When I moved back to Memphis, one thing I was a little worried about was my spending on eating out. Usually when I get together with my mom and my brother, we would eat out, and I would invariably pick up the tab (they simply just don't have any money...). And shortly after I moved back, I did take them out for some budget-buster meals, including dinner for the three of us at Rafferty's (we all had steaks, salad, and my mom and I had wine), which cost, I think, with tip, about $80 for the three of us. My mom and I hit Ruby Tuesday, had an appetizer, salad bar, and a margarita each, and it ended up costing over $50 (which I thought was ridiculous--plus we had very poor service). A trip to Olive Garden (which I don't exactly despise, but they LOVE it..) was $90. OUCH. Lately, however, we've been doing Sunday night TV and dinner. I generally cook. Last week was a very cheap meal--a chicken florentine casserole that was DELICIOUS, and only cost, with pasta, salad, and homemade butterscotch brownies (I cheated and bought the baby herb salad), cost me about $16, and we had a lot of leftovers. Yeah, we did each have a glass of Yellowtail. Last night was a more expensive meal--salmon, Israeli couscous with cranberries and onions, salad with pears, walnuts and havarti, and I bought my fave strawberry cake at Whole Foods. I had 6 servings of salmon, so we had dinner and each got another plate of food for lunch or dinner over the next couple of days. Total dinner was around $60, but that's 2 meals each, or a per-meal cost of $5 a person. The reaason we had the salmon last night was because I forgot the thaw the giant 7 lb roast that I bought after Thanksgiving, on sale for only $18. I should have cut it in half before I froze it, but didn't. So I'm cooking that tonight, having mashed potatoes and gravy, and some asparagus from Whole Foods, along with the remainder of the strawberry cake. The asparagus was $4, the cost of the potatoes maybe two, and we'll all be eating on the roast all week, or in the future if either I or my mom freeze our portion (yes, I will be bringing quite a bit home). We've also had some pretty cheap and simple spaghetti and meatball nights, things like that.All of these have been pretty excellent meals, and while maybe not the cheapest meals to fix at home, they are saving me a fortune compared to taking them out to dinner. It has the added bonus of leftovers, which you don't always have with restaurant meals, which is good for my mom, because with her Parkinson's its getting harder for her to cook. Plus I have some peace of mind, too, because I've noticed that mom doesn't eat very well these days, when left to her own devices (and my brother)--they were eating Subway a lot, McDonald's and a bunch of other stuff that's not great, and frankly, relatively expensive. Plus, I don't have TV at home, so I get to watch a little TV and hang with my family.
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