Jun 13: In and Out; Reuben Casserole (repeat)

Lunch

Back to the normal Monday schedule with Foodie Philip in Burbank, so it was back to In and Out Burger for a Double Double Animal Style. Typically it takes about 10 minutes (at 12:30PM) for order to be taken and served.

Foodie Greg had a serving of the Summer Corn Chowder and some of the remaining garlic loaf.

  • Lunch today cost $4.03 including tax.

Dinner

Time to repeat the Reuben Casserole from June 10th.

Dinner tonight was $3.40 a serve, although Greg couldn’t finish all of his!

Jun 12: The Country Deli; Summer Corn Chowder

Brunch

After not eating last night we were both hungry, and when you’re hungry and want a big meal, head for a Deli, particularly a Jewish Deli, and for us, that’s The Country Deli.

While Foodie Greg changes his order at every visit, Foodie Philip has fixated on the Marinated Skirt Steak because it is so very good. The marinade adds flavor and obviously tenderizes the meat. Cooked rare it is really tender. Served with three eggs (over easy), a choice of sides (home fries) and an onion bagel, it’s a lot of food. In all honestly Philip has never finished all the meal’s components!

A couple of hours work in the yard balanced out the calorie register!

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

Dinner

Greg came across this Summer Corn Chowder recipe and today seemed like the right day to try it. Definitely go with fresh corn, cut right off the cob. There are some tips on choosing corn in The semiSerious Foodies Cook Elote video.

The chowder is very tasty, although it has a slight tendency toward sweetness, which is not at all surprising with ‘sweet’ corn. It’s a little one-dimensional, as you’d expect from the recipe, so next time we’re going to incorporate some pickled bell pepper. The slight acid from the vinegar pickled pepper will help balance the sweetness.

  • Bacon is 30c per serve
  • An onion is about 3c per serve
  • Four cobs of fresh corn (tassels on) cost 39c each, average one per serve
  • We used a mix of whole milk and half and half at $1.49 or 38c per serve
  • The russet potato cost 74c or 19c per serve
  • Add 5c per serve for seasoning
  • We served with a par-baked roast garlic bread at $2.50 for the loaf, or 63c per serve.

Dinner tonight cost $1.34 for the soup and 63c for the bread, $1.97 total. A really great meal for under $2 a serve.

 

Jun 11: Texas BBQ

Lunch

Because we had advanced warning of a maintenance power outage for most of the day, we ran away! The Swinging Door had been recommended to us, so that’s where we headed first.

Overall, excellent. The brisket, sausage, pulled pork, bbq baked beans and collard greens all got full marks for texture, tenderness and flavor. Some parts of the tri-tip were a little tough and overall not as tender as the other meats. Could have been an off day, as our friend said it “wasn’t as good as it usually is.” The Mac ‘n Cheese was okay.

We opted for the spicy BBQ sauce, and were very happy with that choice.

If our friend hadn’t paid, lunch today would have been around $19 for two meats and two sides.

And that was it for the day. Even though we’d been out in the yard planting a new tree before lunch, and went for a 90 minute walk later in the day we had no inclination toward dinner, deciding to have a snack later.

Which we never did. The lunch combo was enough.

Jun 10: Chicken Wrap; Reuben Casserole

Lunch

A fresh chicken at the end of the week isn’t our normal pattern, but it paired well with some leftover Vietnamese Chicken  Salad – although the salad is a little wet to use in a wrap. It was delicious, but messy.

  • The $9.99 chicken is broken into quarters, and one breast is shared for lunch wraps, or $1.25 a serve
  • The flatbread is 50c
  • The Vietnamese Chicken Salad is $1.32 per serve.

Lunch today cost $3.07 per serve.

Dinner

Another take on the Reuben casserole. In the absence of a corned beef boil we purchased some corned beef from Trader Joes, which works well. We scaled the recipe to four serves, although we kept the milk and egg components constant.

