Jun 7: Chicken Wrap; Greek Pasta Salad

Lunch

Another supermarket roast chicken gets broken down into four meals: two breasts shared for lunches; leg and thigh served with accompaniments.

Today’s wrap featured kumato and baby lettuce.

  • The $7.99 chicken is broken into quarters, and one breast is shared for lunch wraps, or $1.00 a serve
  • The flatbread is 50c
  • Hummus is $3.99 per container and we used about 1/6 or 33c per serve
  • A single kumato (black tomato) halved is 33c per serve
  • The baby lettuce is $3.99 a pack and we shared 1/8 of it, or 25c per serve.

Lunch today cost $2.41 per serve.

Dinner

Foodie Greg created a greek inspired pasta salad with brown rice pasta, black olives,cucumber, cherry tomatoes, shallot, and feta cheese.

  • The shallot is $1.05 or 27c per serve
  • ‘Grape’ tomatoes are $2.99 for the pack, or 75c per serve
  • 1 lb of Persian cucumbers was $1.99, of which half went into this meal, or 25c per serve
  • The olives add another 40c per serve
  • The good feta comes in a $6.99 tub and we used about half, or 88c per serve
  • Add 10c for seasonings and oil.

Our meatless Tuesday salad cost just $2.65 per serve.

Jun 6: In and Out Burger; Cauliflower Fried Rice with Shrimp (repeat)

Lunch

Back to the normal Monday schedule with Foodie Philip in Burbank during the middle part of the day. Lunch, by tradition and convenience, is from In and Out Burger: a Double Double Animal Style.

Today’s lunch was $4.03 with tax.

Dinner

Time to eat the remaining Cauliflower Fried Rice with some freshly cooked shrimp on top.

As it did on June 3, the cauliflower fried rice with shrimp cost $4.32 per serve and looked just like it did then.

Jun 5: Smoked Salmon bagel; Smoked Pork Spare Ribs with Apple Slaw

Lunch

Sunday lunch and another smoked salmon bagel. This time with capers, tomato and cucumber as a closed sandwich.

  • Smoked salmon is normally $5.99 for the 4oz pack, but we still have some from when it was on special at $1 off, with another $1 coupon, or $2 a serve
  • The pack of six onion bagels is $1.99 or 33c per serve
  • Cream cheese is about 60c a serve
  • We split 1/6 of the $3.99 pack of kumato tomatoes, or 33c per serve
  • 1 lb of Persian cucumbers was $1.99, of which one went into this meal, or 12c per serve
  • Add 5c for capers.

Lunch today cost $3.43 per serve.

Dinner

Still experimenting with the stovetop smoker, we smoked some Pork Spare Ribs and served it with an Apple Coleslaw: still with cabbage but also some Julienne apple. With a light mayonnaise and apple cider vinegar dressing.

Smoking the spare ribs gives a very different result than a slow braise. The meat was tasty and had a good texture, but it was not “fall off the bone” tender. Rather than cook a sauce we tried Trader Joe’s Organic Sriracha & Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce, which is a good balance of spicy, salty and sweet, with a hint of garlic.

  • 1.7lb of Pork Spare Ribs cost $10.84, but the actual meat serve is more like 6oz per serve doe $5.42
  • Trader Joes’s BBQ Rub and seasoning (coffee and garlic): about 25c per serve
  • One Granny Smith apple went into the slaw, or 40c per serve
  • Shredded cabbage is 33c per serve
  • Two carrots were 30c or 5c per serve
  • Add 12c for the dressing per serve
  • We used about 1/8 of the $2.99 bottle, or 19c per serve.

Dinner tonight cost $6.76 per serve.

Jun 4: Country Deli; Smoked Pork Sausages with a Mango, Cucumber & Feta salad

Lunch

Once again, The Country Deli was calling, and once again Foodie Philip had the 10 oz marinated skirt steak-rare. Served with three eggs, home fries and a bread/bagel, it’s a huge meal.

Foodie Greg’s pastrami sandwich was likewise excellent, although he was thankful he ordered a half!

