Mar 11: Steak and Ale Pie; Mushroom Barley Soup


Foreboding rain and a relatively cold day had us turning to Trader Joe’s Steak and Ale pies for lunch.

  • The two pack is $6.49 or $3.25 per serve.


A hearty soup was what the weather indicated, so we decided on Mushroom Barley soup. We made a half batch and used all crimini mushrooms for four serves.

  • Sliced crimini mushrooms $2.29 for the bag, or 58c per serve
  • Onion and garlic around 15c per serve
  • Celery is $2.29 a bunch or around 15c per serve
  • Carrots we 69c for the bunch, or 9c per serve
  • The bunch of parsley was $1.19, but only half was used, or 15c per serve
  • The pearl barley is $4.89 for a 28 oz bag, or 61c per serve
  • Dry vermouth instead of sherry works out at 17c per serve
  • The carton of beef broth was $2.49 or 63c per serve
  • We served with a par-baked roast garlic bread at $2.50 for the loaf, or 63c per serve

Dinner tonight cost $3.01 per serve including the bread.

Mar 10: Quesadilla; Sous Vide Pork Chop and Waldorf salad


Today we put together a quesadilla using actual tortilla’s instead of our usual flatbread.

  • The eight-pack of tortilla cost $3.29 or 41c per 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 $1.40 per serve.


Once again, our Prather Ranch meat box included two bone-in pork chops, so once again we Sous Vide them before a final fry off in some butter for color and maillard flavors.

  • The 12 oz pork chops were $9.44 each serve
  • Apple $2.06 or $1.03 per serve
  • Celery bunch $2.29 or $1.15 per serve
  • The packet of walnuts was $4.93 and about half was used, or $1.23 per serve

Dinner tonight cost $12.85 for a serve twice the size of normal restaurant protein size, at a fraction of the cost of ordering in a restaurant.

Mar 9: Alsatian Style Onion Tart; Red Chile Chicken and Rice with Black Beans


Feeling lazy today we heated a Trader Joe’s Tarte à l’mignon, or Alsatian Style Onion Tart. Following the reheat instructions in a convection oven rendered the result slightly undercooked. This is probably one of those times when a conventional oven heating from the bottom, will do the better job cooking.

  • The tart was $3.99 or $2 a serve.


Tonight’s dish is one we used to cook regularly, and then the supply of chile powder ran out! Red Chile Chicken and Rice with Black Beans packs a great fiber load. We skipped the green onions or cilantro, substituting avocado. The recipe makes four serves.

It’s a good basic dish, but the addition of Rick Bayless’ All Natural fonder Gourmet Mexican Salso – Chipotle roasted tomatillo and garlic, adds a great kick, and the avocado adds a flavor and texture contrast.

This time, the chicken tenders remained very tender because Greg barely fried them off, then let them steam over the dish for 10 minutes. They were just cooked, retaining all the tenderness the cut is known for.

  • Organic chicken tenders $9.35 or $2.34 a serve
  • Large onion, oil and garlic, around 15c per serve
  • The can of black beans was 99c or 25c a serve
  • Chicken broth is $1.99 or 50c per serve
  • One cup of rice is about 1/3 of the $2.99 pack of short brown rice or 50c per serve
  • Four avocados were $2.76 and we shared one at 35c per serve
  • The salsa is $3.99 for a jar and we used about 1/4 or 50c per serve

Dinner tonight cost us $4.69 a serve.

Mar 8: Cheese and ‘pickle’ roll; Afghan banquet


For lunch today we finished baking a par-baked Multigrain Artisan loaf, halved it and filled with cheddar cheese and ‘pickles’ – in this case Wildbrine Fermented Madras Curry & Cauliflower Sauerkraut. Cheese and pickles is a very classic combination and the Wildbrine sauerkraut is an excellent pickle.

  • Greg picked up the Multigrain bread on special for $2.50 or $1.25 per serve.
  • The cheddar is $5.99 for the 8oz block or $1.13 per 1.5 oz serve
  • The sauerkraut was $6.99 for 18 oz or 88c per serve.

Lunch today was a very generous portion for $3.26 per serve.


Tonight we were invited to the Light Iron screening of Whisky Tango Foxtrot with panel discussion following. After the screening and panel, guests were invited to an Afghan banquet at Light Iron’s nearby facility.

It was delicious and free. Thank you Light Iron.

