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.

Jun 10: Chicken Wrap; Reuben Casserole


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.