Lunch at the Country Deli runs out around $20 a serve with tax and tip.

Dinner

A late change of plans away from left-over Cauliflower Fried Rice – which will come later – found us smoking some of the Prather Ranch Pork Sausages, with a mango, cucumber and feta salad of Greg’s invention.

Unfortunately the Whole Foods mango was completely devoid of flavor, which dragged down the whole meal. The sausages had a slight smoky flavor and were great.

  • The sausages $12.86 for two packs, or $3.22 per serve for the best pork sausages we’ve ever had, even better with a little smoke.
  • The tasteless Whole Foods mango was $1.99 or $1.00 a serve
  • 1 lb of Persian cucumbers was $1.99, of which half went into this meal, or 50c per serve
  • The green olives add another 40c per serve
  • Feta comes in a $6.99 tub and we used about half, or $1.75 per serve
  • Add 10c for seasonings and oil.

Dinner tonight cost $6.97 per serve, and would have been awesome if the mango had flavor!

Jun 3: Tuna ‘nicoise’ wrap; Cauliflower fried rice with Shrimp

Lunch

We experimented with a salad nicoise inspired tuna wrap: dry tuna salad with capers; greens and tomato.

  • The flatbread is 50c
  • The yellowtail tuna is $2.29 per can, or $1.15 per serve
  • We split 1/6 of the $3.99 pack of kumato tomatoes, or 33c per serve
  • A similar amount of greens, adds another 33c per serve.

Lunch today cost $2.31 per serve

Dinner

Even though we have lots of meat in the freezer from our current and past Prather Ranch deliveries, tonight we went mostly meat free – just a little bacon for flavor. Cauliflower is a very good substitute for rice. In the past we’ve baked the shredded cauliflower to dry it, but this time we decided to fry it off in the bacon fat (after frying the bacon to perfection). This worked really well and saves heating the house with the oven on a hot afternoon.

A little curry spice replaced ginger – mostly because we are out of ginger – and was definitely an enhancement.

  • The organic cauliflower was $3.78 or 95c per serve
  • Organic bacon is $8.99 for the pack, but four slices went into the recipe, or 57c per serve.
  • Organic eggs are 50c each, and it averages 1.5 eggs per serve, or 75c
  • Frozen peas are $2.79 per pack and we used about 1/4 or 35c per serve
  • Spices and oil add another 20c per serve
  • The shrimp adds $1.50 per serve.

The cauliflower fried rice with shrimp cost $4.32 per serve.

Jun 2: ‘Yeros’ Wrap; Steak Salad

Lunch

Since we had half the gyro meat, we repeated our version of a gyro/yeros. Because we were going to use the cast iron griddle on the induction cooktop to cook a steak later, we used it to reheat the meat.

  • The fully cooked sliced gyro/yeros meat is $3.99 per 10oz pack. There are really four serves, so each serve is very slightly cheaper than the chicken, at $1.00 per serve.
  • The flatbread is 50c
  • Hummus is $3.99 per container and we used about 1/6 or 33c per serve
  • We served 1/4 of the tabouli salad or 67c per serve.

Lunch today cost $2.50 per serve.

Dinner

When you have dry aged Top Sirloin Steak in the freezer on a hot day, steak salad comes to mind. This is our own recipe, loosely based on a steak salad we had in Nottingham (UK) a couple of years back. It was good, but we had the waitress drooling over the description of how we’d improve it. This is the result.

Seared top sirloin (rump), steak salad (greens, sauteed mushrooms, tomato, blue cheese and almonds), with a Worcestershire Vinaigrette (Olive oil and Worcestershire sauce as the vinegar component).

  • 0.8lb of Top Sirloin is $11.43 or $5.72 per serve. Because it is dry aged, we – once again – cooked to blue.
  • We used the entire $3.99 pack of mushrooms, or $2.00 per serve
  • Half the $3.99 pack of baby lettuce went into the salad, or $1.00 per serve
  • Half the $3.99 pack of kumato tomatoes went into the salad, or $1.00 per serve
  • Add 45c for the crumbled blue cheese per serve
  • The almonds are $6.99 a pack but we used 1/10th or 23c per serve
  • Add 20c for oil and Worcestershire sauce.

