Dec 1: Ham, Cheese & Branson Pickle, Silverside & Hummus; Black Pepper Beef

Lunch

The mix of sandwiches evolves depending on what we have left over in the refrigerator or what we feel like.

  • Two slices of bread are 32c per serve
  • The corned beef/silverside was $6.82 for 1 lb, and we used about 3 oz in this sandwich, or 64c per serve
  • Add 20c for the spicy labné
  • Branson pickles are $4.99 for the jar, and we shared 1/8 or 32c per serve
  • The ham cost $16.51 on special and will make at least 15 serves, or $1.10 per serve, although we used 1/3 of a serve shared, or 18c per serve
  • Hummus is 30c per serve.

Lunch today cost $1.96 per serve.

Dinner

Using fillet mignon for a stir fry might seem extravagant, and frankly it is, but while fillet has great texture it has very little flavor so the stir fry isn’t such a bad idea and we enjoyed the black pepper beef last time. Since the fillet comes in our Prather Ranch meat box it’s not something we chose.

For a little variation, we added bean sprouts to our rice instead of the stir fry. They might as well have been added to the stir fry!

Mung bean sprouts added to rice before the main dish.
  • Just over half a pound of fillet was $16.19 or $8.10 per serve
  • The pack of bell peppers was $1.99 or $1.00 per serve
  • Onion and garlic add 25c per serve
  • Add 50c for the other ingredients
  • Add 30c for rice.

The fillet was a really good choice for the stir fry (cost notwithstanding) because it remains tender through a quick fry, and picks up the flavor from the sauce. A good meal for $10.15 per serve.

November 2017 Summary and Observations

November was largely free of major events, and we spent the month at home.

The averages for this month:

  • Lunch prepared at home $2.23 ($2.03 in October)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $7.83 ($9.08)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $7.01 ($6.58)
  • Dinner eaten out: $12.28 ($19.74)

The averages are fairly consistent with previous months, with some averages slightly higher, some lower. There has been a slow trend for our evening meals to be a little more  expensive on average, partly because we use mostly Prather Ranch dry aged meat, which is definitely more expensive than supermarket, although comparable to dry aged meat at Whole Foods.

Our most expensive meal was dinner out at Gordon Biersch at $19.96 for a disappointing meal. We’re reconsidering whether eating at Gordon Biersch is worth it.

Lunches out tend were about 3x times more expensive than those prepared at home, while evening meals run about 1.5 x meals at home, or nearly 3x if we exclude the $5 pizza at LACPUG.

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $234.9 per person in August. We actually spent $46.88 for lunches at home plus $62.64 for lunches purchased or eaten out:  $109.52 $125.38.

Had we purchased every evening meal out and prepared none at home, it would have cost us $586.8. We actually spent $189.16 for dinners at home and $24.56 for dinners out: $213.72 $373.08.

We saved $498.46 by preparing and eating most meals at home, plus we have better control over what we eat.

Over the month we prepared 22 (again) different recipes for evening meals.

Nov 30: Chicken Salad, Silverside, Spicy Labné & Branson Pickle; Rib Eye with Vietnamese Salad

Lunch

Today’s mixed sandwiches:  chicken salad (from Trader Joe’s) and silverside, Branson pickles and labné.

  • Two slices of bread are 32c per serve
  • The corned beef/silverside was $6.82 for 1 lb, and we used about 3 oz in this sandwich, or 64c per serve
  • Add 20c for the spicy labné
  • Branson pickles are $4.99 for the jar, and we shared 1/8 or 32c per serve
  • The chicken salad was $3.99 and we shared one third, or 67c per serve.

Lunch today was satisfying for $2.25 per serve.

Dinner

Thursday night steak night features rib eye steak with a Nigella Lawson inspired Vietnamese salad, which worked out pretty well.

