May Summary and Observations

May was our most stay-at-home month this year. We only ate out in the evening four times, and 21 of 31 lunches were prepared at home from ingredients.

May was also the month we acquired a stove-top smoker for hot smoking food. This adds another layer of flavor to our meals.

The averages for this month:

  • Lunch prepared at home $2.43 ($3.21 in April)
  • Lunch eaten or purchased outside the home: $6.89 ($10.84)
  • Dinner eaten at home: $5.62 ($6.07)
  • Dinner eaten out: $15.64 ($12.23)

Our most expensive meal was at Gordon Biersch when we shared a working meal with another software developer, where it ran to $20.90 per head.

Had we purchased every lunch and prepared none it would have cost us $213.59 per person in May. We actually spent $51.05 for lunches at home plus $68.94 for lunches purchased or eaten out: $119.99.

Had we purchased every dinner out at the same average it would be $484.84 each, compared with $151.87 for meals prepared at home and $62.54 for meals out, or the $214.41 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.

Jun 1: ‘Yeros’ wrap; Bacon and Black Bean Chili

Lunch

We tried something different today. Trader Joe’s have sliced Yeros/Gyro meat available. Combine with some hummus and tabouli for a wrap with the flavors of a yeros.

There’s a little common deception in the packaging. Although on the front of the packaging it says there are enough for two yeros – implying two serves per 10oz pack – but the nutritional information has four serves in the pack. Futzing with the serving size is a very common packaging deception.

  • 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.

Dinner

For dinner we had a repeat of the bacon and black bean chili from a few days ago. While I allocated four serves when calculating the cost per serve, in reality we got five serves.

As it did a few nights earlier, the chili with fixin’s cost $5.53 per serve, although in reality a little less.2.5

May 31: ‘Quesadilla’; Stir Fried Shanghai Noodles with Ground Pork and Cabbage

Lunch

It’s quesadilla time again. Our variation that is.

  • 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.

Dinner

The nice thing about recipes for four, when you’re a couple of two? Two meals for the same amount of work. Tonight we reprised the Stir Fried Shanghai Noodles with Ground Pork and Cabbage. The recipe actually made five serves, making one free lunch yesterday.

  • The pork came from our Prather Ranch meat delivery – 1 lb of ground pork cost $8.55 or $2.14 per serve
  • The pre-cooked organic noodles retail for $3.19 or 80c per serve
  • The various seasonings add around 30c per serve
  • We used one third of the $1.29 spring onion on two serves or 22c per serve
  • The shredded green cabbage was $1.29 for the pack, or 33c per serve.

Dinner tonight cost $3.79 per serve for a filling and very tasty dish.

May 30: Corn Chowder; Gordon Birsch

Lunch

Lunch was from leftovers. We had a mix of salmon chowder and Shanghai noodles (as there were really more than four servings.)

The slightly smaller lunch serve cost $1.44 per serve.

Dinner

It was our regular “beers” night with a friend, and we were once again at Gordon Birsch in Burbank. We may have moved from Burbank but we seem to be at Gordon Birsch with about the same frequency.

The Gastro Pub burger is pretty good, and the fries were crisp, hot and fresh. $12.95 on the menu, but closer to $16.95 with tax and tip.

May 29: Smoked Salmon on an Onion Bagel; Stir Fried Shanghai Noodles with Ground Pork and Cabbage

Lunch

Wild caught smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers on an onion bagel. What’s not to like?

  • Smoked salmon is normally $5.99 for the 4oz pack, but today it was on special at $1 off, with another $1 coupon, or $2 a serve
  • The pack of six onion bagels is $1.99 or 33c per serve
  • Cream cheese is about 60c a serve
  • Add 5c for capers.

Lunch today cost $2.98 per serve.

Dinner

What to do with a pound of ground pork from our last meat delivery? Stir Fried Shanghai Noodles with Ground Pork and Cabbage, that’s what. The recipe makes four very generous serves.

  • The pork came from our Prather Ranch meat delivery – 1 lb of ground pork cost $8.55 or $2.14 per serve
  • The pre-cooked organic noodles retail for $3.19 or 80c per serve
  • The various seasonings add around 30c per serve
  • We used one third of the $1.29 spring onion on two serves or 22c per serve
  • The shredded green cabbage was $1.29 for the pack, or 33c per serve.

Dinner tonight cost $3.79 per serve for a filling and very tasty dish.

May 28: Country Deli; Chili with fixings

Lunch

We decided to go out for lunch, for no particularly good reason. Our favorite is The Country Deli. They serve a 10 oz marinated skirt steak that is always good when cooked rare. Served with three eggs, home fries and a bread/bagel, it’s a huge meal.

Foodie Greg’s corned beef sandwich was likewise excellent, although he was thankful he ordered a half!

  • Lunch at the Country Deli runs out around $20 a serve with tax and tip.

