Mar 17: Grilled chicken leg and mixed grain salad; Reuben Casserole


Because we started with a whole roast chicken for the Cobb Salad, we used the legs and thighs for lunch today, with a deli salad of mixed grains.

  • Each serve of the roast chicken is $2.00
  • The salad was $3.29 and we halved it for $1.65 per serve.

Lunch today cost $3.65 per serve.


It was time to reheat the Reuben Casserole and have another nosh! As it did on Tuesday, the Baked Reuben Casserole cost $4.80 per serve.

Mar 16: Lunch at the Deli; Cobb Salad


Today was a very atypical day for the semiSerious Foodies: up early so Philip could take the Oath of Allegiance and become an American Citizen. So we joined with a friend who took us out to lunch at the Country Deli in Chatsworth.

The serving sizes are very generous: whether you have the marinated skirt steak with eggs and home fries, or the Texas omelette it’s hard to finish the serve.

While technically we didn’t pay for anything, it’s about $18 on average with tax and tip.


In order to celebrate the new Citizenship, we had that most American of salads: Cobb. A Cobb Salad is almost entirely preparation as the only cooking required is to boil the eggs and fry off the bacon.

It also leaves the ingredients themselves as the star. When there’s no fancy sauces, spices or flavoring – other than a mild dressing on the green leaves – each ingredient has to be superb. By choosing carefully, the basic Cobb can be elevated into a gourmet experience.

  • Blue cheese crumbles are $3.49 for the pack and we used about 1/3 or 58c per serve.
  • You can tell by the deep gold yolk that these are pastured eggs: 50c each -one per serve – but worth it for the taste.
  • The avocado is direct from a friend’s tree: a Fuerte instead of the more common Haas. I don’t know if it’s the breed, or the freshness, but this avocado was creamy and full of flavor. Normally about 50c per serve.
  • Organic bacon is $8.99 for the pack, but it’s only two slices per serve, or $1.13 per serve.
  • The cooked roast chicken was $7.99 but one quarter was used, or $1.00 per serve.
  • The organic cherry tomatoes were $2.49 for the pack or $1.25 per serve.
  • Add 10c for the greens.

Dinner tonight was an example of how great a simple dish can be, when the ingredients are excellent. All up it cost $5.06 and was better than any Cobb Salad we’ve had in a restaurant. And never chop a Cobb Salad. That would be a crime against texture and flavor!


Mar 15: Tarte à l’Oignon; Reuben Casserole


We had another attempt at the Trader Joe’s Tarte à l’Oignon -Alsation style onion tart. We had a little more success in the regular oven, but it still didn’t firm up like we expected it to.

  • The tart was $3.99 or $2.00 a serve.


The challenge with the classic corned beef dinner is how to use the remaining corned beef. We’ve experimented with various Reuben sandwich ideas, but today we found the perfect solution: an oven-baked Reuben Casserole.

Without a doubt this is the best use of corned beef and reuben sandwich ingredients. We loved it, despite foodie Greg’s dislike of “bread puddings” (including French Toast). Technically a strata because of the layering, it embodies all that is good about a reuben, but better!

The recipe makes six good size serves.

  • Six slices of rye bread are roughly half the $1.99 loaf, or 17c per serve
  • The other half of the corned beef is $14.30, or $2.40 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 83c 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 cost $4.80 per serve and is way better than the traditional boiled meal. It turns out Trader Joe’s have just started stocking sliced corned beef, so we don’t have to prepare the whole 3 lb !

The semiSerious Foodies Cook Spanish Tortilla on Video

When we were in Barcelona last September, we discovered Spanish Tortilla, which is nothing like a Mexican Tortilla! After a little research, we put the tiny kitchen in our apartment to good use, proving you don’t need extravagant tools to cook anywhere, anytime.

Continue reading “The semiSerious Foodies Cook Spanish Tortilla on Video”

Mar 14: Burger lunch; Steak dinner & Sausage platter


Monday being Burbank day for foodie Philip, it was again a Double Double from In and Out Burger.

  • Double Double is $4.03 with tax


Double Burbank day as we met with a friend for drinks and dinner at Gordon Biersch in Burbank after buying a lounge from IKEA.

  • Meal one was the 7 Oz. USDA Choice Sirloin Steak Frites with a menu price of $20.75 or $27.14 with tax and tip.
  • Meal two was the Traditional Sausage Platter with a menu price of $15.99 or $20.91 with tax and tip.

For the purpose of this blog, we’ll average the two for a cost per serve of $24.02.

Mar 13: Baguette, cheese, pickles and liverwurst; Corned beef, cabbage and potatoes


For lunch we decided to head for Jons up the freeway in Simi Valley to get one of their baguettes, cheddar cheese and liverwurst.

  • 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
  • 8 oz of cheese is $5.88 from Sprouts but we used around 1/4 or 74c per serve.
  • The sauerkraut was $6.99 for 18 oz or 44c per serve

Lunch today cost $2.65.


It’s a tradition that we have corned beef, boiled potatoes and boiled cabbage for foodie Greg’s birthday, so that’s what we did.

  • The 3 lb corned beef round was $28.59 but we served half, or $7.13 per serve – that’s for double the typical restaurant serve
  • Two onions add 12c per serve
  • The cabbage was 67c but we served half, or 17c per serve
  • The potatoes were 45c per serve

Dinner tonight cost us $7.87 for a very generous serve.

Mar 12: Smoked salmon bagel; Seafood Cioppino


An Everything bagel with wild caught smoked salmon and avocado.

  • The bagel was 79c each
  • An avocado is 99c or 50c per serve
  • The wild caught smoked salmon is $5.99 or $3.00 a serve

Lunch today cost $4.39 per serve.


We last had cioppino on January 13. It’s a simple seafood stew that’s extremely tasty, but also very easy to make.

We cooked the base and then added shrimp, mussels and cod for tonight’s meal. They were extracted from the stew and served with a generous amount of the broth. The balance of the broth mix will be used to cook up some more seafood later.

  • Olive oil – less than 3c serve
  • Fennel bulb at $2 makes for 33c serve
  • Onion at 50c makes it 9c a serve
  • Four large garlic cloves are about 1/4 of the 50c garlic – 7c serve
  • Tomato paste 90c can but only half was used, for 8c serve
  • Diced tomatoes in juice – $3.99 or 67c serve
  • 1.5 cups dry white wine – about $1 or 16c serve
  • 5 cups fish stock $6.20 or $1.03 serve
  • 16 oz of White Wine and Garlic Mussels are $4.00 or $2.00 for each very generous serve
  • For the firm fleshed fish, Greg used Kroger Wild Caught Pacific Cod. The 40 oz pack costs $16.89 but only 8 oz was used (two filets). $1.69 a serve.
  • The pack of peeled, uncooked shrimp was $5.99 or $3 a serve
  • Served with Simple Truth Ready to bake garlic bread – $2.50 for the loaf (on special). We used half or 63c per serve

Dinner tonight cost $9.78 a serve with a very generous amount of broth left to cook up the next meal. This dish, when it was still on the menu at Gordon Birsch coast just over $20 with tax and tip, but they serve exactly three mussels and three shrimp. We had very, very much more than that!

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.