Aug 6: Sushi; Chicken Satay with Thai Salad

Lunch

As we were visiting Whole Foods anyway, we picked up some sushi for lunch while we were there.

Lunch today cost $10.19 each

Dinner

While at Whole Foods we purchased two Soy and Ginger marinated chicken ‘kabob’. We paired this with the leftover Thai salad from August 4th.

We grilled the kabobs on a grill pan using the induction cooktop. Although it took a little time, we got a perfect browning on the outside, with the center of the breast meat right at the point where it was no longer undercooked.

Greg prepared a simple peanut butter, soy and lime dressing.

  • .86lb of kabob cost $9.45 or $4.73 a serve
  • Sugar snap peas are $2.49 and we used half, or 63c per serve
  • Mint is $1.79 or 30c per serve
  • An organic bell pepper was $1.63 and we used half, or 41c per serve
  • Mung beans sprints are $1.49 and we used a tiny fraction, or 10c per serve
  • A Persian cucumber is 30c, or 15c per serve
  • Green onions cost 79c for the bunch and we used about 1/3 or 14c per serve
  • We used about 1/4 of the $6.99 pack of Chili Lime Cashews, or $1.17 per serve
  • The dressing added 65c.

Dinner tonight was better than it should have been for the effort at $8.14 per serve, largely because the chicken was perfect

July Summary and Observations

This month we  ate a lot of lunches prepared out of the home – 14 of the 31 days, or a bit more than most months. Notably we only ate out one night.

The averages for this month:

  • Lunch prepared at home $2.54 ($2.84 in June)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $10.29 ($10.62)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $5.90 ($5.72)
  • Dinner eaten out: $5.00 ($12.50)

Our most expensive meal was at lunch at The Country Deli – four times this month and usually $20.00 per serve with tax and tip.

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $318.99 per person in June. We actually spent $44.26 for lunches at home plus $144.11 for lunches purchased or eaten out: $188.37.

Since we only had one evening meal out, and it was a user group meeting where we all contribute to the pizza rather than paying for our own meals, it’s hard to base an average on that. We spent $177.02 for meals prepared at home and $5.00 for meals out, or the $182.02 total.

That’s just working on the average. Several of the meals we had would have been well over $30 a serve in a restaurant.

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

Lunch

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.

Dinner

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.

Apr 29: Sushi; Grilled chicken, rice and soy-butter broccoli

Lunch

Once again it was supermarket sushi day but today we had a chef sampler pack.

  • The pack was $14.99 or $7.50 per serve.

Dinner

Tonight we finished the chicken legs and thighs from this week’s supermarket roast chicken. We paired it with a wild rice mix and butter-soy broccoli. Butter and soy are an awesome combination for lightly cooked vegetables.

  • A quarter of the chicken is $2.50 per serve
  • Organic roccoli florets are $3.49 or $1.75 per serve
  • The country rice blend was $2.63 for the packet but that will make four serves, so 66c serve.

Dinner tonight was quick and cost $4.91 per serve.

 

Apr 15: Chicken Wrap; Rissoles and broccoli

Lunch

Since we still had the chicken thighs and drumsticks, that’s what we used for our lunch wraps. A pretty generous serve of chicken!

  • Split four ways, the $9.99 chicken is $2.50 per serve
  • One quarter of the $2.74 salad is 69c
  • The flatbread is 50c
  • Hummus is $3.99 per container and we used about 1/6 or 33c per serve

Lunch today cost $4.02 a serve.

Dinner

Because we had planned for an extra guest last night, there were rissoles ready to be cooked, so that’s what we did. For some variation we cooked up some broccoli in soy and butter (yum!) and prepared some mushroom gravy for the rissoles

The ground beef came direct from the farm in our Prather Ranch meat delivery.

  • Dry aged 85/15 ground beef $8.57 or $2.85 per serve
  • 8 oz Panko breadcrumbs are $2.99 and we used half, or 75c per serve
  • A pastured egg is 50c or 25c per serve
  • The onion is 6c per serve
  • The broccoli was $3.49 or $1.75 per serve
  • Butter and soy add another 23c per serve
  • The gravy is $2.00 or $1.00 a serve
  • Mushrooms were $2.5 or $1.25 a serve.

Dinner tonight cost $8.08 per serve.

Apr 13: Chicken Wrap; Fish Pie

Lunch

Chicken wraps! Probably our most common lunch, although we do vary it somewhat. Instead of hummus we had a smokey Roasted Eggplant Puree instead of hummus. It was good.

  • Split four ways, the $9.99 chicken is $2.50 per serve, or $1.25 today.
  • One quarter of the $2.74 salad is 69c
  • The flatbread is 50c
  • The Eggplant Puree is $3.99 for 19oz, and we used about 1/5 of the jar, or 40c per serve.

Lunch today: $2.84 per serve

Dinner

We were atypically shooting a Lunch with Philip and Greg at dinner, at home. Our guest hailed originally from the UK, so foodie Greg sought to find something quintessentially English, and then do a good version of it!

Having had some very ordinary fish pies in English a couple of years ago, it was easy to improve on it. Being fans of the Two Fat Ladies a natural choice was Jenifer’s Fish Pie.

Our guest said it was the best fish pie she’d ever had!

We made some variations, leaving out the smoked fish because we couldn’t obtain any. The recipe makes four generous serves.