Dinner tonight cost $10.60 – or about half what we paid in the UK for much lower quality meat.

May Summary and Observations

May was our most stay-at-home month this year. We only ate out in the evening four times, and 21 of 31 lunches were prepared at home from ingredients.

May was also the month we acquired a stove-top smoker for hot smoking food. This adds another layer of flavor to our meals.

The averages for this month:

  • Lunch prepared at home $2.43 ($3.21 in April)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $6.89 ($10.84)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $5.62 ($6.07)
  • Dinner eaten out: $15.64 ($12.23)

Our most expensive meal was at Gordon Biersch when we shared a working meal with another software developer, where it ran to $20.90 per head.

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $213.59 per person in May. We actually spent $51.05 for lunches at home plus $68.94 for lunches purchased or eaten out: $119.99.

Had we purchased every dinner out at the same average it would be $484.84 each, compared with $151.87 for meals prepared at home and $62.54 for meals out, or the $214.41 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.

Jun 1: ‘Yeros’ wrap; Bacon and Black Bean Chili

Lunch

We tried something different today. Trader Joe’s have sliced Yeros/Gyro meat available. Combine with some hummus and tabouli for a wrap with the flavors of a yeros.

There’s a little common deception in the packaging. Although on the front of the packaging it says there are enough for two yeros – implying two serves per 10oz pack – but the nutritional information has four serves in the pack. Futzing with the serving size is a very common packaging deception.

  • The fully cooked sliced gyro/yeros meat is $3.99 per 10oz pack. There are really four serves, so each serve is very slightly cheaper than the chicken, at $1.00 per serve.
  • The flatbread is 50c
  • Hummus is $3.99 per container and we used about 1/6 or 33c per serve
  • We served 1/4 of the tabouli salad or 67c per serve.

Lunch today cost $2.50 per serve.

Dinner

For dinner we had a repeat of the bacon and black bean chili from a few days ago. While I allocated four serves when calculating the cost per serve, in reality we got five serves.

As it did a few nights earlier, the chili with fixin’s cost $5.53 per serve, although in reality a little less.2.5

May 31: ‘Quesadilla’; Stir Fried Shanghai Noodles with Ground Pork and Cabbage

Lunch

It’s quesadilla time again. Our variation that is.

  • One flatbread (half of two) costs 50c a serve
  • Half a can of refried beans, shared across two halves: 26c
  • A very generous serve of salsa is 20c per serve
  • 2 oz of cheddar split between two is 50c per serve

Lunch today cost $1.46 per serve.

Dinner

The nice thing about recipes for four, when you’re a couple of two? Two meals for the same amount of work. Tonight we reprised the Stir Fried Shanghai Noodles with Ground Pork and Cabbage. The recipe actually made five serves, making one free lunch yesterday.

  • The pork came from our Prather Ranch meat delivery – 1 lb of ground pork cost $8.55 or $2.14 per serve
  • The pre-cooked organic noodles retail for $3.19 or 80c per serve
  • The various seasonings add around 30c per serve
  • We used one third of the $1.29 spring onion on two serves or 22c per serve
  • The shredded green cabbage was $1.29 for the pack, or 33c per serve.

Dinner tonight cost $3.79 per serve for a filling and very tasty dish.

May 30: Corn Chowder; Gordon Birsch

Lunch

Lunch was from leftovers. We had a mix of salmon chowder and Shanghai noodles (as there were really more than four servings.)

The slightly smaller lunch serve cost $1.44 per serve.

Dinner

It was our regular “beers” night with a friend, and we were once again at Gordon Birsch in Burbank. We may have moved from Burbank but we seem to be at Gordon Birsch with about the same frequency.

The Gastro Pub burger is pretty good, and the fries were crisp, hot and fresh. $12.95 on the menu, but closer to $16.95 with tax and tip.