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(*Warning:  Carnivorous Content*)

It’s been a while since I’ve done a “Lunch in the Life” post.  (A takeoff on “A Day in the Life,” in case you wondered.) A blog I follow is done by a lady who lives in the UK who is on a very limited budget. She periodically does posts detailing a meal she has prepared, the cost of the items she’s had to purchase, how her various cost cutting options have saved her money, and what the cost per serving ends up being.   I’ve never done a “lunch in the life” post like that, but it occurs to me that pricing things out might be of use to those of you who are on a budget, as I am.

CHILI DOGS WITH CHEESE

I use a soup bowl for my chili dog and eat it with a knife and fork.

I cut the hot dog in half lengthwise and put one half on each side of the bun.

Here’s the cost per serving breakdown.

Sargento 4 Mexican Cheese, shredded, 4 cup size,                          $6.99
Oscar Mayer Angus Hot Dogs, pkg of 8,                                         $4.99
Orowheat Whole Wheat Hot Dog Buns, pkg of 8,                             $2.89
Wolf Brand Home Style Chili 15 oz, 2 cans @ $1.59 each =               $3.18
Kraft Low Fat Mayo with Olive Oil 12 oz @ $2.50 bottle, 4 oz            $0.83
———————————————————————–Cost for 8 chili dogs    $18.88
—————————————————————————Cost per chili dog     $2.36
Dessert:  Great Value Lowfat Yogurt @$1.88 for 4 containers =         $3.76
————————————————————————————Total cost     $22.64
———————————————————————–Total cost per meal      $2.83

Add a container of Raspberry low fat yogurt for dessert plus beverage of choice, which in this case is a glass of tea, and that’s a tasty, filling lunch for $2.83 per serving.  (I didn’t figure in the cost of the sliced olives because most people wouldn’t want olives on a chili dog!) Since you make this meal in the microwave,  from package to table is less than 10 minutes.

One thing I like about Oscar Mayer’s hot dogs is that each package has two resealable plastic bags of dogs held together with a paper band, which is great because you can just split the paper band and freeze half of them without having to repackage them.  Most of their hot dog brands come in packages of 10* (5 per resealable bag), but their beef hot dogs come in packages of 8, which is how many buns you get per package.  Also Kraft makes a low fat mayo with olive oil that I really like the taste of.  It comes in a 12oz squeeze bottle that squeezes out a thin ribbon of product that makes it really easy to gage the amount.  It prices out at $2.50 a bottle, but you only use about half a tablespoon per side of the bun (2 tbsp = 1 oz, so 24 tsp per 12 oz bottle = $0.10 per tablespoon).

Of course, you can use cheaper ingredients and get the cost down lower, but $2.36 per serving is still not all that bad, considering I can get 8 servings for that price.  You can freeze half the hot dogs and half the buns, and you can get 4 generous servings of chili out of one 15 oz can.  The Sargento 4 Mexican Cheeses also comes in a 2 cup size and if you figure half a cup of cheese per dog, that’s enough for 4 chili dogs.

*If you opt for the 10-dog package of hot dogs, you could cut up the two extra dogs and serve them in sauerkraut or in some red beans or some barbecue beans. . . .
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