  • The potatoes were $1.64 or 41c per serve
  • For the firm fleshed fish, Greg used Kroger Wild Caught Pacific Cod. The 40 oz pack costs $16.89 but only 8 oz was used (two filets) or $1.69 a serve.
  • Sockeye salmon $6.30 or $1.67 per serve
  • Shrimp cost $3.98 or $1.00 per serve
  • 1 lb of baby spinach $5.49 or $1.37 per serve
  • Onion adds 12c per serve
  • The milk was $1.69 and 3/4 was used, or 32c per serve
  • Hard boiled pastured eggs are 50c per serve
  • Butter, seasoning and spinach add another 44c per serve.

Tonight’s “best fish pie ever” dinner cost us $7.52 a serve.

Apr 3: Fast red beans and fried chicken; Vinegar-braised pork shoulder chops with long cooked broccoli

Lunch

Greg put together a quick red beans dish to go with the left over Popeye’s chicken. The quick beans are much more vegetable focused and, because they’re a quick dish, there isn’t time for the beans to break down, so it’s not as thick.

  • The chicken is $4.00 per serve
  • The quick beans are around 98c per serve.

Dinner

We took a pork shoulder chop from our Prather Ranch shipment and braised it in a cider vinegar based sauce, which reduces for a serving sauce (and loses the hard vinegar edge) during the 45 minute braise. After the braise the meat was very tender.

Long cooked broccoli takes the basic vegetable to a whole other level. We generally do a light cook on broccoli – either steam or microwave – so to think of a long slow cook is odd. Add some thinly sliced onion, and a sprinkling of feta cheese and an hour in the oven, and broccoli is transformed into something different.

  • The pork shoulder chop was 1.2 lbs for $11.06, which makes two very generous 9oz serves for $5.03 per serve
  • We used a cup – 8oz – of a 32 oz unfiltered cider vinegar which costs $4.47, or 56c per serve, although not all the sauce was served.
  • We used about the same amount of feta as last night, or 22c per serve
  • The broccoli was 63c or 32c per serve
  • Add 20c for the onion, garlic and seasoning per serve.

Dinner tonight cost $6.33 per serve. There were no leftovers.

Mar 27: Smoked Salmon, cream cheese and slow cooked scrambled eggs; Cauliflower, Ham and Cheese

Lunch

Being a weekend lunch with time to prepare, foodie Greg decided on slow cooked scrambled eggs, with wild caught smoked salmon and a smear of cream cheese.

Slow cooking the scrambled eggs – with not dairy or water added – creates an entirely different experience. Eggs are creamy, and taste of yolk. It’s almost like the barely cooked yolk was held in suspension by the set whites. It took about half an hour to slowly bring the eggs to temperature.

  • The wild caught smoked salmon was $5.99 or $3.00 a serve
  • An English Muffin is 50c
  • Each egg is 50c or $1.00 per serve
  • Add 20c for the smear of cream cheese.

Today’s gourmet lunch cost $4.70 for a meal that would be well over $20 in a restaurant.

Dinner

Time to use up some leftover ham! A simple dish of roasted cauliflower florets, with cubed ham and cheese sauce. The cheese sauce is interesting because it is simply water, sodium citrate and cheese. No white sauce involved.

The sodium citrate (available from Amazon) allows the cheese to be blended into the water without breaking. The cheese sauce is richer and more ‘cheesy’ than one made with a roux.

Roast cauliflower, ham and cheese.
Roast cauliflower, ham and cheese.
  • We shared about 1 lb of ham for 50c per serve
  • An entire 7oz block of cheese went in to the sauce or $3.00 a serve
  • The organic cauliflower was $3.22 or $1.61 per serve.

Dinner tonight hit all the right notes and cost $6.11 per serve.

Mar 19: hors d’oeuvre; Italian restaurant

Lunch

Today was our housewarming/citizenship celebration, so we had no lunch per sé. Along with our guests we noshed on a mix of brie, crackers, hummus, cannellini beans and spinach dip, etc.

  • Salted pita chips – $1.99
  • Spinach and cannellini beans for the dips – $2.88
  • Trader Joes snack – $1.49
  • Hummus – $3.99
  • Salami – $5.99
  • Paté – $4.99

We spend $21.33 – although not everything got served – for our 25 guests. Averaging over 15 guests gives a $1.42 serve.

Dinner

We were going to cook dinner, but a dozen of us carried the party on to a local Italian restaurant.

Our choices were Gnocchi Rosati and Nunny’s Baked Eggplant. Both were serviceable meals, without being outstanding. Like many meals out with friends, it’s about the experience and company.

With tax and tip the average was $21.00 each.

Hat tip to Brian Denny for thinking ahead and bringing a camera to record memories of the party and restaurant.

Mar 6: Baguette with tomato and cheese or liverwurst; Eggplant, sausage and ziti casserole

Lunch

A trip to our nearest Jons supermarket and we had a fresh baguette for lunch with a choice of liverwurst or tomato and cheese topping.

  • The Jon’s baguette – fresh from the oven in the store – was $2.69 but we only shared half today or 67c per serve
  • The full liverwurst pack is $3.20 but we had under 1/4 each or 80c per serve
  • Two tomatoes were .47c and we shared one at 12c per serve
  • 8 oz of cheese is $5.88 from Sprouts but we used around 1/4 or 74c per serve.

Lunch today cost $2.33 per serve.

Dinner

Dinner tonight was a repeat of the Eggplant, sausage and ziti from Friday night, and cost $4.32 per serve.