Friday, February 20, 2009

COST: Home-Made Vs. Convenience?

I'm the Queen of Convenience.  I hate to cook.  My microwave is my best friend.  New recipes frighten me because I will mess up.  It's inevitable.  No matter how easy a recipe is - it usually never comes out right.  My husband blames this on my inability to follow simple directions.  I think I'm just a bad cook.  Most of my pots and pans just sit in my cabinet for looks.  Only about 3 get use on a regular basis - a toaster oven cookie sheet to heat up my Pillsbury Crescent rolls, a pot to cook my Rice-A-Roni, and a skillet to cook my hamburger for Taco Kits.   

Today I was reorganizing all my practically free soup and noticed a box of Ronzoni Smart Taste elbows with a recipe on the back for Macaroni & Cheese.   It looked divine and I had all the ingredients.  It seemed so easy, so I made it!  Surprisingly, it came out great!  Then I thought "this wasn't expensive at all!"  So that's why I'm here.  How much did my wonderful homemade Mac & Cheese cost me?

1 pkg Ronzoni Smart Taste elbows - $1.50 ($1/1 MFC) .50 cents
3 Tbsp butter - Used "ICBINB" which was kind of "free" a couple weeks ago. I'll say .10 cents for my measly portion.  
3 Tbsp Flour - .15 cents (guessing here!)
2 1/2 cups milk - .35 cents (16 cups of milk in a gallon - gallon was $2.19)
2 cups of shredded Cheddar Cheese - $2 (Sorrento 2/$5 ($1/2 MFC)
1/2 cup bread crumbs - .07 cents  (3.75 cups of bread crumbs in container - .50 for container after coupons)
1/2 tsp salt & 1/8 tsp pepper - I'm not figuring this out!!!

The recipe called for minced onion but I didn't want to deal with stinky onion juice on my hands today (yes, I do have onions on hand!).  This is when the husband will chime in, "Why don't you just follow the directions Becky?!?!"

(For the real recipe and directions, click HERE)

Overall, this recipe cost me:  $4.17.  I could (and have) gotten the shredded cheese cheaper.  This week, Shaw's shredded cheese is on sale for $1.99 plus a coupon printed from their website for $1 off 2.  So $1.49 for the 8 oz package of shredded cheese! - Would have made this recipe $3.67!  

My convenience food (15-pack of Kraft Mac & Cheese) at BJ's runs me $9.99.  .67 cents each.  This recipe is probably about the equivelant to 3 or 4  boxes (My boys and I ate about 1/3 of the recipe - the three of us can easily polish off a box of Mac & Cheese with no questions asked).  But then you have to factor in the butter and milk used to prep it - so you're looking at about $3 - $4 for 3-4 boxes of Kraft Mac & Cheese.  This "homemade" recipe is 100 times better than the boxed kind. It's simple, my kids loved it, and with my bargain hunting, just about the same price as the easy stuff!  I'll spend the time and effort to make this again!  Afterall, I am just a homemaker and us homemakers are suppose to be slaving away by the stove everyday.  It was fantabulous!  Good bye Kraft Mac & Cheese - Hello Ronzoni!


Kara said...

Go Becky! I knew Celeste and I could eventually pull you over to the dark side of from-scratch cooking ;-) Great cost breakdown!

BECKY! said...

I don't think I'll ever jump completely over that fence...Mac & Cheese is a little easier than Solomillo de Cerdo Adobado and homemade cookie pizzas! ;)

Anonymous said...

Becky, this is a great start! Their are many recipes out there and you can still modify with your ingredients.