Jul 2: Country Deli; Peruvian Meat Sauce, Rice and Quinoa Noodles with a cucumber, tomato and mint salad


Home renovation needs had us heading to Lowes, which takes us directly past the Country Deli. There was nothing else for it but to have an early lunch on the way. On Saturday, around 11:30 is a good time, before it gets really busy.

One Breakfast Burrito and one Marinated Skirt steak later, we were fortified for the homeware store!

Lunch at the Country Deli runs out around $20.00 per serve, with tax and tip.


The Peruvian Meat Sauce, a.k.a. Red Curry and Pink Peppercorn Meat Sauce, we had on June 18th, was so good we had to try it again. This time with Rice and Quinoa noodles, and a side salad of cucumber, baby cherry tomatoes and mint in a yogurt dressing.

Again we found that the recipe makes for three generous serves, particularly with the side salad.

  • 1lb of Prather Ranch ground pork is $9.30 or $3.10 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
  • The baby cherry tomatoes were $3.99. We used half or $1.00 per serve
  • Organic Mint was $1.99 but only half was used, or 50c per serve
  • The cucumber was 49c or 25c per serve
  • Yoghurt adds another 20c per serve.

Dinner tonight was, again, amazing. Definitely the best “spaghetti with meat sauce” ever, and it cost $7.80 per serve.


June Summary and Observations

Although it seemed like we ate a lot of lunches prepared out of the home, it was only 11 of the 30 days, or about the same as most months. Notably we only ate out two (Foodie Greg) or three (Philip) nights.

The averages for this month:

  • Lunch prepared at home $2.84 ($2.43 in May)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $10.62 ($6.89)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $5.72 ($5.62)
  • Dinner eaten out: $12.50 ($15.64)

Our most expensive meal was at Gordon Biersch when we shared a working meal with another software developer, where it ran to $20.00 per head with tax and tip.

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $318.60 per person in June. We actually spent $53.91 for lunches at home plus $116.77 for lunches purchased or eaten out: $268.64.

Had we purchased every dinner out at the same average it would be $375.00 each, compared with $148.64 for meals prepared at home and $25.00 for meals out, or the $173.64 total.

That’s just working on the average. Several of the meals we had would have been well over $30 a serve in a restaurant.

Jul 1: Trader Joe’s Tarte D’alsace; Grilled Chicken, Jaipur Vegetables and Rice


For today’s lunch we had Trader Joe’s Tarte D’alsace – half each. We seemed to have nailed the reheating by ignoring instructions and allowing the oven to come to temperature first, then continuing with the convection heating.

Trader Joe’s Tarte D’Alsace is $4.49 or $2.25 per serve.


The thigh and leg from this week’s supermarket rotisserie chicken were the protein, accompanied by Trader Joe’s Jaipur Vegetables and short grain brown rice.

The rice was prepared in the pressure cooker (otherwise it would have taken too long being brown rice), while the Jaipur Vegetables were boiled, while above the boiling water the chicken was reheating in the steam.

A little sriracha sauce added extra spice.

  • The $10.99 chicken is broken into quarters or $2.75 a serve
  • The Jaipur Vegetables are $1.99 a pack, or $1.00 a serve
  • Rice adds another 50c per serve.

Dinner tonight was mostly pre-prepared and cost $4.25 per serve.

Jun 30: Quesadilla; NY Strip Steak with Caesar Salad


We were planning on having the gyro meat in a wrap again, but it’s disappeared from the shelves at Trader Joe’s. This is not unusual!

  • One flatbread (half of two) costs 50c a serve
  • Half a can of refried beans, shared across two halves: 26c
  • A very generous serve of salsa is 20c per serve
  • 2 oz of cheddar split between two is 50c per serve

Lunch today cost $1.46 per serve.


NY Strip Steak with ‘new’ Caesar Salad for our Thursday night steak night tradition. Tonight it was an aged NY Strip Steak from the Prather Ranch delivery.

We grilled it very rare on the flat side of the griddle on the induction heater and kept it blue – exterior seared while the interior is only warm. Because this is dry aged it can take it.

  • We buy Prather Ranch meat because of the quality, not price so 12.8oz for $20.47 is definitely not the cheapest NY Strip you can buy, but I doubt you’d find better meat for $10.24 per serve
  • A pastured egg is 50c or 25c per serve.
  • Seasonings ran about 45c per serve
  • An organic lettuce cost $1.99 or $1 a serve
  • Instead of croutons, we used Mesquite smoked almonds which are $7.49 for the pack, but we used only about 1/8th of the pack, or 47c per serve
  • Instead of parmesan, we sprinkled some blue cheese crumbles on the steak. $3.49 for the container but again we used only a small portion, or 22c per serve.

Tonight’s steakhouse quality meal was $12.63 per serve. The steak was exceptionally tender with a great beef flavor.

Jun 29: Smoked Salmon; Crunchy Thai Salad with Seared Ahi Tune


Since we are out of chicken breast, smoked salmon on an onion bagel seemed like a good idea. As planned, we dropped the tomato.

  • 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
  • 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 $4.08 per serve.


Tonight we did a d0-over of the Crunchy Thai Salad with Seared Ahi Tuna. Unlike leftovers, this was a complete fresh do-over of the same meal.

As it did last night, dinner tonight cost $5.74. Foodie Philip managed to finish tonight’s meal.


Jun 28: Chicken Wrap; Crunchy Thai Salad with seared Ahi Tuna


Back to our standby lunch: chicken wraps, but with avocado instead of hummus today.

