Sep 5: French Dip; Dinner at Gordon Birsch


We used the last of the pot roast meat on two wholemeal rolls with a dipping sauce.

  • The bread roll is 50c
  • The pot roast meat is $3.63 per serve
  • Beef stock adds 42c per serve.

Lunch today was pretty good and cost $4.55 per serve.


We were meeting a colleague for business, so we ate at Gordon Birsch in Burbank.

Dinner tonight averaged $26.80 with tax and tip.

Sep 4: Asada Burrito; Mushroom Barley Risotto


We decided to head down off the hill to greater Chatsworth and pick ups a burrito. This time we tried the Asada, which was pretty good.

The burrito costs $5.50 with tax.


With so much meat over the last couple of days, including lunch, we opted for a (mostly) meat free dinner. Well, there was some bacon.

The recipe makes a good six serves.

  • Two packs of fresh, sliced mushrooms cost $3.99 a pack, or $1.33 a serve
  • The pearl barley is $4.89 for a 28 oz bag, or 61c per serve
  • Two cups of broth is half a $1.99 carton or 17c per serve
  • The packet of parmesan cost $6.99 but we used about 1/8 for three servings, or 29c per serve
  • Add another 20c for onion, oil and herbs.

Dinner today cost $2.60 per serve.

Sep 3: Smoked Salmon Scrambled Eggs; Italian Pot Roast with Grits


A weekend lunch it time to spoil ourselves, and today smoked salmon scrambled eggs on an onion bagel certainly fit the bill.

With scrambled eggs it’s important to anticipate when the eggs will be cooked, because they continue cooking on during service and on the plate. If you leave them in the pan until they appear cooked, they will be over-done on the plate.

  • Five pastured eggs went into the scramble, or $1.25 per serve
  • An onion bagel is 50c
  • The wild caught smoked salmon was $5.99 or $3.00 per serve.

Lunch today cost $4.75 and was exceptionally good. Today’s featured image is from lunch.


With so much of the Italian pot roast left, it was time for a low effort do-over. For variety, tonight’s pot roast was served with grits.

  • The pot roast is $5.63 per serve
  • The 10 grain ‘hot cereal’ is $5.99 for a 25oz pack, but we used about 1/4 or 75c per serve.

Tonight’s dinner was, again, excellent and $6.38 per serve.

Italian Pot Roast
Italian Pot Roast with ‘grits’.

Sep 2: Gyro Wrap; Italian Pot Roast


A return to the gyro meat wrap, and again with cucumber because it adds a nice, wet crunch to the wrap.

  • The fully cooked sliced gyro/yeros meat is $3.99 per 10oz pack. There are really four serves, so each serve is very slightly cheaper than the chicken, at $1.00 per serve.
  • The flatbread is 50c per serve
  • Hummus is $3.99 per container and we used about 1/6 or 33c per serve
  • A box of Persian cucumbers was $2.49 for five, and we used half, or 13c per serve
  • We served 1/4 of the tabouli salad or 67c per serve.

Lunch today cost $2.43.


Our Prather Ranch meat delivery included a family size brisket, something we’ve never cooked before. Foodie Greg found Pioneer Woman’s Italian Pot Roast recipe, which is really, really good. The brisket was cooked to perfection so we only needed a fork for dinner.

The recipe made six serves of the pot roast, which is half the recipe.

  • Our 2.6 lb brisket cost $21.80 or $3.63 per serve
  • Marinated artichoke hears cost $2.69 or 45c per serve
  • The sun dried tomatoes cost $1.99 or 33c per serve
  • The beef broth cost $2.49 or 42c per serve
  • The fire roasted red peppers cost $1.99 or 33c per serve
  • One cup or red wine costs 14c per serve
  • The onion cost 79c or 13c per serve
  • Add 20c for garlic, flour, and arugula
  • Egg noodles are $1.99 for the pack, but we only used half, or 33c per serve.

Dinner tonight cost $5.96 per serve.

Sep 1: The Country Deli; Pasta with Mushrooms and Peas


A need to head down the hill to Chatsworth led us to The Country Deli for lunch. Foodie Philip had his regular marinated skirt steak, eggs and home fries, which was excellent as always. Foodie Greg had a brisket, ortega chili and cheese sandwich, which was also excellent, although we felt there was too much of the brisket, making the balance of the sandwich slightly ‘out’.

Lunch at The Country Deli runs around $20.00 with tax and tip.


A new pasta combination: pasta with mushrooms and peas. Not exactly vegetarian, but with only a few slices of bacon, definitely meat light. Without the bacon and peas, this could have been a little boring, but overall there is enough flavor and texture variation between them and the pasta and mushrooms to satisfy.

We used Brown Rice and Quinoa pasta. It’s a good tasting pasta without gluten – although neither of us are allergic – but it does not reheat well, nor is it good cold. We made a half batch, and even that was more than we could eat. None of the bacon went to waste!

In the absence of port we used two tablespoons of Bulliet Rye. We probably shouldn’t have wasted the rye!

  • We bought a $6.49 pack of bacon (from Canada, but not Canadian Bacon) with seven thick cut slices, of which we used four, or $1.86c per serve
  • The mushrooms were $2.79 or $1.40 per serve
  • The rye adds 62c per serve
  • Peas were $1.39 or 35c per serve
  • The parmesan cost $6.30, but we used around 1/4 or 79c per serve
  • The brown rice & quinoa pasta was $2.99 for the pack. We used half or 75c per serve
  • Add 20c for garlic, oil and a splash of milk.

Dinner tonight was better than expected and cost $5.97 per serve.

August Summary and Observations

This month we  ate a lot of lunches prepared out of the home – 14 of the 31 days, or a bit more than most months, but the same as last month. This month we ate out four evenings – a little more than usual for us.

