Aug 1: Ham, Sauerkraut & Swiss on a Brioche Bagel; Lamb Rissoles with Bell Pepper, Feta and Pomegranate Seed Salad

Lunch

For a change from sandwiches, we piled Sauerkraut, sliced Ham and Swiss Cheese on a Brioche Bagel.

  • The Brioche Bagels are $2.89 for five, or 58c per serve
  • Swiss adds 34c per serve
  • Black Forest Ham is $3.29 per pack, or 55c per serve
  • The Artisanal Kraut is $3.29 per packet and we used about ⅛, or 21c per serve
  • Add 40c for Garlic Spread.

A filling Bagel for $2.08 per serve.

Dinner

We decided on an experiment the Soutzoukakia recipe, but form and cook them as if they were Australian Rissoles. Normally cooked in the pressure cooker, the Soutzoukakia is soft and has a mousse like texture. We expected that to firm up with the griddle cook.

  • Ground lamb was $5.99 or $2.00 per serve on special at Aldi
  • An egg is 51c or 17c per serve
  • 8 oz Panko breadcrumbs are $2.99 and we used half, or 25c per serve
  • Cotija cheese, substituting for Parmesan is $3.99 for 8oz and we shared 2 oz or 50c per serve
  • 1/4 cup and a tablespoon of red wine – halved – is 34c per serve
  • Canned crushed tomatoes were $1.25 for the can, or 42c per serve
  • Onions, shallot and garlic adds 25c per serve
  • Parsley was $1.49 for the bunch, but we only used 1/4 or 13c per serve
  • Fresh mint came from our garden
  • The French (Valbreso) Feta was $10.99 but we used 1/6 or 92c per serve
  • Pomegranate Seeds were $4.49 and we used about half, or $1.13 per serve
  • Baby Bell Peppers add 32c per serve
  • Spinach adds 33c per serve
  • Add 30c for Dressing ingredients.

We were very surprised to find the Lamb Rissoles had the same texture as they do when cooked in the pressure cooker! They had the same mousse like texture. An excellent meal for $7.06 per serve.

July 2020 2020 Summary and Observations

During June we continue in isolation due to the epidemic, so there was no eating out for the third month running. Since there doesn’t appear to be any eating out in our future, I’m dropping it from the summary.

We have narrowed our range of take-out meals to those that travel well enough to not be compromised. We added Mr Fish and Chips in Simi Valley because we can merge it with an Aldi trip. In vented containers the Fish and Chips weren’t significantly compromised.

The averages for this month:

  • Lunch prepared at home $2.71 ($2.74 in June)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $8.47 ($10.66)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $5.71 ($5.83).

Our lunches at home average in a fairly narrow band and this month’s average is slightly down, but within normal variation.

We ate seven lunches, of 62 meals in the month, that were prepared outside the home. 

Our most expensive meal of the month was the Bone-in Heritage Pork Chop with Apple, Smoked Cheddar and Pickled Onion at $11.85. Our evening meal average cost is right in the middle of the expected range.

This month, lunches at home cost 32% of the cost of eating lunches prepared outside the home. 

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $262.57 per person in June. We actually spent $62.25 for lunches at home plus $59.27 for lunches purchased or eaten out:  $91.52 in total, which is lower than our usual total cost.

We actually spent $171.32 for dinners at home and $0 for dinners out, or $171.32 in total.

This month’s savings from preparing most of our food at home is now hard to calculate, but we definitely save by cooking for ourselves, and we had a lot more control over what we eat.

Over the month we prepared 26 different recipes for evening meals.

Jul 31: Gyro; Smoked Salmon Pizza

Lunch

A shopping trip had us near our favorite Gyro outlet New York Chicken and Gyro where we picked our Gyros for $8.17 per serve with tax and tip.

Dinner

The Foodies decided to have another try at cooking a pizza on the grill after it turned out so well last time. We didn’t get quite the deal on Smoked Salmon, but the fine tuning worked well.

  • The Smoked Salmon was $12.99 for 8oz, or $6.50 per serve
  • The Pizza Dough was $1.29, or 65c per serve
  • We used semi dried Cherry Tomatoes for 60c per serve
  • About two ounces of Neufchatel went on each Pizza, or 25c per serve
  • Add 20c for Capers and Shallot.

