The answer is .. you don’t.
At least, if I do, it’s very rare these days.
Dim sum, sushi and Red Lobster are my only dining out treats, but even they are quite rare … a few times a year.
Let’s do the math of dining out in comparison to cooking at home.
The last time I went out for AYCE sushi, I spent $17 and change. And that didn’t include a $3 tip.
In comparison, I spent $10 ($14 regular price with a 30% discount 30%) on a smoked picnic shoulder ham, and another $7 for a package of 4 fresh, skinless, bone in chicken breasts. Sometimes you can find boneless chicken breasts on deep discount.
After boiling the ham, I ended up with 18 cups of broth. I used half of the broth to make 11 cups/servings of ham and bean soup. I used 2 cups of diced cooked ham in the soup and still had enough ham left over for eight generous servings for other meals.
As to the chicken breasts, which were big enough to serve two people each if just simply breaded and baked, the possible usages are plentiful. Another option is turning the meat into breaded cutlets or chicken fillets.
Admittedly, chicken and pork are the most inexpensive proteins available … $2 – 2.50 a pound. Fish and seafood are a lot pricier. And a premium steak. The savings of cooking at home aren’t as obvious, but it’s still cheaper than dining out … two meals in for the price of one meal in a restaurant.
Every time I get tempted to dine out, I do the math.
Although, being frugal in my grocery shopping means that I CAN afford to treat myself occasionally.
What’s your favourite dining out treat? Do you eat out as much as you used to 5 yrs ago, 10?
ETA: I spent $18 on this name brand (Butterball) turkey bought frozen for $1.49 a pound. Lots of breast meat, thighs turned into a spicy Indian curry dish, roasted wings and drumsticks, turkey and rice soup, giblet and rice dressing, delicious gravy and the carcass will end up in a big pot turkey stock.