The averages for this month:

  • Lunch prepared at home $2.52 ($2.54 in July)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $10.60 ($10.29)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $5.30 ($5.90)
  • Dinner eaten out: $15.82 ($5.00)

The evening meal difference is because we ate out more than just LACPUG pizza!

Our most expensive meal was at lunch at Mission Cantina in Hollywood with friends.

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $328.60 per person in June. We actually spent $44.83 for lunches at home plus $148.44 for lunches purchased or eaten out: $193.27.

Had we purchased every evening meal out and prepared none at home, it would have cost us $490.42. We actually spent $143.21 for dinners at home and $63.28 for dinners out: $206.49.

That’s just working on the average. Several of the meals we had would have been well over $30 a serve in a restaurant. Even without taking the cost of restaurant meals into consideration, eating at home saved us around $420 each.

Aug 31: Gyro Wrap; Seared Scallops with Avocado, Mango & Arugula Salad


A return to the gyro meat wrap, and again with cucumber because it adds a nice, wet crunch to the wrap.

  • The fully cooked sliced gyro/yeros meat is $3.99 per 10oz pack. There are really four serves, so each serve is very slightly cheaper than the chicken, at $1.00 per serve.
  • The flatbread is 50c per serve
  • Hummus is $3.99 per container and we used about 1/6 or 33c per serve
  • A box of Persian cucumbers was $2.49 for five, and we used half, or 13c per serve
  • We served 1/4 of the tabouli salad or 67c per serve.

Lunch today cost $2.43.


On a hot summer night, it’s hard to find a combination that’s tasty and doesn’t generate too much heat. Pan seared scallops with a butter ponzu sauce accompanied by a tasty Avocado, Mango and Arugula salad , seemed like it might fit the bill. No ponzu, so soy substituted. Ponzu is better.

  • The pack of frozen scallops was $14.99 or $7.50 per serve
  • A mangos was 99c or 50c per serve
  • Two avocados were $1.67 or 84c per serve
  • Add 25c for butter and soy.

Dinner tonight was, as this dish always is, extremely tasty and cost $9.09 per serve.

Aug 30: ‘Reuben’; Smoked Pork Sausages with Succotash


A reuben inspired English muffin.

  • An English muffin is 50c
  • The slice pastrami is $4.99 per pack, but we used less than 1/4 or 63c per serve
  • The sliced Swiss cheese is $3.99 per 12oz pack, or 50c per serve
  • The sauerkraut is $6.99 for the container. We used one eight or 44c per serve. 

Lunch today cost $2.07 per serve.


A hot day sent us in the direction of salads, and tonight we revisited Succotash salad. Cooked edamame and frozen roast corn came from Trader Joes, as did the tomatoes and feta. Preparation is as complex as cutting the tomatoes, rinsing the corn (to defrost) and mixing everything together.

It’s a perfect pairing for the smoked pork sausages (from our Prather Ranch delivery) because it provides a sweet, wet and crunchy alternative to the smokey saltiness of the sausages.

  • The pork sausages are $6.28 for four, or $3.14 per serve
  • The roast corn kernels are $2.49 for the pack, but we used only 1/3 or 42c per serve
  • Pre-cooked and shelled edamame is also $2.49 per pack, but we used half or 63c per serve
  • Organic cherry tomatoes are $2.99 per pack, but again only 1/3 was used, or 50c per serve
  • The greek feta is $6.49 for four blocks, and we used half of one block in this salad, or 41c per serve.

Dinner tonight was $5.10 per serve and a great balance between smokey, salty sausage and crisp, fresh succotash.

Aug 29: In and Out Burger; Bacon and Black Bean Chili with cheddar, sour cream, avocado & green onions


Back to the ‘normal’ Burbank Monday with an In and Out Double Double Animal Style for Foodie Philip.

Lunch today was $4.03 per serve.


The remainder of the bacon and bean chili was waiting, with a slightly different serving technique for the avocado that keeps the cold sour cream away from the hot chili.

A sprinkling of chili lime salt added a little zest.

  • Bacon ends cost $4.99 for the container, but this recipe used about 1/2 of that, or 50c per serve
  • Onion and garlic – about 5c a serve
  • The beef we used is expensive – pasture raised, dry aged ground beef from our monthly meat delivery – at $9.08 or $1.82 a serve
  • Spices – about 12c a serve
  • Diced fire roasted tomatoes are $2.19 the can, or 44c per serve
  • Tomato paste was 89c or 18c a serve
  • The beans were 99c a can, or 20c a serve
  • Each serve got half an Avocado or 84c per serve
  • Cheese was 55c per serve
  • Sour cream cost $3.99 but we used 1/4 on tonight’s meal, or 50c per serve.

All up dinner cost us $5.20 for a very filling serve.

Aug 28: Supermarket Sushi; Truffle Porcini Gnocchi with Tomato & Blue Cheese Sauce


We actually purchased the sushi yesterday, but a last minute change of plans held it over until today.

The Spicy Rainbow roll and Firecracker roll cost $11.24 per serve.


Although a do-over of the Chili was on the agenda, the desire to use up some arugula, and not do a repeat two days running, moved the chili to Monday night.

Instead some Truffle Porcini Gnocchi (Cost Plus world market) was paired with Pioneer Woman’s Tomato-Blue Cheese sauce. Both were pretty good.

  • The gnocchi was $2.79 or $1.40 per serve
  • Fire Roasted canned tomatoes were $2.39 or $$1.20 per serve
  • Blue cheese comes in a $6.99 tub, but we used so little, it comes to 22c a serve
  • The wild arugula was $1.99 but we use about 1/3 or 33c per serve
  • Add 30c for a splash of pastured whole milk.

Dinner tonight was tasty and filling for $3.45 a serve.