  • The dry aged rib eye was $22.40 or $11.20 per serve
  • Persian cucumber was 60c or 30c per serve
  • Bean sprouts were $1.49 and we used 1/3 or 25c per serve
  • Limes (for juice) add 30c per serve
  • Watercress adds 60c per serve
  • Peanuts were $2.99 but we only used half, or 75c per serve
  • Add 15c for carrot
  • Add 20c for fish sauce and other seasonings.

Tonight’s meal was dominated by the salad’s dressing, which wilted the watercress but was intensely flavored. The steak was perfectly cooked (for us) and had great texture, but only a fairly mild flavor. All up, a great meal for $13.75 per serve.

Nov 29: Silverside & Labné, Chicken Salad Sandwiches; Pizza

Lunch

More mixed sandwiches. Today a chicken salad (from Trader Joe’s) and silverside and labné. The chicken salad is particularly good.

  • Two slices of bread are 32c per serve
  • The corned beef/silverside was $6.82 for 1 lb, and we used about 3 oz in this sandwich, or 64c per serve
  • Add 20c for the spicy labné
  • The chicken salad was $3.99 and we shared one third, or 67c per serve.

Lunch today was satisfying for $1.93 per serve.

Dinner

Tonight was the monthly LACPUG meeting, with pizza following, where we each contribute $5.00 toward the pizza.

Nov 28: Toasted Sandwiches; Vinegar Braised Pork Shoulder Chops with Wilted Greens and a Baked Apple

Lunch

We decided to give our toasted sandwich maker one more try before deciding to send it back. Once again it leaked out and made an incredible mess so that appliance is now packed on its way back to Amazon.

Our sandwiches were okay. Another ham, mustard and cheese, and a silverside and spicy labné.

  • Two slices of bread are 32c per serve
  • The ham cost $16.51 on special and will make at least 15 serves, or $1.10 per serve, although we used 1/3 of a serve shared, or 18c per serve
  • The corned beef/silverside was $6.82 for 1 lb, and we used about 2 oz in this sandwich, or 43c per serve
  • Add 20c for the spicy labné
  • 12 slices of yoghurt cheese are $4.79 and we shared one or 20c per serve.

Lunch today was hampered by the fact the sandwich maker holds too little filling to make the sandwiches tasty. Lunch today cost $1.33 per serve.

Dinner

Pork Shoulder Chops are often challenging because they require a slow braise to bring out the best. Fast cooking would make them very tough and not enjoyable. We tried a new recipe with a vinegar braise that turned out very well. The chops were tender and tasty. We dropped the sugar and water for slightly less sweet approach.

We paired it with wilted greens flavored with garlic and anchovy, and a baked apple.

  • The pork chops were $11.69 or $5.85 per serve
  • The apples were 85c or 43c per serve
  • The greens were $3.29 or $1.65 per serve
  • Add 45c for garlic and anchovy.

Dinner tonight was tender, tasty and had a good variety of flavors. The garlic in the braise linked to the garlic in the greens in a pleasing manor. A good meal for $8.38 per serve.

Nov 27: Double Double; Ham, Mushroom & Emmental Frittata

Lunch

Another Burbank Monday had Foodie Philip at In and Out Burger for a Double Double Animal Style for $4.27.

Dinner

Tonight’s use of leftover ham is a ham, mushroom and emmental frittata.

  • The ham cost $16.51 on special and will make at least 15 serves, or $1.10 per serve
  • Portabella mushrooms were $1.69 (on run out special) or 85c per serve
  • The emmental was $7.99 or $4.00 a serve
  • Eggs are 55c each or $1.65 per serve.

Dinner tonight was tasty. We could have served three with this frittata but with two it was $7.60 per serve.

Nov 26: Ham & Avocado Sandwich; Bratwurst, Crash Hot Potatoes and Green Beans

Lunch

Obviously, we’re still eating through our enormous store of baked ham so we paired it with an avocado and some mustard aioli for a great sandwich.

