Friday, February 5, 2010

Eat Fancy... Very Cheap..

So Jay and I are into good food, just like everyone else. Jay is a natural chef, and (hopefully a future trained chef) and he loves to cook. We do the whole grocery store thing, along with the coupons. However, it's no surprise that it's very hard to cook for only two people, when food is available to cook for at least four. Meat is sold by the pound, and everything comes in "serves four" portions. If you're cooking the pound of meat and making the "serves four" portions, there's both a lot of leftovers and a lot of waste. I hate waste, especially knowing that there's starving people who would offer a body part for the contents of my fridge. In fact, when Jay and I used to work in the pubs at the airport, we would take boxes of sandwhiches and "expired" food that would end up in the dumpster and put them underneath the bridge in Covington, knowing that someone would eat these sandwiches that our company charged $7 a piece for. We live in the city and have people who go through our garbage for aluminum cans, so at night, we've started placing stuff we won't or can't eat by the garbage cans, at the end of the buildings. Usually it's gone by morning because we know some homeless person is hungry. I'd rather they eat it than the garbage man take it. I always feel bad when we don't have something to put out there now.

Anyway, who eats a pound of cooked chicken or a pound of taco meat between two people? It's not possible, and the pounds of meat are expensive. I mean, chicken breast is on sale every other week at Kroger, and it's buy one, get one free. So usually the chicken cost is around $7 for two pounds. If we are only eating half of that in a cooked meal, we are wasting $4.50. Ground meat is $2 a pound, but half that in waste is $1. If we're cooking only a pound of beef a week, that's $4 a moth, and $48 a year in waste. Double that for the year for chicken breast waste. Mercy, I'm not even going to consider bread or veggie waste costs.

We stumbled across something at Kroger that's phenomenal in our opinion. They opened this new super Kroger down the street, and their butcher has the greatest meat choices, and they cater to our portion needs. Let me tell you about it. It's all fresh, prepared with spices and such, and ready to cook. They save you the time and create these high eat dishes, and offer them at stolen prices. Here's what we've been munching on for dinner for the last few weeks and the prices we paid:

Feta-Stuffed Chicken breasts: $4 for two

Bacon-wrapped seasoned flank steaks: $6 for two

Metaterrian seasoned chicken breasts (wrapped in bacon) $3 for two

Lemon-Pepper Salmon steaks: $3.50 for two

Stuffed pork chops: $3 for two

Cajun seasoned Tilapia: $3 for two.

100% Angus beef, seasoned burgers: $5 for two

That's not even the tip of the iceburg for the choices they have. It all ranges from $2 to $7 depending on the meat used and how it's seasoned or stuffed. Usually they come in either a butcher foam or a aluminum pan that you just pop in the oven and cook. Some of them you have to go to the butcher counter and they wrap it in butcher paper for you. The trick is that you only buy these fresh, and cook them fresh. DON'T FREEZE THEM. The quality is okay after thawed, but not as great. So, you have to frequent the store a few times a week. But, so you know, we are the only country that STOCK PILES FOOD. In other countries, people stop at the market everyday for fresh meat, veggies, and bread for dinner. And, they weigh less. Don't stock pile food.

To complete the meal, Kroger offers a wide selection of fresh veggies available in steaming bags. They come with a seasoning or sauce packet that cooks along with the veggies. Asparagus with sauce, Snow peas, baby corn cobs, red potatoes with rosemary garlic sauce, the list goes on and on. They usuall run $1.50 to $2.50 and the portion is generous (but not wasteful) for two people.

Then, you can get a fresh baked baguette or french loaf for around $1.

Are most expensive meal so far was cheaper than a trip to Subway for $5 footlongs:

Bacon-wrapped steak fillets: $6

Red potatoes with rosemary garlic butter $2

Fresh baked French loaf: $1

Baby spinach salad, around $1.

Total: $10.00 and some change. However, we did split a bottle of the finest $5 Cabernet for a personal celebration.

Not bad, steak dinner with wine for two, around $15. Plus, NO waste.

The pic I included was a snapshot of the butcher box where the fresh seasoned/prepared meat was located. So many choices!!

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