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.

Feb 29: Take out; Slut’s Spaghetti (pasta alla puttanesca)

Lunch

Monday’s finds The semiSerious Foodies in different locations: Philip in Burbank eating In-and-Out while Greg has leftover Indian at home.

Averaging the two meals (there was only Baingan Bharta and rice with peas (peas pull0) left) gives an approximate cost of $4.15 each.

Dinner

Tonight’s Slut’s Spaghetti is Nigella Lawson’s translation and interpretation of the classic pasta all puttanesca, or whore’s pasta. The name is thought to have come from ‘working girls’ who did not have time to shop or cook, throwing together a pasta dish from pantry items. How scandalous!

The recipe makes a generous four serves.

  • Anchovies are $1.59 a can, or 40c per serve
  • Garlic and seasonings add about 10c per serve
  • The pasta was $1.29 or 33c per serve
  • Canned tomatoes were $2.19 or 55c per serve
  • A jar of pitted olives is $2.99 but only half is used in the recipe or 38c per serve

Dinner tonight cost $1.76 a serve.

Feb 28: Indian take out; Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup

Lunch

In between trying to get some work done around the house, we had a side trip to Lowes, so on the way back we tried some local Indian takeout.

Generous serves of chicken tikka masala, Baingan Bharta, garlic naan and rice with peas (peas pull0).

With tax the total was $26.12, but we only finished the naan ($3.26) over two serves. The rest made up four serves for $5.71 a serve. Add half the naan to each serve, and lunch today cost $7.34 a serve.

Dinner

Another favorite makes a return appearance: Pioneer Woman’s Sausage, Potato and Kale soup. According to Pioneer Woman:

This is a make-at-home version of Olive Garden’s “Zuppa Toscana.”

It’s a generous recipe making at least six serves. For the protein we used ground pork from our monthly Prather Ranch delivery. Greg also uses half chicken stock and half ‘half-n-half’ instead of the more dairy focused version in the recipe.

  • 1lb Prather Ranch ground pork was $8.55 or $1.43 a serve
  • Chicken broth $1.99 or 33c per serve
  • Kale cost $1.99 for the bunch or 33c per serve
  • Tomatoes were $2.19 as weighed or 37c per serve
  • Half and half was $1.45 or 24c per serve
  • Roast garlic bread (five serves) was $2.50 or 50c per serve
  • Potatoes $2.40 or 40c per serve
  • Add 10c per serve for herbs and seasonings.

Tonight’s dinner cost $3.70 per serve. It’s an excellent soup and well worth the effort.

Feb 26:Ikea Meatballs; Mixed

Lunch

Because we were in Burbank returning the keys to our apartment and because we had to go to Ikea anyway, we had the meatball lunch including some pretty good soups: Turkey Gumbo and Split pea and kale.

The combo meal is $7.61 including tax per serve.

Dinner

It’s Alpha Dogs’ Editor’s Lounge night tonight and at least one of us eats free! The other cooked some pasta with a basil pesto, for under $1.75.

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.