Mar 7: In and Out Burger; Pot roast


Another Burbank Monday, so another In and Out Double Double for foodie Philip. $4.02 with tax.


Time to use up the last of our January meet order from Prather Ranch. We skipped February’s delivery because of the move, and we’re well stocked again with the March delivery.

We last had the Beef Cross Rib Steak as a Filipino Style marinated steak but, given that Los Angeles is having what it pretends is “Winter”, the weather dictated something warming: Pioneer Woman’s Pot Roast.

This is not a great cut of meat so marinating or slow braising in a pot roast is a great way to get the best from the protein. We had two individual steaks about 9.5 oz each.

  • The steaks were $6.20 per serve
  • Onions are 20c per serve
  • The carrots were 69c or 35c per serve
  • One cup of red wine is around $1.33 or 67c a serve
  • Two cups of broth is half a $1.99 carton or 50c per serve
  • The mushrooms were $1.99 or $1 a serve
  • The Rosemary came from our own plant
  • Add another 15c for oil, seasoning and Thyme.

Tonight’s dinner cost $9.07 for the pot roast, which we served with the other half of Sunday’s baguette, for a total of $9.74 per serve.


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.

Mar 5: Seminar sandwiches; Gastro Pub burger


Today we were at the FCPeXchange event where lunch was supplied. Subway-style sandwich platters, but for us, lunch was free.


The plan was to reheat the left-over Eggplant, sausage and ziti casserole from yesterday, but a group from the seminar went to Gordon Biersch so we had the Gastro Pub burger, again.

With tax and tip, that runs out at $16.02 per serve.

Mar 4: English muffin with smoked salmon; Eggplant, sausage & ziti casserole


For lunch we had an English muffin with avocado and wild caught smoked salmon.

  • The muffin is 50c
  • The smoke salmon was $5.99 from Whole Foods or $3.00 a serve
  • The avocado was 99c or 50c per serve.

Lunch today cost $4.004 a serve.


Eggplant, sausage and ziti casserole: from a hybrid of recipes. The basic inspiration is from an Emeril recipe from Food Network. When we’ve cooked this in the past we found the recipe to hav41$e too much oil, so we grill the eggplant.

Instead of Emeril’s meat sauce we used a metacook recipe. The béchamel sauce stayed untouched, although made with half-n-half.

  • The meat came from our meat box and was somewhat expensive at $8.83 lb for the beef, or $2.21 per serve.
  • Onion works out at 15c per serve
  • Carrot is 17c per serve
  • Celery is 11c per serve
  • Bacon cost $4.99 for the container, but this recipe used about 1/4 of that, or 31c per serve
  • A glass of wine is 20c per serve
  • A half pint of heavy cream (for the meat sauce) is $1.99 and it was all used in the meat sauce or 50c per serve
  • A pint of half & half is $1.49 and half is used in the béchamel, or 19c per serve
  • The eggplant cost $1.92 or 48c per serve.

Dinner tonight cost us $4.32 per serve. We have left-overs for Saturday night, as we expect to be home later than usual.


Mar 3: Chicken wraps; Business dinner out


Chicken and wraps. This time with

  • 1/4 of the roast chicken – breast, divided between us is $1.75 per serve
  • Five Lavash sell for $3.99 or 80c per serve
  • The container of hummus is $2.99 and we used about 1/3 or that between two, or 75c per serve
  • Kowal organic sprouts were $3.99 for the container, or 67c per serve.

Lunch today cost $3.97 per serve.


We had a business meeting over dinner tonight, so we were back at Gordon Biersch in Burbank where it took us longer to find a parking spot than it used to take us to walk there!

We both had the Gastro Pub burger:

Bacon jam, housemade bleu cheese sauce, mixed greens, tomato, gorgonzola cheese and caramelized onions atop our fresh steakburger

Listed at $12.25 dinner cost $16.02 with tax and tip.

Mar 2: Slut Spaghetti; Grilled chicken, lentils and sweet potato


For lunch we had the remains of the Slut’s Spaghetti from Monday night.

As it did then, lunch today cost $1.76 a serve.


A quick dinner because we were heading out to the Home Owners Association annual meeting. We used the leg and thigh from our Whole Foods organic chicken, left over lentils from Saturday night, and some baked sweet potato.

  • 1/4 of the chicken is $3.50
  • The lentils work out to 75c per serve
  • The sweet potato was 99c and we shared half at this meal or 25c per serve.

Dinner tonight cost us $4.25