Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Shrimp & Brown Gravy Over Mashed Potatoes...Or...Another Argument For Cooking At Home

Kat is not a fan of shrimp unless it's breaded and fried, so on Saturday night while she was at her mom's, I made this non-fried recipe for Shrimp & Brown Gravy Over Mashed Potatoes for Shane and myself.  Our opinion was that it was unbelievably good and we think everyone should try it!  I served it with a side of sauteed cabbage, a salad, an iced tea for me and a beer for Shane.

After our meal, which we thought was definitely of restaurant quality and portion-size (it would easily have fed three, or possibly four, people), we were wondering out loud what a similar meal for two might have cost in a restaurant. 

Deciding Shrimp Etouffee over Rice was probably the closest restaurant dish I'd find, I did a quick search of a local favorite Cajun restaurant.  It costs $11.50 there.  Side dishes of cole slaw are $2 a piece, as are other vegetable side dishes.  Tea is $2 and beer (unlisted on the menu) would probably run at least $3.50.  So, for the two of us to dine on a similar meal, it would have cost about $36.50 plus tax and tip.  We're looking at a total of around $50.

Then I did a quick, down-and-dirty, best-guess cost break down of our meal for two:

1 pound shrimp - 2.00 (always $4/lb. for 51-60 shrimp at Aldi and sometimes other stores here)
Other ingredients for main dish - 1.50 (bacon, butter, green onion, celery, corn starch, HM turkey broth, etc.)
Mashed potatoes - .75 (sale potatoes and some butter, milk and a little salt)
Cooked cabbage - .50 (sale cabbage, onion, butter)
Salad - 1.50 (lettuce, tomato, cheese, sunflower seeds, radishes, dressing)
Iced Tea - .25 (it probably didn't even cost that much, even with sugar)
Beer - .75 (from a 30-pack, it probably didn't even cost that much)
Tax - 0
Tip - 0

Total for meal for two:  $7.25.

Say I'm way off on my breakdown and it really cost $10.  That's still just 20% of what it would cost us in a restaurant.

If that's not a good argument for cooking and eating at home, I don't know what is!


Sheila said...

Being from southwest LA with a cajun mom, I am all over that!! I love etouffee any time!! Thanks for the recipe--I just may have to try that one next time instead of my usual recipe.

Lisa said...

Love it! It's not too often that we go out to eat anymore. Mostly just take-out pizza when I don't feel like making it. When we do eat out, I feel so guilty after, because I know I can usually replicate the dish at home, for a fraction of the cost.

Doug Robertson said...

It looks amazing and delicious, I'd swap out the shrimp for mushrooms because I don't eat shrimp, so I suppose that would make it all the cheaper. Probably be making that soon, sounds tasty.

SonyaAnn said...

Oh wow, why am I hungry again? I think that it helps that you are an amazing cook. Good job on the break down. This looks like something that I'm going to have to try. Who am I kidding, Den will have to try it!

Sarah said...

I hope you see this in time - I saw it & thought of Kat (didnt you buy her some of these recently?): http://midgetmomma1200budget.blogspot.com/2010/03/free-my-little-ponys-march-31-toys-r-us.html

Free My Little Ponies!!!

Annie Jones said...

Sheila: I love Cajun food! It's probably my favorite ethnic cuisine.

Lisa: It just depends on where and why we go out. If it's for a celebration, or when we're on the road and can't avoid it, then I don't mind. It's going out "just because" that makes me feel like the money was better spent in other ways.

Doug: I have a recipe coming up...maybe next week...that you might like.

SonyaAnn: Try it, you'll like it!

Sarah: Thanks. Not sure if I can make it to TRU today or not, but if I do, I'll take the coupon. Sounds like a great deal.