Don’t tell Foodie Greg but this is a savory bread pudding (he’s not a fan of ‘bread pudding’). Let’s pretend it’s a strata!

  • Four slices of rye bread are roughly one third of the $1.99 loaf, or 17c per serve
  • The sliced, nitrate free corned beef is $4.99 a pack or $1.25 per serve
  • Trader Joe’s have a Sauerkraut with Persian Cucumbers which combines two ingredients for $3.99 a jar, or 67c per serve.
  • Packaged, shredded Swiss Gryere $4.99 or $1.25 per serve. Although we used the full packet, it was probably closer to three cups than four.
  • A pint of half and half is $1.49 and half was used or 13c per serve.
  • Organic eggs are 50c each or 25c per serve.
  • Greg made “thousand island” dressing with a mix of mayonnaise and shrimp sauce, for about 20c per serve
  • We skipped the caraway seeds for taste reasons but the mustard adds another 15c per serve.

Dinner tonight was, as always, delicious and cost $3.40 per serve. If you like a Reuben sandwich, you will love this casserole.

Jun 9: Smoked Salmon on an Onion Bagel; Roast Chicken with Vietnamese Salad

Lunch

We’re out of chicken for wraps, so why not a smoked salmon bagel? Again with capers, tomato and cucumber as a closed sandwich.

  • Smoked salmon $5.99 for the 4oz pack or $3 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 $4.43 per serve.

Dinner

The leg and thigh from the supermarket roast chicken was accompanied by Nigella Lawson’s Vietnamese Chicken Salad. We kept the chicken intact and served the salad on the side.

  • Each serve is one quarter of the $7.99 chicken, or $2 a serve
  • The shredded green cabbage was $1.29 for the pack, or 33c per serve
  • The ingredients for the sauce add another 35c per serve
  • Organic mint cost $1.75 or 44c per serve
  • The limes for the dressing were $1.56, but only about half the juice was used, leaving the rest for the accompanying Gin and Tonic – 20c per serve.

We have salad left over for use in lunch wraps. Tonight’s dinner cost $3.32

Jun 8: Chicken Wrap; Smoked Pork Chops with Apple Slaw and Broccolini

Lunch

Chicken wrap time again, with supermarket tabouli.

  • 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
  • The tabouli side salad is $2.69 for four serves, or 68c per serve.

Lunch today cost $2.56 per serve.

Dinner

Since the last time was such a success, when we saw pair of thin cut pork chops in our Prather Ranch meat delivery we had to smoke them again!

Before smoking we brined the chops. We generally brine pork to ensure it stays moist during cooking. It also brings a little saltiness to the meat, which, when combined with the smoke, makes the pork chops reminiscent  of, almost, ham flavor.

The slaw was left over from a couple of nights ago, and the broccolini was steamed in our new induction-ready pots from Ikea. We’ve opted not to have a microwave as we only used it for steaming vegetables and a little reheating. We’ve found the induction cooktop to be very good for reheating as it has a 195º setting that keeps reheating (or simmering) just below a boil. It seem it will be equally good for steaming.

Induction cook tops are very common in Europe, less so in the USA.
Induction cook tops are very common in Europe, less so in the USA.

We use the induction cooktop for the stove-top smoker because it’s very quick to come to temperature and start smoking/cooking, and it can be set to maintain a temperature and not overheat.

It would be traditional to take the smoked pork chops and give them a quick, hot fry off to make them look more appealing, and to create a little maillard reaction, but with the thin cut chops, we feel it would over-cook the meat and make it tough, so we left them as they came out of the smoker.

  • The thin cut Pork Loin Chops were $9.82 or $4.91 per serve
  • The organic baby broccolini was $2.69 or $1.35 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 of Trader Joe’s Sriracha BBQ sauce (this stuff is very addictive), or 19c per serve.

Dinner tonight cost $7.35 per serve and the pork chops were awesome.

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!