  • The avocado was $1.25 or 63c per serve
  • The ham cost $16.51 on special and will make at least 15 serves, or $1.10 per serve, although we used 1/3 of a serve shared, or 18c per serve
  • Two slices of bread are 32c per serve
  • Add 10c for mustard aioli.

We’ve learnt that ham and “fat” go together nicely on a sandwich: either the brie or avocado work well to make a delicious sandwich for $1.13 per serve.

Dinner

A simple meal of Trader Joe’s Bavarian Bratwurst, crash hot (purple) potatoes and steamed green beans.

  • The bratwurst are $3.49 for the pack, or $1.75 per serve
  • Potatoes add 30c per serve
  • We used the last half of the $2.99 packet of beans between the three of us, or 50c per serve.

Dinner was simple and tasty for $2.55 per serve.

Nov 25: Bahn Mi; Salad Nicoise with Smoked Trout and Purple Potatoes

Lunch

When thinking about lunch we decided we had a hankering for  a Bahn Mi from Pho Saigon 1, which we very much enjoyed for $8.50 with tax.

Dinner

Loosely based on a Salade Niçoise, we repeated our smoked trout version, with more of the purple potatoes we’ve been enjoying lately. The purple potatoes have the softest flesh when cooked.

Foodie Greg used the oil from the trout to carry the smokey taste into the dressing, and, along with anchovy, give the dressing tremendous umami.

  • The smoked trout is $3.49 per serve
  • An egg is normally 55c but they are on special for 66c per serve
  • The green beans were $2.99 but we used about half, or 75c per serve
  • The cherry tomatoes were $3.49, but we used about half, or 88c per serve
  • Potatoes add 30c per serve
  • Add 35c per serve for the dressing ingredients.

Each time we have this I believe it to be the best nicoise salad we’ve ever had. The smoked trout costs about the same as good canned tuna but has a lot more flavor. Very good for $6.43 per serve.

Nov 24: Ham, Brie & Watercress, Hummus, Tabouli & Silverside; Bone in Pork Chop, with Waldorf Salad

Lunch

Still eating through the ham we balance it with other sandwiches for variety. Today we repeated the Ham, Brie and Watercress, but substituted silverside for pastrami on the other sandwich.

  • Two slices of bread are 32c per serve
  • Hummus is 33c per serve
  • The corned beef/silverside was $6.82 for 1 lb, and we used about 4 oz in this sandwich, or 85c per serve
  • The ham cost $16.51 on special and will make at least 15 serves, or $1.10 per serve, although we used 1/3 of a serve shared, or 18c per serve
  • The brie was $7.37 and we used about 1/3 for pre-dinner snacks last night, and less than that for lunch, or 92c per serve
  • Add 30c for watercress.

Lunch today was definitely above average, for $2.90 per serve.

Dinner

One of our favorite meals each month is the thick cut pork chops from Prather Ranch.

  • 12oz (about double a typical restaurant portion) of pork chop cost an average of $10.14
  • A small pack of pecans is $1.59 or 80c per serve
  • The celery was 50c but we used about 1/3 or 10c per serve
  • An Envy apple was $1.29 or 65c per serve
  • Add 15c for mayonnaise and labné for the dressing.

Dinner tonight was excellent: every bit as good as a restaurant version at $30-$40 a serve, but cost us only $11.84.

Nov 23: Ham & Avocado Sandwich; Turkey et al (Thanksgiving)

Lunch

As we we heading for a Thanksgiving feast with friends, we shared a single sandwich ahead of time.

  • One slices of bread is 16c per serve
  • The ham cost $16.51 on special and will make at least 15 serves, or $1.10 per serve, although we used 1/3 of a serve shared, or 18c per serve
  • The avocado was 4 for $2.99, or 38c per serve.

Lunch today was definitely above average, for 72c per serve.

Dinner

With a Thanksgiving feast contributed to by so many people, it’s impossible to calculate a per-person cost. We contributed a creamed corn casserole (with a little white truffle oil) that was delicious and popular.