March 2021: Summary and Observations

Our evening meals are back up to the low end of last years, losing the 20% we’d been saving, but we are eating very well!

This month we did seven take out lunches and two take out dinners: Skewers’ Chapli Kebab plate, and The Country Deli Skirt Steak Dinner, which we augmented.

The averages for this month:

  • Lunch prepared at home $2.63 ($2.68 in February)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $8.04 ($8.10)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $5.59 ($4.87)
  • Dinner prepared in a restaurant $15.44 ($18.55)

The variation is small, but as noted above, the 20% drop we noted from not buying meat via a Keller Crafted Meat Box has evaporated this month.. 

Our most expensive meal of the month was the augmented Skirt Steak from The Country Deli for $16.65 per serve.

This month, lunches at home cost 33% of the cost of eating lunches prepared outside the home. Our evening meals prepared in the home are 36% of the cost take-out meals.

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $178.88 per person in March. We actually spent $60.58 for lunches at home plus $64.29 for lunches purchased or eaten out:  $124.87 in total.

If every evening meal cost us the same as our one this month, it would be $519.40 We actually spent $156.6 for dinners at home and $30.87 for dinners out, or $187.37 in total.

We saved about $385 by mostly eating at home, and we have a lot more control over what we eat.

Mar 31: Crisp bread Ploughman’s Lunch; Quick Moussaka with Farro Tabouli

Lunch

We tried a different crisp bread – full Rye – with Branston Pickle, Cheddar, Apple and Pickled Onions.

  • The Rye Crispbread was $3.29 for a pack of 20, or 33c per serve
  • The Irish Cheddar was $3.49 and we used about 60%, or $1.05 per serve
  • Branston Pickle was $13.31 for the jar, and we used about 1/5th, or $1.33 per serve
  • Apple adds 20c per serve
  • Pickled Onion adds 10c per serve.

Although these crisp breads had more flavor, it was lost in the rest of the meal. Still, good for $3.01 per serve.

Dinner

We finished the Quick Moussaka and served, again, with Farro Tabouli for $6.66 per serve.

Mar 30: Chorizo, Bell Pepper & Smokey Cheddar; Roast Duck Breast with Baked Apple and Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Butter Sage Sauce

Lunch

We had Chorizo. We had a jar of Roasted Bell Pepper so we made it into a sandwich, again.

  • Dave’s Killer Bread is 74c per serve
  • Smokey Cheddar is 68c per serve
  • The Chorizo was $$5.75 after all discounts and we half, or $1.44 per serve
  • Add 50c for Garlic Spread
  • Fire Roasted Peppers cost $1.99 and we used half, or 50c per serve.

These three ingredients in a toasted sandwich, transport the result to another level for $3.86 per serve.

Dinner

Tonight we experimented with a pre-roasted half Duck from Aldi that only required reheating. We served with a Baked Apple and Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Butter Sage Sauce.

  • The half Roast Duck was $8.99 or $4.50 per serve
  • The Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Butter Sage Sauce was $2.99 from Trader Joes, or $1.50 per serve
  • An Apple adds 45c per serve.

The Roast Duck was pretty good. It retained it’s moisture and wasn’t over cooked. We tried some of the included Orange Sauce and, even after being adjusted with Apple Cider Vinegar, was still too sweet for our palette.

The Sweet Potato Gnocchi was surprisingly good. The Gnocchi was light and fluffy without a strong Sweet Potato flavor (or sweetness) and the Butter Sage Sauce was very tasty.

A pretty good meal for $6.45 per serve.

Mar 29: Crispbread Ploughman’s Lunch; Marinated Peanut Baked Tempe with Thai Salad

Lunch

Since we didn’t have any of our neighbor’s Sourdough on hand, we substituted a Light Rye Crispbread, topped with Branston Pickle and Cheddar, and served with Pickled Onion and Apple Slices.

  • The Rye Crispbread was $3.29 for a pack of 20, or 33c per serve
  • The Irish Cheddar was $3.49 and we used about 60%, or $1.05 per serve
  • Branston Pickle was $13.31 for the jar, and we used about 1/5th, or $1.33 per serve
  • Apple adds 20c per serve
  • Pickled Onion adds 10c per serve.

The Sourdough is definitely better, but the Crispbreads were a decent substitute, for $3.01 per serve.

Dinner

Tonight we chose Tempe Satay with Peanut Sauce for our meatless meal, and served with a prepared Thai Salad.

  • The three grain tempeh is $1.99 or $1.00 per serve
  • Limes (for juice and zest) were 33c or 16c per serve
  • The peanut butter was $1.99 and we used about 1/2,  or 50c a serve
  • Add 50c for Marinade and Sauce ingredients
  • The Thai Cashew Salad Kit was $2.99 or $1.50 per serve.

Foodie Greg wasn’t keen on an ingredient in the Salad Dressing, but otherwise a pretty tasty meal. The Marinated Tempe was better than expected. A flavorsome meal for $4.66 per serve.

Mar 28: Bahn Mi; Seared Scallops with Pea Puree

Lunch

For lunch we picked up a Bahn Mi from Pho Saigon 1 for $12.26 with tax and tip.

Dinner

Tonight was a return to the very tasty Seared Scallops with Pea Pure.

  • The frozen “dry packed” Scallops were $9.69, or $4.85 per serve
  • Frozen peas are $1.29 per pack, or 65c per serve
  • A pint of half & half is $1.49 and half is used in the puree, or 38c per serve
  • Stock adds 50c per serve
  • Other ingredients add 40c per serve.

A very tasty meal for $6.78 per serve.

Mar 27: Kumato & Smokey Cheddar; Quick Moussaka with Farro Tabouli

Lunch

Today we had a simple Kumato & Smokey Cheddar toasted sandwich.

