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


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.


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


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.


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


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 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)


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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!


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.


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)


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?)


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.