about half, or 75c per serve
  • Pitted olives come in $2.99 jars and one quarter was used, or 38c per serve
  • 1 lb of limes was $1.29 and we used 1/4 or 16c per serve
  • Add 25c for the seasonings.

This salad exceeded our expectations. It was much more tasty than the simple ingredients would suggest and it comes in at $5.73 per serve.

Oct 16: Double Double; Apple-Bacon Slaw


Burbank Monday’s find Philip at In and Out Burger for a Double Double Animal Style for $4.27.


A new salad for us – Apple-Bacon Slaw – seemed like a good idea on a warm evening. Although pitched as a side, we made it the main dish and were not sorry!

  • Bacon was $5.49 for the pack and we used half or 69c per serve
  • Cabbage was $1.29 or 33c per serve
  • The golden delicious apple was 52c, or 13c per serve
  • Add 40c for mustard, cider vinegar and seasonings.

It’s hard to put a meal on the table for $1.55, let alone one as tasty as this.

Oct 14: Bahn Mi; Tomato, Mozzarella, Salami and Black Olive Salad


As an adjunct to a shopping trip Greg picked up two Bahn Mi sandwiches from Pho Saigon 1. This is a seriously good sandwich, with a great balance of meat and vegetable on a perfect baguette. A very generous size for $8.50 with tax and tip.


While the days are warm, the nights cool off quickly and we’re eating more inside, where it’s still warm, so a salad was on tonight’s agenda. Plus a meat-light meal is appropriate after the generous serve of pork in the bahn mi at lunch.

The tomato was chopped and soaked in balsamic vinegar for about an hour before the other ingredients were added.

  • The heirloom tomatoes are $4.99 for two pound, and we used about 3/4 lb today, or 94c per serve
  • The salami was $4.49 and we used half, or $1.25 per serve
  • The mozzarella was also $4.49 and used all or $2.50 per serve
  • Black olives are $6.99 for the jar, but we used about 1/4 or 88c per serve
  • Add 25c per serve for balsamic and seasonings.

The balsamic vinegar redeemed the somewhat bland heirloom tomatoes (thanks Trader Joe’s) and their sharp fresh flavor helped balance the fresh mozzarella balls while the salami added a little meatiness. A great dish for $5.82 per serve.

Oct 13: Tomato & Mayo, Ham, Cheese & Mustard Sandwiches; Sauerkraut Sausage Paprikash


Returning to a couple of good sandwiches, we used more of the (less flavorsome) heirloom tomato from Trader Joe’s.

  • Two slices of bread are 32c per serve
  • The ham was $3.69 for and we used about 1/4 in this sandwich, or 49c per serve
  • The cheese is 40c per slice or 20c per serve
  • Add 25c for spicy mustard
  • The heirloom tomato was $1.30 and we use half, or 33c per serve
  • Add 20c for mayo.

Lunch today was ok for $1.79 per serve, but would be better if the tomato had more flavor.


A new recipe for us, Sauerkraut Sausage Paprikash, is both reminiscent of a choucroute garnie because of the sauerkraut and pork sausage aspect, and completely different because of the paprika and cream.

The recipe makes four serves.

  • The bratwurst are $3.49 for the pack, or 88c per serve
  • The Bubbies (natural) Sauerkraut is expensive at $6.99 or $1.75 per serve, but it is a very superior sauerkraut without the bad odor of most sauerkraut
  • Sour cream cost $3.99 but we used 1/4, or 25c per serve
  • The butter is $3.99 per block, and we used about 1/41/4, or 25c per serve
  • Add 50c per serve for seasoning, although we added 3 times the paprika than the recipe called for.

The sauerkraut still had some crunch, which gave good textural variation, and the flavor combinations worked really well with the bratwurst. All in all a satisfying meal for $3.63 per serve.

Oct 12: Avocado and Sardine Sandwich; Sirloin with Slow Cooked Broccoli


A return to a favorite sandwich: avocado and sardine. Today’s sardines were in oil that was drained off.

  • Two slices of bread are 32c per serve
  • The avocado is $1.89 or 95c per serve
  • Sardines in olive oil are $1.69 per can or  85c per serve.

Lunch today cost $2.12 per serve.


Although the weather is closing in, it’s still possible to grill and some sirloin tip steak from our Prather Ranch delivery went on the grill.

Two hours before the grill was warmed onion, garlic, spice and broccoli went into the oven to make slow cooked broccoli, which totally transforms the flavor of broccoli and caramelizes the onion. The recipe makes four serves. In a brilliant addition, Greg added in some pickled beets for a sharp tang.

  • The steak averages $5.93 per serve
  • The Valpresso feta was $9.99 for the tin, but we used 1/6, or 42c per serve
  • The broccoli was $2.79 or 70c per serve
  • 2lb of sweet organic onions were $2.79 and we used about 1/4 or 18c per serve
  • The beets are $1.69 and we used 1/4 or 22c per serve.
  • Add 15c per serve for red pepper flakes and other spices.

Tonight’s steak had good beef flavor and was more tender than we would have expected for sirloin, probably due to the dry aging. The slow cooked broccoli is a great side dish to create a great meal for $7.60 per serve.

Oct 11: Popeye’s Fried Chicken; Pea Soup


Time to use the remaining chicken.

  • Eight pieces are $16.26 including tax and we served two each, or $4.07 per serve
  • Trader Joe’s Black Beans Cuban Style are 99c for the can or 50c per serve.

The chicken reheated well and the beans were pretty good for the price. All up $4.57 per serve.


Home made pea soup built on the stock remaining from our ham bone is a joy and tonight was no exception.

The bone is pressure cooked with some aromatics and water, including a bay leaf because it’s easy to find in the clear stock, but much harder to remove from the resulting soup. Since this stock is destined for the soup, it makes life a little easier.

The soup is prepared by adding split peas to the stock and pressure cooking again. Our innovation is to blend in one pound of fresh (frozen) peas at the end. It lifts the texture and provides a bright note to the flavor.

The addition of liquid smoke creates the illusion of ham even though there was no meat in this dish (other than via the meat stock, of course).

The soup recipe makes four serves.

  • The stock has no real cost
  • The pack of split peas was $1.59 or 27c per serve
  • The frozen peas is 99c a pack, or 16c per serve.

For dinner tonight the soup cost 43c. We chose not to do a roll or bread with the soup as it is very filling on its own.