July 2018 Summary and Observations

Other than the monthly LACPUG pizza and a visit with SoCal Creatives, our other evening meals were all at home.

The averages for this month:

  • Lunch prepared at home $2.17 ($2.57 in Jun)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $10.38 ($11.28)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $5.76 ($6.13)
  • Dinner eaten out: $10.00 ($11.80)

Our lunches at home are consistent around the $2.17 per serve. Lunches prepared outside the home are a little lower because we averaged in lower cost meals.

Our most expensive meal was at Cafe Firenze at $25.91 per serve. Our evening meal out was less because there is only the subsidized pizza.

Our most expensive at home meal was Grilled Rib Eye Steak, with Cauliflower Gnocchi in Blue Cheese sauce at $13.39 per serve.

Lunches at home cost 21% of the cost of eating food prepared outside the home , while dinners at home cost 58 % the average of dinner out this month.

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $321.78 per person in July. We actually spent $38.99 for lunches at home plus $124.53 for lunches purchased or eaten out:  $163.52 in total.

Had we purchased every evening meal out and prepared none at home, it would have cost us $310.00. We actually spent $161.19 for dinners at home and $10.00 for dinners out: $171.19 in total.

We saved $297.20 by preparing and eating most meals at home, plus we have better control over what we eat.

Over the month we prepared 18 different recipes for evening meals.

Jul 31: Shredded Chuck Roast in Panini Roll with Kale Sunflower Crunch Salad; Caramelized Pork and Bean Sprout Salad


Lunch was a do-over of Sunday night’s dinner! The Shredded Chuck Roast on a rustic panini roll with Kale Sunflower Crunch salad. We did not have the dipping liquid but made sure there was plenty of juice on the roll.

  • The roast was $20.88 or $2.61 per serve for this meal
  • The panini roll is 63c
  • The salad kit was $3.49 and we’ll get four serves, or 88c per serve.

The pulled beef is every bit as tasty as pulled pork, and it was an excellent lunch for $4.12 per serve.


We decided to rethink the Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Rice Bowl of a couple of nights ago. Instead of rice we filled the bowl with bean sprouts and carrot, drizzled with some rice wine vinegar. The pork was sprinkled across the top.

  • The ground pork was $8.35 and we shared the third serve, or $1.39 per serve
  • Add 25c for ginger, onion, garlic and chili, etc
  • Bean sprouts were $1.49 but we used almost the rest of the bag or 40c per serve
  • Add 20c for grated carrot.

This was an experiment that worked really well. The bean sprouts are a crunchy wet counterbalance to the umami of the pork while the carrot bring a hint of sweetness to the dish. We both really liked it for $1.24 per serve!

Jul 30: In and Out Burger; Yellow Tadka Dal and Paleek Paneer with Brown Rice


A return to the Burbank Monday routine for Foodie Philip so naturally he headed to In and Out Burger for a Double Double Animal Style for $4.34.


We opted for a simple vegetarian meal tonight by heating two Indian meal pouches and serving them with some pressure cooked brown rice.

One pouch came from Trader Joe’s at $1.99: the other from Ralph’s at $3.99. It is quite obvious that these have the same manufacturer, yet the OEM version at Trader Joe’s is half the price of the brand name that manufactures the product. It pays to shop around.

  • The Yello Tadka Dal was $1.99 or $1.00 per serve
  • The Paleek Paneer was $3.99 or $1.98 per serve
  • Brown rice adds 33c per serve.

Both sauces were tasty contributing to a decent meal for $3.31 per serve.