Jun 19: Popeye’s Fried Chicken; White Bean Tuna Salad


Another trip to a hardware store placed us near a Popeye’s so that’s what we had.

  • Eight pieces of chicken were $12.99, but that makes four serves in all, making each serve $3.25.
  • The large Red beans and rice was $3.99 and we shared that for $2 a serve.

In total, lunch was $5.25 a serve.


Hot weather makes salads an appealing choice, but the problem is to find a cold salad that is also interesting. Tonight we tried Giada De Laurentiis’ White Bean and Tuna Salad, but made a half serve for the two of us.

Since most of the ingredients are stored at room temperature, we chilled down the can of beans before making the salad. We skipped the basil because Foodie Philip isn’t fond of it.

  • The Yellowfin Tuna in Olive Oil cost $2.29 for the can, or $1.10 per serve
  • The can of beans was 89c or 45c per serve
  • The pack of baby lettuce was $1.99 but we only used half, or 50c per serve
  • The grape tomatoes were 99c per pack and we used half, or 25c per serve
  • Add 20c for the onion and seasonings.

Dinner tonight cost $2.50 per serve. Frankly the salad is a little boring, particularly after the exciting dishes of the last two nights.

Jun 18: Country Deli; Red Curry and Pink Peppercorn Meat Sauce with Rice Noodles


As we had to go to Lowes to collect some items for a home project, we decided to have brunch at the Country Deli because it was on the way, and we didn’t have any other plans.

As it turned out, three tips to Lowes and one to Home Depot were on the agenda for today.

The Country Deli runs $19 per serve with tax and tip.


Tonight’s meal is a spicy, Peruvian inspired Spaghetti with Bolognese Meat Sauce, except it is about 20x better than the best Bolognese Meat Sauce I’ve ever had. Sorry to my Italian friends.

Having just planted a Pepper tree, we’ll have plenty of pink peppercorn in our future.

The ‘California’ Pepper tree, is really a Peruvian transplant, so a Peruvian recipe featuring pink peppercorns (the fruit of said tree) isn’t that surprising. What is surprising is how good this was.

We found it made three serves in practice, and again we dropped the cilantro. The recipe suggests serving with rice or noodles, so we chose rice noodles!

  • 1lb of Prather Ranch ground pork is $8.86 or $2.95 per serve
  • Limes were $1.56 and about half went into the dish, or 26c per serve
  • The can of coconut milk was $1.99 or 66c per serve
  • Red curry paste is $3.69 a jar and we used 1/4 or 31c per serve
  • The soy adds 42c per serve
  • Add 35c for the toasted coriander, pink peppercorns, rice wine and cornstarch
  • Rice noodles are $3.56 per 14oz box, we used about 1/3 of the box, or 40c per serve.

Dinner tonight was amazingly delicious and cost $5.35 per serve.19

Jun 17: Nearly Niçoise; Rib Eye with Vietnamese Grilled Eggplant Salad


Take some leftover potato and green bean salad, add some canned tuna and an egg and it’s almost a salad niçoise.

  • The potato salad is $1.35 a serve
  • An organic egg is 50c
  • The grape tomatoes cost 99c or 50c per serve
  • Canned Yellowfin tuna in oil is $2.29 per can, or $1.15 a serve.

Lunch today cost $3.50 a serve.


While Thursday night is traditionally our ‘steak night’ this week it’s Friday and a Rib Eye steak from Prather Ranch was defrosted.

Served with a new salad for us: Vietnamese Grilled Eggplant Salad. The eggplant was grilled on the griddle on our induction cooktop until it was soft, then cut into the salad.

This salad is amazingly good. Would be an excellent meal choice for a vegetarian dinner. Although the steak was excellent – Prather Ranch meat always is – the Grilled Eggplant Salad was the best dish on the plate.

We halved the recipe to suit the two of us, and – since neither of us likes cilantro, substituted lemon balm, mostly because we have a very healthy pot of it, but it worked really well in this recipe.

  • The Prather Ranch Rib Eye was $20.47 for .8lb  or $10.24 per serve
  • Two Japanese eggplants $1.64 or 82c per serve
  • The mint was $1.29 but we only used about 1/3 or 25c per serve
  • The lemon balm was free
  • Add 35c per serve for the sauce ingredients.

Dinner tonight was amazing, and cost $11.66 per serve.

Jun 16: Summer Corn Chowder; Roast Chicken with Potato Salad


Although Foodies Greg had some for lunch on Monday, there was still plenty of the Summer Corn Chowder for two lunch serves. We beefed it up with a little pickled red pepper. It did what we expected, and offset the sweetness of the dish. We will go further with the pepper next time.

  • The soup is $1.34 per serve
  • We used less than 1/4 of the $4.99 jar of roast bell peppers (a.k.a. capsicum in Australia) or 63c per serve.

Lunch today cost $1.97 per serve.


Time to use the chicken legs – thigh and drumstick – from this week’s supermarket chicken. We served with a German-style potato salad with green beans and a mustard-based dressing and no mayonnaise.

Having no microwave we steamed the potatoes and beans, then used the same steamer to heat the chicken. For the record steaming the two chicken legs took eight minutes in the steamer. It would have taken at least six in the microwave.

  • One quarter of the chicken is $2.50 per serve
  • The beans were 99c which made four portions or 25c per serve
  • The $3.99 ‘Peewee Potato Mix’ from Whole Foods looks adorable and made four portions or $1.00 per serve
  • Add 10c per serve for oil and mustard.

We heaped on some of my brother’s home-made tomato chutney, which was the perfect accompaniment for the chicken. Dinner tonight cost $3.85 per serve.

Jun 15: Supermarket Sushi; Beef Stroganoff


Since Whole Foods was on the shopping agenda, lunch sushi came from there. Not surprising, it was more expensive than sushi from Ralph’s (Kroger).

  • Kika Tsunami combo $15.99 or $8.00 per serve
  • Kika Sunomono (cucumber salad) $3.69 or $1.85 per serve.

Lunch today cost $9.85 per serve. The sushi was good, but definitely not twice as good as the Ralph’s supermarket sushi.


Every month’s Prather Ranch meat delivery has ‘fajita beef’ included. Tonight we continued the tradition of using it for anything but fajitas!

Beef Stroganoff is a classic dish, so what better recipe to use than Martha Stewart’s? I remember my mother making a huge pot of it for pot luck style dinner parties. The beef broth was dropped to keep the sauce at a thicker consistency.

  • .7lb (just over 11 oz) of fajita beef is $9.79 or $4.90 per serve
  • White mushrooms $1.25 or 63c per serve
  • Other white mushrooms (for variety) $1.99 or $1.00 per serve
  • An onion is 10c per serve
  • The sour cream is $4.99 per pack, but we used about 1/8 or 32c per serve
  • Egg noodles are $1.99 for the pack, but we only used half, or 50c per serve.

Dinner tonight cost $7.45 per serve.

Jun 14: Chicken wraps; Rotini and Meatballs


  • 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
  • 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 $2.76 per serve, although we both noted that half the breast of this larger chicken was too much meat. We’ll most likely reduce that, and the cost per serve, with a large chicken in the future.


We visited a friend for dinner – Meatballs, red sauce over rotini, which was delicious, but free for us!

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


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.


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


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.


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


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.