It’s surprisingly hard. So hard. Especially because I’m a chronic Yelp browser; I keep finding little places I want to go to (La Villa Deli, Amato’s Cheesesteaks, Maceio Steakhouse, Slider’s in San Jose) and even though it might seem like a little bit here and there, it adds up tremendously. If you didn’t read it in a previous entry, I told Tom that we should not eat out for two weeks and then splurge at Maceio, one of those all-you-can-eat Brazilian steakhouses, that just opened in downtown San Jose. This resolve was both price-driven ($45 for the churrasco and salad bar–pretty equivalent to Palo Alto’s Pampas, which we went to last year for Tom’s brother’s birthday and spent a ton, but it was also incredibly delicious) and capability-driven: the last time we went to a buffet, many many months ago, it was Palace BBQ Buffet, a most delectable if not heart-stopping Korean BBQ joint in Sunnyvale. I just can’t do buffets; I get full too quickly and like the side bar stuff that is just filler (the noodles at Palace BBQ were good! I also like the churrasco salad bars!). But when I really think about the cost of eating in compared to eating out, it really… doesn’t compare. Here are the dinners I’ve prepared in our past two (only!) days of not eating out:
TUESDAY (salad fed 3, noodles fed 4)
Pear, strawberry and goat cheese salad, lemon vinaigrette – $2.49 for 4 pears at TJ’s, leftover goat cheese from a previous (and delicious!) dish, $1.99 salad greens from TJ’s plus less than $1 arugula from Milk Pail Market, $2 carton strawberries from farmer’s market, $3 bag TJ’s candied walnuts
Garlic noodles – $1.50 1 lb. fresh egg noodles from Ranch 99, butter, garlic, sherry, Maggi sauce, fish sauce, parlsey
WEDNESDAY (fed 4)
Tortellini, carrot, bacon salad with lemon vinaigrette – all leftover items
Rice-a-Roni Savory Whole Grain Blends Roasted Garlic Italiano – $1 (surprisingly delicious side, will probably buy again)
Salmon with mango “salsa” – 1 lb. salmon about $8 at TJ’s, $3 frozen mango from TJ’s, all other ingredients (garlic, red chili pepper flakes, salt, pepper) I already had
Both Tuesday and Wednesday took about $12 (give or take, not including the cooking ingredients already in my kitchen such as olive oil, butter, salt, etc.) to feed 4 people, which beats the $30+ bills Tom and I can rack up with 2 people alone… I’ve also learned the value of side dishes and salads. They really help get you more full later on in the evening.
Next up this week:
Wonton soup – $2 ground pork, 39 cents green onions, $1.20 wonton wrappers, all from Ranch 99, $2-3 can chicken broth
Spaghetti & meatballs – 99 cents spaghetti, $3 frozen meatballs from TJ’s (I’d make them homemade if I could, but… I don’t want to; at least I’m attempting the sauce from scratch), onion, canned tomatoes, herbs
Buffalo burgers with onions, mushrooms, white cheddar – something like $6 for four patties, $3 wheat hamburger buns
Tuna melts with dill havarti – $5-6 for four cans of tuna, $4 for a brick of dill havarti, celery and mayo
Filet mignon – $10 filet mignon, will be using the last of the shallot lemon compound butter, some onions and mushrooms in red wine reduction
Still, though, as cheap as cooking at home is, it takes a lot of grocery shopping to keep up! I bought tons of groceries, yet I think it’ll only last about a week. Good thing I have a lot of time on my hands at the moment.