As promised, I’ve worked this week on some more breakdowns of the cost-per-serving for meals, particularly dinner dishes. If you missed last week, I broke down different breakfast dishes into the cost-per-serving, in order to compare them. This all stemmed from my original post about needing to find a way to work with a higher grocery budget (not to mention, a growing family that is increasingly eating more food).

First, here is a breakdown of basic starch/carbohydrate side dishes (those with org. beside them are organic):

1. Potatoes (org.)- $0.28 per serving

2. Brown rice (non-GMO)- $0.23

3. Brown rice pasta- $0.40

4. Quinoa (org.)- $0.50

5. Millet (org.)- $0.30

6. Lentils (org.)- $0.30

7. Pinto beans (org.)- $0.30

8. Bread- Storebought (wheat/yeast free) $0.43 slice

Homemade (yeast, org.)- $0.20

Homemade (sourdough, org.)- $0.15

9. Squash- $0.50

10. Sweet potato- $.40

I wasn’t surprised to see brown rice come out on the bottom, but was pleasantly surprised to see millet very close in price. The potatoes worked out cheaper than I thought, considering they’re organic and pricier. I knew that quinoa was my most expensive grain, but I didn’t expect that squash and sweet potatoes were just as expensive to serve. Brown rice pasta feels expensive to buy, but was definitely lower in cost that I anticipated it would be.

Just remember, with these starch/carb costs, as well as the dinner costs below, that this is all based on my personal costs, where I live, the stores available to me, etc. It also reflects a bit more of a winter cost (therefore a bit higher when it comes to produce), simply because I cannot accurately remember the prices that I pay in the summer, and I would rather see my costs in a worst case scenario as I do my planning. I know that prices will go down in the next couple of months (at least, on most produce, though not all).

Dinner Main Dish Calculations:

(Arranged from cheapest to most expensive)

1. Lentil Rice Casserole (with cheese)- $0.62 per person

2. Beezie’s Black Bean Soup– $0.76

3. Chicken and Veggie Potpie– $1.08

4. Shepherd’s Pie- $1.17

5. Baked Beans and Dijon Scalloped Potatoes- $1.26

6. Chili (with ground beef, 2 kinds of bean, and veggies)- $1.29

7. Rice Pasta with Tomato Sauce (with ground beef)- $1.41

8. Spud Special Soup– $1.48

9. Beef Stew (I slightly change the recipe) with biscuits- $1.64

10. Chicken stir-fry over brown rice- $1.72

11. Taco Salad (org. corn ships, lettuce, salsa, guac, sour cream, cheese)- $1.91 with beans, $2.16 with beef

12. Tacos (org. corn tortillas, same fillings as above)- $2.16 with beans, $2.59 with beef

13. Chicken legs, millet and broccoli/cauliflower with cheese sauce- $2.68

Now, even as I type this, I can see a few inconsistencies. For instance, I included the biscuits in my beef stew calculations, putting it at #9, whereas it should probably be cheaper than that, considering I didn’t add the cost of bread/biscuits, salad, small side of veggies, etc. with the other meals.

As well, #10-13 are somewhat more complete meals than some of the earlier meals (we might add a salad to a pasta meal, or bread to a soup meal, etc.) so that somewhat accounts for their higher cost. However, I still believe they are more expensive meals in general.

And just in general, it’s hard to estimate costs and servings, no matter how careful you try to be. I might have made errors that would have made a difference in some of what I calculated, although I think that overall, my calculations show a good, general picture of how different meals and foods compare.

Are you surprised by any of it? I was a bit surprised (happily so) by the Potpie and Shepherd’s Pie coming out so low. I was shocked that a simple potato soup (Spud Soup) would be so expensive, just by itself! I knew the chicken leg meal would be right up there, but was a little surprised by the taco meals being so close behind (granted, I calculated them with the works, and sometimes we might not have guacamole, for instance, which would lower the cost).

Don’t forget, next Friday is the Frugal Cooking Carnival at Owlhaven! It requires you to have already done your three days of frugal meals, and post it on Friday, so I am aiming for next Tues/Wed/Thurs. And even if you don’t do the challenge, make sure that you read through the posts from those who do- I’m sure that they will be very helpful and provide lots of great ideas and recipes for stretching your grocery dollar further!

This post is part of Frugal Fridays as usual!