Feb 8: Avocado and sardines; Dinner out

Lunch

We returned to a lunch that we had a lot when Philip was trying to lose weight. Alton Brown claims it was instrumental in him losing weight (intentionally).

Our iteration featured Trader Joe’s Lightly Smoked Sardines, on an English Muffin with hass avocado. The slight smokiness makes the sardines a little more interesting.

  • The sardines cost $1.69 or 85c per serve
  • An English Muffin is 50c per serve
  • The avocado was 48c or 24c a serve.

Lunch today cost $1.59 per serve.

Dinner

It was our night for our monthly get together with a friend, so we ate at Gordon Birsch again. Because we weren’t on camera, we ordered a burger again. The Gastro Pub burger is a great burger so we had it again this time.

The burger is $12.25 but with tax and tip about $15.80.

Feb 7: It’s a big game party

Lunch

Pacing ourselves as we were heading out for a ‘big game’ party we had half a muffin with a fried egg on top ahead of the party.

  • One half of an English Muffin – 25c
  • Organic egg – 50c

Lunch today cost 75c per serve, but it was more of a snack than lunch.

Dinner

It was a party. Lots of delicious party foods, catered by our excellent hosts. We contributed wine, so let’s say $4 a head today.

Feb 4: Lunch out; Quick Snack!

Lunch

We were recording another Lunch with Philip and Greg so we ate out for the second day running. Today we recorded in Gordon Biesch and we both had the Beer Battered Fish and Chips. That’s their picture featured above.

Atlantic cod dipped in märzen batter and fried, with tartar sauce, apple cider slaw and salt & pepper fries

The batter was appropriately crispy, the fries (regular) are always good, and our coleslaw was served in another small bowl, preventing fries or batter from becoming soggy.

On the menu for $16.75 the reality is much closer to $22 with tax and tip. It’s a huge serve and, although we didn’t finish everything on the plate, we both felt over filled afterward.

One reason we chose the dish was because it’s not something we’d ever cook at home. Maintaining oil for frying, and safe conditions to fry in, is more effort than most fried food is worth. So, it’s an eat out/take out treat for us.

Dinner

That stuffed-full-of-food feeling didn’t go away, despite burning up some energy at our new home. So we postponed the planned dinner until tomorrow night.

We ultimately had a ‘Quesadilla’ of flatbread, refried beans, salsa and cheddar. We last did this for lunch on Jan 20th where it cost $1.49 per serve.

Jan 20: Quesadilla; Southern sausage beans and rice (repeat)

Lunch

We did this quesadilla for dinner on January 11th. Today’s version has no eggs, and we just used cheddar, so it’s a bit cheaper.

  • One flatbread (half of two) costs 50c a serve
  • Half a can of refried beans, shared across two halves: 33c
  • Fontera salsa is expensive (and tasty) at $4.69 a jar, but it breaks down to 16c a serve
  • 2 oz of cheddar split between two is 50c per serve

Lunch today cost $1.49 per serve and came together in about 10 minutes. We recommend frying in a little bacon fat. (You do save left over bacon fat for these times, don’t you?)

Dinner

Tonight we’re having the third and fourth serves of last night’s Southwest sausage, beans and rice.

Tonight’s dinner (again) cost $3.08 a serve. Being a repeat there is very little effort involved.

Jan 15: Smoked salmon and eggs; Lemon soup with lamb


Lunch

Another indulgent Friday: wild caught smoked salmon on an English muffin with a poached egg on top. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to fake a ‘hollandaise’ taste with the egg and it was delicious.

  • Smoked salmon – normally $6.99 but Greg bought it for $5.99 on special or $3.00 a serve
  • The English muffin is 50c a serve
  • Our organic eggs are 50c each, and we had two for $1 per serve.
Wild caught smoked salmon with organic eggs on an english muffin.
Wild caught smoked salmon with organic eggs on an english muffin.

Lunch cost $4.50 a serve for smoked salmon.

Dinner

We went back to a recipe we haven’t had for about two years: Lemon soup with Lamb. Initially we tried this soup because of the unusual way it is thickened: with eggs.

Greg used meyer lemons – give to us by a friend – instead of regular lemons and they are perfect for this recipe. The slight sweetness and reduced tartness of the meyer lemon really works in the recipe. We also used spinach off the balcony garden which was sliced and placed in the bottom of the bowl. We also used orzo instead of larger pasta and dropped the cream. It’s not needed.

  • Lamb shoulder $8.57 or $4.29 a serve
  • Onion, carrot and celery about 30c a serve
  • Organic chicken stock $2.30 or $1.15 a serve
  • Lemons and spinach – zero
  • Orzo pasta is $2 a 16 oz box, and 1/4 was used or 25c a serve
  • Three large organic eggs are $1.50 or 75c a serve
  • Add 10c a serve for herbs.

Tonight’s dinner cost $5.75 a serve.

The dish comes from a cookbook we brought with us from Australia: Reader’s Digest One-Dish Meals, the easy way. ©1995

Jan 7: Chicken wrap; Bacon wrapped Filet Mignon

Lunch

Another wholemeal wrap at 67c and half a chicken breast at 88c serve. To go with it we smeared the wrap with hummus and a Quinoa Edamame Salad we purchased. Two tablespoons of hummus is 1/5 of the $3.99 tub or 80c. Two ounces of the salad (twice what we’d normally put on, but it needed using) is $1.59 a serve.

Lunch cost $3.94 a serve.

