Lynn from Lynn's Kitchen Adventures wrote me with this great tip recently:
I am always amazed at the amount of money people spend eating out and how often they eat out. And I have to wonder if they have any idea how much they are really spending on all that restaurant food? If they would add up what they spend on lunches out, drive-thru dinners, and gourmet coffees, they would likely be surprised.
Eating at home is so much less expensive than eating out. You can make at least twice the food, usually more than that, for the same price. Many times when I have eaten out, I look at the food and think "what a waste of money this was!" I could have made a whole pan of lasagna and a loaf of bread for the same cost as my meal. If I eat out at a deli or sandwich place, I end up thinking how many sandwiches I could have made for the cost of the one that I just ate.
My family can easily spend $20 ordering pizza, but how many pizzas can I make at home for $20? Quite a few. Maybe I think this way because I love to cook. I love to create meals and try new recipes and I like the challenge of trying to recreate a restaurant meal or dish. Yes, cooking at home takes time, but there are many meals that you can make in 30 minutes or less.
One of my favorite places to eat at is Panera Bread. I love their soups and loaves of crusty artisan style bread. But I don’t love spending $5 or more a person to eat there. So, I make several versions of their soups at home. I have a broccoli cheese and also a potato soup that taste pretty close to Panera’s versions. In fact, I think I like my versions better!
I have also learned some of the tricks to making artisan-style bread at home. Martha Stewart’s website has a great recipe for no knead bread. I also love the book “Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day”. I still have a lot to learn about bread making, but I can now make a pretty good loaf of bread, and it does not cost me $3-$5 a loaf like it would at a bakery or restaurant.
With a little time in the kitchen, you can whip up some of your favorite restaurant meals at home–and save yourself a lot of money in the process!
Have you made any restaurant meals or recipes at home before? If so, I'd love to hear about it!