The pizza was so good it was worth paying the extra for the Smoked Salmon, which made it $8.20 per serve.

Jul 30: Smokey Cheddar & Tomato, Ham & Sauerkraut; Lamb Loin Chops with an Eggplant Feta, Mint and Pomegranate Seed Salad

Lunch

Todays sandwiches were rather simple: Smokey Cheddar & Tomato; Ham & Sauerkraut.

  • The Dave’s Killer Bread is 74c per serve
  • Black Forest Ham is $3.29 per pack, or 55c per serve
  • The Artisanal Kraut is $3.29 per packet and we used about ⅛, or 21c per serve
  • Smokey Cheddar was $2.69 for 10 slices, or 54c for two slices
  • Five Kumato were $3.49 and we used one each, or 70c per serve
  • Add 40c for Garlic Spread.

While not terribly exciting, the sandwiches were tasty for $3.14 per serve.

Dinner

Tonight we grilled Lamb Loin chops to perfection and served with a Baked Eggplant, Feta, Mint and Pomegranate Seed Salad.

  • The Lamb Loin Chops were $15.60 or $7.80 per serve
  • Mint was from our garden
  • Eggplant was $1.39 or 70c per serve
  • The French (Valbreso) Feta was $10.99 but we used 1/6 or 92c per serve
  • Pomegranate Seeds were $4.49 and we used about half, or $1.13 per serve
  • Add 30c for dressing ingredients.

The Eggplant Salad was a very good companion to the Lamb Loin Chops, for $10.85 per serve.

Jul 29: Avocado, Sprouts & Smoked Trout; Shredded Beef, Neufchatel, Mushrooms and Egg Noodles

Lunch

We shared an Avocado, a can of Smoked Trout and some Alfalfa sprouts, on two identical sandwiches.

  • Dave’s Killer Bread is 74c per serve
  • We shared a $3.49 can of Smoked Trout, or $1.75 per serve
  • The Avocado was 51c or 26c per serve
  • Add 30c for Alfalfa Sprouts
  • Garlic Spread adds 50c per serve.

The key to this sandwich is the Garlic Spread and Sprouts, otherwise it would be a little boring, for $3.55 per serve.

Dinner

Tonight Foodie Greg took another two serves of the Shredded Beef, added Caramelized Mushrooms and Neufchatel to create a creamy meat sauce atop Egg Noodles.

  • The beef was $20.78 but we’ll get at least six serves, or $3.46 per serve
  • The Baby Bella Mushrooms were 99c or 50c per serve
  • Neufchatel is 25c per serve
  • he Egg Noodles were $3.50 and we used half, or 58c per serve.

This turned out well. The Mushrooms drove the umami further, but balanced out by the creamy Neufchatel. A good meal for $4.79 per serve.

Jul 28: Corn Chips & Dips; Chorizo Jambalaya with Shrimp

Lunch

We decided on something different for lunch: Corn Chips & two dips. We have a rather good Avocado, Cilantro & Tomatillo and created our own Bean Dip with Refried Beans and Neufchatel gently warmed.

  • The Eloté Corn Chips were $2.29 or $1.15 per serve
  • Refried beans are 25c per serve
  • Neufchatel adds 25c per serve
  • The Avocado, Cilantro and Tomatillo Dip was $3.49 and we used about ⅓ or 58c per serve.

We sat out in the sun and enjoyed our chips and dip for $2.23 per serve.

Dinner

Tonight’s Jambalaya used Chorizo instead of Andouille sausage, but otherwise followed our regular recipe.

  • Chorizo sausage from Whole Foods is $5.99 or $1.50 per serve
  • 10 oz of shrimp is $6.49,  or $1.63 per serve
  • Canned fire roasted tomatoes cost $1.69 or 34c per serve
  • Bell pepper was 69c or 15c per serve
  • Scallions, onion, garlic  and herbs adds 30c per serve
  • Tomato paste adds 12c per serve
  • Rice adds 33c per serve.

As always, full of flavor and with perfectly cooked Shrimp, a delight to eat for $4.37 per serve.

Jul 27: Ham & Coleslaw, Egg Salad & Sprouts; Fried Egg on a Quesadilla

Lunch

We repeated some of our favorite sandwiches.