  • Dave’s Killer Bread is 74c per serve
  • Smokey Cheddar is 34c per serve
  • The Kumato were $3.69 for six, and we had one each, or 62c per serve.

A simple, but tasty, sandwich for $1.70 per serve.

Dinner

It was tie for a return to the Quick Moussaka recipe. This time we made sure that the Eggplant was dehydrated, and the Meat Sauce reduced to a thick consistency.

  • Ground lamb was $5.99 or $1.50 per serve
  • The Eggplant was $1.39 or 35c per serve
  • The Tomatoes were $3.99 or $1.00 per serve
  • The Ricotta was $4.99 or $1.25 per serve
  • The French (Valbreso) Feta was $10.99 but we used 1/6 or 69c per serve
  • A Pastured Egg adds 6c per serve
  • Add 50c for the remaining ingredients
  • Parsley was 33c or 16c per serve
  • Fresh mint came from our garden
  • The farrow was $1.79 for the pack, but we shared ⅓ or 10c per serve
  • The cherry Kumato were $2.99 and we used half or 75c per serve
  • Add 30c for seasoning.

An extremely tasty meal for $6.66 per serve.

Mar 26: Meatloaf, Sprouts & Semi-dried Tomatoes in a Hot Panini Roll; Barramundi with Coleslaw and Halloumi Fries

Lunch

We finished the Red Wine and Mushroom Meatloaf in a Panini Roll with Semi-dried Tomatoes & Sprouts.

  • The Meatloaf was about $3.00 per serve and we split the last one, or $1.50 per serve
  • The Panini Roll is 63c
  • Semi-dried Cherry Kumato add 60c per serve
  • Sprouts add 25c per serve
  • Add 10c for Worcestershire Sauce.

It all came together very well. The Worcestershire Sauce balanced with the Tomatoes while the Sprouts added a slight texture variation. A good sandwich for $3.08 per serve.

Dinner

Tonight’s Fishy Friday was a repeat of the Grilled Barramundi with Coleslaw and Halloumi Fries. While the Fries worked well last time, they completely melted and flattened out on the sheet pan. Tasty but not very photogenic.

  • The Barramundi was on special for $7.99 or $4.00 per serve
  • The Coleslaw Mix was $1.99 and we used half, or 50c per serve
  • We made our own Dressing from Mayonnaise and Apple Cider Vinegar for 40c per serve
  • The Halloumi Fries were $3.29 or $1.65 per serve.

Overall, a very good meal for $6.65 per serve.

Mar 25: Chapli Naan Sandwich; Sous Vide Bone-in Pork Chop with Cuban Rub, served with Cuban Black Beans and Yellow Rice

Lunch

Today it was time, and convenient, to return to Skewers. While both Foodies had decided on Chicken Naan Sandwiches, none were available, so we had the Chapli Naan Sandwich for $10.94 per serve with tax.

Dinner

Tonight was an experiment to compare Pork Chops from Keller Crafted with those we got from Whole Foods this week. While cut thinner, these were well marbled, even in the Loin muscle, so we had high hopes.

We served with Cuban Black Beans and Yellow Rice.

  • The Pork Loin Chops were  $13.89 for two 12oz serves, or $6.95 per serve
  • The Cuban Beans are $1.99 or $1.00 per serve
  • Yellow Rice adds 40c per serve
  • Add 30c for Cuban Rub and other ingredients.

Once again we found the more expensive brand of Beans fell short of the flavor of the cheaper brand, so we’ll know better in future. Overall, an excellent meal for $8.65 per serve.

Mar 24: Chorizo, Peppers & Smokey Cheddar, White Asparagus & Smokey Cheddar; Red Wine & Mushroom Meatloaf with Cauliflower Gnocchi in a Marinara Sauce

Lunch

We didn’t have enough Chorizo for two sandwiches, so we made a second with White Asparagus from a jar, also with Smokey Cheddar.

  • Dave’s Killer Bread is 74c per serve
  • Smokey Cheddar is 68c per serve
  • The charcuterie was $$4.49 after all discounts and we used the Chorizo – about ⅓, or 53c per serve
  • Add 50c for Garlic Spread
  • Fire Roasted Peppers cost $1.99 and we used half, or 50c per serve
  • .The jar of White Asparagus was $4.29, and we used half, or $1.08 per serve.

The White Asparagus was a little boring, but otherwise two decent half sandwiches for $4.03 per serve.

Dinner

We fried off some of the remaining Red Wine & Mushroom Meatloaf and served with a Cauliflower Gnocchi in a Marinara Sauce

  • The Meatloaf was about $3.00 per serve (as we actually got five serves)
  • The Cauliflower Gnocchi in a Marinara Sauce was $3.99 or $2.00 per serve.

The Gnocchi was lighter and more tender than the Trader Joe’s version. A good meal for $5.00 per serve.

Mar 23: Ham & Coleslaw; Sous Vide Shrimp on Japanese Style Fried Rice

Lunch

We still had some Coleslaw from Mr Fish & Chips so we made two Ham & Coleslaw sandwiches.

  • The Dave’s Killer Break is 74c per serve
  • Black Forest Ham is $3.29 per pack, or 66c per serve
  • The Coleslaw is 56c per serve.

A pretty good sandwich for $1.96 per serve.

Dinner

Tonight we returned to our simple meal of sous vide Shrimp with Japanese Style Fried Rice.

  • Japanese Style Fried rice comes from Trader Joe’s and is $3.29 or $1.65 per very generous serve
  • 1 lb of shrimp is $10.99 and we used half,  or $2.75 per serve.

An easy, quick meal for $4.40 per serve.