For some unknown reason my children like… actually like… convenience foods. My son, Chris, used to tell me that when he grew up he was going to eat nothing but Wonderbread and NEVER eat my icky homemade bread again.
Can I just say now that he is 27, in Japan, and in the Air Force he eats my icky homemade bread every chance he gets. And, just to give hope to all of your frustrated moms out there – he cooks for himself and creates very healthy meals from fresh produce, lean proteins, and the occasional bag of Sour Patch Kids.
Anyway. One of my teenagers disdains the food I make in favor of heading out in the middle of the night to buy Spagetti-Os, Ramen, and such. This child loves the food that I am sure is on the primary menu in Hell. You will not be surprised to learn that I have tried desperately to recreate these foods that the child demands – but in a more healthful manner. Really, skillet meals are pretty easy whether you get them from a box or put the ingredients together yourself. Cost-wise it is a little less, I think and time-wise? Maybe five extra minutes. So why in the world are ya buying the box?
This Bacon Cheeseburger Skillet Dinner is fast – you can put it together in less than 30 minutes. It is kid friendly. It is relatively inexpensive. AND, best of all? It doesn’t have a billion ingredients that you can’t pronounce.
Price Break Down and Comparison
One of the things you guys said you wanted was a price breakdown – so here it is. I figured the cost on what I paid for groceries in the Dallas area July 2012. I shop at Costco and Tom Thumb (Safeway). When something was a fraction of a cent or so I just used $.05.
- 1 lb uncooked shell pasta 1.29
- ½ cup (one stick) unsalted butter .75
- ¾ cup milk .07
- 2 eggs .48
- 3 tablespoons flour .05
- 10 ounces shredded cheddar cheese 1.23
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder .05
- 1 1/2 pound ground beef 4.48
- ½ cup chopped onion, optional .05
- 6 bacon strips, diced .93
Total Price for the whole recipe (8 large servings) – 8.84
Price per serving @ 2-cup servings – $1.10
- Price for the name brand helper dinner – $1.49
- Price for hamburger $2.99 for 1 pound
- Price for 2 cups milk – $.20
Since this product has fake bacon flavor there is no cost for the bacon in this version.
Cost for recipe (5 1-cup servings) – 4.68
Cost per serving - .91
Now, keep in mind that the serving size in the homemade recipe is about twice the size of the serving size in the store bought version. which means, if you make the servings the same size – the cost of one cup of the homemade is about .88 and one cup of the store bought is .91 …. you are actually saving .3 cents per serving, or .24 cents for the whole recipe.
The store bought version takes approximately 20 minutes. The homemade version takes about 20 minutes. The only time you could possibly be saving is the few minutes extra it takes at the store to pick up the ingredients instead of just the box.
The homemade version is 771 calories per serving (about 2 cups) the store bought version is 320 calories per serving (about 1 cup) so 640 calories for a 2 cup serving. The store bought saves you 131 calories over the homemade (unless you decide to use skim milk and low fat cheese in the homemade and then I think the homemade version would be fewer calories). By the way, the calories from the real bacon contribute to most of that difference.
Convenient? Let’s recap;
- You are not saving time
- You are not saving money
- You are only saving about 131 calories in the store bought version – and you can make a lower fat version of this recipe by substituting lower fat products.
- The homemade version has no weird ingredients – The store bought version has … well you can read the ingredients list, it is too long to type out.