Dinner

Dinner is a splurge: bacon wrapped filet mignon. A $16 Filet at just over 8 oz each is higher than normal supermarket because, again, it’s direct-from-farm in our monthly delivery and it is dry aged!

We’re celebrating our house closing so it’s time to let loose a bit. Besides, in a steakhouse, that’s a $40 steak. Without sides, which run $8-10 each or up!

Greg cooked crash hot potatoes and an arugula, beet and blue cheese salad to go with it. So our bill at the steakhouse would be close to $50 each without wine. Plus tip. We rarely have appetizers or deserts.

Potatoes are typically $1 lb this time of the year and that will serve us both, so 55c for the potato, because there are some salt and seasoning added. I’ve read that purple potatoes have more nutrition, but they don’t look great on a dark plate.

The pack of baby arugula cost $3 and we used less than 1/3 in total, or 50c each serve. The pack of beets cost $2.50 and was split between us for $1.25 per serve. The blue cheese was $7.50 or 5 oz – definitely not the cheapest on the market.

The salad is one Greg created: strew some arugula on the plate, add the warmed beets and sprinkle blue cheese (crumbles are easier) over.

So, our celebratory meal cost us $19.55 per serve, which seems pretty reasonable for a top class, dry aged steak, awesome potatoes and a great salad. It was beyond delicious. Unlike most filet, this had beef flavor so I’m glad we didn’t smother it in sauce, as is usually the case with filet. Typically filet has great texture but not much flavor. We’ve definitely noticed that grass fed beef has better flavor.

Jan 6: Clam chowder; Scotch Broth

Lunch

For lunch on this cold, rainy day we decided to go for a warming soup: Pilgrim Joe’s Clam Chowder. At $1.49 a can it’s both delicious and cheap. You’ll need to add a can full of milk at $3.80 a gallon. 15 oz is about 1/8 gallon or 48c total. Each serve was almost exactly $1. The Wholemeal Lite English Muffin we served with each soup is also about $1 per serve. (Usually less for us because we buy on a 2-for-1 special and freeze them.)

Dinner

Tonight it’s time for Serious Eats’ Scotch broth. In what passes for the cold in LA, warming soups are definitely on the agenda. This recipe has four good serves, so prices are divided by 4 to get the per serve price.

Greg first pressure cooks the lamb shanks before adding them to the broth. His major variation from the written recipe is to use rutabaga (a.k.a. swede, turnip or keep) instead of the potato.

  • Lamb shanks $8.87 or $2.22 a serve
  • Parsnips  74c or 19c serve
  • Carrots  38c or 10c serve
  • Rutabaga (was rung up as turnip so might be off price) 81c or 20c serve
  • Chicken Broth $2.29 or 57c serve
  • Onion and other ingredients about 50c a serve (probably less)

Total cost about $3.75 a serve.

 

 

Jan 3: Ham Hock and Lentil Soup, Pot Roast Meal

Lunch

One of the great things about cooking your own food is leftovers! There were two serves left of Friday’s Ham hock and lentil soup, and that’s what we had for lunch. $2.50 per serve.

We had an afternoon snack of half a meatloaf sandwich each. Only half a serve, split two ways, so $0.85 for the meatloaf, and two slices of multigrain bread, say 40c, split two ways so $1.05 for the half sandwich.

Dinner

We’re in what passes for Winter in California, so a pot roast is a wonderful dish for the season. The slow cook also fills the room with wonderful smells across a lazy Sunday afternoon. The recipe Greg chose is Pot Roast with Mushrooms from Serious Eats.

We went a little overboard on the beef. We’ve been getting a monthly delivery direct from farm, and haven’t been keeping up. The quality of the meat is very high – grass fed and organic – but so is the price. We used a 12 oz (350 g) chuck steak, which will give us a 6 oz serve each. Six ounces is the size of a typical protein serve in a restaurant.

Our steak cost us $7, but conventionally grown would run around $3.75-4.00 for 12 oz. Two 8 oz (250 g) boxes of mushroom were $6. The vegetable components ran to around $1.

A quart of beef stock is around $3 (depending on the quality) and half that was used in the recipe, so $1.50. I’ll allow 50c to cover the flour, salt and pepper.

Our organic meat extravaganza cost us  $16.00 or $4.00 per serve. With more conventionally grown beef, the meal would have cost $12, or $3 a serve.

We served with left over cauliflower mash and frozen peas. The mash was 40c serve, and the peas around 50c serve.

The pot roast was amazing for such simple ingredients.

Hello, and welcome.

You can read about our background in our About page.
Our goal is to encourage you to cook more of your own food. Each day we’ll be posting details about what we eat. There will also be video episodes where we cook the food we eat in a restaurant, particularly when we travel.
Greg and I eat most of our meals at home, prepared (mostly) from fresh ingredients. We’ll share the recipes and techniques we use to eat “healthyish“.
Since what is ‘healthy’ seems to be as variable as the weather, we’ll share what we’ve found during Philip’s journey back to robust good health over the last five years, and why we don’t necessarily believe a lot of conventional food wisdom.
Our focus is on easy to prepare meals that will be cheaper than eating out.
So welcome. Each day we’ll be blogging our meals from the day before, with recipe and approximate cost of ingredients. We hope you’ll realize how easy it is to eat better, for less.
The image above is of pan seared scallop with butter ponzu sauce, served with arugula mango and avocado salad with passionfruit vinaigrette. Easier to make than say!