  • The Dave’s Killer Bread is 74c per serve
  • The Coleslaw is 56c per serve
  • Black Forest Ham is $3.29 per pack, or 55c per serve
  • Egg Salad is $3.69 and we use about ¼ for each sandwich, or 46c per serve
  • Sprouts add 30c per serve
  • Add 40c for Garlic Spread

Two sandwiches that complemented each other to create a nice lunch for $2.31 per serve.

Dinner

Tonight’s Meatless Monday meal is a shared Quesadilla with Refried Black Beans and Smokey Cheddar, topped by Fried Eggs and Salsa

  • The Tortillas were six for $1.99 and we shared two, or 33c per serve
  • Half a can of refried beans, shared across two halves is 26c per serve
  • We used two slices of Swiss per serve, or 68c per serve
  • Two Pastured Eggs add $1.02 per serve
  • Add 50c for Salsa.

For a simple meal it was tasty and filling for $2.79 per serve.

Jul 26: Rissoles & Cheddar in a Panini Roll; Shredded Beef Tacos

Lunch

For lunch we had a & Cheddar Panini using the last of the Rissoles.

  • The Panini Roll is 63c
  • Rissole is $1.02 per serve
  • Cheddar is 36c per serve
  • Add 10c for Spinach
  • Add 10c for Carolina BBQ Sauce.

A pretty decent roll for $2.21 per serve.

Dinner

After slow braising the Mexican style Beef Shoulder, we shredded it and added it over Guacamole, and topped with Bell Peppers and Cotija Cheese. We will get six serves from the Beef giving us left overs.

  • The beef was $20.78 but we’ll get at least six serves, or $3.46 per serve
  • Low Carb Tortilla’s were $3.69 for eight, and each had two, or 93c per serve
  • Baby Bell Peppers are 16c each or 32c per serve
  • Guacamole is $1.10 per serve
  • Add 30c for Cotija
  • Add 30c for Salsa.

The Beef was very tasty and made a great ingredient for the Tacos. A good meal for $6.41 per serve.

July 25: Ham & Coleslaw; Sous Vide Bone-in Heritage Pork Chop with Apple, Smoked Cheddar and Pickled Onion Salad

Lunch

We’ve discovered that Deli Ham and Mr Fish and Chip’s Coleslaw is a good combination, so we repeated it today.

  • Dave’s Killer Bread is 74c per serve
  • The Coleslaw is $1.12 per serve
  • Black Forest Ham is $3.29 per pack, or 55c per serve
  • Add 40c for Garlic Spread.

An excellent sandwich for $2.81 per serve.

Dinner

Tonight was a celebration of the culmination of a two year project, and we got to celebrate with Heritage Bone-in Pork Chop with a Smoked Cheddar and Pickled Onion Salad. Special celebrations get to open one of our very limited supply of Australian Sparkling Red Wine. There doesn’t seem to be any American made Sparkling Reds.

  • The Heritage Pork Chops were about $9.70 per 10oz serve
  • The mixed greens are 35c per serve
  • The Apple was $87 or 44c per serve
  • We used about 1/3 of the $5.75 Smoked Cheddar, or 96c per serve
  • Add 30c for Pickled Onion
  • Add 1oc for Seeded Mustard.

The Heritage Pork Chop is one of our favorite meats that come from our Keller Crafted meat box. Sous vide followed by a short, hard sear creates the absolute perfect protein at the heart of an excellent meal, worthy of a celebration, for $11.85, sparkling red not included.

Jul 24: Fish & Chips; Avocado, Mango, Shrimp Salad

Lunch

Since Mr Fish and Chips is right near a regular shopping destination, it was the source of lunch today. We get a single serve of Fish and Chips and share, along with extra Coleslaw.

All up we spent $14.47, but $3.00 of that is for Coleslaw we used in a different meal. Mr Fish and Chips (Simi Valley) is excellent value as our meal was $5.73 per serve.

Dinner

Continuing our Fishy Friday we had sous vidé Argentinean Shrimp, which we chopped and added to cubed Avocado and Mango to make an excellent salad.

  • 1 lb of shrimp is $10.99,  or $2.75 per serve.
  • A Mango was 45c or 23c per serve
  • An Avocado was 49c and we had one each
  • Add 20c for dressing ingredients.

Thanks to some excellent pricing at Aldi on Avocado and Mango, this was an excellent meal for only $3.67 per serve.