Friday, January 15, 2010

Cost Analysis on a Recipe

One of the things that Julie, Robin and I have talked about is how eating healthy and fresh foods can be much more expensive than going with unhealthy and packaged foods. One of my goals is to find ways to stretch my food budget while losing weight, but yet keep it healthy and fresh. This can be a rather daunting task.

Julie and I both bought a Weight Watchers 5 Ingredients 15 Minutes cookbook last week. It’s one of the “Time” issues that looks like a magazine. Anyway, I’ve not been through it with a fine-toothed comb but one of the things I like is that it uses time saving techniques. However, it also relies on a good bit of pre-made or packaged foods that are usually expensive. But by and large the recipes look good and healthy, but it will take some tweaking to make it cost effective. I’ve always been a firm believer in stocking a good pantry, and in choosing to make things that will make the MOST use of the items as well, so that's part of the strategy to keeping costs down in general.

While there are some recipes in the book that don't make good financial sense to me (or just didn't appeal to my taste buds) I tried a recipe from my new cookbook this week that turned out quite inexpensive, and very tasty. It’s a Sausage and White Bean Soup, and I did tweak it slightly. I doubled the recipe, changed out a few comparable ingredients and so on. Based on doubling the recipe according to the book it should have made 10 servings. However, my practical experiment yielded 8. I suppose one could make up the slack with two adding in two more cups of water, but I really liked it as it was. The point count listed is 2 per 1 cup serving, but my yield was 3 per 1 cup serving based on 2 fewer total servings (I plugged it in to my WW online recipe builder). Here is what I spent:

Notes: The original cost is the amount paid for the total item, such as the bag of potatoes, or the package of sausage. The cost used is the cost figured for how much of the item I used. Also note that technically I should have used TWO green peppers - but that seemed to be overkill to me. I don't love peppers enough to want two in there.
Also for dinner I had:

1 baked potato at $1.99/bag and $0.25 / one serving
2 Tbsp Light Sour Cream a $0.89 / carton and $0.06 / serving
1 skinny cow ice cream at $2.99 / carton and $0.50 / serving
ton o salt on baked potato / negligible

Dinner total: $1.35
Points total: 9 (would have been 7 without the ice cream)
The soup includes 1 serving of vegetables

Other cost information: Total money spent on ingredients is $11.88 but the total of what was used from the ingredients is $5.19. Ingredients were bought on sale, or at Aldi.

In my book any time I can spend $0.56 on a serving of soup I'm happy. A 1 cup serving of a similar soup at the grocery store will cost a person approximately $1.25.

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