  • The $10.99 chicken is broken into quarters, and one breast is shared for lunch wraps, or $1.37 a serve.
  • The flatbread is 50c
  • The avocado was 99c or 50c per serve
  • The edamame side salad is $2.46 for four serves, or 62c per serve.

Lunch today cost $2.99.


Jamie Oliver’s Crunchy Thai Salad was a favorite of ours a few years back, but we haven’t had it for a while, largely because it makes too much salad!  We simplified a little, leaving out the bock choy and cilantro, but added Chili Lime Cashews for a little extra crunch.

We added pan seared Ahi Tuna on top.

  • 12oz of frozen Ahi Tuna $6.15 for two filets. We shared one filet which works out to $1.54 per serve
  • Sugar snap peas are $2.49 and we used half, or 63c per serve
  • Mint is $1.79 or 30c per serve
  • Soba noodles – yes Japanese noodles in a Thai dish, don’t be hating – are $3.59 per pack, and we used half, or 90c per serve
  • An organic bell pepper was $1.63 and we used half, or 41c per serve
  • Mung beans sprints are $1.49 and we used a tiny fraction, or 10c per serve
  • A Persian cucumber is 30c, or 15c per serve
  • Green onions cost 79c for the bunch and we used about 1/3 or 14c per serve
  • A Napa cabbage is $1.54. We halved it, but served less than 1/4 of what was shredded so our worm farm got a good feed, or 10c per serve
  • Add 30c for the dressing ingredients
  • We used about 1/4 of the $6.99 pack of Chili Lime Cashews, or $1.17 per serve.

This is an amazing salad, and the tuna was good quality for the price. Dinner tonight cost $5.74. It’s a huge meal and neither of us completely finished the serving.

Jun 27: In and Out; Beef Stroganoff

  • Lunch
  • Another Burbank Monday; another In and Out Double Double.
  • Lunch today cost $4.03.


Time for the remainder of the Beef Stroganoff. We added a little more sour cream as liquid had been absorbed by the noodles. We also added a few peas for some textural variety and to have some vegetable in the dish, as we had finished the asparagus.

  • The Beef Strognaoff, without the asparagus, is $3.36 per serve
  • Frozen peas are $2.79 per pack and we used about 1/4 or 35c per serve

Dinner tonight cost $3.71 per serve.

Jun 26: Chicken Wrap; Scallops with Avocado, Mango and Arugula Salad


Although it was Sunday we decided to get a chicken and do wraps for lunch.

  • The $10.99 chicken is broken into quarters, and one breast is shared for lunch wraps, or $1.37 a serve.
  • The flatbread is 50c
  • Hummus is $3.99 per container and we used about 1/6 or 33c per serve
  • The edamame side salad is $2.46 for four serves, or 62c per serve.

Lunch today cost $2.82.


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.

  • The pack of frozen scallops was $14.99 or $7.50 per serve
  • Two mangos were 99c or 50c per serve
  • Two avocados were $1.98 or 99c per serve
  • Add 25c for butter and ponzu.

Dinner tonight was, as this dish always is, extremely tasty and cost $9.24 per serve.

Jun 25: Tomato, Bacon and Guacamole Roll; Beef Stroganoff


Take some bacon and fry it to taste, which for us is somewhat less crispy than seems to be standard in the US. Spread some guacamole on a wholemeal roll, add tomatoes, baby greens and the bacon. Yum!

  • A kumato tomato was 80c or 40c per serve
  • The wholemeal roll was 50c each
  • A sprinkling of baby greens adds about 10c per serve
  • Bacon ends and pieces are $3.49 but we used only 1/5 or the pack, or 35c per serve
  • The spicy guacamole was on special for $1.99 for 8oz. Each serve was about one ounce, so 25c per serve.

Lunch today was delicious and cost $1.60 per serve.


Time for a reprise of the Beef Stroganoff using the misnamed ‘fajita beef’ from Prather Ranch, first cooked on Jun 15.

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

Again we dropped the beef broth. This time we ramped up the mustard (french, of course) and some how ended up with four serves instead of two!

  • .7lb (just over 11 oz) of fajita beef is $9.79 or $2.45 per serve
  • Crimini mushrooms where on special for 89c for each of two punnets or 45c per serve
  • An onion is 5c per serve
  • The sour cream is $4.99 per pack, but we used about 1/8 or 16c per serve
  • Egg noodles are $1.99 for the pack, but we only used half, or 25c per serve
  • The other half of the asparagus from last night was 50c per serve.

Dinner tonight cost $3.86 per serve.

Jun 24: Gyro Wrap; Spring Gnocchi


A repeat of the gyro wrap using the balance of the meat from Trader Joe’s.

  • 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
  • Hummus is $3.99 per container and we used about 1/6 or 33c per serve
  • We served 1/4 of the tabouli salad or 67c per serve.

Lunch today cost $2.50 per serve.


The semiSerious Foodies were in different places. Foodie Philip was out at the Alpha Dog’s Editors’ Lounge and pizza was supplied free. Foodie Greg stayed home and had the balance of the Spring Gnocchi.

  • The gnocchi was $1.69 or 57c per serve
  • The half pint of cream is $1.99 or 67c per serve
  • The asparagus was $2.99 but we only used half, or 50c per serve
  • The crumbled blue was $3.49 for the container. We used half or 58c per serve.

Dinner tonight cost $2.32 per serve, without the steak.