Is it worth it to cook at home?
This is a question that I have asked myself many times..
For a nice dinner, is it cheaper to go out to eat?
The weather was beautiful today and Brad and I were trying to figure out what we were going to do. We decided that we would find a new recipe to cook. We both were in the mood for a good Indian curry meal so we found a Rachel Ray recipe that looked fairly simple. We thought about doing a lamb curry but quickly decided that lamb was too expensive and we would stick with chicken. We put Charlotte in the stroller and walked to Kroger to get our ingredients.
Once we got to Kroger we began to look for the ingredients. We wanted to do a curry recipe and knew that we wanted to have naan bread and a yogurt sauce to go with it. Some of the ingredients were expensive. Kroger only sells minced meat in large jars that cost around $7.00. Brad and I had no idea what minced meat was. It is very similar to a pie filling with raisins and cherries in it. The basmati rice was also expensive (around $5.00 for a small amount).
Our total for the ingredients of our curry meal ended up being about $45.00 I thought this was expensive. I realize that some of the ingredients can be used again (some of the spices) but I began to wonder if it would be cheaper to go to an Indian restaurant.
Chicken Curry in a Hurry: by Rachel Ray
For spicy rice:
2 cups basmati rice, prepared according to package directions
3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil, 3 turns of the pan
1 1/3 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders, diced
2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced, mild to extra spicy
1 to 2 inches fresh ginger root, minced or grated, mild to extra spicy
1 large yellow skinned onion, peeled and chopped
1 can chicken broth, about 2 cups
2 tablespoons curry paste, mild or hot
1/3 to 1/2 cup mincemeat
2 tablespoons flour
Toppings and garnishes, mix and match:
4 scallions, chopped
1 cup toasted coconut
1/2 cup sliced almonds or Spanish peanuts
1 cup prepared mango chutney
1 /4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
We came home and cooked our curry dinner. The recipe was really good. I definitely would make it again. However, I feel that the toppings were a bit of a waste. I would love for my Indian friends to comment on my experience with the price/recipe. In my freezer club, we make dishes that cost around $15.00 a meal. If we want to make something nicer, we have to find it on sale in order to accommodate the budget. Brad and I enjoyed the experience (finding a recipe, walking to the grocery store, and then cooking together). I was just disappointed that is cost so much to make. I know that if we went to eat at an Indian restaurant, our bill would have been at least $50.00 for four people. It makes you wonder if sometimes it is even worth the effort.
The Boston Globe had an article on this subject. http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/food-dining/2013/08/20/put-new-study-test-eating-out-cheaper-than-cooking-home/CytldzC97LORKpESA31RTI/story.html The author read a study about a person that said it was cheaper to eat at the Outback for steak rather than cooking it at home. She wanted to check it out so she tried it out herself. Click on the link above to see what the results were. In conclusion, I think that cooking at home is cheaper than going out to eat. I have a family of seven so even going to McDonalds can add up for us. If you want to try out a new recipe, you have to just accept that the initial costs will be more. Having an 18 month old makes cooking at home much more appealing for us these days.