Dinner

Tonight we revisited Bacon and Black Bean Chili. Again we doubled up on the beans. This is an amazingly good chili. The recipe officially makes four serves (and that’s what I used to calculate pricing) but we find it makes six serves with the extra beans, and the ‘fixins’: avocado, sour cream, and spring onion.

  • Bacon ends cost $4.99 for the container, but this recipe used about 1/2 of that, or 63c 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 $8.95 for slightly over a pound, or $2.24 a serve
  • Spices – about 10c a serve
  • Diced fire roasted tomatoes are $2.19 the can, or 55c per serve
  • Tomato past was 89c or 22c a serve
  • The beans were 99c a can, or 50c a serve
  • Each serve got half the 99c Avocado or 50c per serve
  • Cheese was 55c per serve
  • Sour cream – 20c per serve

All up dinner cost us $5.53 for a very filling serve.

May 27: Chicken Wrap; Smoked Pork Sausage with Potato, Apple Halloumi Bake

Lunch

We used theTrader Joe’s Just Chicken’ again. As it was yesterday today’s lunch cost $2.32 per serve.

Dinner

Continuing our experiments with the new smoker, we smoked some already-cooked (but not smoked) pork sausages from our Prather Ranch delivery.

The smoking definitely enhances the flavor, although the result was a little more subtle than the meat we’ve smoked from raw. Served with a double serve of the double ‘potato’ halloumi bake left over from last night.

  • The sweet potato, bell pepper, apple and halloumi bake is $1.93 per serve, and we doubled up for $3.86 per serve.
  • The sausages $12.46 for two packs, or $3.11 per serve for the best pork sausages we’ve ever had, even better with a little smoke.

Dinner tonight coast $6.96 per serve.

May 26: Chicken & Salad Wrap; Smoked Pork Chop with Double Halloumi Bake

Lunch

We used theTrader Joe’s Just Chicken’ again.

  • The $6.99 chicken pack contains six serves, or $1.17 a serve
  • The flatbread is 50c
  • Hummus is $3.99 per container and we used about 1/6 or 33c per serve
  • Today’s salad was a repeat of the Kale and Broccoli pack we had a couple of days ago. The pack is $2.49 and for today’s lunch we used 1/4 or 32c per serve.

Lunch today cost $2.32 per serve.

Dinner

Since we now have a smoker and there were thin-cut pork chops in our Prather Ranch delivery, the decision was obvious: smoke the pork chops! First a brine to ensure the result was tender and juicy.

Serve with a modified version of Nigela Lawson’s Double Potato Haloumi Bake substituting Granny Smith apples for the potato, after all pork and apple is almost a cliche. It’s a great modification but we would put the apple in about half way through cooking, rather than for the full duration. The recipe makes six serves.

  • The pork chops were $9.95 or 12oz or $4.98 per serve
  • We used the whole $3.76 packet of halloumi, or 63c per serve
  • Sweet potato cost $2.10 or 35c per serve
  • The large red onion cost $1.10 or 18c per serve
  • Red and Green peppers cost $1.49 or 25c per serve
  • The organic Granny Smith apple cost $2.63 or 44c per serve
  • The whole 50c head of garlic was used, or 8c per serve

Dinner tonight cost $1.93 for the side and $4.98 or the protein or $6.91  per serve. The smoked pork chop may not have looked as appealing as one fried off, but the taste and texture were amazingly good.

May 25: Salmon Corn Chowder; Umami Burger

Lunch

Left over Salmon Corn Chowder makes an excellent lunch. A slightly smaller lunch serve.

Lunch today cost $1.44 a serve.

Dinner

A business meeting found us at Umami Burger where had a burger each and shared truffled fries. Everything we’ve had at any Umami Burger has been great.

  • Umami Burger $16.75 with tax and tip
  • Truffled fries $1.94 per serve with tax and tip.

Dinner tonight cost us $18.69 per serve.

May 24: Steak and Ale Pie; Salmon and Sweet Corn Chowder

Lunch

A cool ‘May gray’ day was perfect pie weather, and a Trader Joe’s Steak and Ale Pie hit the spot perfectly.

  • The two pack is $6.49 or $3.25 per serve.

Dinner

This is a recipe that Foodie Greg created, but it’s a pretty basic seafood stew. It’s big advantage is that everything is available from a supermarket. The recipe makes six serves and it’s a favorite of Foodie Philip

  • Canned Salmon $4.99 or 83c per serve
  • Two cups of Half & Half $1.79 or 30c a serve
  • 2.3 lbs of potato was $2.26 or 38c per serve
  • Two carrots were 30c or 5c per serve
  • Carton of chicken broth $1.99 or 33c per serve
  • A medium onion is around 20c or 3c per serve.

The salmon chowder cost us $1.92 a serve. Served with Simple Truth Ready to bake garlic bread – $2.50 for the loaf (on special) or 60c per serve.

The total for this quick and easy meal is $2.52 per serve.