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Subject:  Re: Eating out cheaper than cooking? Date:  10/28/2007  9:14 AM
Author:  DorothyM Number:  1151 of 1845

In my experience lately, this has become to be the case. Either cheaper or about even. So why sweat over a hot stove...

I cook, not because it's cheaper but because I can get stuff cooked the way I want it and I can identify all ingredients. ~$60/week. My cholesterol and blood pressure numbers are "remarkable" (saith my doctor) and I want to keep them that way.

Breakfast: an egg or 2 and 2 slices of v. thin turkey bacon, a generous dollop of Trader Joe's salsa, fruit;

Lunch: HUGE salad -- lots of lettuce (mixture of mesclin and romaine), sliced zucchini, ~1/4 cup chick peas, grape tomatoes, 1 ounce each of reduced fat Swiss cheese, reduced salt turkey, low salt ham. Trader Joe's dressing or homemade vinegrette, No-sugar Jello for "dessert";

Midafternoon: 1/2 cup cottage cheese OR hummus (Trader Joe's) and celery stalk OR almonds OR cheese stick;

Dinner: ~3 ounces of protein, veggie, fruit.
Last night was chicken and very large serving of broccoli. Each dinner costs about $3.

This week I paid $1/pound for green beans, $1/pound for zucchini, $1.50 for large head of broccolli, $1.49/pound for tomatoes, $1.99 for carton of grape tomatoes, limes 10/$1, lemons 3/$1, small pears 3/$1, oranges 2 large navel/$1, cabbage 3 lbs/$1.

Trader Joe's carries a bag of boneless/skinless chicken breasts individually wrapped/sealed, about 6 or 8 for less than $12. They were sold out this week but I got chicken tenderloins, 5 meals worth (if memory serves) for $6 and wrapped them myself. Yes, I know I could always wrap them myself, but I'm willing to pay for convenience. I buy shrimp, enough for 3 meals at about $6. I just peel them and saute quickly. A pound of whatever fish I see in the market (sometimes tilapia, sometimes salmon, etc.) will give me 4 meals for way less then $10 -- cook one, freeze 3). Sometimes I buy sirloin, already cut for stir fry, saute quickly.

I used to buy for price. Now I buy for convenience then for price.

Lunch or dinner out is a social occasion. I have a number of foodie friends so dinner out is enjoyable but usually expensive -- a value judgment, of course. But I enjoy their company and enjoy the ambience of nice restaurants and the interesting company as much as I enjoy the food. Lunch this week (nice but not fanch place) with friends was $20 including tip (my share). Dinner runs anywhere from $30 to $50.
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