When I taught at a culinary school, part of my curriculum was culinary math, WAIT, don’t stop reading! I know we all hate math, goodness knows I do, BUT for chefs it’s essential, not only so they can convert recipes but also so they can control costs and actually make some money. After all, how can you make or save money if you don't know how much what you want to cook costs. One of the first entrée’s I used to teach students the benefit as well as how to do it was breakfast. You will see why in a minute. For you, the home cook, there are some easy concepts that can help you take control of your food budget, eat well and save some nickels; nickels that can hopefully be used to for something special.
Getting up early on a Sunday morning to eat breakfast out is something many families enjoy. I love to eat out and I encourage people to do what they enjoy. But, if you could save some money, skip the crowds and the wait of going out AND still have that great breakfast, would you? Just go with me here …
The reason I used breakfast as an example in my class is because it is dirt cheap to make. If I owned a restaurant, I would do breakfast because the bottom line is, it’s a serious money maker and an easy way to generate a lot of revenue because the food cost is minimal compared to what you can charge for it. Here is why.
NOTE: Restaurants, despite what most people think, generally don’t pay less for food. They have the benefit of having it delivered, but overall their food costs are the same as yours.
I checked my local supermarket adds and found the following items and sale prices.
Eggs - $1.99 for an 18 pack. That’s $ .11 per egg. (1.99 divided by the quantity in the package 18)
New York Sausage Links - $1.99 for a package of 12. That’s $ .17 per link. (1.99 divided by the quantity in the package, 12)
Potatoes - $2.99 for a 5 lb bag. I need to know how much they cost per ounce, because that’s how I’m going to serve it…by the ounce. There are 16 ounces in a pound and 5 pounds in the bag. 5 x 16 = 80 ounces. 2.99 divided by the quantity in the package, 80 = .04 cents per ounce.
If I plate 3 eggs, 3 sausage links and 4 ounces of potatoes, it will cost:
- Eggs $ .33 (.11 cents per egg times 3)
- Sausage $ .51 (.17 cents per link times 3)
- Potato $ .16 (.04 per ounce times 4)
- Total: $1.00
That’s a pretty good breakfast! Especially for a buck! In every class, when we arrived at this total together on a white board, the students all were shocked! They all recollected all the times they paid $7, $8 or more for a basic plate of eggs, meat and potatoes.
Still feel hungry?
Maybe you want some pancakes? By my calculation, pancakes are about $ .12 cents each with syrup. Toast, about $ 05 for good bread. You see my point. Lets say you add a couple pancakes to that plate. For a family of four, you have spent $5.00 for a huge breakfast that even at one of the less expensive chain places would run you $5-6, plus drinks and tip, and I promise you the quality of the ingredients you bought on sale at the supermarket and lovingly prepared for your family are MUCH better! Not to mention, the drinks at home are MUCH less expensive as well.
This would save you about $20-30, depending what your beverage is and how much you tip, maybe even a bit more….enough for a matinee maybe?
I certainly am not discouraging people from going out…it’s a nice treat…but I do want people to realize that they can spend less, get more, eat healthier and maybe save that money for a special dinner out or something you have been wishing you could do.
Remember in my last article I talked about how chef’s will ‘pad’ the menu with items that cost less to prepare so that they could add items that cost them more. The same philosophy works here. If you want to have a steak dinner at home one night this week but that's over your $10 daily dinner allowance…have breakfast for dinner on another night! That saves you $5-6 to use another night. My family loves it and it allows me to spend more money on another meal.
I hope these concepts are helpful. Here are some tips for roasting your breakfast potatoes:
When roasting potatoes for breakfast or “country” potatoes, to ensure even cooking, do your best to cut them to a uniform size. Coat the potatoes lightly with oil, olive, canola, vegetable, season with salt and pepper and add something special. You could use an herb seasoning mix you like, use dried herbs like thyme or oregano or fresh herbs like rosemary and sage. You could also add diced bell or spicy peppers and/or onions. Roast at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until they are crisp outside and tender inside. They are sure to be a hit and beat the pants off anything you can get on a slammer special at the corner restaurant.Quote this article on your site
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