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.

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


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.


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


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 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


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.)


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.